Ch. 56 Same Old Situation
A/N: This chapter incorporates the Angel episode “Sanctuary”
A short time later:
Dean glared intensely at Buffy as she hurriedly shuffled around the motel room collecting her belongings. She briefly met his glowering eyes and sighed.
“I have to do this Dean,” she pleaded. “Faith is my responsibility. Now that I know where she is, I have to go and stop her.”
“And that just happens to be in L.A – with Angel,” he grunted.
Buffy zipped up her bag and heaved a deep sigh of exasperated.
“This doesn’t have anything to do with Angel,” she reasoned.
Dean hardened his glare and shook his head.
“Right, if that were true, you’d leave the old man to fend for himself.”
Buffy stifled a groan of aggravation as she yanked the door open.
“I’m going Dean,” she snapped. “I have to stop Faith from causing any more harm.”
“To the people you –love – right?”
Buffy met his steely eyes for a brief second before she shook her head in frustration.
“I don’t have time for this,” she barked. “Every minute I stand here arguing with you is another minute she slips through my hands. I’ll talk to you when I get back.....or not, I don’t care right now. I just want to catch Faith.”
Buffy hiked her bag over her shoulder and charged out the door. Dean watched her with steely eyes as she bounded through the parking lot and hit the sidewalk. After a long minute, he heaved a sigh.
“Dammit,” he groaned.
Dean quickly swept up his car keys and packed up before shuffling out the door. He dropped his key card off at the manager’s station and rushed to his car. He flew out of the parking lot and veered onto the street. After a mile, he caught up to Buffy as she charged down the sidewalk, toward the bus terminal. He yanked the car to the curb, leaned over to the passenger side and swung the door open.
Buffy glanced at Dean as he met her eyes. The tense lines on his face deepened as he swung the door open. She let out a breath as she caught a flare in his eyes that settled the turmoil raging in her heart.
“Hurry up,” he said. “We’re losing time.”
Buffy let out another long breath as she slowly climbed into the passenger seat. Dean quickly yanked the car back onto the road and tore out of the Downtown district. After a few miles of silence, Buffy studied Dean before she heaved a sigh.
“You really don’t have to come with me,” she replied softly.
“If Faith is in L.A. looking to do some damage, then I’m the first in line to put that bitch down,” he remarked sharply. “I’ve been waiting for this chance for a long time.”
Buffy felt the tension draining from her body as she saw the harsh lines dissipating from his face. After a minute, the tension flooded back in his expression as he gripped the steering wheel. He rained an icy glare upon her.
“But I’m telling you, GranFang better stay the hell out of my way,” he groaned. “I’m in a pretty shitty mood already and if he so much as looks at me in a way I don’t like, I’m dusting him.”
Dean cranked up the stereo as a Black Sabbath song played. As they left the outskirts of Sunnydale, Buffy settled deeper into her seat and let the blaring classic rock music drown out the uncomfortable tension. A short time later, as Dean hit the highway at an insane speed, Buffy stole a glance at him in wonder.
“Don’t you have to get back to your dad?”
Dean shifted his eyes very briefly on her. She took notice as the stony lines on his face deepened by the minute.
“I’m meeting up with him in Arkansas in a couple of days,” he replied.
As he looked back at the road, she saw his jaw tighten.
“Besides, a rogue Slayer is a lot more dangerous than a rogue spirit haunting some old mansion.”
“Or, you just don’t want me around Angel,” she said sharply. “Will there ever be a time when you can tolerate him?”
Dean rapped on the steering wheel as traffic on the highway started to slow down.
“Oh, I could tolerate him.....when he’s stuffed in a rusty urn full of dog shit,” he grunted.
Buffy heaved a sigh as he caught her glare.
“You asked,” he pointed coarsely. “Anyways, why the hell should I? And why would YOU want me to? He stomps on your heart, tries to kill you and yet you keep giving him diplomatic immunity.”
When traffic came to a complete stand still, Dean released a deep groan as he smacked impatiently on the steering wheel.
“Oh come on,” he moaned. “I really don’t need this crap.”
“I’m really not liking this jealousy vibe of yours,” Buffy remarked with a scowl. “I’m not going to L.A to hook up with Angel just like I’m not having a secret affair with Riley.”
Dean scoffed loudly as he shook his head.
“Oh right, I almost forgot about that shitty revelation you dropped on me.”
Buffy crossed her arms and glared at Dean.
“You REALLY need to cut this jealous bit out Dean,” she barked lightly. “I’m not with Riley, I’m not with Angel, I’m with YOU but I won’t be if you keep this up.”
Dean simply stared out at the beads of traffic that stretched out for miles.
“I don’t love either of them,” she stressed.
Dean scoffed loudly again.
“Right, you told me you would always love that old thorn in my side.”
