Revenge For Love - (14) Surprises and Explanations

Tasha

Chapter Summary: Angelus is dead. Dru is waiting for the sunrise at the mansion. A Council representative has showed up to "reclaim" Buffy, but Spike and a surprising appearance by Xander stopped it from happening. How in the world is Xander alive or has he just escaped Dalton's bonds? Kendra showed up to help with the battle in the cemetery. What happens now that the battle is over? Will Kendra stay? Will the Council succeed in taking Buffy back to England?

Disclaimer and Distribution notes are listed on the Index page of this story.

'Single' quote marks surround thoughts in this story. "Regular" quotes are around spoken words.


Dalton looked at Xander from head to toe. He hadn't sensed a vampire coming near. This boy hadn't felt like a vampire either, and he knew that he should be a vampire if he was walking around. There was no way the boy would have survived the blood loss and vampire blood given to him. He walked over behind Xander.

Xander watched the vampire move behind him. He remembered his name was Dalton from the time he visited them in the high school library. He kept his main gaze on the Council representative, but he was curious as to why the vampire circled him.

Spike gazed at Buffy in confusion. 'Pet, I thought you said that problem was taken care of?' He questioned her in their thoughts.

'So did I.' Buffy followed Dalton's movements. He seemed to be as confused as they were. She knew her "son" would not have failed them. 'I gave Xander to Dalton, and he was quite upset with Xander. There is no way he let him live. Look at him.' She nodded towards Dalton.

Spike glanced over at Dalton. He tilted his head to the side while Dalton examined Xander. 'He does seem perplexed.'

Buffy nodded at Spike. 'Yes, he does.' She let her concern about the Council representative wander since Xander had the gun pointed at him. She walked over to Xander. She sniffed him near his neck. When Xander was passed out at Giles, she'd been too busy to make any sense of Xander's actions. They had so much more to work out at the time. She hadn't paid attention to his scent.

Dalton sniffed Xander again. He looked at his Mistress and shook his head. He whispered softly enough that only Spike and Buffy would hear. Of course Xander heard too since Dalton was right near his ear. "This is not the one I turned. There is no way he could have escaped, and he does not even smell like the one I killed."

Buffy nodded in agreement. "He isn't a vampire either." She added to the conversation. "So, if you turned him, this isn't the man you took with you." She was highly confused. Who was this person before her? She never really smelled Xander when she was completely human.

"Buffster," Xander briefly switched his glance to Buffy. "I will explain everything as soon as I can. I promise." He returned his gaze to the cross wielding Council member. "Right now we need to take care of tweed boy here."

Buffy stepped back next to Spike. She motioned for Dalton to keep an eye on Xander. "Don't let him out of your sight." She said loud enough for everyone to hear.

Willow moved next to Buffy. "Why, Buffy?"

"Something isn't right, Wills." Buffy told her friend. "Until we get it all figured out, no one is leaving."

Xander stepped closer to the man with the cross. "Move it, buster. Inside." He waved the front of his weapon in a motion towards the front door.

Giles, who had been watching everything going on with avid interest, whispered to Joyce, "Go in through the back door to unlock the front door please."

Joyce nodded. She disappeared around the side of the house to the back door. Lights flickered on from the kitchen to the entryway. Then the door opened. She stepped aside for the strange man to enter followed by Xander, Dalton, Spike, Buffy, Kendra, Willow and Giles.

"Mom, how did we get in?" Buffy knew that she had no need for an invitation because her mom told her earlier that she'd been invited just in case, but Spike and Dalton still did.

"I invited them each in vocally when I went home to rest," Joyce answered. "Just in case they'd have to get in quickly when I wasn't here."

"Thank you, Mommy." Buffy hugged her mother tightly. She was amazed at how well her mother was handling everything. Joyce accepted her vampiric family as if they were human. It made her feel good to know that she had her mother's support.

"Breathing, Buffy. I really need to do that still." Joyce choked out.

"Oops. Sorry. I always forget that." Buffy blushed.

