This One Does

Part Seven

They were sprawled all over one another on a makeshift pallet on the floor in Spike’s apartment, Giles lying on his side, his head propped on one hand and the other running across Spike’s chest and arms, Spike’s eyes fluttering shut under his touch.

“I still can’t believe it,” Giles whispered. “Why didn’t you call me? Do you realize what I’ve been going through the past few months?”

Spike flinched at the hurt in Giles’ voice. “I dunno. Lots of reasons. I’ve missed you, all of you, awful lonely here without you . . .”

“Then why?”

Spike sighed. “It was . . . I was here for so long, bloody  incorporeal, stuck here, you know? Couldn’t leave. And then Angel . . . even before what happened in Sunnydale I was startin’ to get an idea of what he’d been goin’ through, all these years, the whole soul thing, the guilt, the not sleepin’, the needin’ to make up for what he’d done . . . and I watched him, watched his team, the good they been tryin’ to do, especially that Fred. She reminds me so much of you and Buffy, the way she treats me, like a real person, right? And she especially reminds me of Tara, did you know that she told me that she thought I was worth savin’?” Spike said, rolling his head and looking at Giles.

“No, of course I didn’t know. But between you and Andrew she sounds like a fine girl.”

“She is, she really is. They’re a good group, Wes, even” Spike said and Giles smiled.

“Wesley has come a long way,” Giles said.

“Yeah, he has, considerin’ he was Head Boy,” Spike snorted and Giles drew up and glared.

“Now, hang on!” Giles said.  “I was Head Boy as well!”

“Bet you were,” Spike murmured, rolling on to his side and plastering himself up against Giles. “Bet you were best Head boy ever.”

“Stop that! Tell me why you haven’t called,” Giles grumbled.

Spike was silent for a long time, trying to find the right words. “Scared, for one, I guess. Wasn’t sure what the lot of you would say, if maybe you were done with me once I’d done my bit.” He brushed his fingers against the mark on Giles’ neck. “And I knew you must’ve felt it, Watcher. And I waited, every day, for you and you never came. I thought you were done. With me. Watcher . . . why didn’t you come?” he whispered, looking up at Giles with eyes that were, after all they’d been through, still full of doubt and hurt and fear. “I’ve been waitin’ so long . . .”

Giles grabbed him by the jaw and kissed him hard. “Jesus . . . yes, I felt it, but Spike, I had no idea what it meant, had no idea where you were, or even if you were! I wondered and I waited but when there was no word I thought it must have been wishful thinking. But I was never done with you, Spike, I never will be,” Giles whispered.

“You have been before,” Spike said, staring at the ceiling. “Been done with me, I mean. Left me.”

“That changed, Spike, I changed . . .” Giles said, voice soft with regret. “If I’d known what had happened, Spike, I would have been here in a heartbeat, taken you home.”

Spike smiled slightly. “My white knight,” he said, with just the barest hint of mockery.

“Oh, I suppose you could say that. If you must,” Giles said, smiling. Then he became serious again. “But Spike, don’t you ever doubt me again. I’ll always be there, always.”

Spike stared at him, eyes searching his face, and then he smiled. “I know that now, Watcher,” Spike murmured, running his hand along Giles’ jaw.

“Then come home with me,” Giles said softly.

“I’m sorry, I’m really sorry, but I can’t,” Spike said, staring at Giles intently. “I’ve gotta see this through.”

“See what through?”

“Well, that’s the bitch of it, Angel won’t tell anyone what he’s got planned, the stubborn bastard. But whatever it is, Watcher, I believe in it and I believe in him.”

Giles sighed. “So odd to hear you talk about him this way.” He paused for a moment. “You’ve taken up with him again, haven’t you?”

Spike winced. “Yeah,” he said quietly and then reached out to grab Giles when he felt him stiffen and pull away. “But it was different; it was habit, comfort, solace. It was a couple of times on a couple of really bad nights is all, right? You understand that, Watcher? I missed you, God, so much, and he misses Cordelia and he’s still moonin’ over Buffy, not to mention his son . . .”

“Wait, what?”


“Jesus Christ,” Giles said after Spike had finished his story, falling on to his back and staring at the ceiling. “And where is this child?”

“That was part of the deal. Angel gave the kid over, new family, new life, and in return he took over Wolfram & Hart.”

“Fuck,” Giles muttered.

“Right,” Spike sighed. “None of ‘em remember it, so don’t tell the rest.”

“I won’t,” Giles whispered. “But Spike . . . Angel is incredibly vulnerable in this situation. And as much as I might trust his motives, I do not trust him under these circumstances, not while he’s at Wolfram & Hart.”

“Well, don’t figure I would either, if I weren’t on the inside, watchin’,” Spike said. He sighed and suddenly rolled on top of Giles. “We done talkin’? We all made up? Say it!”

“I bloody well will not, not while you’re involved with Angel,” Giles muttered in disgust, turning away when Spike tried to kiss him.

Spike grinned. “Fine, no more Angel. I told you, it was just a couple times.”

Giles glared. “Do you swear?”

“I swear, I swear, I bloody well swear! Say it! Say it, say, it say it! And then fuck me some more!” Spike ordered, and then leaned down to nip sharply at Giles’ shoulder.

“God, you’re insufferable.”

“SAY IT! Please?”

“Fine. Love you,” Giles said grudgingly. “But if I find out that he’s touched you again, first I’ll kill him and then I’ll kill you. And I’m not staying in this dreary apartment one more moment, I’m only here for three days, and if you won’t come home with me then at least come back to the hotel.”




“Of course.”

“Room service?”

“Yes, for Christ’s sake!”


Giles sighed and rolled his eyes. “Huge. Jacuzzi.”

“You’re stickin’ it to the Council, aren’t you?”

Giles smiled slightly. “Perhaps.”

“Whips and chains?”

Giles eyes darkened. “If you’d like.”

“I’m your man, then,” Spike said, grinning, and then leapt to his feet and started dressing. “And why’re you so jealous? Is it because of me or because of Angel? ‘Cause you know, everybody knows you two had a thing . . .”