Buffy saw the hurt flare briefly in his eyes as he glanced at her before turning his sights to the road. She heaved a sigh as she took in their long history.
“A part of me will always love what Angel and I had but....I’m not pining and hoping for the day that we can be together because it will never work out, not with his curse.”
Dean scoffed loudly again as he shifted in his seat and shot her a glare.
“Yeah, that’s the part that kills me,” he groaned. “If he was human by some magic or miracle whatever, you’d be running so fast after him there’d be a trail of spinning heads for miles........”
Dean shook his head as the harsh lines thickened over his face. Buffy huffed deeply as she returned his glare.
“Why do we have to dwell on this? It’s in the past.”
“But it never STAYS in the past,” he snapped. “It’s always the same old story when it comes to Angel, he gets hurt, and you rush to his side. He breaks your damn heart, but you keep lusting after him. He gets knocked on his ass by that crazy bitch and you go flying out the door without any regard for anyone else.”
“That’s not true,” Buffy protested.
Dean gripped the steering wheel as his eyes flared with resentment.
“Oh yeah? You got to the gate of Giles’ apartment before you realized I was still inside.”
He stared at her for a brief minute before regarding the traffic. Buffy heaved a deep breath as she exuded a defeated look.
“Okay, so I rushed out without thinking,” she confessed. “But I came right back.”
Dean shook his head as he flashed an annoyed expression.
"Gee, that makes up for it I guess,” he groaned.
Dean cranked up the radio at an ear piercing volume as he yanked the car out of a congested lane. After a half hour of driving extremely slow, traffic came to a stop again. He slapped the dashboard and groaned as a huge SUV cut him off.
“Jesus Christ!” he barked. “This is the worst day ever! I’m stuck in miles of traffic trying to get to a bloodsucking eunuch, that bastard in a boat just cut me off and I can’t SHOOT anyone!”
As Dean set icy eyes on the SUV that cut him off, he gripped the door handle. Buffy heaved a gasp when she gauged his thoughts.
“Dean, do not get out of the car,” she replied sternly.
“I’m not going to shoot him,” he stressed. “I’m just going to act like I am.”
Buffy released a breath and dipped her face in her hands. After a minute he sighed loudly and brought his hand back on the steering wheel.
“Fine,” he moaned. “But when we get to L.A. and find Faith, I am going to pummel her head in until I’m not pissed off anymore.”
After another hour of crawling through traffic, Dean shifted restlessly as his body wound with tension.
“Well, I guess on the bright side, I’ll be ready for a fight,” he remarked dryly.
By the time traffic finally let up, the sun was cutting into the horizon. Dean flew down the off ramp and stamped on the gas, just barely peeling passed a hard red light. Buffy shook her head again as she glanced out the window and took in the scenic coastline sprinkled with palm trees and residents out for a stroll. She rolled the window down and inhaled the salty sea breeze trying to compensate for the stressful morning and the past few days. She spied a glance at Dean as he maneuvered recklessly through lanes and blew passed another changing green light. She released a heavy sigh until she noticed a brief flash in his eyes as he glanced at her. Behind the aggravation flaring deeply in his steely look, she saw a deep seated fear that revealed why he was so tense.
After half a mile traveling toward Angel’s office, Buffy glanced back at Dean and noticed he was growing increasingly distant the closer they got to their destination. She noticed his eyes rapidly moving along the street, his long, slow breaths and his fingers anxiously drumming on the steering wheel. Her own tension that had risen through her over the course of the drive began to dissipate when the anxiety bleeding from his fingers blanketed over her mind.
A few minutes later, Dean pulled up along the curb and groaned when he eyed the office of Angel Investigations.
“Déjà friggin’ vu,” he grumbled.
Buffy drew a sigh as she took his hand off the steering wheel and laced her fingers through his. She took her free hand and pulled his eyes to meet hers.
“I know how much you hate this,” she acknowledged. “But let me remind you that you wanted to come along.”
He heaved a long sigh as his harsh expression softened briefly.
“Yeah, yeah I know but that doesn’t mean I have to dance with joy at seeing ol’ Count Crapula again.”
She shifted her encouraging smile into a disapproving frown.
“If you’re just looking for another opportunity to butt heads with Angel, you should just drive on. We’re here about Faith, that’s it,” she said firmly.
Dean heaved a breath before getting out of the car. As he approached the main door, Buffy gently clapped a hand over the crook of his arm.
“Please try and be civil,” she said.
Dean shifted into a scowl as he looked down at her.
“Why do you want me to be nice to him? Might I remind you about all the shit he caused in your life?”
She drew out a breath of frustration.
“Just stick to business, okay?”
Buffy jiggled on the doorknob and found it locked. She backed away and looked at him.
“I’ll leave the B & E to the real expert,” she said.