Buffy walked over to the man from the Council. She ripped the cross out of his hand. "Oooo Owwww." She teased then rolled her eyes. "Stupid Council." She tossed the cross to Giles. "Do we have anything we can tie this idiot up with?

Joyce headed downstairs for some ropes she had. The banging of various storage items being sifted through was heard up the stairs from the basement. Finally Joyce Summers emerged with thick nylon ropes in her hand. She handed them to Buffy.

Spike chuckled and winked while Buffy tied the man to one of the kitchen chairs that had been placed in the living room. 'I'll have to keep in mind that she has those, pet.'

'Pervert.' Buffy laughed, even though her thoughts held a note of chastisement.

'And you love me for it, sweetheart.' Spike answered her with a gleam in his eye.

Buffy secured the last knot around the man's feet. "All right, now someone better start explaining a few things." She pointed at Xander. "You first because I know darn well that you should not be able to be here right now."

Willow shivered at the coldness in Buffy's tone. "Buffy, maybe he just woke up."

"He shouldn't have survived something if my guess is right." The dawn of realization was upon Giles. The strange looks that passed between Spike, Buffy and Dalton made more sense now. "Right, Buffy?"

Buffy faced her Watcher, mother and friends. "You're right, Giles." Her voice held no remorse. She gave Willow a sympathetic look though. She doubted that she would understand her reasoning. "I had to protect myself and my family, Willow. I'm sorry, but I gave the person at Giles' house to Dalton to take care of."

Willow gasped in shock. "Oh my gosh." Her hands slapped over her mouth. "You told Dalton to kill Xander?" She looked over at Xander's strangely calm face.

"Yes, Willow. That is what I did." Buffy sighed. "I knew Dalton would do right by his family. I don't know how to help you understand why I had to do what I did."

The man tied to the chair spoke up. "See, this just proves that you need to let the Council take care of her. She isn't stable." He squirmed in the chair to try to get loose. "She's killing humans."

Kendra stood next to the couch. She leaned against the wall. She was ready to make a move at a moment's notice if Giles' gave any indication that Buffy should be staked.

Giles shared a look with Spike. "You said that not all of your family would understand why you hadn't killed Xander right away." He spoke about their conversation earlier in the day at his house. "Did you know what was being planned?"

"Not specifically." Spike stood at Buffy's side in a show of solidarity. "I felt the anger from our son. I had a feeling that he would seek retribution." He wrapped his arm around Buffy's waist. "I was not going to stop him. It was his right."

"The rights of a vampire are inconsequential!" The Council representative yelled out. He looked at Giles. "Surely you can't condone the death of a human."

Xander raised the butt of his weapon. He brought it down hard on the back of the Council representative's head to knock him unconscious. He looked up at the shocked faces around the room. "He was getting annoying."

Dalton spoke up for the first time since they stepped inside the house. "The one who is waiting for the sunrise is not this one." He pointed to Xander. "I would know. His scent is embedded in my brain because of all that I did to him."

"He smells familiar to me." Buffy walked around Xander. "But I didn't pay attention to his scent the first night I saw him as I am now."

"You know there is a way you can tell, pet." Spike offered a suggestion to everyone. He knew they wouldn't like it, but it would answer a lot of questions. "You bit him the first night you saw him."

Buffy nibbled her lower lip. "Yes, I did." She shyly looked around the room at the various expressions on everyone's face.

"But Buff Buffy." Willow stuttered. "You can't mean that you want to bite Xander again?"

Giles glasses were quickly ripped off his face and cleaned vigorously. "As much as I hate to agree, that would be a sure way to find out. Faces may be glamoured, but blood does not lie." He sighed. "Not that I condone it mind you. It is Xander's choice."

Xander gulped and stiffened. They'd told him that he would be required to do something that would scare him, but they assured him that it was necessary for the greater good. "I have an explanation for what happened, but you'd just think I was lying if you weren't sure of who I was, eh?"

Spike stared at the dark-haired boy in surprise. He figured that the human would be all running away right now. "You'd be right about that, Whelp." There was no doubt that the teenager was afraid. The scent of fear radiated off the boy, but he hadn't run away yet.

