Rebound Ch. 16bybadgirl298©
Willow cradled the phone between her neck and shoulder as she awkwardly lifted a cup of steaming hot tea to her mouth. A maid had brought it to her room at her request. She was listening to Tara as she made some notes on what the other witch was saying. “Thanks so much, Tara. I had no idea you knew so much about banishing ghosts. When you get back we’re gonna have to have trade secrets. I know a little bit about doing glamours.”
She listened for a minute. “Have fun at the Wiccan retreat. No, don’t worry about not being here, we can handle it. Say ‘merry meeting’ to Janice for me, alright? Bye.” She hung up with the other witch and then put the phone back on its receiver. Willow stood, cup of tea in hand and began to pace, thinking over the information the other witch had given her. While walking, her shoelaces began to come undone, Willow tripped, causing the hot tea to drench the front of her shirt. “Great. Just great.” She muttered.
“So, ducks, you got any plans for tonight?”
The maid clutched her car keys tighter, huddling in the rear entrance to the Wentworth mansion. She’s seen and heard some weird things in this house lately, noises from rooms that weren’t occupied, shadowy shapes and the like. Sometimes she wondered if it was worth the amount of money she earned to work here. She focused carefully on the young man was leaning indolently against her car, smoking a cigarette but said nothing. She didn’t want to encourage him.
“Cat got your tongue? Don’t be shy. Maybe you and me could have some fun tonight. What do you say?”Spike gave her his best come-hither look. It always melted even the frostiest of ice queens. He used it mercilessly too, even if his intention was to eat the young lady in question.
She didn’t trust him. Something about him was. . .off. She looked at him nervously, willing him away from her new car. She hadn’t even had it a month. “Let me think. Not a chance in hell?”
Another man stepped into the meager glow provided by the security light. “I’ve been there, didn’t care for it much at all.” He looked to Spike, giving him a jaunty grin. “Room service was terrible.”
“Go away or I-I-I’ll-“
”You’ll do what, ducks? The house has already gone to bed. Would you want to wake your boss from a sound sleep to find you having a fight with your two boyfriends on his property.”
What the hell was going on? And get away from my car! “You’re not my boyfriends. And maybe I don’t care about this job that much.”
Spike raised an eyebrow. She was bluffing, had to admire that. But he was more determined. “That’s right, we’re not.” He looked at her car speculatively, and then raised his fist, preparing to shatter her car window.
“No!” Her keys clattered to the ground and she turned around and shouted into the house. “Somebody, help!”
Angel and Spike walked over to her, getting in her personal space. She pressed herself against the wall. Spike grinned evilly as he winked at her. “Thanks for the invite, sweets.”
Angel held out her car keys and dropped them into her limp hand. “Drive safe.”
She’d been living in Sunnydale for two years now. Two pale men, dressed in black coats, and needing an invitation. She didn’t know what they were exactly, but they weren’t human. She looked them over for a split second before she raced to her car, gunned the engine, threw it into drive and high-tailed it out of the driveway.
“Think she’ll call the cops?”
“A better question might be, think she’ll give two weeks notice before she quits?” Angel replied, grinning. Laughing, they both trotted up the stairs.
“Did you hear that?” Buffy perked her head to the side as she tied on her bathrobe.
“Hear what?” Riley wrapped his arms around her waist. “I didn’t hear anything.”
Buffy frowned and pulled away from her boyfriend. “I thought I heard someone call for help.”
“Maybe it was the ghost.” He laughed.
“This isn’t funny.” She scowled at him. She walked to window and looked down, she didn’t see anyone. “I’m going to go talk to Giles. Maybe he can explain exactly what this ghost can or can’t do. You go do a perimeter check and make sure everything’s okay.”
“But, that is, I thought we were going to sleep . . .”
He was thinking about sex. . now? “Get dressed and go.” She stalked out of the room. She really liked being with Riley. She might even love him a little. But he still didn’t understand her as well as she would have liked. For one, he could fight demons, but he had trouble accepting the existence of ghosts. And he had a lot of trouble understanding the duties of the slayer.
She turned a corner. It was times like this that she really wished that Angel were still around. He always understood her sacred duty and that he had to come second to that. Even when she had sent him to Hell. Riley seemed to have a problem being sent outside. If only she could still talk to Angel the way they used to. Now all they did was fight. If only Angel were close enough, geographically speaking, to talk to. She looked up as she almost bumped into someone. “Oh, sorry Angel.”