Dean peered through a crack in the closed blinds.
“Oh come on, just punch through the door like you always do,” he moaned. “A little vandalism on your ex’s business place is part of sticking it to him.”
She frowned with dismay until he cracked and began rummaging through his pockets.
“Oh fine,” he grumbled.
After a few minutes, he picked the lock and pushed through door. The main area of the office was dark, empty and quiet. He swept a flashlight around the dark areas and paused when he finished making a complete pass.
“He’s not here,” he said. “Maybe Faith killed him already.”
When his mind fantasized on the idea, a giddy smile quickly curled over his face as he anxiously searched the floor for any piles of dust. He widened his smile when his mind drifted on another thought.
“Maybe they killed each other,” he assessed.
Dean widened his smile as he scrutinized the floor for a blood trail. Buffy wandered around the rest of the office and spotted a door off to the right. Dean heaved a sigh of disappointment as he found no specks of blood or vampire dust anywhere on the floor.
“Damn,” he groaned.
“I think this goes downstairs,” Buffy remarked as she stared at the door.
She propped the door open and heard faint voices downstairs. Dean slipped behind her as she descended the stairs. When they reached the foot of the stairs, they both blinked in surprise and shock. Angel and Faith were sitting on the bed, embracing each other. Buffy and Dean paused at the foot of the stairs, their expressions heavy with suspicion and wonder.
“You got to be kidding me,” Dean grumbled.
Angel and Faith turned to see the two. Angel rose and regarded Buffy with surprise. Dean noticed he was buttoning up his shirt. Angel slowly made his way over until Dean fished out his pistol and leveled it on Angel, then Faith and then Angel.
“What the hell did you two just do?”
Angel kept his eyes on Buffy as Dean swung his pistol on Faith.
“What’s he doing here?” Angel asked with a scowl.
“Nice to see you too, douche bag,” Dean replied caustically as he swung his pistol on Angel.
Buffy whipped her eyes up to Dean and flashed him a scolding glare. Dean felt her gaze and looked down at her.
“What? I think that’s a ‘civil’ thing to say,” he reasoned.
Angel shifted his eyes on Dean and flashed an exasperated look.
“Will you put the gun down already? Why do you always have to point that at me? Does it make you feel like more of a man?”
Angel drew an amused smile when he noticed Buffy gently holding Dean back.
“Don’t start,” Buffy barked.
Angel started to laugh until he realized her eyes were regarding him.
“What is going on here?” she demanded.
“A demon attacked us,” Angel imparted softly.
Buffy blinked as she absorbed his answer. Her eyes narrowed with more suspicion as Angel and Dean exchanged ireful glances.
“Us? You mean....”
Angel drew his sights to Buffy.
“Faith and I,” Angel clarified.
She glanced over at the rumpled state of the bed.
“It’s not what it looks like,” he replied.
Dean took notice of the disheveled appearance of the bed and recalled Angel’s previous state of undress when they had walked in earlier.
“You better start explaining,” Dean urged firmly.
He dropped his pistol to his side as he snatched a stake from his pocket.
“Before I suddenly forget that you have a soul,” he finished.
Dean narrowed his eyes on him as he clenched the stake in his hand. He edged closer to Angel and rained an icy glare at him. He slowly raised the stake, angling it toward Angel’s heart.
“Do you still have a soul? Please say no because I’ve been waiting so long for this day to…”
Buffy quickly wedged herself between Dean and Angel who were exchanging long, antagonist glares. She blew out a brief sigh as she steered the two back on topic.
“Giles heard about how she tried to kill you in the lobby of that law firm. That was you, wasn’t it?”
Angel nodded. “Yes, that was me.”
Buffy shook her head as she flashed a resentful frown.
“So she tries to kill you and you make her pay by what…hugging it out?”
Angel ignored Dean’s dirty looks and focused his eyes on Buffy.
“That’s why you dropped by? To make her pay?”
“I came to see you. I was concerned.”
Faith seemed to be in a catatonic state as she slowly shifted her eyes on the three. Buffy crossed over to Faith, who started to cower as she approached. Buffy glowered deeply at Faith.
“Didn’t think I would find you, huh Faith?”
Faith trembled as Buffy hovered over her. Dean stepped in next to Buffy, surrounding Faith. After a long minute, Faith stopped trembling and eyed Buffy.
“God Buffy….I….” she stammered.
“You guys need to back off,” Angel barked. “I’m handling this.”
Buffy whipped around and shot Angel an icy glare. She threw her head back in resentment.
“Handling it – right….she’s not dead and she’s not behind bars, so, tell me how are you handling it?”
“I’m trying to help her,” Angel stressed.
Buffy scoffed loudly as her face flooded with anger and her eyes flared with fury.