“Angel, I’m outta here for the next couple of days, got my phone thingy if you need me but only if it’s really important, like naked pictures of Buffy or somethin’, got it?” Spike said, adding Buffy’s name simply for the provocation factor.

Angel’s head snapped up and his face hardened. “Giles.”

“Yeah. Later, then.”

Angel came around his desk and grabbed Spike by the lapels. “He’s here.”

Spike rolled his eyes. “No, Angel, he’s in England, I fucked him metaphysically on an astral plane or some such rot.”

“What in the fuck do you think you’re doing?”

Spike smirked. “Havin’ two days off, gettin’ off, fuckin’ a rather hot Englishman senseless.”

“Goddammit, Spike!” Angel shouted, shaking him.

Spike pushed him away. “Oh, shove it with the jealousy, that ain’t you talkin’, that’s Angelus, thought you were tryin’ to get away from that whole bit.”

Angel leaned back against his desk, arms crossed and glowering. “Why is he here?”

“For me.”

Angel scowled. “You’re not leaving, are you?”

“Why, Angel, didn’t know you cared. Wait, actually I did. And for the record, no.”

“Good,” Angel said grudgingly. “We’ll need you.”

“I know. Bye now,” Spike said, turning to leave.

“Spike, wait . . . what does he think of all this? We may need his help down the road.”

Spike sighed and turned back. “Let’s see; he thinks you’re an idiot for bein’ here, doesn’t understand why you’re here, doesn’t trust you, hates your hair and thinks you’re fat. Oh, and he thinks you dress like a male prostitute. NOW GOODBYE ALREADY!” Spike bellowed and stormed out. Then he popped back in. “He did, though, think you were precious as a wee puppet man, I showed him the pictures. Ta!” And he was gone again.

Angel groaned in frustration and buried his face in his hands.

“He thinks I’m fat?” he whispered to himself.


 “God, Watcher,” Spike sighed, draping himself across Giles’ chest. “I’ve missed you.”

“At least you haven’t been moping around for weeks thinking I was fucking dead,” Giles grumbled, ruffling his fingers through Spike’s hair.

“You gonna let that go any time soon?”

“Not bloody likely,” Giles muttered.

Spike smiled and closed his eyes, running one hand over Giles’ body. “Leaner. Harder. Nice.”

“Hundreds of girls to train and very few people to train them, that’s what happens.”

“Like it,” Spike murmured, then he froze suddenly. “Oh, bloody hell,” he mumbled.

Giles frowned. “What?”

“Wait for it . . .” Spike sighed.

Suddenly the door was kicked open and Giles looked up to see Angel standing there, scowling.

“Oh, for God’s sake! Are the two of you utterly incapable of opening a door properly?” Giles spat, looking from Spike to Angel.

“Wasn’t sure you’d let me in, what with you not trusting me and hating my hair and all!” Angel shouted, throwing his arms out wide. Spike snorted and hid his face in Giles’ chest.

 “What?” Giles said.

“Never mind! I need to talk to you, Giles,” Angel said, moving to stand at the foot of the bed.

Giles sighed and leaned back against the pillow, putting one arm behind his head while reaching for Spike’s cigarettes with the other hand, pulling one out and lighting it, his eyes on Angel all the while. “I don’t believe there’s anything we need to discuss, Angel,” he said, squinting at Angel through the smoke. “I’ll have nothing to do with you while you’re at Wolfram & Hart.”

“Well, you sure don’t seem to have a problem showing up here and fucking an obnoxious, pain in the ass vampire who also happens to be at Wolfram & Hart!” Angel snarled.

Giles sat up suddenly, grabbing Angel by the shirt collar and yanking him down so that they were face to face. “You’ll watch the way you speak about Spike, and the way you speak about me, Angel, I’m perfectly capable of killing you just for the hell of it and you’d do well to remember that,” Giles hissed, his face and eyes hard.

“Well, well, a cat fight over little ol’ me,” Spike said smugly, rolling on to his side and propping his head in his hand. “Do go on.”

“Shut up, Spike!” Giles and Angel said simultaneously.

Angel yanked himself free of Giles’ grip, sighed, and started pacing along the foot of the bed. “Listen, Giles, I’m not here to start a fight, I’m here because we might need your help.”

“You won’t get it. Not under these circumstances.”

“Giles, I’ve got a plan . . .”

“That you won’t share with anyone. No, Angel.”

Spike sighed and rolled his eyes. “Gods, the two of you can be such complete idiots . . .”

“Shut up, Spike!” Giles and Angel again said in unison, and Spike leapt off the bed and began dressing.

“Know what? I’m bloody well sick and fuckin’ tired of bein’ told to shut up! You!” he yelled, pointing at Angel. “You can’t ask him for help if he doesn’t know what in the hell you need it for! And you!” he said, turning to Giles. “You’ve known him long enough, why don’t you trust him? You could at least hear him out!” He shrugged into his duster. “I’m gettin’ the hell outta here, have fun buttin’ heads and gettin’ absolutely NOTHIN’ FUCKIN’ DONE!” The door to the hotel room slammed and Angel and Giles stared after him.

“Good God,” Giles said finally. “He’s really coming into his own.”

“Yeah,” Angel said grudgingly. “He is.”

Giles turned to stare at him. “Don’t you dare hurt him, Angel. I will kill you.”

“For God’s sake, Giles! I’d never hurt him, not now, at least not intentionally. He’s here because of the connection, the blood, you’ve got some idea about that, now,” Angel said, nodding at the mark on Giles’ neck. “He’ll always be there when I need him, and I’ll always be there when he needs me, that’s why he’s still here! But I’m not the one who can hurt him, not in the way you mean. You’ve got the power now to hurt him like that, not me. So let me reverse that threat, don’t you hurt him or I’ll kill you!”

They glared at one another for a long time before Giles finished his cigarette and stubbed it out on his bare heel and then flicked the butt at Angel.

“Pfft!” Angel said, rolling his eyes and crossing his arms. “Was that supposed to impress me?”

“Did it?” Giles asked, voice hard.

“Pshh! No! Well, yeah, kinda,” Angel admitted, grumbling, and sat down on the love seat across from the bed. “All right, listen, Giles, please. I am working on something and no, I haven’t told anybody what it is, partially to keep them all safe and partially because I don’t have all the details yet.”