“Damn it, Spike!” Willow cried, tossing the frothy piece of silk he’d packed her to the floor. She opened up the bag, she needed something loose to wear, something she could move in. She’d asked Spike to pack for her, because she was pressed for time.
Willow had assumed that he would pack her some baggy jeans, or leggings, or her overalls - she’d kill for her overalls at this point. He packed her leopard panty and bra set? Well, actually just her bra. She shook her head. Men! They didn’t know about the importance of matched sets. Or the distinction between comfy, everyday panties and ‘boyfriend’ panties. She resumed her search. She had a tight pair of jeans she’d outgrown, left over from her freshman year of highschool. There was a backless sweater that Buffy had left at her house. Leather pants? Why on earth would she wear leather pants in front of her friends. Goddess. She groaned as she sat down on the bed and put her head in her hands. “My fault, I asked him to pack.” Now what was she going to wear? She looked down at her ensemble. Guess this was all she had.
“Getting ready to do another strip tease, pet?”
“Spike?” The vampire grinned as he peeked around the corner of her door. He stepped into her bedroom, taking in the strewn clothes. “What are you doing here? I specifically told you and Angel that I can handle myself. Besides, what if Buffy sees you two? And why did you pack this stuff!”
“Which question do you want me to answer first?”
“What was that, pet?” He grinned at her. “Love it when you get all nonverbal and angry.” She glowered at him. “But it’s too late for worrying about Buffy.”
“What do you mean?”
“Angel and Buffy are having a nice little chat right now.”
“Oh, no! I told you not to come!”
“Don’t worry, pet. I snuck by them and the two are having a grand old time. Angel will get out of it. Don’t worry. Now, give us a kiss.”
Willow picked up the nearest piece of clothing and threw it at him.
“Angel! Is it. . .really you?” Buffy backed up a little, disconcerted. It was like her wish was. . .just granted.
Willow was going to kill him. . .or Buffy would. “Uh. . .no. No, I’m. . .I’m a figment of your imagination.” Great, why don’t you tell her you’re ‘Puff, the magic dragon.’ Might be more believable. Though, Spike would probably call him ‘Poof, the magic dragon.’ He almost laughed at that but caught himself.
Angel sighed. “A figment is something that your mind generates because you–“
”I know what a figment is, Angel.” She reached out and touched his arm for emphasis. “You’re solid, real.”
“No, you just have a vivid imagination. Maybe you needed to see me right now and so you did.”
“No, I really don’t have that great of an imagination. Why are you here?”
She was right, she didn’t. Angel thought a minute. “Well, I just happened to be here because I–“
She put her hands on her hips. “I know why you’re here. Riley. You’re angry because I’m dating him, jealous of our relationship. You’re stalking us.”
“Stalking? That’s a harsh word.” Obviously the diversion tactic wasn’t working that well. “I’m here. . .helping you. Like I did. . . when the Native Americans ghosts attacked. My friend had another vision.”
She could accept this, Angel was not Angelus. He would never try to cause her pain on purpose. “A vision? Is it the ghost?”
“Yep, Bingo. So, uh, watch out for the ghost, okay? He’s bad, real bad.”
“But, what are you–“
”Buffy! Where are you?” Riley called in the distance.
“Angel, quick -- hide! I don’t want Riley to know you’re here. He’s jealous and kind of sensitive right now.” And he works for a secret military operation that kidnaps vampires and defangs them. She shoved him into nearest room.
Angel fumbled in the darkness, he could here some muffled noises. Then a light snapped on. A hostile voice called out. “Hello, deadboy.”
Buffy sighed in relief. “Riley, what are you doing?”
“Were you just talking to someone?” He stopped in front of her, a puzzled expression on his face.
“N-no. I was talking to um, myself. So I wouldn’t get freaked out.” She offered him a Trident-bright smile. “Anything outside?”
“Not a thing.” He cupped her face. “Are you ready to get some sleep now?”
“No, I still have to talk to Giles-“
”What have you been doing all this time?” He asked, slightly suspicious.
“Um, I thought I heard him talking to someone.” She shrugged, eyes wide with innocence. “I was going to wait until he didn’t seem busy.”
“Buffy, I’m sure he wouldn’t have minded you coming to talk to him. Sacred duty, remember?”
“Oh, yeah.” She smiled weakly. “Forgot.”
He gave her a strange look. He couldn’t shake the feeling that she was hiding something. “I’ll walk with you. Wouldn’t want you to get freaked out again.”
“Safety in numbers.” She agreed. Please, don’t let Angel show up. She stopped in front of Giles’ door.