“Help her? After she helped herself to everyone in my life? Do you even know about the mess she made?”
“I did,” Angel replied listlessly.
Buffy glanced back at Faith as Dean watched her with cautious eyes. Buffy glared up at Angel and spat in disgust.
“And yet you’re here, coddling her like a child that lost its puppy,” she growled.
Dean drew an impatient sigh when the bickering ex-lovers bit was all too familiar. He flashed an annoyed frown at Angel.
“It’s obvious which side of the line you’re on, so stop playing Saint Fangula and let us take this bitch to the cops.”
Angel bolted off his feet and edged toward Dean with deep ire in his eyes.
“You know, the name calling is getting a little tiring” Angel replied flatly.
Dean charged closer to Angel, getting in his face. His acrimonious glare deepened.
“Oh yeah? Well you know what’s REALLY tiring? YOU - continuing to exist! So why don’t you let me do something about that?”
Dean flashed his stake at Angel. Buffy blew out a frustrated breath and pulled Dean away.
“Will you two quit it? I didn’t come here so you guys could have round eighty-six in a cock whip contest.”
After a brief minute, Dean shifted out of his frown and glanced at Buffy with an odd look.
“A what contest?”
Angel shifted his sights on Buffy and shined his confusion. She blinked out of her harsh expression as the confused stares lingered.
“Um, you know, a ‘who’s better than who’ guy thing, you whip your and he.....”
Buffy blew out a sigh.
“Never mind, I came here to deal with Faith,” she expressed sharply.
“Buffy,” Faith called weakly.
All eyes shifted to Faith as she slowly rose from the bed. Her eyes were glassy with emotion.
“I – I can’t tell you how sss-sor...”
Buffy threw a hand out and glared at her.
“You even try to apologize to me Faith and I will beat you within an inch of your life,” she barked.
Faith paused and nodded with a defeated expression.
“Okay, if that’s what you want, do it,” she remarked meekly.
After a long minute of staring at her in disbelief, Buffy let out a breath while Dean shrugged with an enthusiastic smile. He wandered over to Faith and curled his hands into fists. Angel shielded Faith with his body.
“I’m not letting either of you hurt her,” he warned. “You’ll have to go through me first.”
Dean cracked his knuckles as his eyes sparked with hostility.
“Not a problem – Pops,” he snapped.
“We’re not leaving until Faith is behind bars,” Buffy said sharply. “If I have to go through you first Angel, then I have to.”
Angel shifted his sights to Faith.
“Go upstairs Faith,” Angel urged. “Go now.”
Buffy shook her head and cast an intimidating glare at Faith.
“She’s not going anywhere except to jail,” Buffy replied firmly.
Angel ignored Buffy and deepened his supportive eyes at Faith.
“Faith, go now,” Angel repeated.
Faith slowly moved toward the stairs when Dean leveled his pistol on her.
“You take one more step you conniving little bitch and I will cripple you for life,” he growled. “I mean it.”
Faith froze just before she reached the landing. Angel glared at Dean.
“Let her go,” Angel barked.
Dean defiantly held his pistol on Faith. Buffy marched over to Faith and slapped a hand around her arm.
“She’s going to the cops,” she said.
Angel pushed off his feet and charged toward Buffy.
“I won’t let you do this,” Angel said sharply.
Buffy shot a look at Dean who glanced at Faith and motioned with his pistol to move up the stairs.
Angel clapped his hand on Buffy’s shoulder as she pushed Faith up the stairs. She whipped around and punched him hard in the face. Angel staggered back from the blow.
Dean blinked in surprise before he drew a small smile of amusement. Buffy snapped her arm back to hit Angel again but he blocked her and smashed his fist into her face.
Buffy widened her eyes and gasped in shock.
Dean blinked in surprise again when Angel took a swing at Buffy. He shifted back into an icy glare and charged Angel, throwing a fist hard across his face.
“You sonofabitch, no more free passes,” he growled.
Angel absorbed the punch and impulsively struck back, throwing a hard cross. Dean ducked and laughed with satisfaction.
“It’s the Last Stand Old Man, take your best shot,” he taunted.
As he circled Angel, he caught sight of Faith on the steps. He whipped his eyes from Angel to Faith a few times.
“Aw shit,” he groaned.
Buffy still quivered with astonishment and hurt as she rubbed the sting in her face.
“You hit me,” she whined softly.
Angel took his eyes off Dean and shrouded a remorseful expression at Buffy.
“I – I didn’t mean to....” Angel stammered.
Buffy moped deeply as she edged over to Dean. Angel watched suspiciously as Dean quickly switched out of his fury and regarded Buffy with great concern and affection. He cradled her face and examined the faint bruising on her cheek.
“I’m okay,” she said softly.
Dean shook his head as he gauged the swollenness of her cheek.
