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Buffy, Slay'em One More Time   |   Barfy the Vampire Slayer   |   The Slayer Slayer (1 to 6)   |   Untitled Fanfic
Untitled Fanfic
By Awatcher22@aol.com

Chapter 1. After life.

Next morning at the Summers house. Connubial bliss continues. (As much as can be.) Buffy and Spike have moved into Joyce's old room. It has been moderately redecorated to suite them both. Willow has moved out of the house, and lives on her own. She is trying to stand fully on her own two feet after the addiction. It is morning, and the sun comes streaming through the window. A ray of light reflects off of something and onto Spike's arm.

Spike: (Wakes up with a start. He is screaming.) What you trying to do? Get a divorce?

Buffy: (She gets up and shuts blinds more fully.) Guess we have to fix that. I wasn't trying to wake up as Mrs. big pile of dust. I'm not ready to be a widow. But it serves you right for not properly kissing my wound and making it better.

Spike: I could use some sympathy here. Besides I kissed everything else last night. Dinnit I?

Buffy: (Tends to his arm where the beam of light has burnt his skin.) Where would you like the sympathy to be placed. (Really suggestive.)

Spike: That's my girl, that's the kind of talk I like to hear. You perk right up from, wounded kitten in the grave yard, to sex kitten in our bed dinnit you? (Gives her a really seductive look.)

Buffy: (She smiles.) I have something you might like better than talk.

Spike: Yeah? I think my arm is starting to feel a little better. What do ya have in mind? You could ah come back to bed and show me.

Buffy: Let me just get some balm to put on your wounded hand.

Spike: You're all the balm I need baby.

Buffy: Oh I think you'll like this. (Comes over to the bed carrying something in a little jar.) I am just going to spread it on anything that might need soothing. (She starts to put the balm on his hand. Then on his chest, then on some other interesting places.)

Spike: Hey wait a second, that's not balm that's honey. (She wipes some off his chest with her finger, then sticks her finger into him mouth. He closes his lips around her finger, licking it off with his tongue.) Sweetheart I think I'm gonna like your tending to.

Buffy: Well the fun parts not really putting it on. It's taking it off. (Gives him the most suggestive look he's ever seen. Then she straddles him as she starts to remove the honey she has placed on him.)

Spike: (As she looks up, he wipes off some honey that has gotten stuck on her chin, and her nose. She takes his finger, and puts it into her mouth, then she licks the honey from his finger, as she pulls his finger out of her mouth back and forth.) Only so much a man can take. (He grabs Buffy, he removes her tank top, and the rest of her clothing. They assume the same position as before. She is still on top. Her legs are still around his waist. He sits up a little, and positions her on his hips. They find each other and connect on their bed. Buffy moans as her tongue finds it's way into Spike's waiting mouth. Their arms link around each other, and they begin to rock back and forth. Morning silence at the Summers house is broken with the sighs and tender groans of their impassioned joining.

Hours later. Silence is once again broken, by the outside noises and other stirrings inside and outside the bedroom.

Buffy: I'm sticky everywhere. (She says pouting as they lay covered with honey in each other arms.)

Spike: Yeah me too luv! (Gives her a well satisfied look.)

Buffy: You know what I mean. I have honey everywhere, it's in my hair, on my chin, my nose, my toes, and other places. I'm completely sticky.

Spike: I can see if I can go bout getting the rest off you. If you'd like? (Starts on her ear lobe.)

Buffy: Oh no you don't everytime we start we never finish. Well we finish, but you know what I mean. (She hits him.)

Spike: So it's a little bit of slap and tickle your after is it? (He pulls her to him and they wrestle a little bit more.) I still love you, you know that.

Buffy: I know.

Spike: Any regrets?

Buffy: About us?

Spike: I didn't give you much time. Before you said yes.

Buffy: This was right. I didn't need much time. (Kisses him.) I was sure.

Spike: I want to keep making you sure. My promises didn't stop in that groove. I hope you know that.

Buffy: I do know that. (She snuggles into him.) Sometimes I think about my mom. How she's not here anymore and it makes me really lonely. I think about the future and it's just me and Dawn and I get really sad. But now you're here. We are not alone any more. I was sure for so many reasons. You asked me if I was afraid you were going to leave. Do you remember?

Spike: Yeah I remember.

Buffy: Well I was. I thought you'd leave. Everyone else has left, so I figured you would too. But you're here.

Spike: I'm not going anywhere.

Buffy: I think I know that now. I was so afraid I would be alone after mom died. She was great, she took care of everything.

Spike: I know. Joyce was a good lady. Treated me with respect she did. Always had a cuppa hot chocolate and marshmallows waiting round the table. She was real upstanding.

Buffy: I miss her, and I know Dawn misses her. We are not use to having people in our lives. I mean after my mom died, do you know that my dad didn't even show up for the funeral? They were married and had kids, and he didn't show up. (She starts to mist up a little.)

Spike: There now pet. I'm here for you. (Strokes her hair, as he wipes a tear from her eye.)

Buffy: (Stops crying.) I know, but isn't that suppose to mean something? Instead he's always off with his secretary or something like that. I always wanted a family after my dad left. Dawn too. It's not that we weren't taken care of, cause mom was great. Just guys don't stay in our lives. My dad didn't show up, even the guy my mom was dating before she died didn't even call us. He just leaves flowers, then she dies and he never calls, or shows up again. Just like that. Then there's my history. You know my history. You're the only one who's stayed so far. Oh and Xander, but you know what I mean.

Spike: Not your fault. Anyone who'd walk away from you should have their heads examined. I'm lucky having you. You and Dawn are the best things, come into my life.

Buffy: You're the best that's come along in a very long time. That's why I was so afraid. Why I kept it casual. Why I almost broke up with you a couple of times, before I told everyone.

Spike: (Raises his eyebrow.) What you mean almost. Luv?

Buffy: Ok I did break up with you, and we had our problems. I caused most of them, but here we are. I kept pushing you away, cause I was so afraid it would end up the same way. But you stuck it out.

Spike: Knew what I wanted. It was you, but I wanted the whole package. Now I think I have it. The whole package I mean. I have all of you.

Buffy: (She remembers the visit or dream or whatever it is she had from the first slayer. Feels guilty cause she still does not feel she can share the vision with him yet.) You have as much of me as anyone ever has. (Stops nestling with Spike.) Hey we better get going. Dawn going to think that...

Spike: Dawn's gonna think we're newly married, and enjoying each other to the fullest. She'd be right.

Buffy: Still I think it's time to get showered. Why don't you go ahead. I want to fix up the room a bit. Honey is all over everything.

Spike: Only when you smile luv. (He smiles at her. Then he goes to the bathroom, through the inner bathroom door to have his shower. He is fully naked, and resplendent in the indirect sunlight that dances across his naked skin. Buffy watches him into the bathroom to have a shower. He goes through the door that adjoins it to their room.)

Spike is having an early morning shower. He is enjoying the running water, and the warmth of it. Suddenly the curtain is pulled back.

Buffy: (Standing there in nothing but a towel.) I'm still sticky all over. Thought we could reserve water if we took a shower together. (Pouts as she looks up at him.)

Spike: I'm all for conserving luv. (The towel drops to the floor. She enters the shower with Spike. They pull the curtain all the way around. The water is warm and the soap lather intoxicating. He kisses her, as he moves the bar of soap over her hair, and down her back, which is facing him. He kisses the side of her neck as he moves the soap over her breasts, then down her belly. She reaches up and interlocks her fingers around his neck Her body is fully exposed, with her arms raised above her head. He continues to lather every part of her skin, moving the bar of soap from her navel to her lower abdomen. She maneuvers down with him as he lathers her legs, and upper thighs. He puts the bar of soap away and he finishes lathering her skin with his hands. Every part of her is completely lathered and massaged.)

Buffy: (Moaning, and stretching against him, to allow better access to his roving hands.) This gives new meaning to the words deep lather and massage.

Spike: We are going to give new meaning to a lot of things luv. (Turning her to face him, he is about to pick her up and get even more comfortable.)

Dawn: (Loud knock at the outer bathroom door.) Buffy are you in there? (Dawn screams at the top of her lungs.)

Buffy: Dawn. I'm having a shower go away!

Dawn: You've been in that shower forever. I have to go pee. (She opens the bathroom door and goes over to the toilet.)

Buffy: Dawn get out! (Buffy screams at the top of her lungs.)

Dawn: What's your problem. I'm almost finished peeing. Besides not as if I haven't walked in on you before in the bathroom. It's nothing that I haven't seen before. What are you getting so worked up about. I've seen it all before. You walk around the house half naked anyway.

Buffy: (Moans as Spike goes back to her ear. They are balanced in a slightly uncomfortable position, but it stops Dawn from seeing Spike threw the curtains.) Well it's not the same. You need to learn how to knock. (Finishes the last word on a groan.)

Dawn: You need to learn to lock the bathroom door. Buffy are you ok? You sound funny.

Buffy: Dawn. I'm fine, just go!

Dawn: (Finishes using the toilet.) Are you sure you're ok. You sound all breathless and stuff. (Flushes the toilet. She hears a scream that almost sounds masculine, followed by some cursing.) Buffy are you sure you're ok?

Buffy: Ow. You burnt me and I screamed. I said to leave!

Dawn: Your voice sounded so weird when you screamed, sure your ok? (Dawn goes over to the shower to investigate. She is about to pull the shower curtain back.)

The phone rings.

Dawn: That might be Janice. I've been expecting her call. Fine be a shower hog, see if I care. (Dawn leaves the bathroom.)

Buffy: (Gets out and locks the door. Walks back to the shower.) Are you totally demented. She almost caught us. You and your roving hands.

Spike: You weren't complaining. Sides we're married now. What do you think she thinks when she hears all the noise coming from our room. Her rooms just across, and down the hall. She is a hormonal teenager. Probably knows as much as we do by now.

Buffy: She better not. Besides. Hearing is not seeing.

Spike: (Lifting her back into the shower.) And talking is defiantly not doing. Now where were we pet?

An hour later. Spike showered and dressed at last makes his way down to the breakfast table to have a very late breakfast with Dawn.

Spike: Morning bit. How you doing? Did you sleep well?

Dawn: Same as usual. You and Buffy sleeping ok?

Spike: (Spike looks up.) Well how do you mean?

Dawn: You just seem to keep late hours with patrolling and all. Just wondering if you're settling in ok. This must be a change from your crypt.

Spike: Oh yeah. (Sounds relieved.) This is defiantly a change for me. But I'm loving it. (He goes over to the cupboard and grabs a bowl, then goes to the fridge. Looks in his special drawer and withdraws a packet. Goes to the microwave. Heats up contents of packet into bowl. (Goes back to join Dawn at the table.) Can I have some of that?

Dawn: She hands him some of her Life serial.

Spike: (He takes the cereal and adds it to the blood in the bowl.)

Dawn: Eww that's gross.

Spike: You've seen me drink blood before bit.

Dawn: Yeah, but not by putting in little bit's of cereal. That's gross.

Spike: What? Give's it more texture.

Dawn: Whatever! Still gross.

Spike: So how is school going?

Dawn: Well you know. Same as usual. When is that social worker suppose to come by? I can't believe that she still has to do regular monthly check up's on us. Even now that you and Buffy are married.

Spike: Got to show we got a stable family. Sure she'll push off after that. Leave us alone and all.

Buffy: (Enters the kitchen. Still glowing and looking radiant after her morning shower.) Dawn. We need some house rules about knocking on all doors. Not just the bathroom door.

Dawn: Well if you put the lock on the door, you wouldn't have to worry about it now would you?

Buffy: Sometimes I forget. It's joined to the bedroom, and I forget sometimes. I'm still adjusting to taking the room over from Willow.

Dawn: I still don't see why your making such a big deal. It's not as if I walked in on you and Spike in your bedroom having sex or something.

Spike: (He looks up at Buffy. They exchange glances.) Well I think what Buffy means is, not just you women in the house any more. You got me here now. We just need to set up some new house rules and stuff. Right bit.

Dawn: I knocked first. If you had answered I obviously wouldn't have barged in.

Buffy: I'll remember that for next time.

Dawn: Hun?

Buffy: Just remember the house rules for next time.

Dawn: Whatever. So Spike what are you going to do today?

Spike: Don't know bit. Since it's the weekend, thought I'd watch some telly, then see bout getting things fixed up round here. I am pretty handy. Put some real work into my crypt. Think I could do the same round here.

Dawn: I hate not having any money. I mean I know we're ok. But I liked it before. You know when mom was around.

Buffy: I'm doing my best here Dawn.

Dawn: I didn't mean it that way. I guess I just miss her. She always knew what to do. She always made sure everything was nice. She could always fix things.

Spike: Of course you didn't mean it that way bit. Sides it's natural to miss your mom. Tell you what. I made it real pretty where she is. I put some flowers round the site, so next time you and Buffy go visit, it will look really nice.

Buffy: You did that?

Spike: No problem. Round that area lots anyway.

Buffy: I should have but.

Spike: You been dealing with other stuff. Sides we're together now. All of us. (Makes sure Dawn knows he's there for both of them.) How bout we go sometime? The flowers are probably better in the day. But I got that whole sun, me, burnt to a crisp thing happening.

Dawn: I'd like that.

Buffy: Yeah me too.

Spike: So what you two got planned for the rest of the afternoon?

Dawn: Janice and I are going to the mall. We are going to see if we can meet up with Emily. It's so hard getting those two in the same place at once.

Buffy: I am suppose to stop by Willow's new place, and help her settle in. But I should be back before the whole afternoon slips away.

Spike: I look forward to that. (Gives her a look, that holds many promises for the afternoon.)

Buffy: (Goes over and kisses him.) Me too.

Dawn: (Goes back to eating her cereal and smiles. It's not the perfect nuclear family, but it's breakfast around their table and it's great.)

The three settle down to the morning breakfast, which is being enjoyed during the afternoon in the Summers house.

Buffy arrives at Willow's new apartment. Xander and Anya are there as well. The gang has come to help Willow settle into her new place.

Willow: That lamp I think will look better over there.

Xander: That's the third time you've made me move it?

Anya: Shut up Xander. We're here to work, to lend a hand. To be good friends. That means no complaining. See just like you made me memorize. (She smiles.)

Xander: It's too bad I don't see ya doing as much work as talking.

Anya: I lent a hand.

Willow: Actually I think it was more like a finger.

Anya: Well I could lend you one more. I think I know which one.

Xander: Anya!

Anya: What? She started it. I did so help. I put those books on the self over there. (She points.) And I've been appraising all of Willow's things that are of value in the apartment. Good news is at least if you get robbed Willow, you won't have anything to worry about? (Here she smiles.)

Willow: You know Anya, you really don't have to be here if you don't want to.

Anya: Sure I do. Xander dragged me here, and said cause you helped us when we moved. I had to help you. So here I am helping. (She puts on a smile on her face.)

Xander: Anya. It's way better when you're going to help someone, not to tell them that you were forced into it sweetie.

Anya: And Xander. When you're going to marry someone, it's much better for you not to call off the wedding, and then not set a date ever again. Sweetie. (She keeps the smile firmly plastered on her face.)

Xander: Can we not discuss this here.

Anya: Sure, where and when exactly would you like to discuss it? Cause you never do when we are home with each other.

Xander: Just not here baby.

Anya: Fine. (She just stops talking.)

Buffy: (To Willow.) So how did you find this place, and for so little. It's really cute and charming.

Willow: If you mean small and affordable you would be right. I got it from a friend I meet years ago when I went away to music camp.

Xander: Do you mean band camp?

Willow: (Ignoring Xander.) So he's going away to Europe for a bit, and wanted someone to take care of the place, and since his parent's rent it to him for cheep. I get to take over his rent. Don't know when he's coming back. Good to know people in musical places, I guess.

Buffy: Well it's really cute I like it.

Xander: Yeah it's great. Hey how come Tara didn't come to help? Didn't you invite her?

Willow: (Looking uncomfortable.) Actually I did, but she had other things to do.

Anya: That's an off limits topic Xander. Even I know that. Things are still all uncomfortable. Tara still hasn't forgiven Willow.

Xander: Gosh I was sure, she'd come around by now.

Willow: Looks like we are moving on with our lives. (She sounds sad.) Any way that's what I have you all here for. Let's finish unpacking.

They finish unpacking and settle down to watch a movie.

Willow: It's great that he left some of his furniture and stuff. He didn't need it in Europe where he was going to be. I'm so glad I don't have to shop for electronics.

Buffy: Well you know you could have stayed with me, Dawn and Spike.

Willow: Yeah, but I want to get out on my own and be independent. I love all you did for me, but I need to stand fully on my own two feet now, just like Tara's doing.

Buffy: I really sorry that things haven't improved in that area.

Willow: It's ok at least we are on speaking terms. Sort of friendly at times, but not hostile or anything. At least that's something.

Buffy: True.

Xander: Hey, what kind of Movies does this guy keep? (Xander rifles threw a case containing movies.) Hey look at this, he has Apocalypse Now. Remember just after we beat Adam, and we rented movies and watched them at Buffy's house?

Willow: Yeah, it was the group of us. Oh and Giles was there. Remember?

Buffy: Yeah. I remember. I still miss him. I still wish he was here, at least he was able to come for the wedding. (Buffy tenses realizing that she has said the "W" word. Which is still a buzz word that could start Anya and Xander fighting again at any minute. But they don't)

Anya: Yeah that was a great night. Except for the visit from the first Slayer, and her trying to kill us and all. Gosh still gives me goose pimples when I think about it. What about you Buffy?

Buffy: (Her mind instantly goes back to her visit with the first Slayer, the night of her wedding and the slayers words about slayers being routed in darkness. Vampire darkness to be exact. Also all the images she saw, and the slayers final words, "You now know what you are, and soon you will know what you have become. We are all one kindred.")

Xander: Buffy. You ok? (He sounds concerned.)

Buffy: Hun? Yeah I'm fine. I just got distracted. Spacing again.

Anya: Bet you were thinking about all that great Spike sex you get to have. How's that going by the way?

Buffy: (Still a little spaced out.) Great. (Realizes what she said. Blushes.) I mean, none of your business, but if it was.

Willow: If it was?

Buffy: (Smiles, looks radiant and nodes.) Still great.

Willow: (She sighs in unison with Anya.)

Xander: Hey I'm still in the room. I so don't need to be hearing this right now. Can we please talk about something else?

Anya: Yeah sure Xander. I can think of something else that I would like to talk about.

Xander: (Sensing a trap about the wedding discussion, in there somewhere. He makes his escape.) Actually the current topic of conversation is just fine. (Turns to Buffy.) So Buffy. Spike. Great sex? Do tell.

After the friends get settled Buffy leaves to go meet up with Spike. Xander and Anya hang out a little bit longer. Xander is trying to avoid going home, for yet another discussion about the delayed wedding.

Buffy, Spike, and Dawn meet up later that evening. The three go to the video store, they come home with rented movies.

Dawn: This is the sad part, he turns all rabid and stuff.

Buffy: Promise if I ever get rabies you won't take me out to the back and shoot me. Just stake me or something like that. Bullets bad.

Spike: So is getting staked. Sides not old yellers fault he got turned all rabid and stuff. Made to drink blood for all eternity. Oh no wait, that something else, I'm thinking of.

Dawn: (She looks over at Buffy and they share a look about Spike that is becoming all too familiar. They smile.) Ok. That was just too sad. They had to do it, he would have gone really crazy like cujo and just killed everything eventually.

Spike: Still it made me all sad and stuff. Let's get something more cheerful on. Anyone up for terminator? That Arnold's one bad ass. Leather jacket, bad attitude, rides a motor cycle. Reminds me of someone I know. Sides, it's one of my favorite movies.

Buffy: Ok, but we have to watch the chic flick I selected next.

Spike: I'm all up for girl interrupted. A poignant chic flick about teen angst. I'm just watching terminator as a warm up. Get me all set for the scary stuff. (Dawn and Buffy laugh.) What?

They watch the movie and enjoy some micro-waved popcorn.

Spike: You know what I could be Kyle from the movie. What you say Buffy. I could say I traveled cross time for you.

Buffy: It's not the same, no cool time machine.

Spike: Sure it could be the same. Watch this. I'd travel through time for you Buffy Summers. I traveled from 1880 for you. I love you.

Buffy: (Getting into the spirit of it.) That could work, I suppose.

Spike: Yeah then you can show me just how greatful you are, that I did all that traveling through time for you. (Gives her a look.)

Dawn: (She is well familiar with the looks that pass between them by now and she is just sitting back looking relaxed and happy. She smiles at the contented happy picture they make in their own way. She just pretends to do whatever she is doing as they go upstairs to "fight cyborg's.") Looks like it's just me and Wynonna Rider.

Chapter 2 Gone.

A few days later. Buffy is home by herself and hears a knock on the door.

Anya: (She has arrived on Buffy's door step, bags in hand. Sounding in tears.) I've left Xander.

Buffy: You what? (Sounds surprised.)

Anya: Well after he called off the wedding, we haven't sorted out what we want and he hasn't reset a date. I just up and left. It's driving me crazy. He's all hot then cold. Marry me, just not right now. (Drops her bags and goes to lean on Buffy's shoulder. Please let me stay for awhile. I don't want to be alone.

Buffy: Well since you are already here. (She cautiously invites her in.)

Somewhere across town Willow hears a knock at her door.

Willow: Xander what's wrong? What happened? You're bleeding.

Xander: (Comes into her apartment.) It's Anya, she's gone nuts.

Willow: Tell me something I didn't know.

Xander: Willow, I'm serious. She tried to kill me.

Willow: (Sounding concerned.) Really!

Xander: She threw a rolling pin at my head. Look at this. (Points to head.) She's deranged.
Willow: No arguments there.

Xander: This is serious. Because I wouldn't reset a date for the wedding, and I didn't want to discuss it, she finally lost it and she freaked on me. Then she got violent, and threw the rolling pin at my head. Apparently that friend of hers from the wedding. That demon friend of hers the one that was maid of honor at our almost wedding. She's been putting ideas into Anya's head again.

Willow: Sure there's any room left in her demony head to have any more ideas?

Xander: Willow I serious. She's never walked out before. What am I going to do? I have to go out and I have to find her.

Willow: She's at Buffy's house. Buffy just called me. She said I'd never guess who just turned up on her doorstep suitcase in hand. Besides you're going to go after her and get another rolling pin thrown at your head?