“Sounds all quiet to me.” Riley announced. “Maybe he went to sleep.”
“I doubt it. He’s a real night owl for an ex-librarian.” She knocked on the door twice and walked right in. “Giles I wanted to ask . . .you . . .Mom!?”
Anya hastily covered herself. “Xander, I told you I might be interested in threesomes sometime in the future. But, I’d appreciate some warning. Not that I think he isn’t attractive, I’m just more interested in us right now.” She frowned. “ I always thought you’d want another woman though, are you trying to tell me something? “
”Anya. Please stop talking. Please?” Xander’s voice held a note of desperation.
Angel stood at the foot of the bed staring at the wall. “Sorry for interrupting. I really, really, really didn’t want to see that. And no, I have no intention of joining you. I think I might need a shower right now, too.” He just felt. . .dirty.
“I could be talked into a shower.” Anya said brightly.
“Anya!” The ex demon shrugged. Xander turned to Angel. “Why the hell are you still here?” Xander shouted.
“Lower your voice, please.” Angel said in his most soothing manner, talking to the framed representation of fruit attached to the wall. “Buffy pushed me in here, she didn’t want Riley to see me. She’s probably right outside.”
“So, the Buffster know’s you’re here?” He looked at the vampire carefully. “I don’t see any bruises. You mean she didn’t kick your undead butt?” He sounded disappointed.
“Actually, I think she believes I’m not real.”
“Lost me there, deadboy.” He looked over at Anya. “Stop watching him.”
Angel cocked his head to one side. “I don’t think I hear her outside anymore.” He rested his eyes very carefully on the floor, planning on turning and walking out the door. His eyes settled on a small pair of feminine underwear on the floor. Leopard print underwear. Angel raised his fathomless eyes to meet Xander’s confused ones. “What are you doing with Willow’s underwear?”
“Not so fast, luv.”
“Move, Spike. We have to save Angel.”
“We both know the poof is smart. He’ll get out of this on his own. In the meantime, we don’t want the Slayer to know I’m here, right?”
“She’s kind of a stake first, ask questions later kind of girl. Don’t fancy getting wood shoved through my duster.”
“Then, I’ll go myself.”
“I’m not letting you out of my site with a ghost on the loose, pet.” Spike smiled at her. “Not that I don’t think you could handle it. But, from now on we’ll face these things together.”
Willow melted at his words. “Together. I like the sound of that.” She beamed up at him.
“Thought you might, pet.” His arms snaked around her and he pulled her close. She put her head on his shoulder, inhaling the familiar scent of tobacco and leather. She kissed his jaw and he growled softly. Spike cleared his throat before he spoke. “Wanna know what the word ‘together’ gets me thinking about?”
She smacked his chest playfully. “Hmm. . . let me guess. What you’re always thinking about?” There was smug smile on her lips.
Spike smirked. “Actually, no I’m not thinking about that.”
Willow’s mouth dropped open. “What?!”
Spike’s eyes held a pleased gleam at her reaction. “I’m thinking about Angel.”
He and Angel . . .? Playing board games, my tushy! “You mean your guys are. . .?”
Spike threw back his head and laughed. “That was worth it just to see you squirm, pet. No, Angel and I are not. . . .” He smiled again.
“We’ve got a proposition for you.”
“Does it involve one night, a million dollars, being in Las Vegas, and a wrinkly geezer that used to be cute.”
“What are you going on about, pet?”
“Nothing. Continue propositioning me, please.”
“You know how both Angel and I feel about you, right?”
“And you are having rough time choosing.” He gave her a smug look. “Though, you should pick me, I’m much more handsome.”
“Spike.” Her voice was filled with warning.
“Alright. Back to the plan. We made the decision for you, pet.” He beamed, waiting for her effusive thanks, a big hug, maybe a few kisses. . .and then. . .
“You decided for me?”
He frowned. “Yes, pet. We know what we’re doing. After all, we’ve both been in love with the same woman before. Best to leave this to the experts, pet.”
She wasn’t hugging, kissing, thanking, or most regrettably, shagging him. “What’s wrong?”
They were treating her like a child. An empty-headed, dependent, weak child. “Nothing, I’ve just come to a decision already.”
“You have?” Spike said and then he grinned. Willow had chosen him. She must’ve decided that he was the better vamp. And who could blame her? She didn’t want to upset him by refusing Angel. “Tell me, pet. We’ll go along with whatever you’ve decided.”
“I’ve decided to choose neither. ” She patted his arm. “With all the pretending Xander and I’ve been doing, we realized that we still have feelings for each other. I think I’m in love with him.”