“I still want to kill him,” he grunted.
Buffy glanced at Faith before she shifted her eyes to Angel, then up to Dean.
“Will you give me a moment alone?”
Dean shined a frown of disbelief before he regarded Angel briefly.
“Are you kidding me? After all this, you want to have a moment alone with him? No way.”
Buffy shrouded a disapproving frown. “I just need one minute to get something off my chest.”
Dean glared at Buffy with intense suspicion. Her frown shifted into a sheepish expression.
“Um, bad choice of words,” she confessed. “I’m just going to talk to him. That’s it.”
Buffy gently brushed her hand over his. After a long moment, he let out a sigh.
“Fine,” he grumbled. “But you better be upstairs in a few minutes in a clothed state or I swear to God, I will end this.”
Dean charged away and motioned Faith to move up the stairs. Faith very slowly drifted up the stairs as Dean kept steady aim on the back of her head. He followed her into Angel’s office where she sat on his desk.
Dean leaned on the wall next to the door and stared at her with cold eyes. Faith kept her hands at her sides and eyed the pistol aimed at her heart. For several minutes, the tense silence thickened as Dean threw murderous looks at Faith, his pistol ready to fire upon her.
“Lllll-ook Dean....” she said shakily.
Dean intensified his glare.
“Shut up bitch,” he snarled. “Whatever you have to say, I don’t want to hear it. If you so much as breathe the wrong way, I will put a bullet in both your knee caps. You understand me? Just give me a damn excuse cuz you’re overdue for a wall of pain and suffering.”
Faith nodded slowly as Dean kept his icy glare on her. A minute later, Wesley strolled into the office and glanced at Faith before noticing Dean.
“Hello,” Wesley said.
Dean took pause at Wesley in his leather pants.
“Wesley, interesting look.....not sure if you can pull off that....style.”
“Yes um, I have been exploring a new....lifestyle shall we say,” Wesley remarked. “This is very unexpected to find you at Angel’s place of business.”
Dean glanced at Faith who remained quiet and still. He drew a dry smile at Wesley.
“Yeah, tell me about it. I’d rather be in Hell, oh wait I AM.”
He shook his head as Wesley glanced at the stairwell.
“So I presume Buffy heard about the um....incident.”
“Incident right.....I wish it could have been a ‘happy accident’, but I guess even psychotic bitches can’t kill an annoying vampire.”
Dean glared at Faith who kept her eyes to the floor. Wesley gulped at the thick tension in the air as the silence lingered.
“Is there something you need? Because I’m pretty busy hoping and praying I get to kill or maim something soon,” Dean replied gruffly.
Wesley gulped again as he eyed Faith.
“It is imperative that we leave now,” he emphasized. “All of us.”
“I am afraid I do not have much time to explain. Just please come with me.”
Wesley pushed off toward the stairs. Dean heaved a sigh as he reluctantly motioned Faith to follow Wesley.
Angel flashed his exasperation when he heard the echoes of footsteps drifting down the stairs.
“Faith, please go back....”
Angel paused when Wesley emerged from the stairs, followed by Faith and Dean.
“Sorry to interrupt but we must be on the move as quickly as possible.”
Angel glanced at Wesley curiously.
“The Council’s operation team is going to arrive very shortly and they will be expecting to see you out....”
Wesley removed a syringe from his pocket as he regarded Faith.
“And her contained.”
“How many are on their way?”
Wesley eyed Buffy.
“At least three. Buffy, good to see you, I am afraid this isn’t the best time for a visit.”
Buffy swept her eyes over the group.
“Yeah, I get that sense,” she remarked.
Angel frowned at Wesley with annoyance.
“You led them here?”
Dean shifted in his stance as he lowered his pistol, seeing that Faith was surrounded.
“The better question is, why the hell do we care? I know I don’t. If the Council wants to cart her ass off to a dank dungeon in England feeding her slop and making her sleep in her own shit for the rest of her life, that’s just as good as prison.”
Wesley blew out a breath, seeing there was no reasoning with Winchester. He drew his eyes to Angel.
“Unfortunately, I have not been able to elude them. I led them to believe I was on board with their plan,” Wesley imparted.
“But you’re not?” Angel asked.
Dean shined his annoyance at being ignored.
“And why the hell aren’t you? If I remember, you were DYING to get back into their good graces. What’s changed?”
Buffy blinked with recognition. “These guys have no scruples. When I was trapped in Faith’s body, they weren’t above killing me.”
“I’m still not seeing the BAD aspects in all of this,” Dean pointed sharply.
“We are losing precious time,” Wesley remarked. “They’ve probably surrounded us by now and will close in on us at any moment.”
“We can leave through the sewers if they’re clear,” Angel advised. “I’ll check them. As to Faith...”