Xander: Well I have to do something don't I?

Willow: Why? People are going to do whatever they want. Whenever they want. If you don't want them to go, they go. They don't look back, they don't care. (She sounds sad.)

Xander: We still talking about me here? (Sees the look on her face. Goes over to give her a hug.) Still no word from Tara?

Willow: We talk, and it's all polite and friendly, but she has this wall up. When's she going to forgive me Xander? I've done everything that I could. I'm sorry for what I did.

Xander: She loves you Will, but it takes time. She was pretty angry after you did that spell that took away all our memories, and seems like it wasn't the first time you did something like that?

Willow: But I'm sorry. Can't she see that I'm sorry?

Xander: You just have to give her time. People stay angry as long as they need to. There's not much you can do as far as working things out, if they stay angry. Can't break down those walls with anger in the way.

Willow: Maybe I just have to face it. Tara's gone, and maybe she's never going to come back.

Xander: I have to face it too. Anya's gone till, I reset a date for this wedding. I don't know why I can't seem to bring myself to do it. I mean I know I love her.

Willow: Xander. You've grown up so much over the last year. More I think than any of us. But maybe you just went too fast. That's probably why you backed out. You have to give yourself time, space, figure out what you want. Last thing you want is another wedding, where you call it off at the last minute. That would just piss her off more.

Xander: Know what you're right. We're not getting anywhere till I figure this out for myself first. I know what I'm going to do now.

Willow: What?

Xander: Nothing. I have to figure this out, before I chase her all over the place. Else like you said, were just going to continue having the same problems, and God knows what she will do next time. Women.

Willow: Women. (They shake their heads in unison.)

A few days later. Their house guest has settled in nicely. Nicely for Dawn and Spike, who love having the extra company, and listening to her stories. Buffy is having some difficulties adjusting to the house guest, who is currently residing in Buffy's old room. Anya and Spike have become fast friends, and though Buffy would never admit it, she's a little uncomfortable with their closeness. She is in the kitchen preparing a snack, as she listens to their happy chatter from the living room.

Anya: (Sitting on the couch with Spike. They go over stories of destruction and devastation that they caused.) Yeah you should have seen what I did to his testicles. He couldn't walk for a week. That obviously wasn't my best work though. I was young, inexperienced. After I became a vengeance demon. V.D. For short. Not the other kind of V.D. Although I inflicted a lot of that on people, and Xander's penis has diseases from a shumash tribe.

Spike: Yeah I can remember one time, for Dru's birthday. (From the kitchen we can hear one dish being broken, and then another.) What I mean is, for someone, who will not be named in this house's birthday, we wanted to... (he goes on to tell her about some pretty bizarre things, he and Dru have done for her various parties, up to assembling the judge.) I can tell you that was a laugh riot. (They sigh in unison recalling the good old times.)

Buffy: (Comes from the kitchen with some glasses)

Anya: Oh Buffy you didn't have to do that by yourself, you should have asked someone to help you. (Anya then goes back to what she was doing.)

Buffy: (Picks up a butter knife threateningly off the tray, as she balances the tray with one hand.)

Spike: (Goes over to help out.) Now, now, temper, temper luv. (Takes the tray and the butter knife.)

Dawn: (Comes in from visiting friends.)

Buffy: It's disturbing all the happy talk between you two. I mean the happy talk about hurting people. It's just disturbing.

Dawn: No it's not Buffy, I think it's kind of cool. Sides, how many good stories have you told about killing demons, or dusting vampires.

Buffy: But what I do is different, what I am is totally different..

Dawn: (She rolls her eyes.)

Spike: Yeah how's it different? I mean there are a couple of people who don't show up for kitten poker one night, and I start to get dirty looks cause I'm married to a slayer and she's probably killed them, or dusted them.

Buffy: But slaying is my job. It's something I have to do, it's my destiny.

Spike: So being bad is what vamps and demons do. It's our job, it's our destiny.

Dawn: Yeah, why is everything always ok when you do it but when we do it, it's all like such a big deal. Buffy kills vamps and demons. Buffy wants to date vampires. Buffy, Buffy, Buffy, it's always Buffy.

Anya: Yeah I agree. What they said. Does kind of seem a little double standardish, if you ask me.

Buffy: Well no one asked you. I can't believe I'm hearing this. Did I just fall into some backward dimension or something? I can't believe you're all just ganging up on me like this. (Points to Spike.) You are suppose to be on my side.

Spike: What and back you up, cause I don't like you staking all my friends? Well the one's I've still got. Gets even smaller everyday. People find out your married to a slayer and it's like you've got bloody leprosy.

Buffy: Oh so being married to me is like a plague?

Spike: Now pet, I never meant that. What I meant to say was.

Buffy: Well it's what you said. Well if you don't like being married to me, we can always fix that.

Dawn: (Motions to Anya.) I think this would be a good time for us to go upstairs or something.

Anya: But why? This was just getting good.

Dawn: Anya!

Anya: Ok. I 'm coming already. But I hope we can still hear upstairs threw the rails.

Dawn and Anya exit the room and go upstairs.

Spike: What's that suppose to mean?

Buffy: Just that if being married to me is so bad, you don't have to be.

Spike: You're blowing this way out of proportion. All I meant was you get to prance around in this self righteous world, never convicted of doing anything bad, but the moment me or Anya talk about our past it's like we're these terrible people. It's part of who we were, there is darkness in us, you're just gonna to have to accept that babe.

Buffy: Well that's you and Anya. Not me.

Spike: I know that. All I'm saying is you should lighten up a little. You're moody, and blowing things way out of proportion. You should lighten up, like Anya. Even Dawn finds my stories funny. Dru would never have... (Before he can to take the words back it's too late.)

Buffy: Dru! There's that name again. I told you not to compare me to Drusilla. (She pushes him towards the kitchen.) I'm nothing like her, and if you like Drusilla so much you should have married her and not me. (They arrive at the kitchen door and she forces him into the kitchen.) Also if you hate my job so much, why don't you do something? Why did you marry me? I have to slay vampires, it's what I do. I'm the slayer. (Frustrated she opens the back door and pushes him outside. Realizing what she's just did, she opens the door and drags him back in.)

Spike: Are you crazy? What did you do that for? Have you lost your mind? Is it that time of the month again? I could have been toast, good thing there's some shade on the back porch, you're bleeding crazy!

Buffy: (Still angry.) Yeah, well next time I'll leave you out there.

Spike: (Walking over to her angry himself now. He stares her down.) Yeah, well what makes you think there will be a next time. (He goes over to the fridge, gets his packets of blood from the fridge, puts them in his jacket. Then goes over to the living room and gets his blanket from a space under the sofa.) I'm not putting up with this. If I wanted crazy I would have stayed with Dru. (Throwing the name in Buffy's face deliberately this time, he walks out the back door, blanket fully around him.) I'm outta here. See ya Goldilocks.

Buffy: (Walks over to the back door which he's left open, and she slams it really hard.) Not if I see you first. I should just have staked him, when I had the chance. Would have simpled things up so much more. (Realizes that the time for such sentiments is far over with. Whether she likes it or not he's become a part of her, and all the pain and emotions that feelings bring comes with that.)

After the argument and Spike leaving for his crypt. Dawn makes her way downstairs.

Dawn: (Hearing it grow quite downstairs she takes some slowly cautions her way into the kitchen.) Where is Spike?

Buffy: He left. (Trying to not sound upset about the argument they just had.)

Dawn: What do you mean he left?

Buffy: He took his stuff and went back to his crypt!

Dawn: And you let him leave?

Buffy: What was I suppose to do?

Dawn: You're suppose to stop him. (Starting to get emotional again, remembering when Tara left Willow.) What if he doesn't come back? What if you can't work this out? What if it's forever?

Buffy: We didn't break up forever. This is an argument. (But she is not fully convinced of her own words.)

Dawn: An argument? Where he moves back to his crypt? Nice Buffy. If you hadn't started in on him about talking about his past, talking about who he was, he wouldn't have left. This is all your fault.

Buffy: Dawn, I never meant...

Dawn: You never meant to make him leave. Why does everyone end up leaving. (She starts to break into tears.) Every time I think I'm going to have a family again. First dad leaves, Giles, Tara, now Spike and Willow moved back out. Then your probably going to leave again, then I'm going to be all alone.

Buffy: Dawn you know that would never happen. I would never leave you again.

Dawn: But how do you know? How do you know what's going to happen? The future's not set remember. Things can change.

Buffy: We'll make up. Me and Spike fight all the time.

Dawn: (She goes over to the fridge. She looks in him drawer.) Where's all his blood?

Buffy: He took it with him. (Sounds worried.)

Dawn: He took it? (Sounds about to break into tears again.) This is all your fault. If he doesn't come back this is all your fault.

Buffy: We fight all the time, he always comes back. (Trying to sound convincing, but getting a bit worried, cause it's the first time he's taken his stuff back to the crypt.)

Dawn: That's just great Buffy. That's really reassuring. You know what. If Spike goes, I'm going. I'm not staying here with you. You can't break things apart like this. It's not fair, just when things were starting to get good again.

Buffy: Dawn stop it. You're overreacting. (Trying to gain control of the situation.)

Dawn: No. You're acting like you don't care again. Like you can just push everyone's feelings aside and it doesn't matter. I really hate you right now. And if Spike goes, then... (throws her head back in defiance.) I'm going too.

Buffy: (Exhausted and not up for another argument.) Dawn. Go to your room.

Dawn: What? Are you serious? I'm 16, you can't tell me what to do, and you can't send me to my room.

Buffy: I can make you go!

Dawn: You think you're so tough. One of these days just wait. (She storms off.)

Dawn goes upstairs, but she is really upset with Buffy. She is afraid that Spike has left them for good. She packs an over night bag. Sneaks out her bedroom window and makes her way to the crypt.

Inside the crypt.

Spike: (Talks out loud to himself.) She's crazy. All I said was Dru and she throws me outside, she could have killed me. I could have been a big pile of dust. Temper she got there. Crazy too. Why do I get the crazy ones? (He plays the whole scene over in his head for the hundredth time.) I was sitting on the couch with Anya, she's the one who started in with her holier than thou attitude. (Goes over to the fridge to gets a nice glass of blood.) Half my stuff's still there. Hope she don't burn it or something. Saw what that Angela Bassett did to that blokes cloths in that Waiting to exhale movie. Then she makes me watch those chick flick movies I don't even like. Well that one with Angelena Jolie was ok, but do I get time for Dawson's Creek any more, no! It's all like family responsibilities this and family responsibilities that, and (screams out as if in pain.) Oh God I bloody well miss her already. (Turns on the television to try and get his mind off of her.)

Arriving at the crypt. Dawn knocks first. Then enters.

Dawn: Spike are you here?

Spike: Bit's that you?

Dawn: Yeah.

Spike: What ya doing here?

Dawn: Buffy said you left! (She sounds upset.) You took your blood from the fridge.

Spike: Noticed that did ya. (He feels bad cause he can see all the turmoil on her face. Thinks at least one Summer's is sad he left.) I was upset.

Dawn: Yeah Buffy has a way of doing that with people. (Remembers her recent argument with Buffy, as well.)

Spike: I just wish she'd stop being such a bitch. (Looks at Dawn, realizes, what he just said.) What I mean is ...no what I said before. But I love her to distraction, drives me crazy when she acts like this.

Dawn: So it's not over? You're not leaving for good? (Holding her breath waiting for an answer.)

Spike: What and leave my favorite little bit, to get into mischief and trouble. (Gives her one of his inquisitive looks.) Never. Your big Sis and I just have some things we need to sass out. A couple days to cool off, and we might be able to have a rational conversation. She's all moody lately. Kind of distracted.

Dawn: She's just power tripping. She actually tried to make me go to my room. Can you believe that? Then when I refused she threatened to use force. Just wait, one of these days I 'm gonna show her.

Spike: Now, now bit. Talk like that's gonna get you into trouble. (Sees her bag.) So your sister doesn't know you're here?

Dawn: No. I snuck out of my window. If you're not staying there, then I'm not staying there. (She stands all defiant.)

Spike: (He smiles.) So there's some division in the ranks? You know she's gonna be real pissed with the both of us, when she finds you gone. (On a more subdued note.) Sides she's gonna worry. (He's mad at Buffy, but he doesn't want to make her worry unnecessarily.)

Dawn: If she's so worried she'll come looking for me.

Spike: Yeah. You'd think she'd do that. (Spike thinking that she didn't really run after him.) Well I should send you packing, she'll have both our hides. Me for letting you stay, and you for running off.

Dawn: Even though she's gonna be all pissed. Can I stay? (She looks hopeful.)

Spike: Not with language like that. (He laughs cause it's the pot calling the kettle black.) Course bit. But no hogging the telly, and I get dibs on the sofa.

Dawn: Deal. (She smiles at him.)

Spike: (He ruffles her hair.) So who's up for some kitten poker? (They settle down to play cards.)

Back at the Summer's house. Buffy has not noticed that Dawn has snuck out. She sits in the living room. Trying to figure out what went wrong.

Anya: (Entering the living room, after too many hours of silence, she makes her way over to Buffy by the sofa.) Where's Dawn and Spike?

Buffy: Dawn's in her room, and Spike...Spike.. (She breaks into tears.) He left. (She sounds surprised by her outburst, but also hurt.)

Anya: You had a fight, and he left?

Buffy: Yes. (Sounding even more tearful.)

Anya: Xander and I had a fight, and I left him. (Places a hand on Buffy's shoulder and makes her look up.) But it doesn't mean I don't love him, or that I'm not hoping to get back together. He just has to figure out what he wants.

Buffy: But we know what we want. We got married and everything. What if he stays gone, like my dad?

Anya: I think he loves you. I've been around the house for a few days, and I still don't know everything there is to know about humans, but he always watches you, when you walk in and out of a room, and when you're not around you should hear how he talks about you. It's all like
Buffy did this and Buffy did that. It's so cute. It's how I hope Xander talks about me, when I'm not around. Dawn and I just smile about the cute looks you two give each other and the way you always try to touch each other when you think no ones looking, or when you know people are looking and you just don't care, and I'm right across the hall from you, so I hear the noises that come from your room and...

Buffy: Anya. I think I get it. (She sounds embarrassed.)

Anya: All I'm trying to say is, I think you have something special. Xander and I thought it would never last. We figured you were just using each other for the sex, but then you got married, and you didn't even hesitate, and I think that's how it should be with people. Either you are sure or you are not. Or you are just crazy and rushing into things and going to suffer terribly for it. You know what they say marry in haste repent at leisure.

Buffy: (Has a worried look on her face.)

Anya: Oh, but what I mean is. I don't think that's the case with you and Spike. I think you really care for each other, and after seeing you together, the way you act, and the way you connect. I know you care for each other, and you will work this out.

Buffy: (Feeling better, after Anya's rant.) I hope you're right. He's just never left before.

Anya: Neither have I. Sometimes you just need space. After all they say absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Buffy: Where'd you get the chipper quotes from?

Anya: I got some of them from hallmark. (Does the voice over from the commercial.) If you could say it like hallmark. You wouldn't need hall mark. I was thinking of using some of the quotes to boost business at the store. (She smiles.)

Buffy: (She laughs. Only Anya could make hall mark cards sound so commercialized at a time like this.)

Anya: See that's the spirit. Knew we could have you perking up in no time. Now go wash your face and we can go spend lots of money. That always makes me feel better. That or going to the store and making lots of money.

Buffy: I'll have to settle for watching you shop. The budget's kinda tight around here. (They get their jackets. Buffy yells upstairs.) Dawn I'm going out for a couple hours. (She gets no answer.) Great. She's not speaking to me. Think I should have her come with us?

Anya: If she's not speaking to you, don't ya think it will just make shopping uncomfortable?

Buffy: You're right. I'll let her cool down for a couple of hours. (Yells up again.) I'll be back later.

Sometime later. Back at Spike's crypt.

Spike: And the way your Sis thinks she's right, when she's not.

Dawn: Yeah, and she thinks she's so, so smart.

Spike: I hate that. (Thinks for a second.) But I love her. Everything about her.

Dawn: She not always so bad. But she is bossy.

Spike: She does smell pretty, and she's awfully cute.

Dawn: Well she does let me borrow her sweaters at times, but still.

Spike: I know bit, but she is pretty good to have around.

Dawn: Yeah I guess so. I guess I like her too, but she drives me crazy, more than she drives you crazy. I mean I wanted to get this shirt at the mall the other day while we were out, (she describes the shirt to Spike, and the store they were in,) and she's all like no, it's too expensive. Yet she still gets to dress so cool.

Spike: She does dress awfully nice. (Dawn gives him that, your suppose to be on my side look.) I mean yeah, bad her dressing all good, while bit doesn't get her shirt. But I do miss her. I know it's only been half a day, but I miss her a lot. Bet she's worried about you, not about me mind you, but about you. She's probably all worried by now. It's dark out now.

Dawn: It would serve her right. If I never came back home. (Feels bad for saying that, remembers when she took off a few weeks ago, just before the wedding.) But I wouldn't want to worry her too much. You think she's worried?

Spike: I think she loves you, and she's got to be worried about you. I know I'd worry if you were missing. You're my Sis too now. I worry about you the way Buffy worries. Guess it's cause we both love you. (He sounds shy about saying it.)

Dawn: (She gets a little choked up.) You do? I mean you both love me?

Spike: I do bit, and I know your sister loves you a great deal too. We'll both be there for you, no matter what happens between us.

Dawn: I guess I love you guys a lot too. I feel really bad if either of you were just gone one day. Promise, no matter what happens we will still be ok.

Spike: I promise bit. (Puts his hand up.) Scouts honor. Oh well not scouts honor, I was never a boy scout, that was parts of Adam. I keep forgetting that. But we should shake on it or something. Like real men. (Spits in his hand and puts it out for Dawn to shake.)

Dawn: Can we say eww factor. I don't think so. (She scrunches up her face.)

Spike: What? It's just spit. (Pulls his hand back.) Ok then bit what do you suggest to seal the deal.

Dawn: I know how about we become blood brothers, like on television. Since we're family. Still has the same ick factor, but it's a lot more official.

Spike: And you thought the spit was ick. You don't want your Summers blood mixing with some hundred year old, demony vamp.

Dawn: And why not? I was the key remember? That makes my blood older than any of yours practically, and remember how evil the knights and Glory thought the key was. I say that makes me a candidate for blood brother.

Spike: Fine, but it's going to have to be blood brother and sister, less there's something that you forgot to mention.

Dawn: Hun? (Has the blank questioning look on her face.)

Spike: (He just smiles.) Just don't grow up too quick bit. (He goes and gets the knife, and he pricks his finger, and hers and they link fingers for a minute.)

Dawn: (She smiles.) There it's official. We're blood brothers. I mean blood siblings. Now no matter what happens. We're family.

Spike: That's right bit. Family.

Dawn: (Speaking of family, she feels guilty about Buffy.) I guess I love Buffy too, but sometimes.. ( Her stomach growls. She blushes a little.) Oh. Guess that's my stomach letting me know, it's time for lunch.

Spike: Lunchtime ...was hours ago. I've only got the blood that I took with me from the fridge. You Nibblet need to get some food into ya. Put some meat on those bones.

Dawn: We could order pizza. (She looks really hopeful.)

Spike: They don't deliver out here. Kinda an outta the way location.

Dawn: Oh yeah. I forgot. (Sounds disappointed.)

Spike: Sides we really should let your sister know where you are. I don't want her getting more upset than she already was this morning.

Dawn: Well if she does I'll just kick her butt. (Does her defiant chin move.)

Spike: You won't be kicking anything without some food in you here, (points to her tummy,) and some training here. (Points to her head.) I spoke to Giles, and he thinks it would be a good idea to start training. What do you think bit?

Dawn: I'm all up for that. But I don't want Buffy knowing. Also it's been a few weeks now, and I don't know if I still have what it takes. What if Giles was wrong. What if what I did was a fluke?

Spike: Giles is pretty smart. He's had a lot of practice with stuff like this. Whatever this is, and if he thinks you should be training, then you should be training. Sides you did kick my butt, remember?

Dawn: Yeah but it was just that one time. What if it's all just a coincidence?

Spike: Bit. I've seen you in action. That didn't seem like a fluke to me.

Dawn: But how are we going to train without Buffy knowing?

Spike: Well just pick the lock to the magic box and go after hours.

Dawn: Yeah but what about Buffy?

Spike: We'll just sneak out after she goes patrolling. Don't think we have to train ya, every day, just a couple times a week. Still bit. I don't like this not telling Buffy. Don't like keeping things from her.

Dawn: I'm gonna tell her. Just don't know what to tell her, or how to just yet. But I will, but it's not as if I can just walk over to her and say hey Buffy, I think I got some of your slayer genes. She'd make a big deal about it, and overreact and then I don't know it would be all weird and stuff.

Spike: Only for a little bit, besides maybe your not giving her as much credit as you should. She can have a level head every once in awhile.

Dawn: Yeah. Like when cows jump over the moon. Or when Dingoes ate my baby get a new album. (She laughs. Her stomach growls again.)

Spike: Come on Platelet. It's late we should get you home. Grab your bag.

Back at the house Buffy and Anya have returned from shopping. They return home to an empty house.

Buffy: She's not here. I just checked her room. That little brat. I told her I'd be back. I can believe she's just walks out like that.

Anya: Well she is sixteen. Those adventurous young ones. Maybe she's out having sex, doing drugs, or robbing stores. You should probably find her and fast.

Buffy: Anya. Don't help.

Anya: Ok. But I was just trying to be practical.

Buffy: Yeah, practically scaring me. Now usually when she goes missing the best person to find her is... (She realizes that it's Spike.)

Anya: Who's the best person to find Dawn?

Buffy: Seems to be Spike. He always seems to know where she is. (Wonders if she should go and find him, to help look for Dawn. He's the one she's always counted on whenever Dawn was missing.) I don't even know how long she's been missing. She said she wasn't going to pull this crap anymore.

Anya: So Spike and Dawn are missing. Maybe they are together. You did argue with them both in the same day.

Buffy: Of course, she's probably at the crypt. You wait here. I'm going to.. (Just then she hears voices outside the front door.)