Giles regarded him in silence before finally speaking. “So what is it you think you need from me?”

“I have no idea, I don’t know that we’ll need anything from you, but it’d be nice to know you guys were there for us if we call.”

“I won’t commit to anything, Angel, not until I know all the details. And even then I might not be willing to render any assistance, especially if it involves putting any of mine in any more danger than they already are.”

Angel sighed. “Well, are you willing, as things progress and I feel safer about letting everyone in on what’s going on, to at least consider helping us? On some fronts, at least?”

Giles stared at him for a long time through narrowed eyes. “Depending upon what type of help you may need and how dangerous it might be, yes, I’ll consider it.”

Angel rubbed at his forehead. “Guess that’s all I can ask for now.”

“And that’s all I can offer, for now.”

Angel heaved a heavy sigh and fell back on the love seat, all trace of animosity gone, and began picking at the upholstery. “So. How’s things? You look good. How’s, you know . . . Buffy?”

Giles sighed. “She’s fine.”

“Giles, you don’t . . . really think I’m fat do you?”


“And, Giles,” Angel said, lowering his voice to a whisper and leaning forward and fidgeting with embarrassment. “Why is everybody suddenly asking me if we, you know,  slept together?”

Giles clapped a hand over his eyes and fell back on the bed with a groan.


“Please, please, stay, Watcher, just a little longer, so afraid I’ll lose you again,” Spike whispered against the skin of Giles’ neck.

“I’ll see what I can do, two more days, perhaps,” Giles said. “But you can still come back with me, you know.”

“Can’t,” Spike sighed, and wrapped himself around Giles as if he would never let go.


“I suppose there’s no point in asking you again?” Giles said, arms around Spike’s waist, his forehead resting against Spike’s. “I just got you back.”

“No,” Spike sighed. “You could stay here, you know.”

“I can’t.”



Spike buried his face in Giles’ neck and brushed his lips lightly against the mark, smiling a bit when Giles shuddered. “We’re fucked. And not in a fun, dirty way,” Spike said mournfully. “I’ll miss you, Watcher, will you come back?”

“I’ll try.” Giles smiled and kissed him.  “Call me,” he whispered.

“I will, if I can figure out how this fuckin’ phone thingy works. Don’t forget me!”

Giles laughed, and then sighed and held Spike tightly. “How could I possibly forget you?” he asked, bring Spike’s fingers to the mark on his neck. “You’ll always be here.”


Giles sighed and rolled his eyes. “Be careful, Spike, that place is goddamned dangerous, if you die again, I’ll kill you. And stay the fuck away from Angel.”

“Jealous,” Spike whispered, smiling.

“Damn right. Say it.”

“Love you,” Spike murmured, reaching up to kiss him.

Giles closed his eyes and sighed again. “Goddammit, Spike. Love you, too,” he whispered.



“Spike,” Giles said, putting a hand to his mouth as he smiled. “I see you’ve mastered the art of the cell phone.”

Spike sighed. “Nope. Fred dialed it for me. Listen, Watcher, I called for a reason, I need somethin’.”

Giles frowned. “Is everything all right?”


“What is it? What do you need?”

“I need to know what you’re wearin’. And then I need you to take it off.”

Giles froze and only his eyes moved to take in the crowd around his desk, Willow, Faith, Xander; and Buffy, who was grinning maniacally.

“Spike,” he said calmly. “Perhaps I should let you know that you’re on speakerphone? And that I’m in a room full of people who can hear you?”


Giles groaned and buried his head in his hands as Buffy and Faith fell all over each other, laughing and hooting and herding a giggling Willow and a shell-shocked Xander out of Giles’ office.

Giles sighed and picked up the receiver. “I’ll never live that down, you know, you utter bastard.”

“They gone?”

“Yes,” Giles bit out through clenched teeth.

“Good. What’re you wearin’?”


“Giles? Just listen to me – what? Dammit!” Angel bellowed and hurled the phone as hard as he could at Spike’s head. Spike snatched it out of the air.

“I told you to let me call him, you idiot!” Spike hissed before putting the phone to his ear.

Angel sighed and paced in front of his desk while Spike talked softly into the phone. “Hey, Angelkins,” Lorne whispered, leaning forward and grabbing Angel’s arm. “Why is Spike our contact with this Giles cat? I thought it’d be Wesley, or you, didn’t the two of you have, you know, a little of the forbidden Vampire/Watcher love that dare not speak its name, although I guess I did just speak its name, but didn’t you? Back in the day?”

Angel groaned and clapped a hand over his eyes.


“Watcher? It’s Fred. Please.”

Giles looked at Willow, who nodded frantically and leapt up and ran from the room.

He sighed. “Fine, Spike, I’ll allow her to come, but you’re to be with her at all times, am I understood? Never leave her alone, with anyone, it could be terribly dangerous for her at Wolfram & Hart, considering how powerful she’s become.”

“She’ll be safe, Watcher, I swear to God.”

“Right, then. She has to meet with the coven in order to be there as quickly as possible – and the teleportation makes her ill, be ready for that as well, and Spike, please . . .”

“Got my word.”

Giles sighed. “That’s good enough for me, then.”

Spike was silent for a moment. “Thank you, Watcher. Love you.”

“Love you, too, Spike, and for God’s sake take care of yourself as well.”

“I will.”


Giles waited, fingers drumming on the desk top, then he winced as the mark on his neck flared and he picked up the phone and dialed immediately. “Spike,” he whispered. “I’m so sorry. I know how much she meant to you.”

He listened for a long time as the grief poured down the telephone line, and when Willow appeared in the doorway, face drawn and tearstained, he motioned her forward and pulled her onto his lap and she cried on his shoulder, and he comforted her with touch and comforted Spike with soft words until they were all too tired to cry anymore.


“Watcher. Warm up the bed.”


“Angel’s got a thing in Rome, I’ve convinced him to drop me at your place.”

Giles could hear Angel bellowing in the background and put a hand over his mouth to cover a grin. “Don’t tell me, you . . .”