“You’re in love with Xander?”
Willow nodded dreamily. “What’s not to love? He’s handsome, sexy, smart, and he–“
“Come on, we’re going to see Angel. Now!” She was obviously under some spell. Or he’d stumbled into the ‘World without Shrimp’.
“Deadboy, just hold on a second.” Xander hadn’t been this nervous around the vampire since Angel had lost his soul. The vampire stood at the foot of the bed, neatly blocking the exit. His eyes were filled with building rage.
“Why is her underwear here?” Anya said, shrilly. “You said it was all an act!”
“She must’ve dropped it when she was in here earlier.”
“She just happened to stop by and take her panties off?” Angel snarled, his voice laced heavily with sarcasm. He had to share with Spike to get Willow. Sharing with Xander was out of the question.
“No! I-I-I. . .”
Anya was fed up. She slapped Xander, tucked the sheet around her body, grabbed up her clothes and stalked to the door with a regal air. “I’m leaving, Xander. Don’t call me until you have. . .roses, chocolates, and. . .and jewelry! And a big apology. Groveling will be part of it!” She slammed the door shut.
Xander put his head in his hands. A low growl issued form Angel’s throat, warranting his full attention. “I’m not sleeping with Willow.”
“You seemed awfully friendly at the drive-in. You kissed her while we were hiding in Willow’s room.”
“I only did that for Willow’s sake.”
“I know that you two had feelings for each other. Maybe all this has those emotions running high.” Angel lowered his voice. “But she’s mine. Make no mistake.”
Xander felt his temper flare. “She’s not a thing! She doesn’t belong to you, she can make her own decisions.”
“Maybe you’re influencing those decisions, swaying her with your kisses and touches.” Angel was getting angrier by the second, he was trying to take away the only woman Angel loved.
“We were acting!”
Angel vamped out. “I’m not.”
“ARGH!!!!!!!! I think I’m scarred for life.” Buffy screeched. Riley ran into her as she came to a standstill. “Riley, quick. Search the room for chocolate. They must have band candy in here.”
Riley saw more of Giles than he ever wanted to. “What are you talking about? Let’s leave them in peace, Buffy.”
“No, this is sick. It’s wrong. And it’s happened before. On a police car.”
Giles pulled the covers around himself and Joyce, carefully shielding their exposed skin. “We need to speak with you Buffy. Kindly give us a moment to get dressed.” Buffy and Riley walked into the sitting room while their elders got dressed.
When they were finished, Giles knelt before the settee than Buffy was sitting on. “Don’t say anything, okay Giles? It just happened. Let’s all forget about it.”
“I can’t forget about it. Buffy, I’m in love with your mother.”
“Oh god! You’re two are under a spell or something.”
“No, we are in love. Have been for over a year.”
“No band candy?”
“No band candy.”
Buffy looked at both of them, she recognized that sparkling in their eyes , the happiness that only love gives. “Really?”
“Really.” Joyce said, holding up her ring. “Buffy, I love Rupert very much. He asked me to marry him and I accepted.”
“Marriage?” Buffy stood up. “You want to be Mrs. Watcher?”
“No, I want to be Mrs. Giles. Rupert will still be your Watcher but I’m marrying the man.”
Giles stood and took Buffy into his arms. “I’m more than just your Watcher, Buffy, and you are more than my Slayer.” He colored briefly. “I think of you as a daughter.”
Buffy felt tears stream down her face. “You guys are serious?” They nodded. Then she was free to hug Giles and she threw herself into his arms. “I love you too, I feel like you are my father. You’ve always been there for me.”
He held her tightly and they held out their arms to her mother. They embraced, a family unit. Riley grinned, he was pleased for them all. Joyce and Giles needed someone, it was good they found each other. Buffy and Rupert loved each other too, he was glad they realized it. Riley leaned over and hugged Buffy too, becoming part of the unit. This felt right too. This was a definitely a family he wanted to join.
Willow tried to pull away from Spike’s hold on her wrist, but he wouldn’t budge. He dragged her down the hall to where he had last seen his sire. “Angel?” He called, his voice subdued to avoid the Slayer.
“In here.” Angel answered.
Spike pulled the witch with him into the room. Angel was holding a pair of underwear aloft. Willow’s underwear. Spike looked at Willow in askance, hoping for a credible explanation. “I told you, I’m in love with Xander.” She said smoothly.
Xander’s jaw dropped. Willow smiled smugly. And that’s when all hell broke loose.