Spike: Yeah and that Troll demon never saw what hit him, should have seen it, it was... (trails off as he opens the door to see Buffy glaring at him.)

Dawn: (Laughing.) That was a funny story, especially when you tell it. (She also trails off as she enters the house. Sees Buffy standing there.)

Buffy: Where have you been?

Dawn: (Walking past Spike and into the house. Back to her defiant posture.) I got bored so I went for a walk.

Buffy: I told you to go to your room.

Dawn: I did. Then I left. (Gives her a defiant look.) I'm practically an adult. You can't treat me like a child.

Buffy: When you act like one I can.

Spike: (Stepping in before another all out war can happen.) Bit just came to see if I was ok. She missed me, unlike some other people I could mention.

Buffy: Oh she came to see you. With her overnight bag? (Turning back to Dawn.) You defied me, you were running away again.

Dawn: I was not running away. I walked over to Spike's crypt. Told you I wasn't staying here.

Buffy: (Turning back to Spike.) And you...

Spike: And me what? I brought her back all safe and unharmed didn't I? We would have been here sooner if we hadn't stopped for pizza. Bit had a rumbly tummy.

Buffy: Well there's plenty of food in the fridge here.

Dawn: I didn't want the food that was here. I wanted something else. Sides, you didn't come looking for us. Either of us.

Buffy: So I'm suppose to come looking for you? Like you're twelve?

Dawn: No like your my sister with Super, Slayer, Strength and like you care.

Buffy: You could try acting like you're not twelve.

Spike: If all you're going to do is rag on her, we might as well both go back to the crypt right now, cause that's where she'll end up again, with you carrying on like that.

Buffy: Don't you start. How's this my fault?

Spike: Didn't say it was your fault. All I said was stop carrying on. She's safe. Things are fine. I'm going back to my crypt now.

Buffy: (In unison with Dawn.) You're not staying?

Spike: I'm coming back, but all my blood's at the crypt, and I don't want another argument. I'll be back in a couple of days.

Dawn: But you said we're family now.

Spike: Bit we are. I promise I'll be back. I just need a couple days to Sass things out. (Looks over at Buffy.) I'm not going anywhere. I made a promise, I plan to keep it. But I don't want to be fighting. Just think we need sometime to let things cool down. Like what Anya's doing with Xander. Right Anya.

Anya: Yep. Things are definitely cooled down. No heat, no sex, nothing. (Tries to smile, but she is realizing that she is starting to miss Xander also.)

Spike: Sides if I don't come back. You could burn my cloths. Like that Angela Bassett did in that movie.

Buffy: You ..saw Waiting to exhale? (Sounds surprised.)

Spike: Yeah. I tried to rent Adams family, they put the wrong movie in the case. Thought they looked different at first. Good movie thou still think she should have knocked out the secretary, then come back with an Oozy, all Arnold like and been all Asta la visa. Then shot the whole place up. That would have made the movie more realistic, I reckon.

Buffy: (Despite themselves, her and Dawn share that special look that they have about Spike. She realizes in that instant how much she misses him.) You will come back? (She sounds emotional.)

Spike: (They exchange looks and lock eyes.) Like you could keep me away luv. I just need to sass things out. Don't want a repeat of this morning. But I'll come back. Sides who's gonna play referee for you and bit here?

Anya: Well I suppose I could, if you really didn't come back. (All three give her a look.) But it's way better if you do it.

Spike: Night bit. You be good till I get back. Buffy, Anya. (He walks out the door.)

Buffy: (Buffy realizing she doesn't want to chase Dawn off like she did Spike.) Dawn. I don't want to fight with you. I'm sorry I treated you like a child.

Dawn: I'm sorry if I acted like one. (Needing reassurance.) Spike's gonna come back right?

Buffy: He said he would. (She trusts him to keep his word. She walks over and puts her arm around Dawn's shoulder.) Come on it's late.

Anya: How bout I make popcorn and we watch a movie.

Dawn: You're gonna make popcorn? (Her and Buffy in unison surprised that Anya is going to do anything.)

Anya: Of course I am. Micro-waved popcorn. Besides I'm practically living here now, till Xander comes to his senses and makes up his mind about a new wedding date. Don't think he can go too much longer without sex. I know I can't. I'm more wound than a spring, ready to pop! Oh by the way Buffy you're out of batteries again.

Buffy: (Covering Dawns ears.) Come on Dawn. I think it's time to go unpack your stuff.

Dawn: (Looking at Anya. Shaking her head.) Yeah-hun.

Anya: What? I need them for my portable radio. What did you think I meant? (Anya goes off to make popcorn.)

After they watch the movie and eat popcorn. They settle down to bed for the night. Anya thinking about Xander, and punching her pillow in frustration. Dawn about her new family. Buffy alone in her new bedroom, thinks about Spike. She goes and gets one of his tee-shirts from the closet. One that still has his scent on it. Even though she knows he's coming back, he's still gone. She falls asleep to "these eyes" by the guess who playing on the radio.

Chapter 3. Oh grow up.

It is late at night. Buffy is on her own patrolling tonight. She and Spike have sort of made up, but things are still tense, and he's still not home. She hasn't told him about the visit with the Slayer so she can't explain why she's been acting the way she has, and they haven't discussed the words that passed between them. She goes out patrolling, hoping for a few hours to take her mind off things.

Buffy: While she is patrolling she sees a vamp, in the grave yard. She's about to stake him, but she pauses for a second. You don't by any chance play kitten poker, do you?

Vamp: (Giving her the oddest look.) Kitten poker? Are you serious? That sounds like a stupid game.

Buffy: (To vamp.) See that's what I said but he insists on playing anyway.

Vamp: Who insists on playing?

Buffy: Oh, my husband Spike.

Vamp: That's a weird name for a human. Spike?

Buffy: Oh he's not human. He's a vampire. Still I suppose that's a strange name for a vampire too.

Vamp: And you're a vampire slayer?

Buffy: Yeah hun.

Vamp: (Scratches head.) Must make things tricky at home?

Buffy: See that's exactly it. We got into this big argument about me killing his friends. He said he understood my job, but now I'm not so sure, then there's this whole thing about me being descended from Slayer's, and as it turns out they're incarnated from the same darkness that makes vampires. For some reason I can't tell him about this, every time I just freeze up. I mean what's he going to think, and what are other's going to think once they know? I can't even tell my old Watcher. His name's Giles he moved away to England. Then there's the money problem. I slay seven days a week, well 5 now. Spike helps with patrolling. He's so sweet with things like that. But I'm still going to have to get yet another real daytime job soon. (She sits adjacent to the vamp who has taken a seat on one of the grave sites. Listening to her woos.)

Vamp: So why not just tell him. Come out and say it. Life's too short. Well not always, look what happened to me. But whether you're living or dead it's about the moments, and once they pass they don't always come back. Wish I'd told my wife and kids how much I loved them, before getting turned vamp.

Buffy: You know. Your right. Thanks for all the help, and for sitting and listening.

Vamp: Hey no problem. You probably have other vamps that you have to dust, we should probably get back to the thing.

Buffy: The thing?

Vamp: Points to stake in her hand.

Buffy: Oh yeah that's right. Don't take it the wrong way. I really like you. You seem like a nice vamp. But it's just, it's my job.

Vamp: Hey no need to apologize we all got to make a living. Sides wasn't sure what I was going to do for the next hundred years or so. I was a salesman before I got bit. Went to the wrong house and here I am. Sides if I live for a thousand years, don't think I'll find anything as interesting as a vampire slayer married to a vampire.

Buffy: Thanks for understanding, you've been really nice about the whole thing. (She points, her stake into him.)

Vamp: NO, proble... (He turns to dust and desolves around her.)

Buffy: (Talking to herself.) Yeah this is my job. He's right. So what if Spike doesn't like it. (Thinking to herself, as she walks off.) You meet some of the nicest vampires in graveyards. (Stake in hand she goes threw the grave yard, and gets ready for night of slaying. Once finished she puts her stake away and gets ready to go home, feeling good.)

At the Bronze. Spikes is looking to make some clean cash.

Spike: So let me get this straight. All I have to do is walk around looking all non conspicuous like and I see anything happening and I put a stop to it?

Demo: Yeah that's right. The Bronze is a great little hang out spot, but as part of our new license agreement, we agreed to have bouncers in the joint. Now nobody wants to see bouncers hanging round the place, so this is what you do. You just walk around, plain cloths should be fine, what you're wearing blends in just fine with the place. There's been talk about regulars going missing. People just stop coming, but there is talk that people go missing from here under strange circumstances. Plus everyone in a while we get these weird customers and the place gets trashed. It's been remodeled several times over the last few years. That kind of things bad for business so were gonna try it and see how things go.

Spike: Yeah sounds good. So I just walk around looking all non conspicuous and your gonna pay me money?

Demo: That's the gist of it. (Walks over to Spike and puts his hand on his shoulder.) Now I don't want this to put you off from the job, but we've gotten some weird reports. People with odd looking faces, and all kinds of black magic stuff going on. Personally I think it's just good old fashioned drug use, but there are some people that will tell ya. (He laughs in a conspiratal manner.) Some people will tell ya, they have seen ...get this. Vampires at the Bronze.

Spike: (Gets a real uncomfortable look on his face.) Vampires you don't say?

Demo: Now I told you not to let it scare you off, we all know that kind of stuff is just nonsense, but just to keep the regulars happy, you see anything weird you check it out. (Laughs again.) Can you believe how stupid some people are? Yeah Dracula's gonna come to the bar and ask for a Miller light.

Spike: Actually he drinks Heineken.

Demo: (Gives him an odd look. Then breaks out into laughter.) That's a good one, "actually he drinks Heineken." I can see were gonna get along just fine. Remember you see anything that goes bump in the night, you check it out.

Spike: That's me, creature of the night here. Putting a stop to all manner of unpleasant beasties.

Demo: That's the spirit. Now you said you could start right away.

Spike: Pays by the hour doesn't it?

Demo: Yeah!

Spike: Then I'm your guy.

Demo: We'll start you out with three days a week and see how things go from there. Welcome aboard. Remember anything scary in the place you're the guy.

Spike: Yeah that's me grrr arrgghh.

Demo: Just kills me with that sense of humor. (Walks off to go see about other happenings in the club.)

Spike: Bet I could kill ya a lot better with these. (He vamps out for a second. Then goes back to his normal face.) Oh well it's a job. Forgot to ask if free beer comes with, that would be a plus.

At a table in the Bronze by herself. Tara sits and eats some pretzels.

Xander: Hey you all by yourself there?

Tara: Yeah. Um, pull up a chair make yourself comfortable.

Xander: So what brings you here? Thought you'd be all busy hitting the books or something like that?

Tara: I pretty much finished with my semester. I'm pre-preparing for next semester and some summer courses. How bout you? What brings you here?

Xander: Had to get out of the house. Driving me crazy there by myself.

Tara: Why where's Anya?

Xander: You haven't heard? She packed up and left me. Just freaked out on me, packed her bags and as it turns out she's staying with Buffy.

Tara: No I hadn't heard. I haven't been keeping up. I've been busy.

Xander: Yeah, I saw Willow. Said you'd been busy. Haven't really seen ya much since the wedding.

Tara: Haven't really been around much.

Xander: I hear you. Uncomfortable right?

Tara: Sometimes. Me and Willow are ok. But it's hard sometimes. (She sounds a little sad too.) But what ya gonna do right. It's all part of growing up.

Xander: Know what you mean. (Thinks about his fight with Anya.) All part of growing up. (Sees Spike walking by their table.) Hey what are you doing here?

Spike: Working.

Xander: What do you mean working?

Spike: Just what I said working.

Xander: Standing around lurking, doing nothing. You call that working?

Spike: Yeah. And I get paid for it too.

Xander: You get paid to stand around here and do nothing?

Spike: I don't just do nothing, I hang out, look for big bads and smash heads.

Xander. Things you would be doing any way?

Spike: Yeah, but this way I get paid.

Xander: Where was I when this job was being handed out?

Spike: Guess the early bird catches the worm.

Xander: You are not an early bird., cause then you would be all dusty, and big pile of dusty. If you were an early bird.

Spike: (Sees Tara.) Hey Tara. How you doing?

Tara: Doing good, how have things been going since the wedding?

Spike: Going good. I'm a married and working man now.

Tara: So I heard. How'd you land this gig.

Spike: Over heard some guy talking bout an opening. Cash under the table. No id. Required. No uniform. Just my usual relaxed self. Hanging, chilling.

Tara: That sounds cool. So what does Buffy think of all this?

Spike: She doesn't know yet. I just started today. Plus don't want her knowing till I see how it goes. Don't want her going all crazy on me again. For-what-ever reason.

Xander: You too? Having problems? The old home fire not as hot as it was a few weeks ago? Pull up a chair do tell. (Sounds excited and happy bout Spike's misery.)

Tara: Xander stop being so mean. Spike pull up a chair, fill us in on what happened. Xander was just telling me about

Back at the crypt. Early morning slowly creeps in. Buffy awakes felling refreshed, happy, and content. She watches Spike sleep. He looks like he's dreaming. She wonders dreams may come to one, who has shuffled off this mortal coil.

Spike: (He is dreaming of Buffy. He sees Dawn and Buffy playing outside. They are playing kick ball. The ball falls away into the gutter, Buffy goes to get it and instead retrieves a can. This is as good a game as any other she says and starts to play with the can. She plays kick the can all the way home, as Dawn watches in the distance. Then they are at a fast food chain, and Buffy has just arrived she punches the clock, and the manger says in an annoying over voice now you're on the clock again missy. He then rattles on about, perseverance, dedication, and points to his 10 year button, then another manager to a 5 year button, and they tell her she's should work towards that as a goal. Then she stuck behind the counter, her brain is being drained by this monster, that looks like an enlarged version of the monster from aliens. Then Spike arrives trying to remove her from where she is not happy. He tells her the place will kill her but she's reluctant. He tells her he's her slave, he'll do anything to make her happy. Anything she asks. Then he's back at the house, he hugs Dawn and says he's going to the store for some milk, and smokes then he walks outside into the sunlight happy and content, smiling. Then he dreams his earlobe is being nibbled on by a kitten, and wakes up to find he's half right.) Kitten?

Buffy: (Stretches lazily against him. Smiles.) That's a new one, don't think you've call me that before. (Goes back to his earlobe.) I think I like it though. You looked so peaceful dreaming. But I couldn't resist.

Spike: I was peaceful in the dream I had. Then this naughty kitten woke me up, and oh I think someone needs a good spanking. (Feels her roving hands on his body.)

Buffy: Kitten just wants to play. (Gives him her saucy, seductive look.)

Spike: Vixen.

Buffy: Comparing me to reindeers now? That has to be bad for a girls ego.

Spike: You know that's not the kind I meant.

Buffy: Well what kind did you mean? (Fully knowing , she pouts her lip.)

Spike: Why don't you come here and I'll show you.

They have some more early morning play and then get ready to make their way back to the house.

Back at the Summers house. Early morning the door bell rings.

Dawn: (Her and Anya have fallen asleep on the coach.) I'll get it. (She goes to the door. Looks threw the glass and throws the door open.) Tara, it's you. (She gives her a hug, and pulls her in.) Me and Anya just had the worst night. There was a vamp, and he brought bunnies in and he wanted to bit me, and I mean dance with me, and I mean kill me. I don't know what. But I was cool. I was all like, oh yeah. He's the one from the wedding. You haven't stopped by since then. (Dawn let's it all out in a flurry of information.)

Tara: Whow Dawnie. It's great to see. I sorry I haven't stopped by. What's this about a vampire? Where are Buffy and Spike?

Dawn: Oh it's just me and Anya. Spike and Buffy spent last night back at the crypt.

Tara: So they made up?

Dawn: (Dawn sounds happy.) Yep. They sure did. But then this vamp got into the house.

Tara: How did he get in?

Anya: (Anya who has woken up makes her way over.) Oh it was me. I let him in. He had groceries.

Tara: You let a vampire in because he had groceries?

Anya: No I let him in cause they were free. (Sees Tara still looking at her.) Oh and I didn't know he was a vampire, else I would have just had him hand the groceries over the threshold. (She smiles in that oh so practical way of hers.) How did you know we needed you here?

Tara: I didn't. I just came by to see Dawn and visit Buffy and Spike.

Anya: That's awfully nice. But what we really need is for you to whip up some of that hokus pokus you do and de-invite the vamp, I invited in. So he doesn't kill us all in our sleep. Or let more vamps in or worst let more bunnies in. That was the worst part the bunnies. Darn little flufsters. Don't know how I can go back to the room. The sight of their hoppy little feet, and twitchy little noses are scared into my mind for good.

Tara: Well why don't we go to the Magic Box and get some supplies. Dawney and I can catch up. While you calm down about the bunnies.

Anya: It's not funny. No one understands. They are evil little creatures. They cause all sorts of disease and destruction. Look at what they do to cabbage patches. And why do they eat so many carrots?

Dawn: (She and Tara. Just shake their heads.) I think we should get dressed and go.

They all go to the Magic Box for supplies. Then head back to the house. Tara and Dawn stop for ice cream and some girl talk.

Anya: (Entering the house. She looks around to see if there are any more bunnies. She has the creepiest feeling.) As she enters the house, she sees the light from the answering machine is on. She plays the messages. The first one is from Carol at the museum. She says she wants to talk to Buffy about a strange item she noticed from a sales receipt over a year ago. She leaves a number. Anya quickly skips past this message. The next one is from Xander. He's calling ...to see how Buffy and Dawn are doing. He has not left a message for Anya. She gets upset and erases the messages.) Oh shoot. I erased the message from that Carol somebody. Oh but I still remember the number. (She writes call Carol on a piece of yellow sticky, and puts it on the fridge.) Damn him. (She picks up the phone, and calls him. Tells him about the vampire and the bunnies and how awful it was. He says he'll be right over.)

A few minutes later. Tara and Dawn arrive back at the house. She has filled Tara in on her powers, and about the vampire that wants to dance with her.

Dawn: I haven't told Buffy yet.

Tara: But that's great. Why haven't you told her.

Dawn: I just think it's going to be all weird and stuff.

Tara: I think it great, having super Dawnie on our hands.

Dawn: See I knew you would say that. And I knew you would understand. It's good to have you back. Don't stay away so long next time.

Tara: I'm sorry about that. It's just I've been keeping busy. But I always have time for you. Just like today. How bout I teach you to do the de-invite spell, and you help me rid the house of vampires.

Dawn: Sounds great. I would love to help you do a spell.

Tara: Just remember. Magic always has to be used very responsibly. But in this case it's for a good cause. So it's ok.

Anya: Coming in from the kitchen. With baseball bat in hand.) What took you two so long? I was here by myself. I could have been attacked at any moment. I swear I saw one of those little fluffster hiding behind the coach. Waiting to jump out at me at any moment. That's why I have this. (Points to her bat.)

Dawn: Anya. We had a vampire in our house last night. All bunnies do is hop around.

Anya: That's what you think. They have those scratchy toes. And those large teeth.

Suddenly the door bell rings again. This time it's Xander. He comes right in.

Xander: (He goes over straight to Anya.) Baby are you ok? I came straight over.

Anya: NO. I'm not ok it was awful. I woke up with bunnies all over my room and then one of them tried to climb on me. (She puts this in as an after thought.) Oh yeah and there was this vampire that wanted to bite Dawn. He's evil, cause he brought bunnies into the house. Anyone who'd use bunnies as a weapon has to be evil.

Xander: It's ok. I'm here now. Your Xan-man is here. (He takes her into his arms.)

Anya: I was so scared. Good thing Dawn was here to protect me. She gathered all the bunnies, and put them downstairs in the basement. The pest control department is going to come and get them later.

Dawn: I said pet control. You were suppose to call pet control. I don't want them gassed. I want them to go to the pet store. Where they can be sold to nice families.

Anya: Pet control, pest control. What's the difference they are bunnies. (Turns to Xander.) I don't think I can spend another night in that room. The thought of them all over everything.

Xander: There, there. I only called and left the message, cause I really wanted to know how you were doing. I was hoping you would pick up. I've been missing you something terrible. I baked today. Those little pies you love so much. An, won't you come home. Xan-man misses his little love muffin something awful.

Anya: And I've been missing you. Xander? (She looks him in the eye.)

Xander: Yes sweetie.

Anya: Take me home right now. And have wild, outrageous comforting sex with me. I've missed you suo much.

Xander: Ah (Looks over at Tara and Dawn. Looks at Anya.) You two gonna be ok here?

Tara: (Tara and Dawn look at each other. Stand with their arms crossed. In unison) Go!

Anya: Tell Buffy thanks for everything. (As she drags Xander out the door.)

Dawn: Those two.

Tara: I know.

Dawn: (She laughs.) Well looks like things are getting back to normal. That's two for three. (She looks over at Tara.) So how are things going on the Willow front?

Tara: That's still a really touchy topic Dawn. We're friends, but sometimes adults even when they care about each other. Just can't work things out.

Dawn: But you haven't completely given up on forgiving her?

Tara: She's always going to be in here. (She points to her heart.) I still love her, but it's hard to forget what she did. Well it almost wasn't hard to forget. She played with my mind. First my family, then Glory, and now Willow. I trusted her.

Dawn: But she getting better. (Tara looks at her.) For real this time. She moved into her own apartment.

Tara: I know Dawnie. We'll see how things go. (Gathers some stuff.) Now shall we go about de-inviting that vamp?

Dawn: Sounds good to me. If I never see him again it will be too soon.

Back at the apartment of Xander and Anya. A couple of hours have passed.

Anya: Xander. That was amazing. Can we do that all over again?

Xander: Again? That's going on our third time here. Some of us need a little more time between make up session here. Little Xan is kinda tired.

Anya: Bet. I could make him stand up and pay attention. (She smiles as her hands start to roam his body.)

Xander: As much as I would like that, again. We still need to talk Anya. This break up has been crazy. I never want to argue like that again.

Anya: Neither do I. But you can't put my life on hold like that and not expect me to get upset.

Xander: An, if that's what you think I've been doing I'm sorry. It's not what I intended. I've just been letting us have time till I could figure this out.

Anya: Well did you. This unsurity of when we are going to get married, if we are, is just driving me crazy.