“Knocked him around for an hour and when that didn’t work I threatened blackmail.”


“Those wee puppet man pictures.”

Giles started giggling uncontrollably, tears streaming down his face. “You mean he doesn’t know about Dawn’s website,”

“Shut it, Watcher, he’ll hear you! Well, he would if he’d quit all that bloody screamin’. ANGEL! We goin’ or what?” Spike shouted. Giles heard more grumbling in the background. “Good then, you twit. Watcher?” he said, speaking to Giles again. “We’re on our way.”

Giles closed his eyes and sighed as a thrill shot through him. “How long?”

“Four hours.”

“Thank God,” Giles muttered, hanging up and then rushing around, banishing everyone from the house for the next 24 hours.


 “Fuck,  Watcher, so good,” Spike bit out through clenched teeth, bracing himself against the headboard. “Good and hard, Jesus fuckin’ Christ, so good . . .”

 “God,”  Giles groaned. “Oh, God!”

“Love you, Watcher, Christ, love the way you fuck me . . .”

“Love you, so goddamned beautiful . . .”


“So, Giles,” Faith said, leaning against his desk. “Getting’ a new bed, huh? Hmm, wonder why that could be?”

He flushed and hid his face in his hands.


“Buffy!” Giles said, pulling her into his arms. “How have you been? You’ve been gone too long.”

“Been great,” she said, grinning up at him.

Giles rolled his eyes. “The Immortal?”

“Oh, yeah. Big yeah. And hey, you know what? Neither Dawn nor I have been inclined to kill Andrew. Weird, huh?”

“Quite, actually,” Giles said, taking a seat behind his desk.

“Oh, and you know what else? Angel put a tail on me!”

“Angel did what?”

“He’s had some guy following me all around Rome.”

“What in the bloody hell for?”

She propped her elbows on his desk and fluttered her eyelashes. “Because he loves me. In a really weird, stalkery kind of way. Jealous?”

Giles glared and she smirked.

“Seriously, though,” she said, sighing. “I’m having tons of fun with the Immortal, but I really kind of miss Angel. I mean, really miss him. I thought the tail thing was kind of sweet, if, you know, stalkery.”

Giles looked at her thoughtfully. “You really still love him. After all this time.”

“Yeah,” she said, picking up a pen from Giles’ desk and toying with it. “I think I always will. Giles, you’ve had lots of contact with both him and Spike, especially Spike, with all your perverted phone sex,” she said, grinning at his put-upon sigh. “Surely you have a better idea now of what’s going on there. Are you absolutely sure we can’t help them? Whatever they need? Giles, I understand it’s Wolfram & Hart, but I also understand Angel, I know him. Can we, you know, reconsider the boycott?”

“It hasn’t exactly been a complete boycott,” he said quietly.

“I know. But we haven’t helped them as much as we could, either.” She looked at him. “Will you at least think about it? For Angel’s sake? For mine? For Spike?”

He stared at her for a long time, thinking.


“Angel, enough, you gotta tell us what’s goin’ on!” Spike yelled.

“Nothing is going on, nothing that I can tell you.”

“What, you’re gonna hold off to the eleventh hour?”

“Of course not!”

“You’re a bloody awful liar,” Spike muttered and stormed out of Angel’s office.


“Well?” Spike said, looking at Wesley and Gunn in turn. “What do you think?”

Wesley and Gunn looked at one another and then Wesley sighed, sinking wearily into the chair behind his desk. “I think we should try it,” he said, rubbing at his face.

“Me, too,” said Gunn. “I’m in.”

“Good. Four days. One of you talk to Lorne. Wes, what about Blue? I think she should be involved.”

Wesley looked up at him with tired eyes. “I think she should, as well.”

“Right,” Spike said.


Wesley, Gunn, Lorne, Illyria and Spike entered Angel’s office four days later and stood as a group in front of his desk.

Angel sighed. “What?”

“I’m calling a meeting,” Wesley said.

“A meeting? What for?”

“There’s something we need to discuss, Angel.”

“There’s nothing we need to discuss, Wes,” Angel muttered, scowling.

“I believe otherwise. Do you care to come along?

Angel glared. “Come along where?”

“As I’ve said, I’m calling a meeting. Off-site.” Wesley glanced at Spike. “Death Valley.”

“Jesus Christ, Wes, I don’t have time for this shit!”

They locked eyes, saying nothing while saying quite a lot.

“Fuck,” Angel muttered, finally. “Fine.”


“I think we’re clear,” Wesley said. “We haven’t been followed and I haven’t been able to detect any sort of listening devices, either on the SUV or any of us, and certainly not in here.” He glanced around, peering through the gloom of the abandoned opera house. “So, Angel, please. Tell us what’s going on.”

Angel paced, one hand over his mouth. “I can’t tell you! There’s too much risk involved, I can’t afford to lose any more of you!”

“Angel,” Wesley said. “All of us already know that loss is an inevitable part of what we do. Tell us what you’re planning.”

“You know, Angel, it might just be possible that we could, oh, I don’t know, help?” Gunn said pointedly, glaring.

“I can’t believe you guys are ganging up on me,” Angel muttered.

“Angel, we’re not ganging . . . well, actually, I suppose we are,” Wesley said, smiling slightly. “But I’ve known you for years, Angel, and when the stakes are high you tend to go off on your own and take up the burden by yourself. Don’t do that this time.”

“Angel,” Spike said quietly. “Tell us.”

Angel sighed and sat down. “Fine. But don’t come crying to me when you all end up dead.”


“So. That’s it. Happy, now?” Angel said, scowling.

Gunn and Wesley stared at each other for a long time and then looked back at Angel.

“Sign me up,” Gunn said, sighing and leaning against a wooden grate.

“I’m on board, as well,” Wesley said.

“I will kill whomever you please,” Illyria said, “As long as it pleases me.”

Angel’s head jerked up. “You’re kidding. You actually think this will work?”

“What, you didn’t?” Wesley asked, smiling.

“Well, I wasn’t sure, I’m still not sure . . . do you really think it’s a good idea?” he asked, a hint of uncertainty in his voice.

“I think it’s bloody brilliant,” Spike said. “Watcher?”

