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Chapter Notes: Beta'd by the fabulous chocolate loving Amy. Fabulous banner by Karyn. Runner up of Saga Catagory Nominated at the Fang Fetish Awards, round three.
Buffy sat up slowly, carefully scanning the area for clues. ‘O.k., sitting on the grass, next to a grave, in the middle of the forest…’ As she stood, brushing dirt from her dress, she leaned to take a closer look at the tombstone.
BUFFY ANNE SUMMERS
BELOVED SISTER AND DEVOTED FRIEND
SHE SAVED THE WORLD A LOT
Softly singing her words, “Willow…you got some ‘spaining to do”.
Knowing she would be needed elsewhere tonight, Buffy straightened up and followed the clear and well-worn path back toward town.
“Dawn! Dawn! Are you there?” Spike bellowed, as he came barreling in the front door of the Summers’ residence.
Spike heard Dawn’s voice coming from the second floor as she replied, “I'm here!”
Dawn rushed to the top of the stairs, as Buffy followed.
“Thank God. You scared me half to death ... or more to death. You - I could kill you.” His relief and anger, clear, in his voice.
Dawn, slowly, made her way down the stairs as she called his name, trying to get his attention. “Spike.”
”I mean it. I could rip your head off one-handed and drink from your brain stem.”
As Dawn reached the bottom of the stairs, Spike finally realized something was up. “Look”. She says, as she turned to look back up the stairs to Buffy, who was following Dawn down the stairs.
“Yeah? I've seen the bloody bot before. Didn't think she'd patch up so…” He faltered, staring at Buffy as she continued down the stairs, returning his gaze.
That was when he realized that this wasn’t the bot.
Buffy calmly made her way down the stairs. Placing a gentle hand on his cheek, she smiled at him, “I have a lot that I need to tell you, and even more that I need to say to everyone else, but I’m gonna have to ask you to try and be patient for the time being. For the moment we have some seriously big problems to deal with. One thing I will tell you, I trust you; with my life, with my sister’s life and with every other life that I hold dear. I believe in you and I will not allow anyone to treat you badly again. You’ve got your crumb Spike, now, be the man I know you can be.”
Shocked by her gentleness, it took Spike a moment to register her words. Dazed by confusion and awe, he looked from one sister to the other, unable to speak past the lump in his throat, his eye’s filled with tears as he gazed at his golden goddess, his gratitude and love shining clearly as he drew himself up to stand tall and proud.
The shared moment came to an abrupt halt as the front door was once again slammed open…... by the Scoobies.
“Is she here?" Willow asked breathlessly as she stumbled through the door.
"She's here," Anya announced excitedly as she spied Buffy standing at the foot of the stairs.
“You’re here.” Willow grinned at Buffy, oblivious to the tension created by their arrival.
“You didn't say anything, didn't tell us where you were going.” Xander added, his joy at seeing her, clear on his face, as he bounced on his toes.
“You just killed the demons and ran off.” Anya accused bluntly.
"Buffy!" Willow happily exclaimed.
“Are you okay?” Tara’s question was more subdued. She carefully watched Buffy’s expression, and dark tendrils of fear gently touched her mind.
Spike moved aside, his mind still reeling from the implications of what Buffy had said.
“You knew she was back?” Dawn asked, shocked. “How did you know?”
The shouting continued as Anya asked if Buffy was a zombie, and Xander yelled at Anya for her question, Willow asked if Buffy was in pain, Xander asked what she remembered. Voices loudly speaking over other voices, question after question being asked but not allowing answers. Catching the look of fury on Spike’s face, Buffy realized two things simultaneously; Spikes’ Demon saw her as his mate and she needed to take control of the situation, quickly. Placing two fingers in her mouth, she let out an ear-piercing whistle. “Do you have any idea of what you have done?” The Slayer spat out furiously at the Scoobies.
Shocked, by Buffy’s obvious ire, everybody froze. Not one of the Scoobies had ever faced an irate Slayer and the fear generated by the confrontation had them obeying her orders immediately, without question.
“Not one word! I will discuss the situation that you four have placed us in only once, but it will be when I’m ready to discuss it. For now, you will sit on that couch quietly while I make a couple of phone calls, and then some decisions will be made.” Buffy snarled at the Scoobies. Turning to Spike and Dawn, she quietly asked them to wait in the kitchen then moved away to the phone.
Everyone followed their orders, all totally confused by the unfolding events, but none willing to risk the wrath of a clearly pissed Slayer by asking for explanations.
“Who’s she calling?” Dawn asked Spike. Seated in the Kitchen; both seriously pleased that Buffy’s anger was directed elsewhere.
“The Watcher” Spike replied, indicating she be quiet, so he could hear the call. “She didn’t tell him much, just that she was back, the Scoobies were responsible and that she needs him back here pronto…wait…new call…”
“Please tell me Angel can not hear this call?”
“Well, as he is not in the office at present, I believe his ability to hear this call would be fairly improbable…If I may ask…To whom am I speaking.”
“It’s Buffy, and before you tell me I’m dead, gotta say…not so much! Seriously long story and totally need your help.”
“Umm..well..Ahh...of course. What do you need Buffy?”
“I need you not to wig, to grab Cordy and the green guy…ummm Lorne? And come to Sunnydale….Oh and without alerting Angel. Trust me on this, he’ll just complicate things and things are already complicated enough.”
“Buffy dear, surely you can give me more information on what sort of help you need? Where is Mr. Giles?”
“Nope. And England. But he’s coming back and he should be here tomorrow afternoon. I need you, Cordy and the green guy to be here too Wes. You know I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t necessary.”
“All right Buffy. We’ll be there tomorrow evening.”
“Thanks Wes.” Buffy said, relieved as she hung up the phone.
“So, how much did you hear?” Buffy asked Dawn and Spike as she joined them in the kitchen. She grinned as she noted Spike’s guilty attempt at nonchalance. Shrugging slightly he returned her grin with a shy one of his own.
“Giles, Wes, the wonder wuss, Queen C and some Green Guy will be here tomorrow!” Dawn answered her sister’s query. “And you’re not planning on telling us why until then, right?”
“You’re right, and I need both of you to do some things for me before they get here.” Buffy answered and asked them, her serious demeanor grabbing their attention immediately. Both eager and proud to be of service to the sister/women they loved. “I’m gonna send Willow and Tara to stay with Xander and Anya, so I need you to change all the beds. Cordy, you and I in Mom’s room, Giles in mine, Wes in yours and Lorne on the couch. Will you do that for me, Dawnie?” She asked Dawn. With her agreement, Buffy turned to Spike.
“I need you to trust me Spike, I have good reasons for everything I’m about to ask of you, just please don’t ask me to explain yet.” She pleaded to him. At his nod of acceptance; she took a deep breath, and continued. “I need you to go back to the crypt, pack up your things and move into the basement. Your bed too, if you can. I need you to ring your solicitor in England and arrange for some funds, enough to help me pay off the bills and the house with enough left over for groceries and stuff for the house, and I need the money by tomorrow…and before you ask, let’s just say, you have no secrets from me Blondie…none!” smiling enigmatically at him, she turned and left the room. It was time to face the Scoobies.
“I will NOT answer your questions tonight. Come back tomorrow evening and when everyone is here, everything will be explained. Willow and Tara grab what you need. You’ll be staying with Xander and Anya. All you need to know for now is that you didn’t save me from a Hell dimension, and I am not grateful for what you have done.” It was a very subdued group of Scoobies that left the Summers’ house that evening.