Xander: I really get that now. I think I've come to a decision. He gets his pants on. (He moves her to the side of the bed, with the sheet wrapped around her. He kneels before her.) Anya I love you. You're the best thing that's happened to me. I do want to spend my life with you, but I am not ready to get married. I'm sorry. I should have realized this before I ever dragged you to the alter, and called off the wedding in front of your friends and mine. That was wrong of me. So I ask you Anya will you do me the honour of not becoming my wife, not fighting with me any more and not driving each other crazy? I love how we are. I love how things are. Right now. I love you. But marriage is just not right for me, and I don't want to keep you waiting. It's not fair. I don't want to do this to you, or to us. I've seen how crazy this gets you, and I know I'm wrong to keep you holding on like this.

Anya: That's the smartest thing you have said all day, Xander Lavall Harris. I accept. No more fighting, no more crazy. I like us, and if you are not up for marriage, then I'm ok with that for now. I just don't want to be apart any more, I missed you. I get all antsy and crazier than usual when we are not together. I want to be with you. (She thinks for a second.) I'm still keeping my ring though right?

Xander: Oh yeah right. (Not even willing to touch that topic.) I umm think I can fill your earlier request now if you're still up for..

Anya: (Kisses him.) Shut up Xander. (Takes him back to the bed with her. They make love a few more times.)

Back at the Summers house. Spike and Buffy have finally made there way over to the house. They are in the kitchen with Dawn and Tara.

Spike: Should have gone after him at the wedding. Sorry we weren't there bit.

Dawn: I handled it. (Her Spike and Tara share a secretive look, that Buffy is unaware of.)

Buffy: So one more dusted vamp. I'm really sorry, I should have asked more question yesterday when Anya told me about the delivery guy and the groceries. (She goes to get some ice cream from the fridge. She sees the yellow sticky saying call Carol. Thinks it's a message for Dawn.)
We're almost out of cookie dough.

Dawn: I want to get some sprinkles. (She passes the fridge to go to the cupboard, sees the yellow sticky and thinks it's a message for Buffy.) Hey we're out of sprinkles. (She goes to sit down upset.) You know what really gets me. He was in my room. Probably for hours. He said I snore. (She sounds pained.) Then he said I was skinny. I mean what does he want and why me. He keeps coming after me. Guess some vamps just like that kind of thing. I beat him down at the party and he opens the Dawn fan club.

Tara: It's going to be ok Dawnie. We won't let him do anything to hurt you.

Dawn: Then he said my pj's were cute. (She goes to the fridge to get some whipped cream for the ice cream.) We're out of whipped cream. Why are we always out of whipped cream? (She sounds really upset.) He put bunnies in Anya's room.

Buffy: (Her and Spike exchange a brief guilty look about the whip cream.)

Dawn: He's probably watching the house right now. He knew you two were out. Means he's probably been spying on me. How creepy is that? Then he keeps calling me little miss muppet. What's up with that?

Spike: I get that your upset bit. We'll handle this. And well get more whip cream from the store. He's as good as dusted.

Dawn: Good I hope so. (She takes her ice cream and goes upstairs still upset. Not sure why she is that upset.)

Buffy: He's really got her riled up. Do you think it's serious.

Spike: Hope not. You'd never approve.

Buffy: What?

Spike: Oh I just mean. Dawn being all upset. You'd never approve. (Not exactly what he meant but he covers.)

Just then the front door rings again. It's Willow. She walks over to the kitchen.

Spike: Hello Red. How's it going?

Willow: (Coming fully into the kitchen, behind Buffy.) Good. And you? Oh Tara you're here. (She is really happy to see her.)

Tara: Willow. Good to see you. (They look at each other. It's still painful.)

Buffy: So what brings you by Willow?

Willow: Well I got a message from Xander saying he couldn't meet up with me later, cause you have vampires at your house and bunnies? It was really garbled. He was in a hurry sounded like.
Buffy: Yeah. I left Anya alone with Dawn and a vampire got into the house. Left bunnies in Anya's room.

Willow: Who let him in?

Spike: (He, Tara and Buffy in unison.) Anya.

Willow: Yep. That was probably your first mistake. So he left bunnies in Anya's room. I almost like this vamp.

Tara: He did go after Dawn. But her and Anya chased him out of the house. I think he came to scare them, more than to bite them. He was in the house for hours before they realized he was there.

Willow: Vamps stalking our houses. Haven't had that for a while. (Remembers all the fun they had with Angelus.) So what are we going to do about it?

Tara: Well me and Dawn spent the morning doing a de-invite spell. So that should stop him from coming back. But he's still out there.

Willow: (Feels a twinge of jealousy cause she can't do spells with Tara anymore.)

Buffy: She's coming straight home from school. Till he's stopped.

Spike: Couple rounds of kitten poker. I'll know enough bout this vamp. Then he's dust.

Tara: Kitten poker?

Spike: Yeah it's a demon thing. But it's a great way to gather information. I'll stop by after work tonight. Stop in for a couple rounds, see what I shake up.

Willow: I really can't stay too long. I have to pick up a couple of things. (She goes down to the basement to get her boxes. Comes back upstairs.) Do you know you have bunnies down there?

Buffy: Yeah we're waiting for pest control to come and pick them up.

Willow: Don't you mean pet control?

Buffy: Anya's the one who called. I'm sure I mean pest control.

Willow: Oh don't say that. I think I would like one of those bunnies for my place. Seeing as how Anya hates them so much. I can almost be sure of Xander visits, minus Anya. I think I will take two. Plus they're so cute and fluffy.

Buffy: But how are you going to carry them and your boxes?

Willow: Guess I could make two trips.

Tara: I was just going to get going. If you want to put the bunnies in something. I can help you carry your stuff.

Willow: That sounds great.

They gather the bunnies. Then they head to Willow apartment.

Tara: (Drops the box off at Willow's.) Well. I have to get going now.

Willow: Aren't you even going to come in? See my apartment. (Willow really sounds hurt.)

Tara: I don't have a lot of time Willow. (She sounds anxious to leave.)

Willow: None of us do. That's why I can't believe you won't forgive me. Tara I'm sorry. I'm sorry for what I did to you. (So sounds really genuine.)

Tara: Are you? Are you sorry or are you sorry that you got caught?

Willow: I'm sorry about everything. I sorry. I was addicted. It had me. I couldn't think about anything else. Will you at least come in for a second. I don't want to do this in the hallway. (Tara comes in.)

Tara: Fine but I don't have long. I'm can't stay.

Willow: I just want a chance to beg your forgiveness. Please. (Tara goes to have a seat on the sofa in the room.)

Tara: What you did hurt me. I trusted you. You betrayed me. And it's worst than if anyone else betrayed me, because I love and trusted you.

Willow: (She stoops on the floor at Tara's feet.) Please baby I need you. You don't know how sorry I'm. I sorry I hurt you.

Tara: (Starting to tear up, but trying to hold it together.) You violated me. I trusted you. And after the first time, you promised you wouldn't do it again, and you did. You didn't even think twice about it. You just erased by memory. After all that happened with Glory. You know how afraid I am of that. Do I mean so little to you that you could do that to me? To have you do it was just unforgivable.

Willow: (Crying openly on Tara's lap now.) I was sick then. I didn't... I couldn't control it. Magic just seemed like this quick fix for everything. It was because you meant everything to me. I thought I could have it all. I would have done anything to keep you with me. You mean everything. I'm nothing without you. You complete me the way you said I complete you. I need you to forgive me.

Tara: (Crying herself now.) I need time Willow. We can't just rush back into this. It would be fair to either of us.

Willow: Who's talking about rushing. All I want is another chance, to make it up to you. To have you forgive me. I know I can do this. Please just give me a chance.

Tara: (Strokes her hair. She's missed the touch and feel of it.) I missed you.

Willow: (Looking up into her eyes.) I missed you too.

Tara: (Willow gets off the floor and they embrace. They are both crying.) We are not going to rush this. Not till I know I can trust you. But I'm willing to work thru this, if you promise me. You will never do that to me again. You're everything to me. And I can't have you doing this to me. I can't loose me like that again.

Willow: I promise. (She caresses her face. They spend the rest of the afternoon catching up, holding each other on the coach. Naming the bunnies.)

Later that evening. Everyone is at the Summers house. Xander and Anya have stopped by to check on Dawn, and to get Anya's bags. Willow and Tara have also come back to see how Dawn is doing. They are all gathered in the living room. Buffy sits with Spike on his lap. Anya and Xander sit together on the sofa. And Willow and Tara are together on the couch holding hands.

Spike: Nibblet's doing better. But till this creep is gone. She's going to be all gittery. I'm going to see if I can fit in a round of poker before and after work.

Xander: Dawn's in trouble and your idea of helping is to go play poker? I'd thinking smashing skulls, bashing heads and kicking some vamp ass would be more appropriate.

Buffy: It's a vamp thing. Playing poker to get information. Apparently you get more out of their mouths than gaping holes in their corpses.

Xander: Where'd you get that from?

Buffy: Someone very smart taught me that. (She gives Spike a little kiss on the mouth.)

Anya: Yeah Xander. Demon poker for information exchange is a vital resource in some communities. More important than even lets say using demons as substitute meat product. Which I am still fully against by the way. (She smiles in that way.)

Xander: Guess that's why I love you babe. Those strong moral fibers you have. No demon meat substitute in our house.

Buffy: (She looks around.) So looks like everything is back to normal. Anya I'm so glad you and Xander worked things out. We should really get you packed up.

Anya: Yeah but I'm not going back to that room by myself.

Willow: Oh I'll help you get packed. I'll be more than happy to help. Then you can hear about my new pets I got. (Her and Tara exchange an amused look.)

Buffy: If we all do it now. I'm sure we could get it done.

The two go upstairs to help Anya get her stuff.

Buffy: (As they pack.) So will looks like you and Tara made up.

Willow: We're working on it. Going to take it kind of slow, but for once it looks like I won't be the only one not getting spanked for a change.

Anya: Looks like I don't have to ask how things went with you and Spike.

Buffy: We made up. A few times. (She smiles.) You should see what he got me.

Willow: Do tell.

Anya: Yeah we want all the Spiffy details. Then you can hear about me and Xander.

Willow: (Rolls eyes.) We can hear about that anytime. I want to hear everything about Buffy.

Buffy: You know I can't talk about everything. (She says it in that, wishing she could way.)

Willow: But if you could? (Her and Anya both look expectantly at Buffy.)

Buffy: Well if I could. (She goes on to tell them a slightly edited version of her evening and morning with Spike)

Downstairs. Spike Tara and Xander talk about their afternoons.

Spike: So you and your birds looked all nice and made up.

Xander: Yeah nothing says loving like when you're getting your woman's woving.

Tara: (Her and Spike both look at Xander.)

Xander: What couldn't think of a word that rhymed with loving.

Tara: Willow and I are talking things slow. But we are back together. (She sounds cautious but happy.) So you and Buffy seem to be back together too.

Spike: Yeah we've been having a make up marathon. Next round should be up soon.

Xander: Yeah that sounds bout right. Me and Anya are on an all you can spank fest, and Xander has been real bad boy. (He zones out for a second.)

Spike: (He and Tara just look at Xander.)
Then Anya, Willow and Tara come downstairs.

Anya: Xander and I have to go now. (She pulls Xander off the coach.) We have to go to the store. We have to pick up some whip cream. See ya later everyone. (She drags Xander out the door.)

Xander: Ah. Yeah later. (He gets pulled out the door by Anya.)

Tara: What's her problem?

Willow: Don't know but ah we should probably get going too. (She gives Tara a certain suggestive look.)

Tara: Maybe we should get going. It's late Buffy, Spike guess we'll see ya later. Give Dawnie our best.

Willow: Yeah. And thanks again for everything. Tara baby think we could stop by the store. Couple things I wanna pick up.

They also leave a little hurried.

Spike: What was that all about. Cleared the whole room in about two minutes.

Buffy: Don't know. We just had some innocent girl talk upstairs. (She smirks.)

Spike: Yeah Xander told me about your innocent girl chats.

Buffy: Oh. Well then in that case you know what I'm thinking. Ah we got any more whipped cream in our fridge?

Spike: Bought a few bottles this afternoon. Don't think we'll be running out for awhile.

Buffy: We could try. (Takes him suggestively back up the stairs. The marathon continues.)

Chapter 5. Once More With Feeling.

Outside the Magic box. Warren has worked out all the calculations, and he sets up his device with all the frequencies and ranges to see if he can manipulate the chip. Takes it for a test run. He wants to see what mind games he can play with Spike.

Inside the Magic box late night.

Spike: Steady bit. Focus.

Dawn: How much more focus do you want?

Spike: Giles said I have to be all strict in my training and stuff. No letting you slack off. Since we only train couple nights a week no distractions.

Dawn: Well can't we go back to the punching bag? I was really focused on that?

Spike: Sounds like bit, wants to kick some right tidy butt. That vamp ain't going to stand a chance.

Dawn: Why me? What's he want with me?

Spike: Don't know bit. Don't care. I will find out where he is, then me and him will have a talk all good and proper like.

Dawn: You don't think he'll try to attack Buffy while she's out patrolling do you?

Spike: Your sister can handle herself. My job is to make sure that you can too. Now we have to work on some more counter moves. I'm going to come at you and I want you to counter attack. Just like I showed you. (They try it once and it's fine.) That's great bit, but I want you to do it again, and this time with... (Before he can say another word. His head explodes and is Flooded with pain. He's getting a head ache like when he goes to attack someone.) Owww. (He holds his head.)

Dawn: Spike are you ok? Is it the chip?

Spike: Yeah. Went off, like a bullet in my brain.

Dawn: Was it cause you were in attack mode? (They have trained in the back yard briefly. This has never happened before.)

Spike: Not far as I know. I wasn't intending on hurting you. I was just demonstrating. I should watch how into the training I get. The chips acting more fang keeper than usual.

Dawn: (She goes over to make sure that he is ok.) I'm sure it's a fluke. Of course I know you weren't trying to hurt me. Guess your chip's just acting up. Maybe we could just do the talking part of the training. You know where you get me all psyched up. You're really good at getting people motivated in that way.

Spike: I've thought about motivational speaking for the demon realm. Blogar, the under demon says if I ever need a job down there I'm in. Says I'm a real natural talent at rousing people to carnage.

Dawn: He's right. You speak and people want to go and bash heads. (They both laugh.)

Spike: Come on bit, why are you having trouble wrapping your mind round this?

Dawn: I just don't know if I'll be good enough. I mean he really wants to dance with me. I mean bite me. I mean... I don't know what I mean. It's all I can think about. What if he gets in the house again?

Spike: With the de-invite spell Tara did. NO ones getting in the house less, you, me or your big Sis invites them in, now that Anya's moved back in with Xander.

Dawn: Guess I'm just scared. I mean I'm no Buffy. And it doesn't always work, what ever this is.
Spike: That's 'k bit. Doesn't always have to. Just when you need it to. So this vamp wants to play does he? You just show him how Nibblet play's when she's got all her marbles with her. Sides. I'm gonna stake him, soon as I find out where he is.

Dawn: Are you?

Spike: Sure will. He won't be dancing with you anytime soon. Sides I don't know about dancing, but there is a point where your body goes beyond the moves you learnt, training and instinct, become one with your actions and environments. That's how I beat the slayers. If this vamp wants to dance. That's how you'll beat him.

Dawn: Yeah sounds good. Ok. Let's get back to this training.

Spike: Sure now that my head's all settled again. Chips in my noggin, stirring up my brain, interrupting all this training. Now lets do this again, and I want it Once More With Feeling.

Dawn: (Rolls her eyes and laughs.) Whatever. (They practice. This time she is able to focus on the training.)

It is a couple of days later and Spike finally has a handle on the where the vamp hangs out.
He goes to the place which is an old abandoned warehouse and waits for him.

Syica: Comes home from feeding. He finds that he should feel sated but all he can think about is the one that got away. He thinks about the dance, and what a battle it will be. Most humans are a two minute deal. Some quick chat. Very little resistance, and instant happy meals. But that girl, the way she stood up to him. There was something there. One of these days they were going to have it out, battle of wills. Of course he would win, because no matter how special she seemed. She was after all a mere mortal. He enters the warehouse unaware he is being watched. Then from out of no where he goes flying backwards.

Earlier at the Summers house.

Dawn: (She has just come home from school. She has stayed out late. So it's dark. She knows Buffy wants her home until the vamp threat is out of the way. But she couldn't resist hanging out just a little.) Hey Buffy I'm home. (She gets no answer. She sees the light on the machine. She goes to check the message. Spike has left a message for Buffy saying he's going after the vamp at the old warehouse. In this shady part of town. The light was on so no one else has checked the message. She wonders where Buffy is. She knows she should stay and wait. But she goes to find Spike at the old warehouse, she knows the location.)

Back at the warehouse. Moving out of the shadows.

Spike: Just the vamp I've been looking for.

Syica: (Wipes the blood from his face.) Don't think we've been formerly introduced. I'm Syica. You would be?

Spike: The vamp who did that. (Points to his bleeding face.) Also the one who going to grind you to a big pile o' dust.

Syica: So you're not going to introduce yourself, and we are not going for coffee? Just checking. (He lunges at Spike.)

Spike: (He blocks. Then he grabs his arm and maneuvers him into a wall.) Thinking not less we're using your dust as ground coffee beans.

Syica: (He propels off the wall. He kicks Spike in the chest.) Fine I'll just make up a name for you. Let's see. The slayer's lap dog? Shell of the vamp I should be? How about just, whipped much? The vampire formerly known as...

Spike: As long as you spell it out with your dusted body. I don't much care. (His fist connects with Syica's face.)

Syica: Hope I'm not hitting any tender spots. (He does a triple combo punch, which connects with Spikes face.) Does she just say sick and you go? Rumour has it you use to be a vampire at one point.

Spike: (Puts on his game face.) Rumour has it that I still am. (He grabs the vamp and throws him across the floor.)

Syica: What's the attraction, that makes you trail after her so? That you degrade yourself?

Spike: She is family. Buffy and Dawn are blood. You wouldn't understand.

Syica: I don't want to. You give our kind a bad name, living and sleeping with the enemy. (He gets up and goes after Spike again. Using force to match the fury and rage he is feeling.)

Spike: We don't usually get much sleeping done.

Syica: There must be something about them that draws you, keeps you coming back. Did the witches enchant you? What is it about them? (He is trying to figure what it is about Dawn that has him hooked. He is getting out his frustrations.) You are what our kind should never become.

Spike: (Grabs him up and slams him to the ground. This time he follows threw on the action.) Don't worry, now you won't have to fret bout becoming like me. (Raises his hand and brings down the stake. Then his head explodes, with pain. ) Awww. (He is in complete and utter pain.)

Outside in their van eavesdropping.

Warren: I love this toy. Dance for me puppet dance. (He listens to Spike's anguish with enjoyment. Spike twists in pain in the warehouse.)

Andrew: Good I'm glad. He's so bad and evil. He was going to rip off Mr Boba Fett's head. Let's teach him a lesson.

Jonathan: Yeah we are super villains. (They take turns playing with the frequency device. Warren turns away to listen in on the events inside the warehouse.)

Andrew: You've had it for long enough. I want it.

Jonathan: No it's my turn. You give it to me. (They struggle for control of the device between themselves. Suddenly they send it flying across the room. The device freezes, the frequency changes and things take on a bad turn in the warehouse.)

Back inside the warehouse.

Spike: His head still exploding in pain. (He drops the stake in his hands.)

Syica: (Slips away from what was almost his demise.)

Dawn: (She arrives some moments earlier. She saw the end of the fight. Saw Spike about to put the stake in Syica. Then she sees him hold his head in pain, like before. She runs over to assist him, and that's when things take on a terrible turn.) Spike are you ok?

Spike: (He is only conscious of the waves of pain that are flooding his head. The pain then turns primal. It changes from pain to rage. His primal instincts take over and have control of him. The full force of the darkness in him is released. Something in his head is stimulated due to the inappropriate feed of the signal. He lashes out. Anything around him is in sudden danger. The flooding of pain is replaced by waves of violent thoughts that stream threw his mind. The frequency is one that the Troika did not know they could tap into. But they have found a way to bring the primal and dark to the surface. His will to do good, is abandoned by tidal waves of darkness. He picks up Dawn and sends her flying across the room.)

Dawn: (She is scared. Spike has never hurt her before. She can see he's in pain. But there is something else happening here too. She can only get out a choked up sound.) Spike?

Spike: (He goes after the creature in front of him, there is no remembrance breaking threw the pain, just a need for destruction. He drags her off the ground and picks her up, he carries her over to the rails he's about to send her flying again.)

Dawn: (She's too shocked, scared and hurt to react.) Spike, stop it. What are you doing. (She starts screaming cause she is really scared.)

Syica: This is what you do to family? Glad I made the enemy list. But I believe this particular dance space is already filled. Miss Muppet promised me first kill. Sorry. (He goes after Spike, sending Dawn and Spike flying, but she doesn't fly over the rails, and she gets knocked to the floor again.)

Outside the warehouse.

Jonathan: He's going after Dawn. Stop him. (He remember Katrina, and Warren's promise that no one would get hurt.)

Warren: (Just sits there listening to Dawn pleading with Spike.)

Andrew: I'm not liking this very much.

Warren: Ah. Don't think we can stop him. Too bad. (He sounds dispassioned. Like he doesn't care.)

Jonathan: I'm not letting another innocent person die. Like Katrina. (He goes over finds the device and smashes it to pieces.) I don't like this any more. Someone is always getting hurt. He could have killed her. Did you hear the screaming?

Warren: Relax. No one died. Sides now we know that it works. And I don't know what happened in there, but I say bonus. We have our own version of vampire frankenstein on our hands. If he'd go after someone that he likes like that. Think of what we could make him do to someone that we didn't like. This is cool.

Andrew: It is cool. But it was kinda scary with the screaming and stuff.

Warren: We got a new weapon. Point vamp, aim frequency, and vamp goes all attack mode. Sweet. Knew when I found out what the chip does it would be cool.

Jonathan: Did you miss the point? He could have killed her. I don't want to be a part of this any more. I want out.

Warren: What do you mean you want out? What are you talking about. Things are just getting good.

Jonathan: Good like with Katrina?

Warren: Why do you keep bringing that up? She gone, get over it.

Jonathan: This whole time, I really thought you cared about what happened. But you really don't do you?