Angel swept his eyes around the room looking for Faith. The rest of the group took notice. Dean hardened his scowl when she was no where in the room.
“God dammit,” Dean groaned. “Why the hell does she keep getting away?!”
“She probably went to the roof,” Angel assessed.
Buffy and Dean exchanged glances before bolting up the stairs.
“They probably have it surrounded,” Angel warned.
Dean shot his eyes down at Angel as he gripped his pistol.
“Good,” he barked.
A few quick minutes later, Buffy and Dean tore up the stairwell leading to the roof and blew through the door. They edged toward Faith standing at the edge of the roof as the sound of a helicopter flying could be heard in the distance.
“There’s nowhere to run Faith,” Buffy replied.
“That leaves one option, JUMP,” Dean said sharply.
Buffy glanced at Dean as he drew a small, hopeful smile. She shook her head as Faith swung around.
“What are you going to do to me? You’ve already thrown me off the roof. You gonna do that again?”
“Yeah, no sense in being greedy, I’d be happy to take a turn,” Dean replied, widening his hopeful smile.
Buffy heaved a sigh as she took a step closer to Faith.
“I have good reason to,” Buffy snapped.
“Nothing I say or do is ever gonna make things right.”
Buffy drew a look of disgust as Dean took note of the increasing volume of the sound of a helicopter.
“So you’re going to just skip town and leave us all here to clean up the mess you made.”
“If that’s easier.”
Buffy flashed a skeptical frown. “And what happens in a couple of months when you’re sick and tired and bored of the ‘woe is me’ bit? Are you going to drop back into town for the next wave of destruction just because you feel like it?”
Faith shook her head as Dean edged away from the girls and scoped out the horizon. He darted his eyes around the roof as unsettling feeling rang through his gut.
“I won’t do that, I won’t come back, I’ll just disappear,” Faith stressed. “I won’t hurt anyone again.”
“That’s right, you won’t in JAIL.”
“Angel said you would never forgive me.”
Dean retreated back from the ledge when he saw a helicopter breaking the dark skyline and heading fast toward the roof.
“I TRIED, I gave you chances, I tried to be your friend, to help you, to be there but every time, you pissed on me and hurt me in any way you could, with Angel, with Riley, with Dean. You beat me down like a victim!”
Faith shot a distinct, resentful frown. “Cuz you’ve never been one, huh B? You’re always the hero, always doing the right thing, always needing control, always having friends and lovers who care about you. You don’t have a clue what it’s like to live on the other end where you don’t got an ounce of control, where no one gives a damn about you! You don’t got to deal with the pain and self loathing and trying to do things that mean something but they NEVER do, NEVER. You think you’re so....”
“You shut your mouth Faith!” Buffy growled.
Faith flashed a look of desperation.
“How do I make this right B? What do you want me to do?”
Dean bolted over to Buffy and Faith just as the roof door burst open and a man holding a machinegun ran out. Dean blinked with alarm as he snapped his arms out and pushed Buffy and Faith down to the ground seconds before the man opened fire. Dean dodged the bullets and dropped over Buffy before swiftly returning fire, squeezing off several rounds. The gunman dodged for safety as Buffy wiggled out from under Dean and eyed Faith, scrambling next to her.
Dean rapidly shifted his sights around the roof, searching for the gunman.
“We can make it to that building over there,” Buffy said.
Faith nodded. “Okay.”
Dean briefly glanced at Buffy regarding Faith before noticing the adjacent rooftop, a small leap for a Slayer but a little more effort for an ordinary human. He caught sight of the gunman pressed against a wall near the roof access door, frantically reloading. Dean squeezed himself behind a generator as he whipped his sights at Buffy.
“Move your ass Summers,” he barked. “Now!”
Buffy and Faith sprung to their feet just as the gunman blasted off more rounds. Dean returned fire as Buffy and Faith raced toward the edge of the roof. The whirring sounds of helicopter blades cut through the echoes of rapid gunfire. As the gunman at the door reloaded, Dean stole a quick glance behind him as the helicopter kicked up a sharp breeze. His panic rose a hundred fold as another Council guy was settled in the open door of the helicopter, leveling another machine gun. Buffy and Faith charged for cover as the man in the helicopter fired his machine gun. Dean blinked when he felt a bullet sail by inches from his right ear. He whipped his sights forward and moved around the generator, closing in on the gunman from the opposite side.
Dean settled his aim on the gunman as the one in the helicopter fired off several rounds. For a long minute, the air cracked with rapid gunfire from various areas of the roof. Dean blinked as he heard the blades of the helicopter nearing. He stole a glance behind him as the gunman took aim and fired at him.
“Shit,” Dean groaned as he bailed behind a rusty storage unit.
