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Dreams and Desotos by bloodshedbaby
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Thank you to the very awesome spikeskat for beta'ing!!

chapter 18
Clearing his throat uncomfortably as the seconds ticked by, Giles inquired, "So, it was... er, successful?"

Angel's bewildered stare leapt to encompass the watcher; the slowness of the vampire's clouded brain just beginning to supply the necessary information of who the newcomer was and his significance in Buffy's life.

"W-what... success?" Angel managed to get out, fists clenched tightly at his sides as he tried to maintain control of his temper and not succumb to the demon's ire.

Silence followed the question until the ridges began to erupt once more on Angel's substantial brow. A growl of irritation bounced off the high stone ceiling, clearly alerting the others that he was losing the battle

Spike headed past the emotionally labile vampire, stopping only when he had reached Buffy's side. Whatever enchantment he'd been under in regards to Angel was now thoroughly dissolved and he met the other vampire's murderous stare with one of his own.

"W-what success?" Angel growled again, his anger fueled by the acute need to have some of the blanks missing from his memory filled in.

It was Spike who finally answered him. "The success of putting humpty dumpty back together again so they could suss out why you got crapped out of hell, is what. You seem to have most of your precious few marbles back, so yeah. If that can be considered success."

Buffy rolled her eyes at Spike's remark, but didn't try to shush him. "We've got a lot to talk about," she told Angel simply, sparing him a small smile. "And to be honest, I'm not feeling so hot either, so maybe we can do this whole question and answer thing later?"

At her words, Angel's gaze flew worriedly over her slight form until he came upon the marks on her neck. Instinct took over as the full brunt of his demon burst from beneath his skin. He moved forward shakily, ready to ride to her rescue once more and save her from the threat of Spike, despite his own obvious lingering physical limitations.

A quick flick of Buffy's wrist stopped Angel in his tracks before he could reach her. "Just... back off, Angel. I don't need any more testosterone - or whatever it is that gets you vamps all grr and irrational," she informed him, eyes flashing "So this dumb male posturing? Get over it. Yes, Spike bit me."

There was no mistaking the menace in the snarl that was sent in Spike's direction.

"I said, back off!" Buffy repeated. She held his angry gaze for a moment before sighing heavily. "Look, Spike only drank from me so that he could piss you off enough to attack him and drink second-hand slayer." She watched dispassionately as Angel processed her words, the reality of the situation slowly dawning on him.

But damned if she could find it with herself to garner up a shred of sympathy.

"Yeah, that's right. Spike set you up. We set you up."

"He.. bit you," Angel insisted, glaring at the topic of conversation next to her. "Hurt you."

Hurt her? Not likely.

"No Angel, you hurt me. He saved me," she bit back, thoroughly disenchanted as well. Whatever empathy and remorse she'd felt at seeing him broken were gone, leaving her with the comforting knowledge that she'd been given back her true emotions. Because after she had gotten over the guilt of sending Angel to hell, this slow-dawning resentment towards him was of the familiar and hadn't wavered since she'd settled into the land of the unliving with Spike. She couldn't deny being relieved in seeing her ex-lover alert, but the desperation to aid him had long since faded.

Angel's features smoothed out only to leave a morose, tragic, expression in its place that was easily recognizable; Buffy having seen it multiple times before he had lost his soul. Instead of making her nostalgic, it only served to hammer home the rapid healing capacity of her blood.

At the reminder of her willing donation, Buffy began to seriously feel the effects of the sacrifice as a wave of dizziness swept over her. Taking a deep, steadying breath, she turned to her watcher. "Giles, we're going to head back to the house."

Giles looked at her in surprise. "Now?"

"Yes, now. I'm tired. Spike's tired. And I can't really see any reason why we need to stay. You're well-armed," she informed him, gesturing to the crossbow he held competently in his hands.

"What about...er, Angel?" Giles sent a quick look in the vampire's direction, ignoring the confused glower he found there.

Buffy shrugged uncomfortably, knowing she should be feeling... something that Angel was back and on his way to recovery. But she just couldn't find that elusive compassion within herself beyond the generic consideration of his unexpected return.

"Tell him to go take a shower, I guess," she suggested blandly, grabbing Spike's free hand as another wave of dizziness struck unexpectedly.

"You ok?" Spike asked, his face tight with concern when he felt her sway against him.

Buffy nodded, reassuring him with a weary smile. "Yeah. Well, except my head that just keeps on spinning."

He nodded curtly, his own body mourning the loss of her blood. Knowing he needed to get her out of there, Spike turned without ceremony and led her towards the door; her ruined panties still clutched to his neck. He heard her sigh of relief as they passed through the doorway, the stench of neglect fading with every step they took.


The sound of Giles calling her name halted them just outside the bedroom door.

Snarling, Spike spun around. "Look, she said she was tired, you git. You deaf or something?"

Giles sighed heavily. "No, Spike. I-"

"She's not staying here, got it?" Spike informed the watcher heatedly. "Besides, Hell took its giant vampire-shaped shit on your floor, not ours. Figure that that should be tellin' of something, this being the Hellmouth and all. Things don't happen like that for a reason."

Giles drew himself up, peeved at the unfounded interruption. "I was merely going to suggest some orange juice. She looks rather pale." There was a hint of accusation in his voice.

Spike immediately bristled. "Only did what had to be done," he announced coldly.

"I am well aware of that," Giles replied in a tired voice. "I sent Joyce to the butcher shop for more blood."

"No," Angel injected, his brain finally catching up with the quick paced conversation. "D-don't need anymore blood."

Giles turned to the rehabilitated vampire. "It isn't for you."

Angel blinked in confusion as he tried to comprehend the significance of that remark.

"We'll be at the house if you need us," Buffy announced quietly, allowing Spike to turn her in the direction of the front door.

Angel's head shook back and forth rapidly and another growl left his throat. "No."

Buffy's head whipped around, dark circles painting themselves beneath her eyes. She opened her mouth to once again attempt to communicate the reality of the situation when Giles beat her to it.

"Yes, Angel. They're leaving." Her watcher's intense gaze found hers and he gestured for them to go with a slight tip of his head.

Sending him a grateful smile, Buffy wasted no time in following Spike out of the mansion and toward the shaded manhole cover that led to the sewers and what used to be her home.

And Giles was alone with one significantly restored vampire that had, as Spike had accurately put it, been crapped from hell and dropped on his library floor.

And who really needed to take a shower.

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