Warren: Course I care, but you don't expect me to spend the rest of my life crying about it do you?

Jonathan: It would be nice, if you had taken a day to care. I am through following you. I am not a part of this any more. I'm leaving.

Andrew: (Just looks alarmed at Jonathan's speech. But he does not say anything.)

Warren: Where are you going to go? To Buffy. Sure she would love a first hand account of tonight little incident.

Jonathan: Better to take my chance with the devil I know, than the devil I don't. I don't want to do this super villain thing any more. I like the kind that does hurt any one. (He names a couple of villains) Like lex Luther. You are more Doctor sinister now.

Andrew: One is from D.C. and the other one from Marvel. You can't compare the two.

Jonathan: You know what I mean. I'm leaving. (He gets his jacket and get ready to leave the van.)

Warren: Ah Jonathan..

Jonathan: What?

Warren: Don't forget your magic bone you just might need it. (He throws the bone at Jonathan.)

Jonathan takes it and leaves.

Warren: Some people can't handle the super villain game they shouldn't play. (Goes back listening on the scene in the warehouse. Thinks that if Jonathan goes to the police they will have a problem. But he thinks he has a ready solution for that.)

Andrew: (Just sits really quietly. Absorbing all that's happened.)

Back inside the warehouse.

Spike: (The waves of pain stop flooding his brain. He sees the young vamp coming at him and Dawn.)

Syica: Is that why you live with them? Makes it easier than hunting when you are ready you have an easy kill at hand?

Spike: (He looks and he can see Dawn and the expression on her face.) Dawn. (He just remembers the pain, and the sudden rage.)

Dawn: (She has finally gotten past the initial shock.) Stay away from me! Both of you. Stay away from me. (They can hear the emotion in her voice.)

Syica: Least I tell you that I want you for snack food. He pretends to like you and then tries to kill you. Least I never lied. Nice family you have there.

Spike: (Facing Syica.) Shut up. (Turning to Dawn.) I don't know what happened bit. I would never hurt you. I.. I wasn't myself. Please.

Dawn: You just did. And it seemed pretty much like you to me. (She has tears forming in her eyes.)

Spike: (He gets up to try to explain.) Dawn I...

Dawn: I hate you. Stay away from me. You are evil. How could you do that?

Entering the warehouse finally. Buffy makes her way onto the scene in front of her.

Buffy: Dawn, Spike. (Sees the vamp.) You again?

Syica: And you. Now we got that out of the way. I'm sure I don't want to interrupt this family reunion. Just promise me you won't let him have a taste before I do. I would love to stay and chat see what happens. Sure this will be interesting. Did I mention duck.

Buffy: (She turns around. There is no one there. Turns back. He's gone.) How does he keep doing that? I even fall for it when there is nothing attacking me from behind? (She sees Dawn and the look on her face.) Dawn are you ok? What did he do to you?

Dawn: (She sounds tearful. She sounds out each word.) He tried to kill me.

Buffy: That does it. I'm going after him.

Dawn: Not him Buffy. (She points at Spike and gives him a dirty look.) Spike. Spike tried to kill me.

Buffy: What? (She shakes her head. Like she didn't hear the words.) That's impossible.

Dawn: Are you taking his side? He threw me and he was going to throw me over the rails. He wanted to hurt me. I can't believe you're taking his side.

Buffy: Spike wouldn't. (She looks over at him, and see the confusion, guilt and shame on his face.) Did you?

Spike: I don't know what I did. Pain in my noggin. Bit on the floor. Me on the ground. It's sketchy. I would never intentionally hurt Nibblet.

Dawn: But you did. You wanted to kill me.

Spike: Dawn no. It wasn't me. I don't know what happened. Chip went off. Then my head was flooded and I wasn't in control. I.. Please bit. You have to know.

Dawn: All I know is I'm not staying in the same house with you. I want to go. Buffy I want to go.

Buffy: We have to figure out what happened. What's this about the chip going off?

Spike: Been doing that lots. Without me trying to get all fangy. Then this time don't know what happened.

Dawn: I don't care what happened. Are you staying here with him? And taking his side. Cause I'm leaving. (Looks at Spike.) Don't ever come near me again. (She takes off.)

Buffy: Dawn. (She calls after her. She just keeps going.) What did you do?

Spike: It was the chip. I would never go after her like that. I love you, both of you. I would never. You better go after her Buffy. I need to figure out what happened.

Buffy: (She is sure that he does love them. She knows there must be another explanation. She can see all the emotions on his face. He looks horrified, and in shock. She wants to go over to comfort him, but she knows she has to go after Dawn.) We will figure this out. I just have to make sure she's ok.

Spike: Go. (He wanted nothing better than to have her come over to him, and say that she believed him, but she didn't accuse him. He knows how scared Dawn was. He's horrified that he caused that. He tries to figure out what could have happened. And if it will happen again.)

A few hours later Warren is parked outside the Summers house. He wants to hear what they are talking about. He uses some high-tech devices to eavesdrop on the conversation inside, where everyone has just gathered.

Inside the house upstairs. Spike is outside Dawn's room. She hasn't spoken to him, since the incident, she is upset. He did not physically hurt her, but she is scared and emotionally upset. It's because someone she loves almost hurt her. She reliving the whole Willow experience all over again. Buffy is with her making sure she is ok. Spike is outside the room feeling destroyed about what happened. He knows he loves Dawn and would never hurt her, but he almost did. He is doubting himself and really feels unsure about what happened. He hears Tara's voice downstairs and makes his way down. Half way down he hears Xander's and he creeps down the rest of the way unnoticed by anyone.

Tara: (Puts her jacket on a hook.) Where's Spike, Buffy and Dawn?

Xander: They are upstairs trying to comfort Dawn. She still really freaked out by what happened.

Willow: Yeah and I don't think she's speaking to Spike right now. Can't blame her I guess.

Tara: Yeah but it was an accident right?

Xander: I don't know Will. This feels like all too familiar territory. Buffy romances vamp, a few good sex filled nights. Evil resurfacing, everyone she loves in danger.

Anya: Well technically only Dawn has been put in danger, which I think was an accident, and come on, it's been more than a few sex filled nights. I know. I use to live here, my room was right across the hall and... (Sees them all looking at her.) What? Not as if I could help over hearing stuff. Besides Dawn has super strength I'm sure she's ok.

Xander: But that's not the point.

Tara: (To Anya and Xander.) How did you know?

Anya: Oh I found out when that vamp tried to attack Dawn. Go Dawnster, and your spiffy slayerness or whatever it is.

Xander: I found out from Anya.

Anya: Yeah, but Dawn said I could tell you. Willow how did you find out?

Willow: Oh Xander told me.

Anya: You sure do have a big mouth, sweetie.

Xander: What you never said I couldn't tell Willow. You just said not to tell Buffy.

Anya: Blabber mouth. And you get upset cause I share a few of our little sex-capades with everyone. Ha.

Willow: (Rolling her eyes.) Let's get serious for a second. Xander do you really think this could be Spike going evil again, or something like that?

Xander: It's in their nature. Look at Angel. Even after he stopped being evil, and faith shot him with that poison filled arrow for vamps, first chance he got, he had himself a Buffy sandwich put her in the hospital. She could have died, and that was when he was good. And if Angel does that, well what can we expect from Spike?

Willow: But that was different. Buffy let Angel bite her and drink her blood, he was going to die, she didn't want to loose him. Slayer blood was the only thing that could save him.

Xander: Yeah, but I bet he didn't even hesitate. He almost killed her. She has bad taste in vampires that's all I know.

Anya: Well maybe we should bring this up at the meeting. I mean not about her having bad taste in men and all. It's kind of considered bad manners to mention that with Spike, who's her husband standing right in the room.

Tara: Maybe we could find a gentle way to brooch the subject, at the meeting.

Xander: Yeah let's open this official Scoobie meeting with Buffy we think your husband might be an evil blood sucker, and we want to look into staking him as a early solution. That would go over well.

Willow: Yeah this is a Scoobie meeting. Should Spike even be here? I mean it's not as if he's ever really been a Scoobie. Well now that he's married to Buffy it's a little different, but he's still an...

Tara: You mean outsider. (She doesn't sound too pleased. She remembers just how hard it is to feel included. She also remembers the recent bonding her, Spike and Xander had.) I'm not sure that's fair Willow. Aside from being married to Buffy, every time we have an emergency he's always been there. He did work with us over the summer. I'm just saying.

Xander: I think Willow is right. This is just Spike being Spike. What else could it be?

Anya: So you think he's just going to up and turn evil. Even after all that's happened with him and Buffy, and the way her feels about her. Her and Dawn in fact.

Xander: Once evil, always evil. It's just what's in the nature.

Anya: Do you feel that way about Spike or does that logic apply to ex-vengeance demons?

Xander: We're not talking about you right now. Besides you and Spike are different.

Anya: How exactly is it different baby?

Spike who has been listening to the whole exchange choose this moment to enter the room. He's heard enough, and although not surprised. He thinks they should get a ear shot of themselves, and their little nasties, shoved in their faces.

Spike: Yeah Xander why don't you enlighten me. How's Anya's past so different than mine?

Tara: Spike. We didn't see you standing there.

Spike: What so then you might have all showed some restraint with this episode of kick the Spike and chat about how evil he is?

Tara: (Feels ashamed.) I'm sorry. It's just till we know what's going on we were just trying to explore the possibilities.

Spike: Yeah, so I heard. The first thing you could all think of was me turning evil?

Willow: Well it wouldn't be the first time, a vamps gotten into a relationship with Buffy and gone all psycho. No offense. (Doesn't sound sorry for saying it.)

Spike: Oh none taken. After all as far as hurting Dawn goes, if I did. I'm only taking over the title from the reigning champ, which is you Red.

Xander: Hey it's not fair to bring that up.

Anya: Why not? It is part of Willow's past. Just like evil is part of Spike's and being a vengeance demon a part of mine. Just saying.

Spike: Yeah if you want to dig up past nasties why don't we start with that, and work our way up. Willow. You while acting like a magi-whore, went to Rack's magi-crack house, and almost got Dawn killed in the process. Anya. You got a thousand years of badness on me. And some of those stories you tell, they put me to shame, and I've been pretty bad in my time. No offense.

Anya: Oh none taken. Sides it's true. But that's just it. That is my past. Just like that stuff is yours. Till you go psycho or something. (She didn't mean it that why.) I didn't mean it that way. Not like your going to drain us all dry in our sleeps. Least I hope not.

Spike: Tara you did that spell that went all wrong, to try to hind the fact that you were a demon. Almost got everyone hurt. I hadn't been there to kill that other invisible demon Buffy could have got seriously hurt. Still understand why you did it, you were trying to hold on to the one you love.
Tara: You're right. We've all done things, we're less than proud off. I'm just concerned about Dawn.

Spike: Yeah I get that. But you. (He points at Xander.) You're just loving this aren't you?

Xander: Not if I don't have reasons for my opinions. You've done some really awful things. I'm just trying to protect my friends.

Spike: Call that protecting your friends? Where do I begin with you. I might be many things, but least I'm not a hypocrite. Protecting your friends, if that means calling a dancing demon to town, getting half the town scorched. Almost getting Buffy killed, yeah I'd say nice way of protecting your friends.

Xander: But I didn't know what was going to happen. I just wanted a happy ending.

Anya: Yeah look how well that turned out. (Remembers the wedding she's never going to have, with Xander.)

Spike: All I'm saying is, I not letting you stone me out here, without throwing a few back. I've got my flaws and I've been bad, but least I'm man enough to admit it. I worked with you all. I'm married to Buffy, but no matter what, first opportunity and it's kick the Spike. He's evil. Played that game, tired now. Even Ripper is no Saint. Dusted Ben, not a thought, just wanted to protect Buffy. Least he admits who he is, most times. (Looks back at Xander.) Oh did I mention, nice touch there with the wedding, real smooth. (Throws out the final parting shot, then leaves the house.)

Buffy hears the arguing from upstairs and makes her way downstairs after Spike leaves to see what's going on. She enters the living room, and asks for an explanation. All she gets is this uncomfortable silence from everyone in the room. Then finally Xander speaks.

Xander: Spike left in a bit of a tiff. He overheard a conversation we were having that's all.

Buffy: It must have been some conversation to make him leave, a meeting that has everything to do with him. So come on Xander enlighten me.

Xander: We were just saying, it might not be the chip. It's probably his past come back to haunt him. He's violent by nature Buffy. What if he's found a way to over come the chip, and this is just his natural tendencies coming to the surface.

Dawn who's been upstairs has heard some of the yelling too. She leaves her room, and sneaks down stairs just far enough to hear what's going on.

Buffy: That's not fair, we all have past. Just because who you are is rooted in darkness, that doesn't mean that's who you are. If we dug up the each others past we would be here all day. But the point is, he's not doing this. Not on purpose, something else is happening here. Something that is making him act uncharacteristically and getting violent.

Xander: Still not convinced here Buffy. Still think it's just the chip malfunctioning and we're seeing his real side. We all know if that chip ever came out he'd drain us all drier than the Sahara.

Buffy: Is that what you think? This whole time. While we've been married? While he's cared for Dawn and worked with you, with me, with us all?

Xander: Stands to reason. Look at Angel. He worked with us. He worked with you, but when all was said and done. Jenny's gone, Willow's fish are still dead and he tortured Giles. There is no good in a vampires nature Buff. Without that chip, we'd be dog meat.

Buffy: Maybe you should speak for yourself Xander. I wouldn't blame him.

Willow: Xander is not just speaking for himself here Buffy.

Buffy: I can't believe this you too Willow?

Willow: It's not that I want to believe the worst, but you have not had a lot of luck with vamps. Not in the romantic sense of the word. I know he cares about you and Dawn. But that's you and Dawn. I haven't see one thing, to prove that, he's really changed.

Buffy: How can you say that! He worked with you all summer. He took care of Dawn. He was there for every moment. Fighting with you, risking his life. How can you say that?

Willow: I mean sure he worked with us all summer and took care of Dawn, but Buffy you told him to take care of Dawn. And the best way for him to do that was to work with us. I haven't seen anything to lead me to believe he's fully changed. I'm not saying that he doesn't love you. But everything he does is related to you. He doesn't do anything that you haven't asked him to, or change unless it has something to do with you. I can't think of one example of him doing anything unselfish, that didn't have something to do with you.

Buffy: You are one to talk. (Points out the night of her addiction it was Spike that looked back.) Not me, and definitely not Dawn, we were just going to leave, but he's the one who turned back. Helped me do the right thing and look after you. That was selfless, it had nothing to do with me or with Dawn or with anything. He saw how upset I was he was not trying to score points, if anything it might have in that moment made me and Dawn more upset with him, but it was all about you Willow. Seeing you in misery at your lowest moment, and caring about that.

Willow: Well he would know about lowest moments.

Buffy: Think you've said enough. You all have. He's my husband, and I know this is something else, this time. I just know it. I'm not going to let anything happen to Dawn. But I could use your help here, but with or without it. I'm not letting you exclude him this way. Now are you with me or not? (She want's them to be on her side, but that means them being on Spike's Side too.)

Tara: Of course Buffy. We will try to do more research and see what might be going wrong. I can tell he loves you and Dawn and I don't think he'd be so upset if he was really turning evil.

Anya: Yeah me too, I mean he let me stay here. Oh and he bought me a gift certificate. Anyone who knows how to give money as a gift, can't be evil.

Willow: Oh yeah. That's really reassuring Anya.

Anya: You didn't let me finish. I know he loves Buffy and Dawn. I did stay here, and I've seen him. I'm there with you Buffy. Spike's past is like my past, in the past. And she, sells sea shells by the sea shore. Bet ya can't say that ten times fast.

Buffy: Well how about it. Xander, Willow?

Willow: I just don't know Buffy, but I know you love him, and I'm willing to try to look for a different answer, but he goes all Angelus on us and I'm not waiting around to be breakfast. (She remembers the incident, that happened just after he got his chip put in.)

Xander: That goes double for me Buffy. He even blinks the wrong way at Dawn or any of us, and I looking for a nice dusty solution.

Buffy: Why can't you see it's not like that Xander?

Xander: (Getting up and going over to Buffy.) And why can't you ever see what's right in front of your face? (He looks her straight in the eyes.) We care Buffy, we care about you and Dawn, and we just want what's best for you.

Buffy: I know Xander. But if you care about me, you have to respect my choices, and that means not talking about dusting my husband, before we figure out what's wrong.

Xander: Fine Buff. I'll look around for other reasons too. I will give Spike a chance. But I'm not going to have a repeat of what happened last time, with Angel.

Dawn hearing enough she makes her way up the stairs. She is still upset with Spike, but she is scared and confused, because they are talking about hurting him, and it's all her fault, she thinks. She packs a bag. She doesn't want to stay in the house, she just wants to escape from all the sudden turmoil that's come about. She goes back downstairs.

Dawn: Buffy. I'm staying with Xander and Anya tonight.

Buffy: I thought you'd stay here. (She sounds hurt.)

Dawn: I just can't right now with everything that's happening. I just need to clear my head. Sass things out.

Buffy: (Remembers Spike saying that.) Fine Dawn. (She realizes she has to find Spike and let him know that she is still with him.) Xander, Anya is that ok.

Xander: Of course. We love having the Dawnster over.

Anya: Then we can pay the game of life for more real money, and after I win. You can pay it off by putting in more free child labour hours. (She smiles.)

Xander: Anya.

Anya: What I was just joking. Sides I always collect cash after I win. Only way to do business. Only way to play the game of life.

They all leave for their perspective homes. Willow and Tara go off to find a solution and Xander Anya and Dawn go to their house. Buffy is left in an empty house, as she prepares to go find Spike. Warren has gathered a pot of gold in information, and goes about seeing how best he can use the information he gather for his own benefit.

Xander once home away from everyone else. Makes an important phone call.

They divide up into the groups of two, Buffy assigned. Anya and Tara are left at the store to do more research on stopping Warren. They want to see if there is anything in the magic shop, that might help. Willow and Xander go off to check out the former hide out to see if they can find any clues that they might have missed the first time. Giles and Spike take the tunnels. Giles with his cross bow in hand. They are going to see if they can locate the new hangout of the trio. Buffy and Dawn go back to the house. Buffy to gather weapons and Dawn to talk with her.

Willow: Gosh, trip number 2 into the geek land of Oz.

Xander: Actually they have some really cool things, they left behind.

Willow: Yeah a smorgus board of geekdom. But they did have some cool spells and charms... (She stops herself before she begins salivating. She still gets that twinge everytime, but she is in control again.)

Xander: You ok there Will?

Willow: Yeah. Just a flash back. I'm doing ok now.

Xander: Speaking of doing ok. I noticed you and Tara are back together again.

Willow: Yeah but we're taking things slowly. She's forgiven me, but it's going to take time to get back to where we were, but since it's my fault I guess I will just be glad for a second chance. Hey how bout you and Anya? You seem all happy and back to your normal routine with Mrs. Go money, money go. Yeah money. (She laughs.) Sorry couldn't help it.

Xander: Laugh if you will, but Anya's a great girl. After I called off the engagement she didn't eviscerate me or anything. Call that progress in my book.

Willow: You called off the engagement?

Xander: Yeah. Free of all ties, but I've still got a great gal in the bargain. No more crazy stuff.

Willow: And Anya's ok with this?

Xander: Sure. I let her keep the ring. She let me keep all my parts intact. No more craziness. No more arguing or fighting.

Willow: Well long as it works for you. Sounds like you got the best part of the bargain.

Xander: Guess so. Hey we should go. I don't see too much around here that will help Spike and Buffy. We should probably get.... Holy heck, would you look at that. (He points.)

Willow: What? What? Is it something that can help?

Xander: Better. It's a poster of the original Valcan female officer.

Willow: I don't know Xander. I like my woman with a little less pointy around the ears, and a little more curvey around the halo deck. If ya know what I mean.

Xander: I do indeed. (He still takes the poster with him.)

They continue to investigate the rest of the old hang out for any clues about the new location.

Back at the Magic Box. Tara and Anya look for a solution that might assist Buffy and Spike in finding Warren.

Tara: I just wish there was a book or spell that we use to stop this. That's what I miss about Willow she was really smart with this stuff.

Anya: You must be pretty good too. Or you wouldn't have figured out Warren. And you are pretty non judgemental, or you wouldn't have even looked for a possibility outside of Spike going evil again.

Tara: He just seems to love them so much. I just don't think it could be him wanting to do this. He seemed so upset about us thinking he was purposely trying to hurt Dawn. When you really love someone you don't want to see them hurting, and you believe in them no matter how bad things seem.

Anya: Like you and Willow? You two seem pretty cosy again.

Tara: Yeah we are back together. I forgave her, but we are going slow. I want to trust her not to hurt me again but it takes time to forgive people when they hurt you. But we still love each other so we are working through it.

Anya: That's just like me and Xander. I love him, so I forgave him for calling off our wedding and engagement.

Tara: He called off the engagement? I thought when you too got back together you would reset a date. I'm sorry hear that.

Anya: It's ok. This is what Xander wants and now we don't argue all the time. Knowing that there won't be a wedding has made things a lot easier around the house.

Tara: But is this what you wanted? (She can hear Anya when she talks and she looks subdued.)

Anya: I just want Xander. I want to be with Xander. This way we are not crazy all the time, fighting and arguing. Guess it's what I want too. I just don't want to be on edge all the time, never knowing if I'm going to get married when and if ever. Now I know.

Tara: Yeah but are you happy with that? (She doesn't need an answer cause she can see it in Anya's eyes.)

Anya: Hey come on it's my turn to start. (Takes her hand. They finger wrestle for fun.) I think I will have all your money if we keep going this way.

Tara: No way. I am so going to beat you this time at finger wrestling.

They finger wrestle and joke around, but that certain sadness remains for Anya for the vows that will never be spoken. They then go back to doing more research.

In the tunnels below Sunnydale. Spike and Giles make their way around the city. They are using the tunnels to get to a spot where they think Warren and the troika may be holding up.

Giles: I have missed these dank dark tunnels. How do I stay away for such lengths of time?

Spike: Yeah they do sort of grow on you don't they?

Giles: Yes, much like flesh eating bacteria.

Spike: (Handing Giles a stake.) If this goes wonky, or doesn't work. I'm counting on you to watch my back.