Dean slumped down as bullets punched through the rusted metal of the unit, carving a Swiss cheese pattern around him. He kept low and edged over to one side of the unit. He felt the sting of metal shards cutting into his face and arms as the gunfire continued. When it finally stopped, he peeked out and saw the helicopter making another pass around the roof.
Buffy raced across the roof and lunged at the man by the door, tackling him to the ground. The man hit the ground hard as the machine gun in his hand fumbled loose. Buffy kicked it out of his reach before slamming her foot into his face. The man groaned and gripped her ankle trying to throw her to the ground.
As the helicopter hovered closer to Buffy, Dean took off running and aimed his pistol on the gunman in the open window. He fired off several rounds, clipping the guy twice in the arm. The guy gripped his wound as the helicopter lurched higher in the air. Dean shifted his sights briefly when he heard a wail. The man sparring with Buffy was scrambling toward him, bent on retrieving the machine gun.
Dean slammed his foot on the guy’s hand, smashing it into the ground. Buffy dove on top of the guy, grabbed the back of his head and threw his face into the ground. Dean caught sight of the helicopter circling back. He pivoted around just as something shot fast through a skylight in the roof.
Dean blinked with disbelief as Angel lunged at the helicopter, snatching onto one of its rungs and quickly grabbing the gunman. A flash later, the gunman was thrown out of the open door and crashed hard onto the ground, rolling to a stop near Dean. Dean shook his head as Angel stood up on the rung.
“Always got to show off,” he groaned.
As the man from the helicopter moaned and tried to get away, Dean fished up the machine gun and slammed the butt across his face, knocking him out cold. He looked at the guy at Buffy’s feet, also unconscious before noticing the helicopter retreating into the sky.
Buffy collected her breath and looked around for Faith.
“Faith’s gone,” she said.
Dean whipped his sights around the roof before he frowned with deep disapproval.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” he groaned. “This is one friggin’ sick joke!”
He charged to the edge of the roof as sirens cut through the air. After searching with no success, he heaved a sigh.
“Now would be a good time for those cuffs Dean,” Buffy replied.
Dean pushed off the ledge and blew out an aggravated breath. After hurriedly restraining the two Council guys and dragging them downstairs, they found Wesley heading out the door.
“Wesley? What’s wrong? Where’s Angel?” Buffy asked.
“The police apprehended him. I am afraid he has been arrested for aiding and abetting a fugitive.”
“What?!” Buffy gasped.
Dean chuckled deeply in his throat until Buffy whipped her eyes on him. She grabbed his hand and tugged him out the door.
“Come on, we’ve got to talk to the police,” she urged. “They can’t put him away for this.”
“They can do whatever they want for all I care.”
Buffy glared deeply at him as she forcefully pulled him out of the office and towards the car.
“I’m coming with you,” Wesley stated.
Dean shook his head as he circled the car.
“Great let’s all go save Gramps from the clink,” he muttered.
Dean yanked the car to the curb hugging the police station as Buffy and Wesley ran out and up the steps. Dean heaved a huge breath as he reluctantly climbed out and caught up to them.
Buffy raced through the lobby into the holding area and spotted Angel in cuffs, talking with an older blonde woman with a harsh expression.
Buffy blinked when she heard the woman make a reference to burning in the sunlight. She widened her eyes and approached the woman.
“You know? About what he is?” she asked.
The woman, Kate, swung around and eyed Buffy as Wesley and Dean flanked her. Angel glanced at Buffy.
“Buffy, you didn’t have to come,” Angel stressed.
“Who are you three?” Kate asked.
“It doesn’t matter,” Angel remarked flatly.
Buffy wedged herself between Angel and Kate as they walked to a desk. Dean took note at the determination on Buffy’s face and bit back his disappointment.
“You can’t arrest him,” she barked. “You’ve got the wrong guy hooked for murder.”
“Buffy, please...”Angel said.
Buffy narrowed her eyes on Angel.
“STOP trying to help her!”
Kate eyed a uniformed officer.
“Take her away please.”
The officer reached for Buffy who was about to push him away. Dean snatched her arm and pulled her back. He tightened his grip on Buffy as she bounced with anger.
“Do NOT pay for what SHE did Angel! Don’t you do it!”
Kate glared at Buffy.
“Get out of here,” Kate replied firmly. “Or you’ll see the inside of a cell too.”
“He is not responsible,” Buffy snapped.
Buffy shot a look at Angel and noticed he was looking passed her. She followed his sights to see Faith at another desk, her back facing them. Dean soon shifted his eyes and blinked as Faith glanced over her shoulder and sees the group. She got up from her chair and slowly shuffled over to Kate.
“I’m who you want,” Faith admitted. “And I want to confess.”
A half hour later, Buffy, Dean and Angel lingered in the lobby and watched as a group of officers escorted Faith away in handcuffs. Dean drew a satisfied smile.