Giles stepped out of the shadows and Angel’s eyes widened. “I think it’s suicidal at best, especially in its current configuration,” Giles said, moving to stand in front of Angel and crossing his arms. “But I also think it’s incredibly brave. Heroic, even.”

“What the hell are you doing here?” Angel shouted, glaring. “Why didn’t I sense you, why . . .”

“Oh, that’d be me,” Willow said, grinning, and moving to stand beside Giles. “Mystical shields, you know, that kind of stuff.”

Angel stared at both of them, dumbfounded, and then turned again to Giles. “Don’t tell me you’re here to help,” he grumbled, glowering.

“Well, no, I hadn’t intended to until I knew what you were planning, and now that I know, you have our support. Well, my support, at any rate, there are others who are involved in making the final decision,” Giles said.

Angel’s head dropped. “Buffy,” he whispered.

“Yep, that’d be me,” she said, she and Faith suddenly standing at Giles’ side. “And whatever you need, Angel, you got it.”

They stared at one another for a long time, and then she smiled, and before she could blink she was swept up in his arms and he was kissing her, deeply and for a very long time.

“Whoa, kids, slow down,” Faith said, grinning. “I’d tell you to get a room, but we all know what might happen if you did.”

Buffy and Angel glared at her and then Angel slung out one arm to pull her close, and then he looked at Giles. “You sure about this? It’s gonna be big, Giles, really big, and if we fuck it up all of us are screwed.”

“Then we’d best not fuck it up, then,” Giles said. “Angel, you should work with Buffy and Faith, get things coordinated, and I’ll see about bringing the girls over in shifts, we wouldn’t want to attract attention by bringing the whole lot at once. And tell me,” he said, walking over to Lorne and staring at the gun Lorne was holding with a great deal of distaste. “This Lindsey, he’s the one who brought Faith into this mess, correct?”

“Yeah, one of ‘em,” Faith said, frowning.

“Then he’s mine,” Giles said, holding out his hand to Lorne. “That is, if you don’t mind, Lorne?”

 “Mind?” Lorne said, handing the gun over carefully. “Of course I don’t mind, I could just kiss you, you long tall pint of British ale, Angelbuns, I can see why you fell for this guy, I mean come on, look at him!” Lorne said, beaming.

Spike and Buffy giggled while Angel and Giles sighed in unison.

Faith walked over to Giles and wrapped her arms around him. “Thank you. Nice to know you got my back,” she said quietly, and he smiled and kissed her on the cheek.


“Another last night on earth,” Giles panted against the skin of Spike’s back.

“Yeah, Watcher, make it count, make it count,” Spike groaned.


“Don’t say it,” Giles whispered.


“No. Because it would feel like goodbye.”

Spike slid his arms around Giles’ neck and kissed him. “I’ll be back.”

“You damn well better.”


“Good sword play, English,” Lindsey said, smirking. “Not as good as mine, of course, but good.”

“Years of training,” Giles said, reaching into his pocket. “Tell me, Lindsey, do you remember Faith?”

Lindsey frowned. “That’s a weird question, what’s she got to do with anything?”

“Just answer it, please. Do you remember her?”

“Faith? The Slayer bitch? Yeah, she was hard core, we had high hopes for her. Heard she’s busted out, maybe I’ll track her down . . .”

Giles raised the gun and fired six times.


“BLOODY HELL ANGEL, YOU’VE SLAIN THE FUCKIN’ DRAGON!” Spike bellowed over the sound of the battle.

“I know,” Angel said, grinning like a madman.


“Dammit, Eve, quit shifting it into neutral!”

“Stop yelling at me Lindsey, I’m nervous enough as it is!”

“I can’t believe that fuckin’ Englishman shot me six fuckin’ times and didn’t kill me! It’s like he did on purpose or something! Godammit, I’m bleedin’ all over the seat, I just got it restored, original!”

“Where are we going?”


“What about the senior partners?”

“You think the senior partners are gonna look for us in fuckin’ Oklahoma?”

“Are we coming back?”

“Fuck yeah, we’re comin’ back,” Lindsey snarled. “Just not, you know, for a while. Couple years, maybe. And then, I swear to God . . .”

“You’re going to kill Angel,” Eve finished for him, sighing and rolling her eyes and grinding the gears.


The battle raged on four fronts, Angel, Spike, Wesley, Gunn and Illyria in the alley outside the Hyperion, Willow hiding in the shadows and throwing up wards when necessary; Faith and Xander leading an attack from the west and Kennedy from the east, and Buffy coming at the demon hordes from the rear, and all of the Slayers having the time of their lives.


Suddenly all was quiet, most of the demon army either dead or dying or fleeing, and the AI team stared at one another, stunned.

“We did it,” Gunn said finally, grinning slowly. “We fuckin’ did it!”

“I’ll be damned,” Wesley said, slumping up against the wall and staring at Angel. “Congratulations, Angel, that was incredible – Angel?”

“Guys,” he mumbled as he fell to his knees. “I don’t feel so good.”

“God, are you hurt?” Gunn asked, running to his side.

“Little bit,” Angel said, wrapping his arms across his belly.

“Oh, my God,” Willow whispered, coming out of the shadows. “Angel. Don’t you feel it?”

“Feel what, like shit? Yeah, I feel it,” he said, wincing.

Spike’s eyes widened and he ran over to where Angel was kneeling. “No, you stupid git, she means do you feel it, THIS!” he shouted, taking Angel’s hand and then stopping, wincing in pain and doubling over. “Oh, bloody hell,” he bit out before collapsing.


Giles was making his way as quickly as he could to the Hyperion when the throb in the mark on his neck stopped. He staggered, putting one hand up against a wall for support. “God, no,” he whispered, and then he ran.


What he saw when he got there shocked him.

It was a celebration, Angel on his knees and smiling a pained smile while the rest laughed and cried and shouted, and Spike, God, he thought, knees buckling, Spike was there, yelling and flinging his arms around everyone’s necks and grinning maniacally, and Giles smiled through his daze to think that a vampire could feel that much crazy, wild, loud love for so very many people.

 “You’ve known all along, Watcher, that . . .”

“This one does, yes.”