Giles: (Taking the stake from him.) Watch your back? (Slowly he comprehends, what Spike is asking of him.)

Spike: I love them if this don't work, I don't want to be like this. Last time I almost hurt Dawn. I couldn't control what I was doing. I'd never put them through that. I love them more than the blood I drink, and I care about them more than this undead life I lead. Need to know you'll cover my back when I'm ready, case this don't work out.

Giles: You know I always wondered if this chip had been placed there for a higher purpose. Now I know.

Spike: Yeah it was a curse, there to always remind me how evil I am. That I'm a disgusting evil creature who will end up hurting those that I love. You didn't need a chip, you always thought that anyway.

Giles: That's just it. I now know that it was placed there for a higher purpose. Look at you bargaining with me to stake you, rather than risk the possibility of hurting those you love. In this moment do you realize you are more human, than the monster doing this to you? Do you not see that it shows me just the opposite? You have transformed before my eyes. Buffy is family to me, and she loves you, her and Dawn both. I will do what you ask, but not if we can help it. She would never forgive me if we didn't try.

Spike: Glad to hear it. Sides would ask Xander. But he'd be too quick on the draw.

Giles: I do see what you mean.

They continue to make their way threw the tunnels. It's almost dark. Then they can go above ground.

Buffy and Dawn arrive at the Summers residence and go they go inside the house.

Buffy: I'm just getting some weapons, then you're back at the Magic Box with Anya and Tara. I don't want you staying here alone.

Dawn: Buffy. I'm scared.

Buffy: It's going to be fine

Dawn: But what if it's not?

Buffy: We'll find Warren, and stop this we will.

Dawn: What if it's like Mom all over again?

Buffy: What do you mean? (She stops her weapon gathering at the mention of their mother.)

Dawn: We thought it would be ok. You said. (She sounds pained.) Now she's gone. What if it can't be stopped. What if he stays like that ? Are we going to have to ...are we going to have to.. (She can't say the word.) Stop him? Are we going to have to stop him? Are we going to have to hurt Spike?

Buffy: I'm not going to let that happen. Do you hear me? We lost mom. I almost lost you. I'm not losing anyone else. I'll do whatever it takes to stop this. I promise.

Dawn: I just don't want to lose anyone else. I'm scared. Everytime I begin to think we have a real chance at a family, something happens everyone leaves us.

Buffy: Dawn trust me. I'm not letting this happen again. I'm not letting us be torn apart like this.
Dawn: It's just I love you, and I love Spike. Now that you are back. Now that you are really back, I just got use to it. Now I don't want to lose Spike. I just want it to be real this time. I just wish I could stop everyone from leaving, going away, or getting hurt. (She starts crying.)

Buffy: It will be fine. I won't let it come to that. We're together now, all of us. I'm not going to lose that. We got Summers blood. I got Slayers blood. We're an unstoppable combination. We'll be ok. (She goes over and gives Dawn a hug.)

Dawn: We share a lot of things. Not just slayers blood. (She wants to tell Buffy about the training and what might be happening with the new found powers.) Buffy. I..that is... (The door bell rings.)

Buffy: Can you get that. I just have to go, upstairs and get the rest of the weapons.

Dawn: (She gets up to answer the door. Looks through the glass. It's Xander at the door. She opens it.) Hey Xander. How is it going? Did you and Willow find anything out at the geeks lair?

Jonathan: No. But I found something else.

Dawn: Really what?

Jonathan: This. (He sprays her with something that he has in his hand)

Dawn: (She falls to the floor.)

Buffy: (Comes down the stairs.) Dawn, who was that at the door? (Sees Dawn on the floor, sees Xander at the door.) Xander what happened? (She goes over to bend down to see if Dawn is ok. Jonathan sprays her with the same chemical, and falls to the floor.)

Jonathan: Sorry Buffy. But there is no other way. (He morps back into himself, wearing a duplicate of one of Xander's outfits.)

Warren: Good job. I'm proud, of you man, you really came through for the group.

Jonathan: (Still not sure about all their plans with Buffy, but he likes all the other work on the site. I copied Xander to a tee.) It's not my best work, but I like pretending to be other people, so this helps.

Warren: Come on we better hurry. Help me get them into the van. We'll commence with part two of get rid of the slayer, without even getting our hands dirty. (They get Buffy and Dawn loaded into the van.)

Andrew: Now we're just like two face or joker, on Batman. True Supervillians.

Warren: I like to think of myself as slick. Like Lex Luthor, on superman.

Andrew: We' ll when we tie them up and force Spike to come try to save them, only to have him destroy them, if they doesn't all do what we want. That will make us true comic bad guys.

Warren: Did you leave the little hint for Spike, as to our whereabouts?

Andrew: Yeah. They will be able to find us. I told him to come alone.

Warren: Ok. Let's go. We don't have much time.

After going through the tunnels and checking out a couple of locations that they Trio might be hanging out at Spike and Giles have had no luck. Then Spike gets a strange sensation.

Giles: What's wrong. (He sees the look on Spike's face.)

Spike: Don't know. Just have a bad feeling. Comes to me sometimes when bit's in trouble. Like extra sensory radar. Too much time spent taking care of her over the summer, and now with living at the house with her. I've become a real bloodhound, when it comes to this. Maybe we should get back to the house.

They return to the house and find nothing. Well almost nothing. They find the little hint that Jonathan, Andrew and Warren have left for Spike.

Spike: (He reads the note. If says. -We have the Slayer and her sister. Come by 8:00 pm or she's toast. Oh and come alone. -)

Spike: What's all this?

Giles: Our local nuisances hard at work.

Spike: This is bleeding stupid. When I get my hands on them. (He vamps out.)

Giles: There now, you are not the only one. What could they possibly be playing at? Do they realize how serious this is, what they are doing?

Spike: I'm going after them.

Giles: Might want to get some back up. I will call over to the Magic Box.

Spike: I don't have time. This is family, blood now. Got to go.

Giles: Let us help.

Spike: Do what you need to, but I'm going.

Spike leaves the house as another dark figure watches in the shadows, and begins to trail Spike from a distance.

Giles calls the Magic Box. Xander picks up Giles goes about bringing them up to speed.

Giles: They have Buffy and Dawn.

Xander: What but how? She would send them flying into the walls, if they tried to lay a hand on her or Dawn. She has super slayer strength.

Anya: (In the back ground.) Yeah her and Dawn. She's now Super slayer sister to the slayer.

Xander: (Putting the phone away from him for a second.) Thanks for the reminder sweetie.

Giles: Well he has taken them both. Spike has gone after them, at their master mind hang out. I wonder if it's just one too many episodes of Star Track and then these types just crack up and go criminally insane?

Xander: Personally I think it's all the time spent in a dark cramped basement. Couple more years and who knows where I would have been. (Xander relays all that Giles has told him to the group. They respond.)

Willow: They are really taking this arch rival, arch nemesis thing way too far.

Tara: But what do they want with Buffy, Dawn, and Spike?

Xander: Don't know. (He goes back to Giles.)

Giles: From all that they have been up to so far, it can be nothing good. I'm concerned they'll harm Buffy and Dawn.

Xander: Well we can't just sit here and do nothing.

Giles: Maybe you can get some of the stuff that you confiscated from them, and meet me at the location they left. (He gives them the location.)

Xander: We still need to formulate a plan.

Giles: I plan to go after them and kick some butt, as you Americans would say.

Xander: Sounds like a plan. We will see you there.

They hang up the phone, and Giles goes to join Spike.

Spike as he walks slowly senses someone behind him. He goes around a corner.

Spike: Don't have time for you right now. Go away. Know you're there. Will stake you later.

Syica: (Comes out of the shadows.) Works, cause I don't think I have time for being staked right now.

Spike: Got places to be.

Syica: Why the hurry?

Spike: Got more important heads to bash. Gonna have to take a number.

Syica: What's with this town? Everyone's dance cards fill up so quickly.

Spike: Get lost. I have family business to tend to.

Syica: (Staying out of the fanged vamps way.) Oh yeah family business. Like the stuff that makes you not quit the vamp you could be, or family business like when you tried to take the head off Miss. Muppet?

Spike: Family business like the kind where I hurt anyone, who comes between me and mine. Now you can go, or I can make you. (Stops walking.)

Syica: Well I'm feeling kind of peckish. Guess I'll go. Not like I care about you and your family business.

He leaves and Spike continues where he was going.

Back at the Magic Box.

Xander: Are we all set? We've go to get there and help Dawn and Buffy.

Willow: All set. (They all four go out the front door of the magic shop.)

They are all in the magic shop.

Xander: You hear Buffy and Dawn are in trouble? Willow can you get some of the weapons from the store room.

Tara: Is there anything that will help?

Xander: Well Anya knows about some of the demons that have been used.

Anya: Maybe we can take that conjurers harp with us.

Willow: (She returns with the weapons.) This should do the job nicely.

Xander: Are we all set? We've go to get there and help Dawn and Buffy.

Willow: All set. (They all four go out the front door of the magic shop.)

They are all in the magic shop.

Tara: I don't know bout you, but does this seem familiar?

Anya: I think we're looping.

Willow: It's just like when Buffy told us about the day at the magic shop that wouldn't end. What a nightmare that was. A whole day of listening to Anya talk about money.

Xander: We have to find a way to stop this. (He panics and goes out the front door.)

Xander comes back into the magic shop.

Anya: Good try sweetie. But it looks like we are all stuck here till we figure out what's setting off the loop. It could be anything.

Tara: I hate when things go all loop the loopy on me.

Willow: It's ok Baby we are here together. (She puts a supportive hand on her shoulder.)

Xander: That's great Will. But we have to find a way to help Dawn and Buffy.

They continue in loop pattern. Compliments of the troika.

Inside the warehouse Buffy and Dawn are tied up and the Troika are getting ready for Spike's arrival.

Buffy: I get free of this. I'm gonna beat some heads. What do you think you're doing? You know your not getting away with this? What ever this is.

Warren: This is us saying we think it's time we had a nice little chat. On our terms. You hear us out. We might be able to make some kind of arrangement.

Buffy: The only arrangement I'm going to make, is you behind. Plated bars, with some guy named butch as your cell mate.

Dawn: (Waking up. From across the other side of the room.) Buffy. Buffy. I can't feel my legs.

Warren: Relax. I had to drug you with something more powerful than your sister. Nice little kick you got there. (Dawn had woken up just as they were about to get them into the warehouse from inside the van. She had sent Andrew flying backwards threw the back of the van and had been about to do more, when warren drugged her with some very powerful relaxant.)

Buffy: I get my hands on you, and you'll find out how I kick. And your ass won't be the only thing I go after. Now let us go.

Warren: You really think your something don't you? And we're what nothing? Geeks. Brainers with a little too much time on our hands?

Buffy: No I think you've just seen way too many viewing of criminally insane are us. Insert craziness here. (She points to his head.)

Warren: You really don't get it do you? You think you have all the power, and we're just these boys with toys.

Buffy: You said it I didn't. I'm not the one who built the April sex bot remember.

Warren: We're men. Men with missions. Men with power.

Buffy: Men who are huge gigantic pains in my ass?

Warren: We have power that you can't imagine. And I have power over that little husband of yours. What do you think your friends would do should he let's say, accidentally freaks out and attacks you, or Dawn over there? How about if he attacks one of them? What if I just point and leave the control at that setting? He becomes a menace to society. Not that he isn't already. But a real menace to society. He could be out having violent outburst anytime of the night, or I could make it happen in the day. He freaks out, forgets his little sun problem, pouf instant divorce how about that?

Buffy: How bout when I get out of this. We see if your still singing the same story?

Warren: How about her. (He points to Dawn. ) What if she just didn't come home one day. We could make your lives real lonely without your little Dawn. How about that? What do you think now? Still just some geeks out for a good time. See we have this wired and we are going to rule this town. We just have little one obstacle. That's you Slayer. Now you can cut us some slack and stay out of our way, or.... (He trails off and does not finish his sentence.)

Jonathan: (In a whisper to Warren.) You said we weren't going to hurt them right. Just make her leave us alone, and stop going after us.

Warren: I'm thinking I'm going to do what it takes. If she doesn't see things our way, then we go to phase two.

Andrew: (Also in a whisper.) What's phase two again?

Warren: It's all about throwing her game off. Spike gets here, and she still won't cooperate then we watch her dust him, or... (He smiles here.) Or he does some major slayer damage. Puts her out of commission and out of our way till we can finish what we need to. Either way I get what I want. She cooperates then we get her out of our hair. She doesn't cooperate, then we'll force her to dust her vamp. An emotional Slayer forced to dust the vamp she loves. So poetic. I almost really like that option. She kills him. We have her on our tails, but a grieving Slayers gonna be pretty devastated, and a lot easier to throw off her game. Option three. She let's him do her some major damage and we have Slayer out of commission, and her friends, I'm pretty sure will dust him, if he hurts her. Either way we throw her game off.

Jonathan: But you said she wouldn't get hurt.

Warren: She won't, if she dusts him, before he can attack her should it come to that. I left a stake within her range. She can move her hands enough to grab it and then bye -bye vamp. And we all agreed that Spike was expandable right.

Andrew: Yeah he is an evil vamp.

Jonathan: I guess, but Buffy does love him.

Warren: Yeah and he'd love you for lunch if he got the chance. Now come on. We're all on board her right?

Jonathan: I guess. We've come this far.

Warren: Now that's the sprit. I'm going to go back to reasoning with her. (He continues to threaten Buffy with what will happen if she does not stay out of there way.)

Spike Arrives at the destination the Troika mentioned in their note. It looks much like your average super-villain warehouse. He goes inside.

Spike: Ok monkey boy. I'm here.

Warren: So good that you could join us.

Spike: I'm gonna tear your head off.

Warren: Now what's with all the unpleasantries. I think I have something, or should I say someone's that you want.

Spike: You know you do.

Warren: Then all you have to do is come and save them.

Andrew: Yeah you have to save them.

Jonathan: Yeah. You have to save them.

Spike: You. (Points to Andrew, and Jonathan.) I don't want to hear a word from. (Looks around.) Where are they? I'm gonna tear your head off. But if you've hurt them.

Warren: Relax. I bearly laid a hand on them. They're right here. (They are revealed to be strapped onto tables. Buffy and Dawn are on an upper platform. Buffy on one side and Dawn on the other side.) I'll let you choose. Who you want to save? Or you could choose option three.

Spike: What game are you playing at?

Warren: No game. All we want is your Come and get who ever you want to save.

Spike: No choice. They both come with me.

Warren: Fine then. All you have to do is come and get them.

Spike: He leaps onto the stairs making his way up towards the platform. (He goes up the side closest to him.)

Warren: Oh did I forget to mention one little thing. See this? (Points to a device in his hand.) It's tuned into the frequency in your brain. It has a setting from one to ten. When it his ten. That chip in your heads going pull a real bad repeat of what happened yesterday. If you can get to them in time before I get to ten your good. But if not... (He trails off, with a sinister look on his face.)

Spike: If not I go all Jeckell and Hyde. That's the game you're playing at? That's really twisted.

Warren: Yeah I know. It was genius when I thought it up.

Andrew: You thought it up. It was my idea to put them at different ends of the platform.

Warren: Not now Andrew. Let the games begin. (He turns the device in his hands on.)

Jonathan: (To Warren.) He's not co-operating like he's suppose to be.

Warren: It's ok. My plan's still falling into place watch.

Spike: (Spike moves with lightening speed towards where Buffy is. He gets up to the platform in record time and is heading towards Buffy when his head explodes again.)

Warren: Whoa you are way faster than I thought. Thought we could do this slowly but lets start you off at five and work our way up. What do you say? (He watches as Spike holds his head in extreme pain, and anguish. But he still proceeds to where Buffy is.)

Spike: (He's on the platform where Buffy is. But he feels the rage coming on. He can feel his head getting flooded again with Rage, and anger. He realizes that Warren is not going to let him get to Buffy without putting the device all the way to ten. She is cuffed to the table and he doesn't want to hurt her.) Don't think my head gonna let me do this love.

Buffy: It's ok Spike. I trust you. (He's close enough so that she can see him.)

Spike: (It's painful for him to watch her chained and trapped, bound and to be so close and not be able to rescue her because of what he might do to her.) Not sure I trust myself.

Warren: Isn't that cute. What happens if I do this. (He twist the knob a couple more inches.) What's seven get you? You still have time to do things my way. If not you hurt your Buffy or she stakes you.

Spike: (He just twists in pain, and slams to the ground. His head is flooded with violence, but his last thought is to protect Buffy. And he's who she needs protecting from. He gets up and throws himself violently into the wall beside him. He's thrown to the ground. He gets up and does it again. Repeatedly. If he's unconscious he can't hurt her.)

Dawn: Spike. (Her and Buffy are calling his name as they watch him do this to protect them from himself. If as painful for them to watch emotionally, as it is for him to do it physically. But he would rather hurt himself. Than see them get hurt.)

Warren: (He continues to be amused by the device and the control he has over the little group assembled before him.) Just give into it. You know you want to. He rises the knob on the device once more.)

Spike: (His head fills with more pain. But instead of all at once like last time, he is being flooded slowly, losing who he is inch by inch, it's even more torturous. He continues to knock himself unconscious. Hoping he can pass out before all thought is gone and he's just a violent wrecking machine.)

Giles: (Just then arriving out of the shadows. He arrives sees Spike with Buffy and he knows Spike has little or no control left. He raises his crossbow and he takes careful aim. He has witnessed as much as he wishes to see.)

Warren: (He raises the device, it's right in front of him. He is about to see if he can put the frequency up a bit more. Then suddenly the device is smashed out of his hand by an arrow.) Hey! (He sees Giles set out of the shadows. ) Andrew this would be a good time.

Andrew: (He blows his yet another conjurers harp. He has gotten a different one, since Buffy confiscated his old one.. Suddenly the room is filled with 5 demonic looking creatures, who are set on blood lust.)

Warren: Sorry but seems like we have to be going now. Our apologies you understand. Oh and incase you thought of following us. I'm taking her with me for insurance. (He unchains Dawn. Sticks her with some muscle relaxant, cause she's struggling. They leave the room and the door closes behind him, Andrew and Dawn. The three in the room are left with the demons and a fight soon ensues.)

Spike: (His head stops pounding, and he frees Buffy. Then he goes over to help Giles.) Cutting it kind of close there hun?

Giles: Yeah well I was waiting till I could get a clear shot.

Spike: You were trying to hit the device without hitting him?

Giles: Actually I was aiming at his head. Hitting the device was a fluke.

Spike: Wow you're one bad ass Ripper.

Giles: Oh I assure you I was quite serious.

Spike: I know. (The two smile at each other.)

Giles: We should go after him.

Spike: Just getting my head screwed on straight.

Buffy: (She's recovered from her restraints and comes over to help fight.) He's got Dawn.

Spike: I'll go after him. You and Giles gonna be ok here?

Buffy: (A demon comes charging at her. She knocks it tot he floor. And sends another flying back.) You have to ask.

Spike: Just love knowing you're safe sweetheart. (He goes to follow after Warren and Andrew who has taken Dawn to another room.)

Dawn is trying to struggle, but her body feels very weak. Whatever Warren re-drugged her with is making her body barely function.

Warren: Andrew. Get everything ready. We might have to get out of here in a hurry.

Andrew: You said this would be easy. You said they would either fall in line, or kill each other. Then we wouldn't have to worry.

Warren: Slight change in plans. But we still have our sweet little insurance here. Don't we Dawny. (Looks at her)

Dawn: (Spits at him.) You are so dead when Spike gets a hold of you. (Her muscles are not responding like they should, and she feels like she can bearly stay upright, but she is still fighting mad at them for all they are doing to her family.)

Warren: (Wipes his face.) Next time no more emotional young woman, that we have to drug. That never really seems to end well.

Spike enters the room. Warren has Dawn on the other side.

Spike: If you let her go now. I might let you keep your head on. Probably not though.

Warren: If you come closer. I won't be the only one to lose my head. (Points a weapon at Dawn.)

Spike: Ok robot-boy what do you want?

Warren: I want a house in Milan. Beautiful wife. Money, Power. The usual.

Spike: (Just gives him a look.)

Warren: Oh from you. I would say. Just this. Now Andrew.

Andrew: (He shoots an arrow into Spikes right side.) I got him.

Warren: Good shot.

Spike: My hearts on the other side. Same side as yours, own I rip it out. Let her go.

Warren: Actually I kind of had something else in mind. Now Andrew.

Andrew: (He pulls a switch and Spike is made immobile where he is standing. Then he is pull then thrust backwards into the walls. Still unable to move.)

Warren: You can't tell me they were worth all this pain. (He moves right into Spikes face giving him an ominous look.) Defanged once again how does it feel?

Spike: (He can't move. But he can move his head. He head butts Warren. Then throws his head back in pain. The normal functions of the chip working once more.) Feels bout the same as before. Good to have the old chip back to normal. But head butting you, that was worth it.

Warren: You're going to pay for that.

Spike: Been paying all night. What's another dollar.

Warren: (He shoves a stake into Spike's body. ) I always wanted my own personal pin cushion.

Just then an unexpected figure makes his way into the warehouse through an opening in the ceiling vent.

Syica: Private party or can any vamp join?

Spike: What are you doing here? Thought you didn't care bout my family business.

Syica: I don't.

Spike: Then what are you doing here?

Syica: Told you I was feeling a little pekish. (Looks at Dawn and grins.)

Warren: Ok. Who are you?

Syica: Puts his party face on. I'm the vamp, who been cooling his heels waiting for a dance, with that Little Miss Muppet.

Warren: Why do these sub plots, keep interfering with my plans. So you are here to save her I get it. Help foil the bad guy.

Syica: No. I am just here for the dance. I am a bad guy. Give her to me, and you can do whatever it is you were doing to him. (Points to Spike.) Nothing personal, but I don't think you're my type. Just looking for the one special dance.

Spike: If you lay a hand on her. I will hunt you down.

Syica: Yeah, I remember what you said last time. Before your head exploded. I won't lay a hand on her, what I have planned is going to require two hands, at least. (Puts on a wicked grin. Turns to face Warren.) Any more objections.

Warren: Hey any villain on the side of bad is a friend of mine.

Syica: The only side I'm on is my own. I don't have any friends. If I did, you wouldn't make the list. (Goes over to Dawn.) How bout that dance? You smell as good as I remember.