“Ding dong the bitch is gone,” he chimed.
When he shifted his eyes from the scene, he noticed Buffy and Angel looking at each other from across the lobby. His moment of satisfaction drifted away as he settled into a frown.
“Can we go now?”
Buffy turned to him and gave an apologetic expression.
“Will you wait for me in the car?”
Dean eyed Angel and heaved a sigh. He gave a disgruntled look as he shook his head. Buffy edged closer to Dean.
“Dean, please, I just need to clear the air,” she pleaded softly.
He flashed her a brooding glare as he leaned against a wall.
“You’ll be doing that forever, won’t you?”
Buffy shrouded with offense.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
He let out a breath of aggravation as he glared at Angel before raining his icy eyes upon Buffy.
“You know what? I’m getting really sick of this shit,” he groaned. “No matter what happens, no matter how much time has passed, I feel like it’s always going to come down to me and Angel. You’re always running back to him.”
Buffy curled her hand over his and saw the hurt swimming in his eyes.
“Listen to me, I am leaving with YOU,” she said firmly. “But I can’t until I speak my mind, so please, just wait for me in the car. Please.”
After a long silence, Dean reluctantly angled toward the exit.
“Five minutes,” he said sharply. “Five minutes and then I’m leaving, with or without you.”
Dean charged away and out the exit door. Buffy shifted her eyes from the door to Angel before edging toward him.
“You could have called to tell me what happened,” she said sternly.
“I didn’t think it was your concern,” Angel remarked flatly.
Buffy scoffed. “Not my concern?”
“I was trying to turn her around. I just needed to work with her a little more.”
Buffy huffed deeply.
“Work with her? Did you even think.....how could you do this to me?”
Angel flashed an irritated frown. “I didn’t do anything to you. This isn’t even about you. I’m trying to save Faith’s soul. It’s my business, it has nothing to do with you. We agreed we were going to stay out of each other’s lives, remember?”
“I came here to help you, because Giles said you could be in danger,” she reasoned.
“I’m ALWAYS in danger,” Angel emphasized. “You know that. You came her looking for revenge.”
Buffy crossed her arms and deepened her scowl.
“I have just cause.”
“Not here,” Angel snapped. “This is my town and you can’t come here looking to take people out because of how they wronged you in the past.”
Buffy deepened her scowl.
“Do you even know how much it hurt to see you cozying up to my sworn enemy?”
Angel looked past her toward the exit door.
“Yeah, I think I have an idea.”
Angel moved away from Buffy.
“When Faith said she was with your new guy, college guy, I never thought she meant....I mean...I figured he didn’t even know what college was.....” he muttered.
Buffy frowned as her Slayer hearing amplified his inaudible groaning.
“She meant someone else,” she clarified sharply.
Angel looked up and exuded relief as he swung around to meet her eyes. “Oh. Then he was just moping and groping like a lovesick dog....a lame dog....”
Buffy heaved a frustrated sigh.
“I’m not with that guy that Faith told you about anymore – I - it’s messy and complicated and I really don’t want to get into it.”
Angel studied her for a second.
“So you are with....Winchester?”
“Yes,” she affirmed. “The one good thing that came out of this mess with Faith is that she made me see how much he means to me and how much I mean to him.”
“I see,” he said softly.
“And it’s different than what you and I ever had,” she replied. “We love each other, we always have and I trust him completely...and it’s amazing to know that he and I can have a future, it’s not a tragic, hopeless dream, it’s real.”
“Well, good for you,” he said sardonically. “So nice to hear you’re shacking up with someone new, someone I hate with a passion. Do you know how much it cuts me up to see you with him? Or is that the point? To spite me?”
“It’s not about you,” she replied sharply.
“Just go home Buffy,” he said softly.
Buffy crossed to a bank of chairs and fetched her jacket. When she walked away, she didn’t look back.
Dean glanced at the time as the minutes ticked away. He blew out a frustrated breath as he eyed the police station entrance through the rear view mirror. After four minutes, he gunned the engine.
In one minute, time was up. Dean glanced in the rear view mirror as the last minute drew closer. In less than thirty seconds, he would know the answer to the question that burned deep in his mind. As the one minute mark arrived, his mind and heart raced with an abundance of conflicting thoughts. He glanced yet again into the rear view mirror.
A lifetime friendship that blossomed into a relationship could be gone in sixty seconds. As the seconds wound down, his mind beckoned him to just take off and surrender the to frustration and pain of the most complicated relationship he had ever experienced, but his heart beamed with hope that she would be standing outside before time ran out.
Dean stole one more look into the rear view mirror.
“Come on Summers,” he muttered very softly. “Come on.”
TO BE CONTINUED SOON...