“And Mr. Giles,” she whispered, smile in her voice. “It’s ‘former’ vampire now.”

Spike’s head whipped around and he pinned Giles with his gaze, and then ran and pinned him with his arms. “God, Watcher, I heard her . . .”

“So did I,” Giles whispered, reaching up to cup Spike’s face and then sliding his hands down to his neck. “Jesus, Spike,” he said, stunned.

“I know, I know, it’s horrible,” Spike muttered, and Giles shook his head in exasperated disbelief at the thought Spike would find his reward horrible, and then Spike wrapped his arms around Giles’ neck and kissed him hard. “Where’s the Slayer, Angel needs her, God, there’ll be no stoppin’ ‘em now, it’ll actually probably get quite disgustin’ . . .”

Giles laughed. “Spike. Shut up, kiss me one more time,” Spike did. “Keep your arms around me,” Spike did. “And watch,” he said, nodding his head, and Spike turned to look as Buffy elbowed her way through the crowd of Slayers to stand in front of Angel, staring down at him with wide eyes.

“Is it true?” she whispered.

“Yeah,” he said, looking up at her, still not really believing. “I don’t know how, I signed it away . . .”

“WHAT?” Wesley bellowed but Gunn waved him off, rolling his eyes.

“Angel. One thing I’ve learned this past year? Contracts are meant to be broken,” Gunn said, grinning.

“God,” Angel said, eyes wide. “It’s for real?”

“It’s for real, man,” Gunn said, clapping him on the back and making Angel wince.

Angel turned back to Buffy, who was crying now, and started to struggle to his feet but she tackled him, arms around his neck, kissing him. “God, I love you, Angel,” she said, crying and laughing. “Love you, love you, love you, always have and always will.”

He smiled. “I love you, too, Buffy,” he whispered. “But, uh, ouch.”

“Oh, sorry! Sorry!” she said, sliding off him and helping him to his feet, and Giles looked around, the wide smiles on the faces of everyone on Angel’s team, Willow grinning and crying at the same time and giving high fives to a laughing Faith, and he found himself crying as well and he wiped at his eyes, then noticed that Spike was doing the same.

“Why, Spike,” he said. “Are you crying?”


“It’s quite understandable, it is very romantic . . .”


“We all weep in situations like this . . .”

“STOP IT, YOU BASTARD!” Spike bellowed, shoving at him, and Giles shoved back, laughing, and then both sets of eyes widened in surprise at the ease with which Giles pushed him away.

Giles grinned. “Oh, yes, I think I’m really going to enjoy this new set of circumstances . . .”

“Ponce,” Spike grumbled, burying his face in Giles’ chest.

“Giles!” He looked up to see Buffy running toward him. “Look out!”

The last thing he remembered was a searing pain slicing through his gut.


“Well, Slayer?” Spike whispered, sitting at Giles’ bedside.

“It is serious, Spike,” she said, tears in her eyes. “He’s in critical condition. I’m so sorry, Spike, I should have been watching, I thought we’d gotten them all . . .”

“Not your fault, Slayer,” Spike said, turning his gaze back to Giles. “If I hadn’t been human I’d have seen it comin’, stopped it . . .”

“Guys, don’t,” Angel said quietly. “It’s nobody’s fault. All we can do now is wait.”

And so they did, the three of them, everyone else in and out for short visits, for the next two weeks.


“Look who’s awake finally!”

Giles struggled to focus. “Buffy?” he said, voice hoarse.

“Yep,” she said, grabbing his hand. “How you feel?”

“Like . . . like I’ve been run through with a sword,” he whispered.

“Well, that’s good then, I guess, ‘cause that’s what happened. Giles, I’m so sorry, I tried to get there in time . . .”

“No,” he said, squeezing her hand weakly. “Not your fault.”

She started fussing with the bedclothes. “Do you need anything? Water, balloons, stuffed animals?”

He smiled slightly. “No, I don’t think so. Where is Spike?”

“Oh, he’s around,” she said. “The doctors are saying you’ll be fine, but you should really get some rest.”

“Spike . . .” he whispered, already falling back asleep.

“He’ll be here when you wake up,” she said, and something in her voice made him frown as the blackness overtook him.


“There’s something you’re not telling me,” Giles said, finally sitting up in bed and staring accusingly in turn at Angel and Buffy. They looked at one another and Angel nodded, and Buffy sighed, running her hands over her hair, fidgeting, and looked at Giles.

“He took off, Giles,” she said.

“Took off? Took off where?”

“We don’t know. Giles, I’m so sorry, I don’t understand it either, he was here day and night, right by your side, holding your hand, and then when the doctors gave you the all-clear he just disappeared. We have no idea where he went or when he’s coming back.”

“You mean, if he’s coming back, don’t you,” he said, the realization of it settling in his chest like a weight, hurting more than the wound to his abdomen.

“Yeah,” she said, grabbing his hand. “Like I said, I don’t get it, we couldn’t get him to leave or rest or eat for two weeks and then he was just gone, took Angel’s wallet and car and left.”

“I don’t understand . . .” Giles whispered.

“I think I do, Giles,” Angel said quietly, and Giles stared at him. “He’s scared. We were so strong for so long and then suddenly we’re human and much more vulnerable, and I think it scared the shit out of him to see you like this, in fact, I know it did, he wouldn’t eat or sleep, he’d just sit there and stare at you.”

“Well, if he was so bloody concerned,” Giles spat. “Then why in the hell did he leave?”

“Mortality,” Angel said. “He almost lost you. I think that he believes that he was leaving you before you left him, left him by dying.”

“I’m not dying!”

“But you were. And you will, someday. Time lasts forever when you’re immortal, but then humanity hits you and it suddenly feels like there will never be enough time, never.” Angel sighed and grabbed Buffy’s hand and squeezed it tightly. “I think he just couldn’t handle the fact that one day, you’ll die, and no matter what he says or does now he’s powerless against it, and he thinks he took the easy way out, by not being there when it finally happens.”

Giles was quiet for a long time, staring into space. “When can I leave?” he asked finally, his voice brittle.

“The doctors say you can fly in about two weeks.”