Dawn: (Still weak from whatever Warren drugged her with. Starts to struggle with the vamp.) Let go of me.

Syica: (Puts her struggling over his shoulder.) I love it when they struggle. Come on Miss Muppet, we've had this dance coming for awhile. (He takes her out the way he came in.)

Warren: Have fun with her. No need to be gentle. (Turns to Spike.) He's kinda twisted. Think he likes your little Sis there. She should make a good snack.

Spike: I get free of this. I'm gonna kill you.

Warren: You'll have to find me first.

Warren: (Sticking Spike in the chest with the stake some more.) This is nothing personal, but I just am not ready to be captured and carted off to jail yet. Sides no one died right.

Spike: No one died? You killed Katrina, your own girlfriend. And they call me soulless. What kind of a monster are you?

Warren: I am not a monster, I have a soul remember. Sides Katrina was an accident. I am a super-villain. I am doing what super-villains do. Went to that high school for how many years. Did your little Buffy ever acknowledge me in the hallway, her or any of her other little friends? Take a look around. Who rules the world now? Who's got the control, who's got the power. I'm gonna have everything I want and you are going to be gone.

Spike: You're bloody twisted, more than I could ever dream of being. Normally I'd say I like you, but I really don't like you.

Warren: Now you're just hurting my feelings. Well as much as I'd love to stick around and chat I have to go. Other worlds and dimensions that need me. (Pushes the stake further into Spikes chest.) Don't worry the stake is plastic wood grain, you will live. That is till the poison kills you. A little bird told me about that one, a robin I think. Should be fun seeing this a second time around. Don't worry I hear your little Buffy has the cure for what ails you. Least I don't feed off my friends.

Spike: Like you have any. And just cause you don't drink their blood, don't mean your not a leech.

Warren: Again, adieu. Till next time. (Points a ray gun at the way. There is a portal that opens up. Jonathan, Andrew and Warren enter into the space as the hole closes behind them.)

Spike: Twisted little Bastard.

Buffy enters the room.

Buffy: (Buffy finally locates Spike.) Spike. (Goes over to the where he is.) What did he do to you?

Spike: Nothing too much worst than the head ache I was getting. (He directs her to turn off the power on the beam. He is once again free.) We better hurry. The sun will be up soon. I don't have much time left. We have to find Dawn.

Buffy: Me and Giles will go after her. We will find you some shade, it will be ok.

Spike: He put some venom in me. Vamp moo. Poison.

Buffy: (Remembers what happened with Angel.) Like what happened with Angel?

Spike: Except. Thinking I'm not going to be so lucky.

Buffy: It has nothing to do with luck. I've got the cure for what ails you. (She touches her neck. Thinks about the three times she's been bitten in the past.) What's one more drink for the road.

Spike: Not gonna drink from you. Not like Warren, don't feed off my own.

Buffy: It has nothing to do with that. This is about saving you. Saving us.

Spike: I'm not a leech. You're my wife. Not dinner, when it suits me.

Buffy: This is not when it suits you. You're my husband. I'm not letting you die.

Spike: (Tries to walk away.) Don't want to talk about this now. We have to go after DA..

Buffy: (Realizes he really means it.) We are going to talk about this. I don't know how much he gave you. What if it kills you in the next hour?

Spike: (Looks at her.) Guess that's the chance, I'm gonna have to take.

Buffy: Well it just not good enough. I am not loosing you. Angel could do this why can't you? Why is this so difficult for you?

Spike: Why was it so easy for him? I just can't do this. Feed off my own, It's just not within me.

Buffy: Guess I'll have to convince you the same way I convinced him. (She hits him. He blocks her the first few times.)

Spike: (He is starting to weaken. The effects of the poison are slowly starting. He realizes that Buffy is going to have to let it out.) Come on pet. Lay it on me. Cause this is not happening. I love you too much to use you like that.

Buffy: (She gives him some punishing hits Till she sends him flying into the corner.) And I love you too much to loose you like this. I just know I'm not going to loose you. You are in here now. (She points to her heart.) You are a part of me now. You're in my system now. I'm not going to loose you, and I'm not going to loose you to some false sense of noble vamp logic that means nothing, if you are not here. This is not fair to me. This is not fair to Dawn. How can you do this to me? To her? Things are just starting to get good.

Spike: This isn't about you. It's about me, and who I'm becoming because of you. Something's changed. I can't do it. (Turns away, looks ashamed.)

Buffy: We made vows. You made a promise, how can you do this? You are just like everyone else. Everyone ends up leaving. What is so wrong with me that everyone leaves? You would rather die, then take one drop of me into you. Am I that bad? Is that why everyone goes? Why everyone can't wait to high tail it out of here?

Spike: But that is why. Don't ya get it? You are inside already. I've drowned in you. That's why I can't. You're here. (Points to his head, to his heart.) You're everywhere. I told you a long time ago. You were becoming a part of me. Till I'm just this shell of me outside, with you ...everything about you inside. That's never changed for me, never stopped. If anything it's just grown. I love you Buffy, you're a part of me, as much as I'm a part of myself. That's why I can't.

Buffy: (She's in tears.) It's the same for me. I don't know when it changed. But sometime between the wedding, and now it did change even more for me, it's grown. I love you, and it means something, but I don't think I knew how much. You asked if I'm afraid of you leaving, the truth is I'm terrified. No ones stayed the way you have. Really been there, like you ended up being. I'm terrified. No ones put up with my garbage like you have. You're as essential to me as the air that I breath. (She looks into his eyes. And it's heaven, yet hell, because his love is reflected there, but he is going to die.) I can't loose you! (Then in desperation to save him. She takes out his knife out of his pocket. He's still on the ground. She takes it and she cuts her wrist and forces it to his lips.) Drink from me. My blood is roots are the same as yours, the darkness in you, is the same darkness that I'm descended from. We're the same. Where it essentially matters. We're apart of each other. This is nothing. (Then she is bribing him, and bargaining.) It's just this once. It means nothing. It's not as important if you die. (She forces her wrist into his mouth and watcher her blood flow into his mouth.)

Spike: (It's warm and fresh, fresh and sweet, like liquid honey. It flows into his mouth, and it's so good. It's the first time in over a years that he's had a fresh, clean, willing, and flowing sample. Since Dru's visit to town. The taste because it's fresh and human is almost intoxicating. It's warmth caresses his tongue, the sensation and smell pollutes his senses, till he can't think straight. The warmth bubbles along past his lips, into his mouth, along his tongue. It's almost complete bliss for a moment. He pulls her wrist closer to his lips, prepared to take what she is offering. Then he opens his eyes for a second and looks into hers, then into her, and into her soul. Before the blood can pass his throat into him, he stops, and chokes on it to prevent taking it down, he turns away from her wrist to the side, and spits it out.) I can't!

Buffy: (Shocked and hurt she get very upset.) What are you doing? That's your life I'm giving you with my blood, my life's blood.

Spike: No! You're wrong. That's not my life. And not my life's blood. YOU! You are my life, my life's blood. You're what I live, and take in this undead air for. How could I live and continue this undead life, if I had to know that I feed on you to do it? How could I look at you? How could I look at Dawn.

Buffy: It's ok she would understand. How can I look at her if you die. She would never forgive me. She would understand this. (Then she gets upset again. She is emotional and doesn't want to lose again, doesn't want to lose another person she loves.) I don't understand. I don't want to understand. I can't lose you. (Her misery is complete, and she desolves into tears on him. He uses his hand to comfort her. He wraps up her wrist to stop the blood flow. They stay there cuddled motionless. Just holding each other.)

Spike: (He can sense her capitulation regarding his decision. He knows his fate is sealed, but he knows his fate has been sealed with her, since the day they meet.)

Giles unseen by either has walked in on the last part of this, and he's been held in his spot, silent and mute by the unselfish display he has just witnessed by both. He takes off his glasses and wipes away a stray tear. Then moves further into the room.

Giles: (He can see that they are still cuddling in the corner. Consumed by their misery. But facing it with courage, and conviction of his speech. He clears his throat, just loud enough to gain their attention. They pull apart just enough to look up at him.)

Giles: Buffy I couldn't help over hearing. There might just be another way.

Buffy: What other way? It's always blood. That's what gives life. It's always blood. There isn't going to be a something for nothing, he needs blood to live, not just any blood he needs kindred blood, slayer blood to live. Always some sacrifice right? (She moves away from Spike and goes over to Giles, as she speaks.) Me to save Dawn. Me to save the world, me from heaven to save. When does it end? Why me? Why this destiny? Why again?

Giles: (See she is devastated, bleeding and not in a very clear state of mind. He opens his arms and she goes into them for comfort.) There, there dear girl. Not this time, not again, not if I can help it. We just need transference. There is many ways blood can be transferred.

Buffy: (She looks up threw her fog of confusion and misery. Tears still on her face.) How?

Spike: (He gets up, looking hopeful. He looks towards Buffy.) Killed me the thought of leaving you and bit. Ripper don't get our hopes up. What's your notion?

Giles: We could do this the old fashioned way. Just do a transfusion. We'll take just enough from Buffy to cure you. While we put enough back into her.

Spike: (He looks disappointed.) Can't do that. Don't have the stuff it takes. It takes living bodies for that sort of thing. Live pumping veins. Not dead things like me. stuff. Got the living dead here.

Giles: I am amazed by the lack of knowledge, vampires have about their own physiology, and make up.

Spike: What you mean?

Giles: Has it never occurred to you, how much of you physiology does still function and remarkably well, I might add. You smoke, and your lungs don't need air, but you can take in and expel air. You drink and get drunk. A physiological function again. You direct blood flow constantly as your body, or rather undead body chooses to. There must be some sort of retrograde vamp circulatory system functioning, or you could not do half the things you do. I've found that even the watchers council, have very little foundation in some cases to base their assertions on. Most watcher's have not had the close contact that I have, the chance to watch, study, research, evaluate, learn, and even experiment.

Spike: There's that word again. You haven't been hanging around captain cardboard again have you? I'm not going to get another chip planted in my noggin am I?

Buffy: (Interrupting.) What are we waiting for. How soon can we do this.

Giles: With a few instruments and some sterilization, right away. We could do it at the house. I need borrow a few pints of blood from the hospital. But we could do it at the house.

Buffy: Make the arrangements. I am going to look for Dawn. I'll meet you there as soon as I can.

Giles: (He helps Spike who is starting to weaken.)

They leave to go and get what they need. Preparing to save more than Spikes life.

Back at the Magic Box. The loop continues.

Xander: You're witches do something. (They have ripped the bell off the door. They have removed several objects. Yet the loop repeats everytime they try to leave.)

Willow: It's not that simple. With these loops it could be anything. You have to find the right objective to get the looping to stop.

Anya: Yeah. We could be looping all day, and into tomorrow. But only so much real world time passes. It seems like forever, but that just cause we are in the loop.

Xander: Can we go out the basement to the sewers.

Tara: Well it didn't work the last five times you tried it. But who knows maybe we found what's causing the loop.

Xander: But your witches powerful witches.

Willow: Well technically. Tara's the only practicing witch. Sides Anya you're an ex-demon. You must have come across this several times.

Anya: Yeah but I've never been stupid enough to get caught in one. These loop things can get people acting all crazy, cause no matter what we do, the moment we leave it's like it never happened. We take the bell off the door. Go through the door, the bell is back on the door and we are right back inside. Bell is back on the door.

Willow: We have to figure out what's causing the loop.

Xander: Yeah. We have to go help Dawn and Buffy.

Tara: Wait Xander. What were you saying?

Xander: That you are powerful witches, who should be able to figure this out.

Tara: No after that.

Xander: Oh. Just what we've been trying to do all evening. We have to help Dawn and Buffy.

Tara: Exactly.

Willow: I don't get it.

Tara: It's what started the loop. When we were leaving. He said we have to go help Dawn and Buffy.

Xander: But we haven't been able to.

Willow: Cause we've been stuck here all evening.

Tara: Exactly.

Willow: So how do we break the spell.

Tara: We help Dawn and Buffy.

Xander: But how. We are trapped here and they are out there.

Tara: Exactly, why we haven't been able to break the loop. Let's find out what they need, and help them from in here. That should break the loop.

Xander: So if we find a way to help them. You think that will do it?

Willow: Worth a shot.

Anya: Can't be worst than the several other really lame things Xander has tried this evening.

Xander: How did I know the funky monkey and the Snoopy dance would be so obsolete?

The caves of Sunnydale. Deep inside. They arrive at his nest.

Syica: If you don't stop, we will dance right now. (Dawn stops struggling.)

Dawn: Where are we? Were are you taking me? What are you going to do?

Syica: Stop struggling!

Dawn: (Yelling.) Why should I. Put me down.

Syica: You're messing up my hair.

Dawn: Oh! Put me down. I think I'm gonna hurl all over you.

Syica: Best reason you've come up with the whole time. (Puts her down finally.)

Dawn: (Feeling shaky on her feet.) If you're gonna kill me, or dance with me just do it! (Has enough energy to cross her hands and stand defiantly.)

Syica: Like I said, a girl with moxie. (He smiles.)

Dawn: Stop smiling and why do you talk like that?

Syica: Like what? (Moves over to caress her face.) Shall we dance, or did you want to catch your breath. (Locks eyes with her.)

Dawn: (Looks at him even more defiantly. She is feeling even more shaky. But not due to the effects of the drugs.) Like that. You use words like moxie.

Syica: (Breaks the intense look off.) Must be my time period showing. Always liked that word, when I was alive. Moxie. It was one of my favorite words. Fist it was my medicine, then my drink, now it's my word for you.

Dawn: Well it's stupid and outdated, and no one would use a word like moxie.

Syica: Well I do. What word should I use then to describe you?

Dawn: I don't know. You don't have to use anything. Just let me go.

Syica: Is that what you want. You don't want to dance. I'm really quite good at it.

Dawn: I'm sure you are, but I don't want to dance. I'm not ready to die. Just let me go.

Syica: I meant the real kind. Bodies pressed together, swaying in rhythm. Dancing. I'm very good at it. We might as well get at least one out of the way. I have been wondering. I know your blood tastes sweet, but are you as light on your feet as you seem? (Gives her a suggestive look.) When we truly dance, and you're all lifeless, I want to be the one to bring you to that place. Sides who knows, if you're a good dancer, I might turn you. Make you go all the way ...make you a vamp. How would that be?

Dawn: Gosh do all you vamps talk the same way. (She sounds annoyed.)

Syica: You talk to a lot of vamps?

Dawn: Ah, my sister is married to one. Sides that's not what I mean, the first vamp I killed, he threatened to turn me. See what happened to him. (Some of her bravado coming back.)

Syica: So just straight forward death, no being turned then?

Dawn: What's wrong with you? You're so twisted. First you threaten me, then you kiss me, then you rescue me, now your all threatening to kill me again.

Syica: I never kissed you. And this is not a rescue, you're not much good to me already dead. I've been thinking about it a lot, and you winding up dead before I have a chance doesn't work.

Dawn: You did so kiss me. (She sounds embarrassed and blushes.) You didn't have to find me. Why did you?

Syica: Because I could.

Dawn: Oh. (Her ego is a little hurt by his denial.) You bit me. But you kissed me.

Syica: It's less painful if I make it fun. I just wanted a little taste. I've always liked playing with my food. That's all it was Miss Muppet.

Dawn: I'm not food, and I have a name.

Syica: You're not food yet, and Dawn right? What kind of name is that?

Dawn: What kind of name is Syica?

Syica: Long story. So Dawn? It actually dawned on someone to name you that?

Dawn: My mother named me that. (She sounds emotional) She's dead now.

Syica: (Feeling a twinge for teasing her about her name. In kinship with her about her pain.) I had a mother once. Father too. They are gone now.

Dawn: (Still upset about her name comment.) Of course they are gone now, what are you like a hundred?

Syica: Not near that old. And they died before I became a vampire. But I know the loss of family. I have known.

Dawn: (Sensing emotion in his voice for a change she is curious.) How did they die?

Syica: Sacrifice and toil. Like so many people of that time. But that is a bedtime story for another day.

Dawn: Were you close? I was close to my mom before she died. My sister died but now she's back.

Syica: Yes we were all very close! For a mere human. You live in a very strange world.

Dawn: I'm not human.

Syica: Funny, (Looks her up and down.) I don't see fangs, or a tail. Maybe you are a shape shifter. Maybe that's what's different about you. I wondered that I could grow so obsessed with a mere human.

Dawn: I'm the key. Or at least I was. I was not originally human. These ancient monks turned me from this ancient energy to human. My blood opens dimensions. All dimensions. Some people think I'm evil. My sister died to save my life. So now I'm just a regular girl in high school. (She sits down feeling shaky again.)

Syica: You either have some imagination. Or one of the strangest existence's I have come across. No wonder, I thought there was something special about you. Sister to a slayer, sister in law to a vamp. You've inhabited with witches, and an ex-vengence demon. You were an ancient key that opens dimensional portals. Did I leave anything out?

Dawn: I don't think so. Oh wait. I live on a hell mouth. See I'm not your average girl.

Syica: No. But you are human now. Which still makes you a happy meal, for me once the dance ends. But I will regard you and savor you with more relish. Now that I know how unique you are. (He kneels beside her for a moment.) Little Key.

Dawn: Did you say would savor me with relish. Cause I would taste so bad with relish. I'm more of a ketchup person myself. Sides I would make a terrible happy meal. (Tries to make a joke, his closeness is doing strange things to her.)

Syica: So says the chicken and the cow in the double meat medley. Quite tasty. But not what I'm in the mood for. (He gets up again.)

Dawn: Do you do whatever your in the mood for? Whenever it suits you?

Syica: Yes!

Dawn: Is that why you kissed me?

Syica: Again I did not kiss you. I don't kiss humans. Not in the way you mean. I was playing with food. Possibly you don't know enough about vampires to understand that. What do you know of vampires? (He looks her up and down.) Or men for that matter?

Dawn: I know lots. And that was a kiss.

Syica: I won't argue with food. Weak pail looking food. What did the human do to you?

Dawn: I think he drugged me. He still has Spike. I have to get back to help him.

Syica: Yes in your current condition, you are not even fit to be food, doubt you'll be much help. Why do you care? I stopped caring. Before I turned I stopped caring. Humans are not worth the effort. Still your brother-in-law is a vampire, but he fraternizes with humans.

Dawn: So do you. You go to house parties and you talk like us so you must fraternize. (She has that , so there. Look on her face.)

Syica: I blend in. I learn the talk of the period. I mix as much as I have to. I make connections when I need to. I probably won't stay in this town. Heard it was a hell mouth. Feeding ground like everywhere else. But meeting a Slayer was interesting. The ex-demon, and the key. What stories I shall have to tell my friends. Bet they have never seen a key, (points to her.) Like this before. (He seems amused.)

Dawn: Hey. (She's annoyed cause he's making fun of her again.) Besides why are you all playing at this. Why haven't you tried to bite me yet?

Syica: I have patience and YET is the operative word. I get bored. You've been fun. I have eternity to kill. You're a fun game. Sunnydale was getting a little boring.

Dawn: But I can't fight you right now. You would win.

Syica: Exactly. Then where would the challenge be? Even amongst thieves, their is honor. Besides I don't like to pick on helpless things. It's a failing that was transferred with the turning. I was tortured and danced with for several days before my turning. I begged for death. Then I received this undead life.

Dawn: So the vampire that turned you tortured you? (She sounds grossed out, but curious.)

Syica: Not the vampire. He saved my life.

Dawn: I don't get it.

Syica: It's not a pretty bed time story. Especially not for pretty dimensional keys, such as yourself.

Dawn: So you think I'm pretty?

Syica: Yes. A pretty morsel of food. (He is amused again by her looks and expressions.) I was tortured by humans. Ones capable of more torment and misery than I have ever visited. Except for when I first turned. I evened what was till then, an unfair score. I could die at their hands, or I could turn. I choose this. I think I wanted this. So here I am. That's the pretty part of the story.

Dawn: So that doesn't explain why you haven't bitten me. I don't think.

Syica: When I turned. I found I did not like to feast on the feeble, or the weak. A shameful failing that was transferred over. When you are at full strength, then I shall feed.

Dawn: But I have to leave. I have to get back to Buffy and Spike. They are in trouble. I have to go and help.

Syica: Again. Why should I care?

Dawn: Because they are my family. Both of them. I love them.

Syica: Still waiting.

Dawn: Because if you let me go. (She gulps but goes through with her next words.) I promise I will let you have the dance. The one you've been asking for.

Syica: (He is interested, but cautious. He looks at her.) If I let you leave. You'll just come back of your own free will. And battle with me. Somehow my first instinct is not to take you at your word. If I keep you here I get what I want.

Dawn: You won't. I'll be too upset to fight. And I won't eat. I'll have a really rumbly tummy when I don't eat. I probably just do a lot of hair pulling. But...but If you let me go. I'll come back. (She sounds desperate. She is really worried about Spike and Buffy.)

Syica: (He hears her voice, but he's still not sure he should bargain.) I don't bargain with food.

Dawn: I'm not going anywhere. You can find me anytime you want to.

Syica: Funny how we seem to keep getting interrupted everytime I do.

Dawn: I will come back. I swear. But I just have to see if they're ok.

Syica: Go. If you lie to me. I will find you, and when we dance. It won't be a slow waltz, but a tango. If you lie to me. (He sounds angry and threatening.)

Dawn: (Gets ready to leave.) Ah. Where's the way out? (She starts to shiver. She's been crouched in the corner. As she gets up she realizes how cold it is. But she is feeling stronger on her feet.)

Syica: Come. I will lead you out. (He hands her a jacket.)

Dawn: You're giving me your jacket? (She sounds hopeful. Maybe he's not all bad.)

Syica: I just don't want my food to get cold. (Their eyes connect for a moment. He wraps the jacket around her, and leads her out of the caves.)

Back at the Magic Box. They are all gathered around Tara, who is in a yoga meditative state.

Xander: I don't know about all this tinkling are you sure it will work?

Anya: Shhh. Xander she needs to concentrate. This is the best way to help Buffy, Dawn, and Spike right now.

Xander: But it seems so simple.

Willow: When Tara did the determining spell that's what it said. So be quite. Go ahead Baby.

Xander: Again Willow can I just say. Did you know your girlfriend was Tinkerbell?