Spike hadn't spent much time around the boy before now. So, his sense of the boy's scent was useless. He only knew the scent of the one who attacked him the last time.

Xander rested the M-16 against the wall by the front door. He gulped hard, and his breath caught in his throat. He moved to stand in front of Buffy with his hands in the air to show that he had no weapon against her. He closed his eyes and turned his head. "Just do it quickly." He put his faith in Giles and Kendra to stake Buffy if she started to take too much. He'd been shown so much of the future and what would happen if he let his anger get in the way. He had to trust Buffy this time. He only hoped that his trust was well placed and that his worst fears wouldn't come true.

Buffy looked at Xander with wide eyes. She shook off her shock, reached for one of Xander's hands, and she brought his wrist to her lips. Blood was blood. She didn't have to take it from his neck. She thought it might make the whole thing easier for him if she took the sample from his wrist. She looked over at Giles one more time to see if he was going to stake her.

Giles edged to the front of the couch, but he kept his hands in his lap. The look on his face told her that he didn't like it, but he wasn't stepping in. He held his breath when Buffy slipped into her demon's guise.

Buffy's elongated fangs pressed against the skin of Xander's wrist. Their sharpness met no resistance to pierce the vein and pull the needed taste into her mouth.

Xander gasped the moment Buffy's fangs pricked him. It was different than the first time he'd been bitten. Sure he was scared this time too, but he was more confident that he would survive the encounter this time. He felt the shiver of slight pleasure go through him, and it shocked him into opening his eyes. "Oh my."

Buffy stopped pulling on Xander's blood. She licked the twin prick holes closed. The saliva on her tongue held healing properties to hasten the sealing of the wound. She released Xander's hand, stepped back into Spike's arms, and trembled. "That is Xander." She'd been unprepared for her own reactions to sampling Xander's blood that way.

Xander slumped against the wall. His heart raced from the encounter. He wasn't quite sure what to think of it all. It certainly didn't feel like he'd expected it to. He tried to calm his quickened breathing.

Everyone watched Buffy and Xander's reactions with interest. Each person had a different angle or thought on what they'd witnessed.

Willow moved over to Xander to hug him. She held him in a tight embrace. "I'm so proud of you Xander." The fact that Xander went from trying to kill Buffy and Spike to helping them was huge. Though now she was confused as to who Dalton killed.

"You shouldn't be, Wills." Xander found his voice again. He hugged his best friend then let go. "If they hadn't found me after I called the Council, I might be the one who was dead. I was full of hate."

"Who are they?" Giles questioned. "And what possessed you to call the Council?"

"I was upset, G-Man." Xander began his tale. "She went from one evil dead to another."

Spike growled deeply. He tightened his arms around Buffy.

"Give me a minute to explain, bleach boy." Xander held a hand up to silence Spike. "I have to tell the bad to get to the good."

Buffy rested her hand on Spike's chest. "Let him finish."

"Only for your sake," Spike answered Buffy. He pulled her over to the other side of the room to sit down in a chair together.

"There is so much more at stake here than any of us probably realize." Xander picked up the gun when the man started to rouse awake again. He didn't want to have to deal with him too. So, he used the butt end of the gun again to knock him out. "All I wanted to do in the beginning was get Spike away from Buffy. So, on the way home the first night I snuck into the high school to get the Council's number from Giles' office."

Giles mentally went through where he had the number stashed. "How did you even know where to find it?"

"I came in one afternoon after school when you needed to make a report. I just waited out in the main library area until you were done, but I saw where you put the book away at."

"I'll have to move that, it seems." Giles huffed, a bit flustered. That drawer should have been locked.

"I'll replace the lock." Xander answered the unasked question.

"Oh Xander." Willow whimpered in exasperation and sympathy.

"I was desperate." Xander explained. "So anyways, I called them the first night. Then when I came back to Giles' place the one day I saw Spike and Buffy all over each other on the floor, I turned right back around and headed home. That was when Mister Tweed here showed up."