“Fine, make the preparations, please, Buffy. And if the two of you don’t mind, I’d like to be alone for a bit.”

Buffy and Angel looked at one another, then at Giles, and then they left in silence, and Giles lay back against the pillow, put one hand to the now-dead mark on his neck, and refused to weep, refused, refused, refused.


Three months later and it was summer in England, an unusually warm and sunny day, a Sunday, and Giles was tending to the horses, mucking out stalls and doling out feed, when he heard a voice behind him, tentative and trembling.


Giles stiffened, his blood freezing, and then slowly turned to look. He was too thin and his skin was dark and his hair was a mess, grown out and curly, the blonde tipping the ends, and he was wearing filthy blue jeans and a stained white t-shirt, and the look on his face was one almost of terror, and Giles thought he was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen, so he walked up to him and punched him as hard as he could in the face and stalked off.

“OW! Bloody hell!” Spike muttered, sprawled in the dirt of the paddock, then he leapt to his feet and started chasing after Giles who was stomping off through fields of green in the direction of a wooded area north of the house.

“Watcher! Wait, please!”

“Get the fuck out of here, Spike!”

“Watcher, please, listen to me, I’m sorry!” Spike yelled, grabbing Giles by the elbow. Giles shook him off with ease and kept walking.

“GODDAMMIT, WATCHER!” Spike bellowed, and ran as hard as he could, tackling Giles low and from behind, sending him face first into the grass.

“Get off me, you bastard!” Giles shouted as they struggled. “Get off me and get the fuck out of here, I want absolutely nothing to do with you anymore, you filthy fucking coward, GET OUT!”

“NO! No, listen to me, goddammit, please, Watcher!” Spike wheezed, grunting when Giles flipped him onto his back and pinned him to the ground. He shoved his face into Spike’s.

“Listen to what, Spike? Your pitiful little excuses for leaving like you did? About how much it hurts to be human? How now you’re frightened of death? Well, join the goddamned club! Poor, poor Spike, let’s all feel sorry for him, shall we, gets his reward for being a hero and then fucking runs? Is that what you want me to listen to?” Giles sneered.

Spike stared up at him, eyes wide and tired and full of tears. “No,” he whispered. “Just wanted . . .”


“To . . . tell you I love you,” Spike whispered, tears streaming now. “Missed you. Almost died without you, need you back, please . . .”

Giles reared back, letting go of Spike’s arms. “What in the bloody hell am I supposed to say to that, Spike? Is that supposed to fucking fix it?”

“God, Watcher, I don’t know! I don’t fucking know, does it?” Spike said, scrubbing at his eyes, and Giles stared at him, watched him, saw again the softness in his eyes and remembered the softness of his mouth and the softness inside him. He sighed and his eyes closed. “Watcher?” Spike said hesitantly, gently touching Giles’ arm. “Please?” he whispered, desperate, so desperate, and the walls Giles had been building for the past three months crumbled.

“You stupid, beautiful boy,” he whispered and then leaned down to kiss him, and Spike flung his arms around Giles’ neck and kissed him back hungrily, still crying, then they were both struggling with their clothes and Giles was between Spike’s thighs, and Spike groaned and wrapped both hands around their cocks.

“So long, Watcher, God, please, love you, please, please . . .” he whispered.

“Love you, God, so different, Spike, fuck,” Giles muttered, thrusting frantically, the new heat of Spike’s body making his head spin, and Spike bucked up against him, almost howling with need, and they writhed against one another, fevered and cursing and calling names of love, Spike shouting when he came, hot and slick against Giles' cock, and then Giles fell over the edge as well.


“You look awful and you smell even worse,” Giles said, clothed again and looking at Spike closely.

“I know,” Spike muttered, staring at the sky and still wiping at his eyes.

“Spike, come back to the house. Get cleaned up, something to eat.”

“Can I . . . can I stay? I really am sorry, I was just so . . .”

“I know,” Giles said softly, having seen the terror in Spike’s eyes. “Of course you can stay.”

“I mean . . . forever, Watcher. I need forever.”

“I can’t give you forever, Spike. But I’ll give you every thing and every day I have left on this earth.”

Again the tears started and Giles held him as he wept.


Giles lounged in the tub and watched as Spike fussed with his hair, cursing.

“You could use the mirror, you know,” Giles said.

Spike’s eyes widened. “Fuckin’ hell, I keep forgettin’,” he muttered, moving to stand in front of the mirror. “Don’t know why, me bein’ as pretty as I am.”

Giles rolled his eyes. “What are you going to do with it? Your hair?”

Spike sighed and stared at himself. “Dunno. Let it go dark, I think.”

“Keep it curly.”

Spike arched an eyebrow. “Like it like that, then?”

“Yes,” Giles said, hint of a leer on his face.

Spike scowled. “Curly it is then, I suppose,” he said, sighing.


Giles watched and listened as Spike strained to see and identify the Slayers currently on the training field, and he put one hand over his mouth and turned Spike to face him.

“Spike, I’m afraid I have some bad news,” he said.

Spike frowned. “What?”

“You need glasses.”



“Oh, for God’s sake!” Giles shouted and started yanking off his tie, struggling out of his suit and into jeans and a t-shirt.

“Where the hell are you goin’, we ain’t done here!”

“I’m going to tend the horses, I feel the need to do something a bit more masculine than continue to argue with you for another two hours about the color of the goddamned pillow shams, we sound like a couple of old queens!” Giles yelled and stomped off.

“Speak for yourself!” Spike yelled after him. “I’m a young queen and it’s not my fault YOU HAVE BLOODY AWFUL TASTE!”


It was winter, and there was a fire blazing in the fireplace in the living area of Giles’ bedroom, and he was sprawled along the just long enough sofa that it had taken him weeks to find, Spike laying atop him, making it a bit difficult to breathe but Giles didn’t particularly care, it had become a weekly ritual since the weather had worsened.

Giles was holding up a book with one hand and had the other wrapped lightly around Spike’s neck, while Spike rested his head on Giles’ chest, his eyes, now with glasses, glued to the book he had spread open on the floor.