In the heart of Sunnydale. Buffy is looking for Dawn. She has no idea where to look for Dawn and the vamp that has taken Dawn. She is also not sure how much time Spike has. She is desperate for anything. Then suddenly a small blue light is in front of her.

Buffy: (She tries to swat at it. Then she hears a voice.) I should follow it?

Willow: (Telepathically.) Just go with it. It will lead you to Dawn.

Buffy: (She starts to follow the light. Tara is leading Buffy to where Dawn is.)

Buffy finds dawn.

Dawn: Buffy. (She runs over and hugs her.) I was coming to find you.

Buffy: Are you ok. Are you hurt? Did Warren, or the vamp hurt you?

Dawn: I'm fine. Warren drugged me with something but I'm fine. The vamp didn't hurt me.

Buffy: (She examines her for marks.) He didn't bite you?

Dawn: He let me go.

Buffy: But why?

Dawn: Guess he got bored. (She puts her hands into the pocket of the jacket, which she is still wearing.) Is Spike ok. They were hurting him when I left.

Buffy: We have to get back to the house. (Suddenly the little blue light does a dazzling sparkle dance and disappears.) Thank you.

Dawn: What was that?

Buffy: A little help to light the way. Let's just say I found you in time, now we can go and help Spike.

Dawn: Why what's wrong with Spike. (She sounds worried.)

Buffy: Long story. I'll explain on the way. Let's just go.

They leave and head back to the house to locate Spike and save his life.

The magic Box. They open the front door go through, and nothing happens. They are outside. They all excitedly cheer. Then realize how tired they are and go back into the magic shop.

Xander: It worked. Never thought I'd be so happy to see the outside pavement again.

Tara: I guess no matter how small it was we helped Buffy.

Willow: Yeah. I guess that was all that was needed. Cause the spells broken.

Xander: I'm calling the house to see if they are there. (He calls Giles answers.)

Giles: Buffy and Dawn are on their way. Are you sure?

Xander: Yeah. Tara tinkered her magic, and they are. They should be heading your way soon.

Giles: That's great Xander. I can't talk right now. But once she gets here things should be fine. I can't explain right now. I will fill you in on all the details tomorrow. I'm staying here for the night. But we will all be fine, if your sure Buffy and Dawn are on their way here. (He hangs up the phone.)

Xander: (Hanging up the phone.) Looks like they did ok without us.

Anya: Hey not completely without us.

Xander: Giles says they will all be ok. Once Buffy gets there. He was kinda vague. Says he'll fill us in tomorrow. Anyone up for pizza and bed. Cause I know I'm had enough of the Magic Shop as I can handle.

They leave and go to their houses. Agreeing to regroup tomorrow, for Giles and his fill in.

Next day at the Magic Box. Giles arrives at the store and fills in everyone on how things went, and how Buffy is doing.

Giles: The trio have disappeared. They used some sort of a portal device. Spike said they just disappeared through some sort of portal. Willow I will let you have a look at the plans I discovered at their lair, when I went back early this morning. I gathered everything I could and took it all back to the house. It's the strangest thing, but Warren seems to have discovered the little trick joke Faith played with Angel.

Xander: The one where he pretends to be all evil, and she jiggles on his lap, cause faith pulled that trick with a lot of people. (Holds up his hand.)

Giles: (Looking less than amused.) No the one with the poison arrow. Where she almost kills Angel.

Willow: You mean Warren did that to Spike? Buffy must be devastated. Is he going to be ok?

Giles: Actually he's going to be just fine.

Tara: But how you said it was poison. Did you find a cure in time?

Xander: Of course he going to be fine. (Looks disgusted.) He has a ready cure all lined up for him. Shape of a Buffy pop. Probably drained her drier than the Sahara. Comes down to it. They are all the same. I don't know what she sees in these vamps.

Giles: Actually Xander you're quite wrong this time.

Xander: Enlighten me. Spike's not walking around with a yummy delicious pint of Slayer blood inside him, courtesy of Buffy.

Giles: Well I did not say that.

Xander: Either he is or he isn't. Can't have it both ways.

Giles: But that's just it. He was going to die. Knew he was going to die. But he refused her. She practically shoved her neck into his face, and he refused. She cut her wrist. (He takes off his glasses, moved by the memory of it. He goes over all the events of the previous night and gives them a play by play of events.) I have had the most remarkable evening.

Willow: You mean he would rather die, than bite her. But why? Angel bit her.

Giles: That's Angel. I was able to find a solution that suited everyone's needs. (Tells them all about the blood transfusions.)

Tara: But he's a vampire can you do that?

Giles: Seems like I did. It worked.

Xander: Still it seems like Buffy's always sacrificing for these guys. I just don't like it.

Anya: It's not for you to like Xander. She's an adult. He's her husband, and she loves him. She can take care of herself.

Giles: Anya's right. More over, I think we misjudged Spike. I think he is in the process of undergoing a remarkable transformation. I think he has changed. Based on what I saw, I would not go so far as to say he has a soul. Not in the way we regard souls, but humanity, in the way that it counts.

Willow: I think, I kinda feel bad about what I said.

Tara: Me too.

Anya: It's not as bad as all the stuff, Xander said. But I feel bad too.

Xander: Thanks Anya. But what are we going to do? I mean there's no hallmark card for sorry I thought you were a blood sucking leech. Is there? (Looks at Anya.)

Anya: Not officially, but you can have your own cards printed up.

Giles: I rather have another idea of what we might do for Spike and Buffy. But we need a key to their house. It would be a surprise.

Anya: Oh well I still have a key from when I was living there.

Willow: Yeah me too. I just moved out before Anya, moved in.

Tara: Yeah I still have mine too.

Xander: Got me mine right here. Buffy gave me one cause I'm so essential.

Anya: Yeah. Essentials like picking up Dawn after school or looking after the house.

Giles: Am I the only one who doesn't have a key?

Xander: That's ok big guy. You have something better. You're the man with a plan.

Giles: Yes I rather knew there was a silver lining to this cloud.

They continue to discuss Giles plan for Spike and Buffy.

Smashed and Wrecked.

Later that evening. Back at the Summer's house. Buffy is asleep upstairs. Things have settled down. They start to feel safe like things are back to normal, now that the Troika is once again temporarily out of the way. But Spike thinks there's one more score to settle.

Spike: I need you to say here with your Sis. She's sleeping. Giles says she's doing just fine. But I got to do something and I don't want her worrying.

Dawn: (Sees him getting his stuff.) Where are you going?

Spike: Got a score to settle with someone.

Dawn: You're going after him, aren't you?

Spike: Threatened you. Keeps getting in the way of things. Buffy and I tossed coin. I won I get to stake him.

Dawn: But you don't even have a plan!

Spike: Gonna find him, gonna stake him, gonna kill him. See I got a plan.

Dawn: No! You can't.

Spike: (Turns to face her) What?

Dawn: (Not sure what she means) I mean. I'm coming with you.

Spike: No you're not!

Dawn: Yeah I am. This is my fight., Not yours. I can't let you fight all my battles for me.

Spike: You bloody well can. We're family now.

Dawn: (Warmed by his sentiment.) Fine. But I'm still coming with you.

Spike: Your sister'd kill me.

Dawn: She doesn't have to know. Sides you can't stop me. I know how to find him, just as well as you do.

Spike: Great! I've got bitty Buffy on my hands again. Come on then bit. But no heroics ok. I want him dusted and out of our lives.

Dawn: Out of our lives, no problem. (She gets a couple of items for the trip.)

Arriving at the caves, they pause outside.

Spike: So. Do you member the way from here?

Dawn: No. It was dark at first. But I know the way out. He walked me back.

Spike: Odd bloke. Surprised your not six feet under or all fangy right now. (He considers this for a moment.)

Dawn: Me too! (Thinking about the stuff they discussed.) I was so weak, I could have been toast.

Spike: Buy you weren't? (Gives her an odd look.)

Dawn: I wasn't. (Pauses.) I just want to take care of this on my own. (Pauses again.) By myself, please.

Spike: Are you crazy? Bit I can't let ya do what you're suggesting. Going there by yourself. Up against a nasty beastie like him. You're like to be turned all fangy for real this time.

Dawn: I have to please. (With a pleading look on her face. ) I have to learn to take care of myself. (She remembers she gave her word.) I can do this. I'm full strength now. I just want to do this myself.

Spike: I miss something? (Gives her another inquiring look, with a bit more insight.) Maybe you're right. But I'm not staying too far. You need me you yell. Ok. I mean it bit. I'll be within range.

Dawn: Ok. I don't plan to give him a chance. He's as good as dusted.

Spike: Gonna bank on that bit. You have 10 minutes. Less now, then I'm coming after you. Got that?

Dawn: I won't need that much time.

Dawn makes her way further into the caves. She remembers the way from here. His nest is not too much further in. She makes her way over to the spot where he sleeps. She looks into her bag of tools and finds just what she needs. She takes out a stake and puts it in her back pocket. Then she goes over to him.. Drags the quilt he's sleeping on and he goes flying with it.

Dawn: So you wanna dance? I'm feeling jazzy. Let's start. (She kicks him in the ribs while he's on the floor.) How about a swing dance? You like that. (Kicks him again.)

Syica: I like a slow step every once in awhile. (Grabs her leg, and throws her off balance.)

Dawn: (Kicking him away, she readjusts and gets back to her feet.) How about a ballet number. (She gives him a spin kick.) Something that has a lot of kicks.

Syica: (Counter attacking.) Don't know always found it a little too fluffy for my taste. Though call me a softy I've always liked a waltz. (Grabs her spins her waltz style and throw her against a wall.) Oops looks like I'm out of practice. MY apologies. (He smirks.)

Dawn: Is that the best you have. You've been dancing for way longer than I have and that's the best you've got. (Tisks) How very disappoint. (She connects with his face. Spins him around, throw him into the wall.) Hope I got that move right. I'm a real fast learner.

Syica: I've been saving up my best. Didn't want to tire you out too easily, but if you insist. (Pushes himself off the wall, he spins and does a low sweep knocking her to the ground again. Then he lunges at her while she is still on the ground. They wrestle.) If I'd known you liked the twist, I would have brought the music.

Dawn: (Still struggling with him. She gets him off, and gets back to a standing position.) No need I brought something better.

Syica: Really surprise me. (In one sweeping move he gets off the ground. He has grace and flow with all his movements.)

Dawn: Never know. I just might. (She leaps into the air. Kicks him flat against the chest with a powerful kick that sends him back into another wall. This time she follows it up with a one two punch move. But for her second punch she reaches into her back pocket and gets out a stake. She drives it into his chest. Hard and powerfully.)

Syica: (Looks at her in shock as he cry's out in pain. He's never been staked before. The shock of it leaves him motionless, and he closes his eyes waiting to turn to dust.)

Dawn: (Seeing the shock and pain on his face, she's satisfied with her work.) Told you, I might just surprise you.

Syica: (He opens his eyes. Still in pain, not yet dust, more surprise. He looks into her eyes, sees her fire, and the triumphant look on her face.) You did. I'm not dust. (Still surprised.) How?

Dawn: Plastic wood grain. Hurts just like the real thing. But no pile of dust to clean up afterwards.

Syica: Why? (Still sounding, shocked, surprised and still in physical pain.)

Dawn: Because I could!

Syica: Oh.

Dawn: (Still with the stake in him, and him at her momentary mercy. She is feeling powerful and triumphant and does something that surprises both of them. She puts her lips to his, and kisses him. Nothing gentle. Full hunger, dark craving, till she has to pull away for air.) That is a kiss.

Syica: (He's more shocked than she is. But he didn't resist, he was there in the moment with her, against his better judgment.)

Dawn: (Goes back to his lips again, as if to kiss him, she bites down on his lip instead and draws blood.) And that is a bite.

Syica: Ow. (Surprised by her savagery.)

Dawn: (She tastes the blood, on his lip.) Now I get to see what you taste like. (Then she kisses him and nibbles on his lip a little.) That's what you did to me the first time. It gets a girl all confused. (She sounds upset. Then she moves back and knees him, he doubles over onto the ground. She bends down and speaks into his ear.) If you ever come near me, or my family again. I will stake you next time. If I don't Spike will. Take it as a warning. (She walks away, then turns back to look over her shoulder.) Hope you liked the surprise. (Tosses her hair and walks off.)

Syica: (He is lying on the ground in shock, pain, and amazement. He watches her leave, and hears her words as she looks back over her shoulder. He watches her every step and gesture as she walks away. He manages to get out one word as he lies there in pain slowly removing the stake from his heart.) Moxie! (He grins, and laughs as he gets the stake out. He lies on the floor, realizing that a new day just dawned.)

Somewhere in another dimension. After making their way thru the portal and breathing sighs of relief that it closed behind them without any one following. Warren decides to check out his new surroundings. He gets Jonathan and Andrew to stay put while he goes to scout our their new surroundings.

Jonathan: Why do you get to walk around. While we stay put?

Warren: Cause I told you. We don't know what to expect. Something happens. I am not back in 20 you come looking for me. All three of us together and it's just too easy to get into trouble all at once. I have the remote with me. You two have your ear pieces. Then you can hear what I say. Just be ready. Case I get in trouble. We have to find out where we are.

Andrew: Man wouldn't it be cool if this alternate universe had real super-villains. I mean other than us. Cause that's we are not. Real super-villain. Then we could meet Joker and...

Jonathan: Would you really want to meet the Joker? That smile creeps me out. Reminds me of clowns. Man do I hate clowns.

Warren: You two just stay put I'm out of here. Sides Lex is the man. He's the only super-villain besides us that I would want to meet.

He leave the other two. He looks around trying to get a handle on where he is and what kind of inhabitants are in this dimension. He walks around for a bit, and soon finds himself at the local store. He looks around and does see anything. A little shop keeper dusting some selves, people going here and there shopping, then he sees someone who looks familiar. Walking over he can hardly believe his eyes. Outside the store in broad daylight is a group of guys playing dominoes around a makeshift table that was set up for just that. What Warren can't believe is the one guy, he moves towards the table cautiously for a closer look.

Will: (Looks up at the stranger approaching.) Hey friend what ya drinking, we got some root beer and soda pop. Fresh out of brew-skies but Sam will be back in a few with a fresh batch.

Warren: (He's in shock. He has gotten a closer look and it is him.. It's Spike, but he has brown hair, no accent, and he's sitting around with a bunch of other average looking guys, playing dominoes? In daylight?) What did I just fall into some freaky backward dimension?

Will: What's that fella?

Warren: You don't know me do you?

Will: Can't say as we've ever met. (Puts out his hand to shake with the stranger.) Names Will, and yours?

Warren: (Extending his hand back in greeting, unable to believe who he's about to shake hands with. Good to meet you Spike, I mean Will. (Still not able to believe who he's looking at.)

Will: Spike, what kind of a weird name's that? A fella have to be pretty drunk to pick a name like that. (He laughs and shifts his attention back to the dominoes table, it's his move.) Hey that's a few more chips for me. With winnings like this I can pick up that cute little tabby, my girl wants from the pet shop. (Going back to Warren.) Well friend, you seem to be new in town and a little lost. Why don't you pull up a seat, have a cold one and relax.

Warren: (Still unable to believe his luck.) I think I will do just that. I'm starting to like this place already. (He's about to take a seat and pull up a chair, when suddenly he is tapped on the shoulder. He turns around smiling, and is punched onto the ground.) All he can hear is a voice, saying... "Didn't think I'd let you get away from me that easily did you?"


The next day. Spike Buffy and Dawn visit Joyce's grave. The three pay their respects to her memory.

Buffy: What time is it?

Spike: Almost seven.

Buffy: Sometimes I can't believe she won't be coming back.

Spike: She was a real good lady.

Dawn: (Goes to place some fresh flowers on her grave.) She was great. I miss her, but I am not so sad now. Last year I was sad. I didn't know what was going to happen. But it's ok now. I'm always going to miss her. But I have you both now. (She walks back over to them.) We have each other. (She stands in the center of them.)

Spike: (Puts his hand on Dawn's shoulder. He puts his arm around Buffy.) We're family now bit.

Buffy: (Leans into him.) Guess so.

Dawn: (Smiles as she takes on final look at the grave.) Yeah family.

The three leave with a sense of peace and closure. They know that Joyce would have taken comfort in the picture they make. Not perfect, but there for each other. Taking care of each other. Family.

Going back to the house. They enter it's now dark. Suddenly noises can be heard. All three go into alert mode. Then suddenly they are flooded with light and streamers and their friends yell surprise.

Buffy: (Looking surprised and curious.) Ah. What is all this? (Putting her stake away.)

Giles: We thought we might surprise you.

Buffy: Wow ...success.

Dawn: (She is delighted by the food and gifts she sees.) Hey what is all this?

Xander: Well Dawnster. This gives me another chance to show you some more of my swinging dance steps.

Dawn: Ah. Think I've done enough dancing for some time. (Thinks about her recent encounter with the vampire.) But thanks for the offer.

Anya: We wanted to do something nice. To say we're sorry ...that we thought you would go all crazy and deranged and kill us in our sleeps. (She smiles.)

Tara: What Anya really means to say is...

Spike: Sounds like the bird got it right the first time.

Tara: Guess we're sorry.

Anya: To alleviate our guilt we brought food and presents. To make up for all the wedding presents we skipped out on when you did get married.

Willow: Yeah and we decorated. The hard-way. But it was fun. And yeah we're sorry about everything. Didn't mean to jump all over this. I know how difficult second chances are without everyone doubting you. (She holds Tara's hand.)

Giles: Well let's not stand around talking. Let's ply ourselves with libatious refreshments, and alleviate our guilt with merriment.

Spike: So speaks the Nancy tribe.

Giles: So indeed. (He smiles.)

Buffy: (She pulls Xander aside for a moment.) Can I trust you from now on, to not go behind our backs?

Xander: You can trust me to do what I think is best for you and Dawn.

Buffy: What about Spike?

Xander: Reserved judgment there Buffy. But I'm very impressed that he didn't use you as a juicy pop, didn't try to destroy the world or stalk anybody lately.

Buffy: Hope you can remember that for next time. Not that there will be a next time.. Not that there would be. Come on Xander I want to see the guilt gifts you got us.

They all sit and socialize and open the gifts. The one from Giles is extremely posh.

Spike: Oh a DVD player. Very posh. Watchers council treating you very well?

Giles: Well I can't complain. Sides DVD's are very trendy right now. Just bought season 1 DVD's of my favorite show.

Willow: Before you know it he'll be surfing the net to research demons. No more old dusty texts books. Pager and cell phones will be strapped to his hips.

Giles: Don't be silly. The pages is kept on the inside of my coat pocket. (Takes off his glasses to clean them for a moment.)

Buffy: Good to see something's won't change. (Smiles over at Giles.)

They proceed to open the rest of the gifts. Then it is finally time for the group to get going.

Giles: Well I have to get going. I have a plan to catch back to England. I hope next time we all meet. It will be under less auspicious circumstances.

Buffy: It's always good seeing you no matter what the circumstance are.

Giles: Good-bye again. (He embraces Buffy.) Spike don't seize to amaze me the way you have been. I think I was right in walking her down that isle. Sides the Nancy tribe needs more solid members.

Spike: Try not to disappoint. (They shake hands and exchange looks. They are two people who love Buffy extremely well, and would do anything in the world for her.)

Xander: Yeah Buffy we have to get going too. Dawnster it was great seeing ya again. Maybe next time you'll have a dance for ol Xan-man.

Dawn: Sure long as it doesn't have a pointy ending. (Hugs Xander good-bye.)

Anya: Yeah we have to go. We have a much over due spanking session to get to. But we're not dressing up this time or anything.

Dawn: (Steps back. Does and awkward smile while shaking her head and mumbles.) Yeah-hun.

Spike: (To Xander) Look's like the that dry spells over with. (They exchange knowing looks.)

Xander: The Xan-man's back in effect. Again sorry bout what I said before.

Spike: No big. Sides we've all missed Anya's stories of your sex-capades. You will stop by once in awhile (To Anya.)

Anya: Yeah we can swap more stories about my demon days. Did I ever tell you what I did to these two brothers, who broke the heart of this one maiden. Lets just say they now share more than feeble minds. That was a fun one to do. Give ya the details another time.

Xander: Come on sweetie. Think we've had enough male carnage, and vengeance for one night.

Tara: (Goes over and gives Spike and Buffy a hug. Whispers in Spike's ear.) Looks like dry spells over all around.

Spike: So that's how it? (Smiles at Tara.) Night Red.

Willow: Night Spike Buffy. Dawnie. (She hugs Buffy and Dawn.) Spike again I'm sorry bout what I said.

Spike: Me too. No hard feeling then? (Looks over at Tara.) Just lots of frisky ones. (They exchange amused looks.)

Tara: Night Dawnie. Remember what I said. Anytime. I'm always there for you.

The group leaves. Spike goes to store to rent some movies.

While he is at the store and Dawn and Buffy are inside. A small little man with gray hair comes to the door. Leave a colorfully wrapped small box on the front porch. He has eyes that turn black at an instants notice and a tail.

Doc: (He smiles as he leave the gift for the happy couple, and walks away from the door.

Spike: (Comes home some time later with the movies and sees the box on the front porch. He goes inside.) Hey got the movies. And looks like your friends forgot a gift. Think they'd knock and just drop it off.

Buffy: Probably didn't want to stay for anymore festive chat. Put it upstairs we'll open it later. I'm all gifted out. Me and Dawn are tired from cleaning up all the party stuff. So what did you get at the video store?

Spike: Couple of movies. (He sounds defensive.)

Buffy: Oh no not terminator again?

Spike: Ah. No.

Dawn: Terminator 2?

Spike: No.

Buffy: Then what did you get?

Spike: Got T2 DVD directors cut. Has all the parts haven't seen before. Like seeing it all for the first time again.

Dawn: (Her and Buffy roll their eyes, and a couple of couch cushions go flying at Spikes head.)

Spike: What?

The three settle down on the coach. They watch the movie together.

Spike: This is my favorite line. "If a terminator can learn to care about human life, maybe a vamp can too. "

Buffy: (Her and Dawn exchange their special look that they have for Spike in these moments.)

Buffy and Spike go upstairs for some cyborg's wresting.

Dawn: (She just shakes her head and smiles as she puts in the next movie.) Family.