Joyce listened to the boy who was supposed to be one of Buffy's best friends, talk about how he betrayed her. Her motherly instincts wanted to slap the boy upside the head.

"It turns out that they've had operatives here every other week watching Buffy since the Master killed her. This week was their off week, but the operatives were close enough to get back in a hurry when I called."

Spike growled at the mention of his Great-Great-GrandSire. "Stupid bat faced git."

Buffy chuckled. "Watch it. He's family."

"Was family, luv. Thankfully you dusted the idiot." Spike snorted. "He deserved it. No one touches my girl."

Kendra raised an eyebrow. Her arms were crossed over her chest. She might be silent, but she hadn't missed any of the exchanges between anyone. She wasn't here for most of what they spoke of, and her last trip taught her to get all her facts before reacting. So, she was trying to be patient. It was hard to do in the presence of so many vampires. She was itching to stake them all, including her Slayer sister.

"Believe it or not, I actually refused to go back to the house and stake Spike." Xander found himself still a bit unsure of why they wanted him to do it instead of them. "They said they needed me to stake Spike so they could take Buffy back to England. That wasn't why I called the Council. I thought I was protecting Buffy from evil boy there. I didn't want anyone taking her anywhere."

Giles sighed. "You were very foolish to call them especially with everything you've read and heard about the Council. You should have known they wouldn't let Buffy go if she was a vampire."

"I know Giles. It was pretty stupid." Xander frowned. "When I refused they tied me up, gagged me, and put me in the closet of my room. Before they put me in the closet I saw one of the Council guys actually change into my clothing, and he had my face on him. I have no idea how they did it, but right before my eyes was another me."

"That explains why Xander tried to stake Spike." Willow entered the conversation. "I didn't think Xander could be that hateful to kill Spike after Buffy's warning."

"What changed your mind about Spike though, Xander?" Buffy questioned. "You were defending him, as well as me, with that gun on the Council guy. Also, how did you escape?"

"There are a lot more people that know about Buffy's predicament than we've been told. The Coven explained a lot of things to me about how wrong I was about vampires." Xander started to speak again when a loud knocking came from the door. He quickly walked over to see who it was.

"Careful Xander. Council members won't need an invitation." Giles cautioned. Spike stood up ready to attack if necessary.

"No one else from the Council should be able to get past the street now." Xander opened the door. He revealed the face of a middle aged woman with piercing green eyes and auburn hair. "Hello Athena."

Athena stepped into the Summers' home. She smiled brightly at Giles. "Hello, Rupert." Her voice held a clear and crisp British accent. She opened her arms up to Giles.

"Athena?" Giles stood up, walked over to the new woman, and hugged her. "It has been forever since I've seen you. You don't usually leave the Coven in England. What brings you here?"

Athena looked around the room until she rested on the blonde head of Buffy Summers. She took two steps forward before the bleach blonde vampire blocked her path.

Giles clapped Spike on the shoulder. "Athena is an old friend. I trust her with my life." He looked at Athena. "Do you promise not to bring any harm to my charge?"

Athena nodded. She watched the vampire as he reluctantly stepped to the side of his Mate. "This young lady is what brings us here earlier than we intended." She extended a hand out to Buffy. "We've waited a long time for another Slayer to emerge this way."

Buffy accepted the lady's hand. She stood up in front of Athena. "You've waited for me?"

Xander's voice from the other side of the room brought the attention back to him. "Seems like you are all prophecy girl again, Buffy." He half chuckled. "Except this time you got to come back from death with a lot more perks."

"An interesting way to put it, Xander, but it is so much more than that." Athena stepped back to face the entire room. "We've known about the one who would bring light to the darkness and darkness to light for hundreds of years. When the last Slayer was turned, Antoinette, we tried to defend her, but we weren't strong enough. We knew she wasn't the one the scrolls spoke of, but we tried anyways. It was the Coven who gave the monks the amulet you used William."

Spike blinked in surprise. Athena knew his name. Why would a Coven, which he knew consisted of a bunch of witches, care about knowing him?