Giles watched him out of the corner of his eye. He was still loud, still infuriating, but there were more and more moments like this, of quiet, conversation about literature and music and politics and philosophy, and Giles felt as if he were getting to know a new person, the person he’d only glimpsed before.

Spike was, however, still quite beautiful, as well.

Giles suddenly flung his book over the back of the sofa and Spike’s head jerked up. Giles looked at him pointedly “Bout time, Watcher,” Spike whispered, grinning, and squirmed against Giles while kissing him teasingly.


Springtime, and Spike sat on the window seat in Giles’ office, head pressed to glass, taking in the rare sunny day, green all over, and he sighed heavily.

“Something wrong?” Giles asked.

“It’s just . . . all this color, the green and the gold . . .” He turned suddenly to face Giles. “Do you think there’s anyway we could bring her here? I hate the thought of her bein’ buried underneath where all that dark came from. Bring her, and Joyce, too, do you think Buffy and Dawn would like that?”


As it turned out, several families who had relatives buried in Sunnydale had demanded excavation of its many cemeteries, and Buffy and Dawn added their names to the waiting list, as did Willow, and two months later they were able to bring both Joyce and Tara home.

A memorial service and reunion was scheduled, all those who had known Joyce or Tara pulled in for the service and the celebration of the lives of two women who had done so much, so quietly, to make all of this happen.



“Angel! Come in. Where’s Buffy?”

“With Willow.”

“Of course she is. How’ve you been?”

“Fine. Great, really,” Angel said, smiling, and moving to stand in front of Giles where he leaned against the front of his desk.

“Enjoying your reward then?”

“Yeah. It’s . . . weird, after all this time, to feel like this, but good.”

“Well, I’d imagine it would take a bit of getting used to. Spike has his bad moments – too much maintenance, he says,” Giles said, grinning.

“He’s right,” Angel said, and then leaned in closer. “Giles, how in the hell did everyone start talking about . . . you and me?”

Giles sighed. “Angel, as to how that rumor got started, you really do not want to know.”

Angel sighed as well. “I was thinking, maybe, something like the mindwipe I used after Connor . . .”

“Don’t you dare!”

“Don’t I?”

“Angel, the whole lot of them have been going on about it for months now, but none of them really believe it. Let them have their fun. Besides, it’s none of their concern, anyway, and I rather like keeping them on their toes.”

Angel frowned. “But what if they get pissed?”

“Pissed at what? A rumor? Just let it lie.”

“Right,” Angel said, sighing and poked Giles hard in the chest. “Take care of him.”

Giles eyes narrowed and he poked Angel back even harder. “You take care of her. She means more to me than anything in this world, and when I threaten death as far as she’s concerned, I’m bloody well serious.”

“OW! You’re really gettin’ off on pushing the ex-vampires around, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I am,” Giles said, smirking, and Angel rolled his eyes and started to leave.

“Angel,” Giles called. Angel turned. “I’m proud of you. Really.”

Angel grinned. “Thanks, sexy,” he said, before darting away.

Giles sighed and grumbled and rolled his eyes and fidgeted with his tie until Spike leapt into the room, pointing at him accusingly.

“I KNEW IT!” he bellowed.

“Knew what, you prat?”

“That you fucked Angel! You gonna deny it? I just heard you! He called you sexy!”

“I am sexy! Spike, review that conversation in your head very carefully. There was absolutely no actual mention made of me having sex with Angel,” Giles said, irritated.

“Doesn’t mean it didn’t actually happen,” Spike said, pouting.

Giles walked up to him and kissed him. “No. It doesn’t.”

“You just admitted it!”


“You said . . . I know . . . I heard . . . have you put some sort of spell on me?” Spike muttered, glaring through narrowed eyes.

Giles grinned. “Yes,” he whispered, and pulled Spike close to kiss him deeply. “Now come on. There are two very special women waiting for us.”


There were a lot of tears, but also a lot of laughter, and after the service, as everyone else filed into the house for drinks and catching up, Buffy walked up to Giles and Spike, Angel trailing behind her, and did her best to hug them both at the same time. “That was hard,” she whispered. “But good. Good to have them close to us. I love you pervs.” She kissed each one of them in turn.

Spike smiled and hauled her into his arms. “Love you, too, Slayer. And thank you. If it weren’t for you . . .”

“Stop!” she said, holding up one hand. “You’re gonna make me cry. No more crying for now, all right?”

“Right,” Spike said softly, smiling, and handed her over to Giles who pulled her high into his arms and then started spinning in circles until she was giggling and dizzy.

“God,” she said breathlessly, smiling up at him when he finally set her down. “You’re really happy, aren’t you?”

“Yes,” he said, and then hugged her again until she squeaked.

“Good,” she whispered. “I love you, Giles, more than anything.”

“I love you, too,” he whispered and then straightened. “I’m not sure, however, what I think about the type of young man you’ve started bringing home, Buffy.” He glared at Angel over Buffy’s shoulder in faux fatherly mistrust. “I mean, really, Buffy, vampires?” Spike snorted and Angel rolled his eyes.

“Dad!” she hissed, poking him. “Stop embarrassing me! I’ll never be able to bring other boys home now!”

“What other boys?” Angel said, glaring. “NO OTHER BOYS, WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? NO BOYS!”

“Kidding, kidding,” Buffy said, leaning up to kiss him before turning back to Giles. “Besides, you’re one to talk.”

“Do as I say, not as I do!” Giles said, pointing a finger at her.

“Right,” she said, smiling. “See you guys inside.” She grabbed Angel by the hand and led him toward the house. “Buffy, no boys! I mean it, one boy, ME!” he grumbled as he followed her inside.

Spike sighed. “They’ll be married before you know it and there’ll be snot-nosed brats all over the place, Gramps.”

Giles sank to the ground beside Tara’s grave. “I rather like the sound of that, actually.”

Spike fell to the ground beside him. “So now what, Watcher?”

“Now,” Giles said. “We sit here for a bit and enjoy the sun, visit with Tara, then go inside and get stinking drunk and visit with everyone else we love, tell them that we love them and hug them all as much as we can before they go, and then go to bed.”

Spike fell to his back and sighed in contentment. “Good plan, Watcher.”

And so that’s what they did.



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