"Yes, William, we know who you are." Athena read the waves of curiosity off of the vampire.

"How did you know Antoinette wasn't the one the prophecy spoke of?" Giles itched to have his notepad in front of him. He looked around the room for any kind of paper and pen that he could take notes with.

"Mom, I think we need to get Giles some paper before he starts writing on his arm or the furniture." Buffy laughed.

Joyce chuckled. In the time she'd spent with Buffy since her turning, they talked about Giles and his research. Joyce had read some of Giles' journal entries into the Watcher's Diaries as well. He was quite thorough in his quests. She opened her roll top desk, picked up a pad of paper, chose a suitable pen, and walked back over to Giles. "Here you go, Rupert."

Giles actually blushed at the gesture. "Thank you, Joyce." He hastily opened the notebook and started writing furiously.

'Some things never change.' Athena smiled and shook her head. She'd known Rupert Giles for many years. "Antoinette only died once. The scrolls speak of one Chosen in the land of the sun who would die at the hands of a Master. We didn't realize it actually meant THE Master. Also it is told that she would be shaded from then on until her second death, where she would find her peace in the darkness."

Buffy squeezed Spike's hand. 'That part is right. I have found my peace in the darkness. You are my peace, beloved.' She kissed the back of Spike's hand.

'You bring light to my darkness, pet. You are my sun.' Spike turned their joined hands over and kissed the back of Buffy's hand.

Athena sighed happily at the sight of the two lovers. They seemed to be a good match. This bode well for what they would face later. "The Council also knew of these scrolls. There are many things that the hierarchy of Council members actually keeps from the general Watcher eye. This is one of them."

"I always suspected that they held things back, but the last few days have shown me so much that I never knew about." Giles sighed in disgust. "The group that I thought I was protecting from evil has shown that it holds a lot of evil in its own. They taught us so many lies."

"Yes, they have. Lies that have tainted the origins of demons and Slayers enough to cause friends to turn on one another." Athena looked Xander squarely in the eye. "Though thankfully once we explained a few things, and showed him bits of time, he turned around."

"I won't make the same mistake again." Xander promised Spike and Buffy. "I may not like it, but I'm not going to like everything and everyone. This is what you want. So, I'll deal."

Buffy jumped off the chair and ran at Xander. She hugged him with tears in her eyes. "Oh Xander, I'm so glad you feel that way. I didn't want to see you dead, but I thought you tried to kill my family." She looked at Willow. "I don't regret sending the man that hurt my Mate and I to his death, but I'm glad it wasn't really you Xander." She turned back to Xander to hug him again.

"You gave us a bit of a scare with that one, Buffy." Athena interjected. "We thought that our calculations were incorrect when we saw that you allowed the death of a human. Once we looked at the situation further, we realized why you did it. Evil comes in many forms, and not all things evil are demons. You did what you had to do."

Spike relaxed some in the chair. Maybe if this Coven supported their rights in this way, they would have a chance to convince the Watcher and Red that Buffy was justified in her actions.

"How did you know about Buffy's transformation though? Other than Xander's call to the Council we haven't told anyone about it." Giles shook the pen in his hand to make sure the ink continued to flow.

"We have been watching Sunnydale for a long time." Athena pointed to Willow. "We felt the presence of a new power itching to emerge from that young lady there. Although she hasn't realized it yet, she will be quite powerful in the future. We were watching to be sure that she was trained before her power took her."

Athena crossed one leg over the other as she sat down in a chair. "It made the arc of emergence more noticeable to us when Buffy was turned. Immediately we watched the Council to see if they realized what happened. As soon as we were aware that they knew, we warned them to stay away from the Slayer."

"I'll bet the wankers didn't like that too much." Spike snorted in disgust. "They think they own the Slayers, as if they aren't even people."

"You are correct, William. They laughed at us and told us to mind our own business." Athena huffed.

Giles actually laughed. "The Council told a coven of the most powerful witches in this realm to mind their own business?"

"I had the same reaction to Quentin Travers when he told me that." Athena nodded. "That man has gotten far too power hungry." She shook her head back and forth. "We warned them that the Coven would protect this one. I told him that we knew of the prophecy, and we would not allow the Council to destroy this girl."

"You can't keep us from what belongs to us." The Council operative was conscious again. "You stupid and foolish woman. She isn't yours to control. She's ours."

"Arrogant fool." Athena smirked. She flicked her fingertips at the man, and he disappeared. She blew the end of her fingers with a grin on her face. "Never liked Charles."

Willow blinked. "What did you do to him?"

"Don't worry, my little Wicca." Athena smiled. "I just sent him back to the Council with a little present of warning. He is alive."

Giles wished he could see the look on Travers' face when his operative was returned to him magically. "So the Coven will protect Buffy whenever possible?"

"Yes, she will be magically warded as well as her natural defense enhancements." Athena pulled a book from a bag that appeared on her wrist. She opened it to a specific page. "Buffy's Slayer demon, and yes Slayers were originally created from a vampiric like demon, has turned Buffy into what we call a daywalker." She pointed out several passages. "The Council found this information a few hundred years ago around the time of Antoinette's turning. She will be able to walk in sunlight, crosses will not harm her, and she will not dust from a staking. Though she could still die from it since it could cause her to bleed to death if her healing abilities were weakened. Of course having her head cut off would have the same effect as it would to a human or vampire."

Spike wrapped his arms around Buffy tighter. He held her against his chest. He knew that he would rather dust himself than see any harm come to Buffy.

"We assumed that Buffy would have some vampires willing to help her, but we did not expect a full claiming and mating to occur." Athena sat down facing Spike and Buffy again. "Antoinette and Charmand shared a deep bond, but it was not as strong as what you two share. We aren't sure why."

"Maybe I kept more of my humanity than he did?" Spike interjected his thoughts. "I also became a Master vampire fairly quickly. Though that was because of the Slayer I killed during the Boxer Rebellion, but with the blood of two Slayers in my veins that would increase my demon as well, right?"

"Perhaps that is it." Athena pondered the information. "You do realize that you never lost your soul completely when you were turned? Not all vampires do." She looked over at Dalton. "Your son is the same way." She realized the connection between the vampires here was strong. She turned back to Buffy and Spike. "Also the auras we've seen from you two show that when you mated Buffy's soul connected with what remained of yours. It enhanced its strength and solidified it within you."

"Bloody hell. I'd better not resort to my namby pamby days, Slayer, or so help me " Spike growled.

Buffy laughed. "You're still the Big Bad to me, love. Always."

"That's easy for you to say. You have no idea what a poncey git I was when I was a human." Spike huffed.

"You are as you always have been when you've allowed your true self to show, William. You will share more of an even balance with your demon now." Athena interrupted. "We don't know what other benefits you will see as time goes by. The more blood you two share, the stronger things will be between you.

"What does this prophecy say about me?" Buffy needed to know what she should expect.

"You are the guardian of the mouth of hell. That must refer to the Hellmouth." Athena looked over at Kendra. "The Slayer line runs through Kendra now. There is only one blood Slayer." She focused on Buffy again. "You will live for quite a long time if your Mate, friends, and the Coven have any say in it. You will actually outlive the Council itself. That is one reason why the Council wants you. It is said that you will abolish the Council in time."

Giles gasped. "Abolish it?"

"We don't know why. We only know that it is destined to happen." Athena saw how worn the faces of everyone around her were. "I know this is a lot to take in at once. You may keep that book. It holds all the information you need. Rest assured the Council will not be interfering again. I will be having a personal little chat with Quentin Travers today. If he doesn't behave, the end of the Council will be sooner over later." Her voice held the note of a threat and anger in it. "They will not be allowed to destroy the Chosen One. We will make sure several Coven members are present in Sunnydale for the time being to be sure our instructions are followed by the Council."

"Thank you, Athena." Buffy sighed a bit in relief. "I've been worried about so many things since I woke up. I feel so much safer now."

Athena stood up. She cupped Buffy's face in her hand. "You have such a great love inside you, Buffy. Share it with the world. Let your heart guide you. You will find the right way to live then."

Athena moved in front of Spike. "Your love and devotion will serve you for many decades to come, William. Forget the pain, but remember the lessons learned from them. Do not return to the life of mayhem that you led, or it will destroy you and your Childe." She offered her hand to Spike to bring him to his feet. She leaned forward.

Spike felt the warmth caress his cheek and course through his body when Athena kissed his cheek briefly. He looked at her with widened eyes. "Wha "

"A gift, fair warrior." Athena stepped away from Spike. She moved over to Willow. "We will be watching you young lady. Soon, you will need to begin your training." She smiled warmly at Willow. "It is time for me to leave. Your home will be protected with our wards. You can all rest easy."

Joyce and Giles nodded in synchronization. "Thank you, Athena." Joyce was happy to know that her daughter would live for a lot longer. She would never have the kind of life Joyce envisioned for her, but she would be happy. That was all that mattered to her now.

Xander let Athena out of the door. Then he sat down on the couch next to Willow. He hugged her.

"So another apocalypse averted." Willow chirped. "No more Angelus trying to eat all of Sunnydale."

"Yep. The Hellmouth is not so hell mouthy right now." Xander quipped. He smiled at Buffy and Spike. They did look very good together. He bit back the jealousy in his heart. He never would have had her in the first place.

"Do you think you'll be staying, Kendra?" Buffy asked her sister warrior.

Kendra shook her head no. "Dis is yawr playce to be."

"I doubt the Council would keep her here." Giles sat back on the couch. "Especially since the Coven will be clear about Buffy remaining on the Hellmouth." For the first time in weeks he felt relaxed. "The Council won't want to incur the wrath of those powerful Wiccas. You two should be safe."

"For now." Buffy sighed. "Until the next time someone thinks they are bad enough to take me on."

"We'll always be ready, luv." Spike kissed Buffy's cheek chastely. "With everyone here, they wouldn't survive any attempt they made on you."

"You're right." Buffy stretched out in the chair she and Spike shared. "If I can tame the "Big Bad" no one else will even be a challenge."

Everyone in the room laughed but Spike. He pinched her butt and tickled her mercilessly. "I'll show you who's big and bad."

Buffy jumped up off the chair and ran for the stairs. She squealed the whole way up while she tried to escape Spike.

Everyone heard the door to Buffy's bedroom slam closed with much giggling and shrieking. They all looked back and forth at each other. No one wanted to acknowledge what would be happening next up stairs.

Giles cleared his throat. "Well "

"Yes I suppose I should go grab the sleeping bags for everyone to sleep in and some sheets for the couch." Joyce stood up. "I think it would be best if we all stayed together still."

"Quite right." Giles agreed. "At least until we are sure the Coven was able to get through to the Council."

"Dibs on the couch." Xander chimed in.

"Giles gets the couch." Joyce corrected. "He deserves to be as comfortable as possible."

"Darn relegated to the floor." Xander mock pouted.

"Be happy you even get the floor after what you did." Joyce waggled a finger at him. "You'd better not hurt my baby girl again, or you will meet Mama Bear Joyce."

Xander gulped and nodded. Willow giggled. Giles smirked.

"What about me, Mrs. Summers?" Dalton questioned.

"Please call me Joyce." Joyce Summers smiled warmly. "I have a cot that I can put in the basement for you. That way you will be safe from the sun. I'm sure Buffy will take care of covering her window for her and Spike."

"Thank you, Joyce."

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As the sun rose from beneath the horizon two separate vampires went to meet their end. One male vampire, recently turned, was sent to the hell he deserved for his many actions against those he should have tried to protect instead of kill. He left this realm screaming in pain and cursing his fate.

In another part of Sunnydale an old vampiress went from flesh to dust peacefully and quietly. No screams rent the air when the flames consumed her. She left this world with a smile on her face because her soul was leaving for heaven. The insanity she suffered from all those years after being turned was no more. Her soul, long buried deep within her to protect it, was set free to join her family in the sky. She was at peace, her destiny fulfilled.

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