Methos softly kicked the back door of the Magic Box until he heard the door being unlocked. He wasn't surprised to see several long-range medieval weapons pointed at him when the door opened. Silently he carefully carried his burden into the back room, then laid the unconscious Slayer onto a bench nearby.
"What happened?" Giles asked as he walked over to him.
"Ethan's Quickening was a little too much for her," Methos replied quietly, then asked, "How is the vampire?"
"In need of a major blood transfusion," Willow said as she carefully applied a bandage to Angel's head. "I don't think there's one place on him that isn't
Methos nodded as he watched Dawn and Spike walk over to Buffy. He was not surprised to see the daughter kneel beside her mother. Nor was he surprised to see the chipped vampire lay a supportive hand on the girl's shoulder. He remembered Angel telling him about those two's growing relationship. As twisted as his Bloodline is...their relationship is nothing to worry petty details over. Mother and Son, Father and Daughter, and now Aunt and Nephew. All I can say is that I'm glad they can't have children in the traditional sense.
Sensing a presence behind him, Methos turned around to see Whistler. What does he want?
"Your duties to the Slayer at this time are done, Ancient," the Messenger said. "You can go back to what you were doing before...until the Powers call for you again."
He nodded his understanding. I suspected as much. She has learned all I can teach her, and she has plenty here to ease her transition into her new life.
The smell and taste of blood finally woke him from his healing sleep. Groggily he realized that someone was holding him up in a semi-sitting position to drink the blood being given to him. It took him another moment to realize that is was Buffy.
With effort, he opened his eyes...to see his wife gazing down at him in concern. She smiled faintly with relief as she said, "Glad to see you awake, Honey. I was getting tired of trying to force-feed you this stuff."
It was only then that he realized the taste and scent of the blood was very
familiar. It was Buffy's blood. He tried to move his head away from the cup at his lips, but couldn't.
Buffy frowned, before saying disapprovingly, "Naha! You're going to drink this Angel. I don't give my blood to just anybody."
"It's true, Sire," Spike said from where he lounged nearby, his crossed feet just visible to Angel's vision. One foot dropped to the floor with an audible "thud" as the chipped vampire then said, "She wouldn't let me 'ave one drop, while filling that cup there ev'ry time she 'ad to refill it."
"Yeah," Buffy said sharply, "and you still wont get any. And furthermore..."
Angel closed his eyes -- distancing himself from the argument now raging over his head --, and finished the cup of blood resting against his lips.
One Week Later:
Buffy gazed down at Angel where he slept deeply on Giles' bed, and sighed as she left the bedroom. As she reached the bottom of the stairs leading into Giles' living room, she saw the Scooby Gang waiting for her.
Her eyebrows rose in startlement as she said, "What's this?"
"A 'Going Away' party," said Willow from where she stood at the front of the group.
"Why? Dawn and I will visit a lot," the Slayer said in confusion.
Dawn rolled her eyes from where she stood just inside the kitchen behind Buffy, and said, "Because, 'Mom', our home is in LA with 'Dad' now. Kinda helps that we don't have
a home here, too."
Buffy flinched at the reminder of Ethan and what had happened, then raised her eyes heavenward as if in supplication, before saying, "Alright, alright! You guys are right. Our home's not here anymore...but that doesn't mean that we're that
"Hey, Buff," Xander said behind Willow, "just because me and Anya missed out on all the action doesn't mean we wont miss out on seeing you and Dawn off to your new life in that City of Angel's!"
Buffy grinned, as she gazed at one of her best friends. Trust Xand to get away with saying that.
Growing serious, she then said, "Thanks guys, I really do appreciate it. I'll definitely be calling you all a lot."
She could practically hear Dawn's smirk behind her as her daughter said, "I bet!"
Carefully Buffy and Adam helped Angel into the backseat of his car. While they did this, Dawn looked on from the front seat, worry etching her face.
"You sure it's safe for him to travel, Buffy?" Dawn asked uncertainly.
Buffy nodded as she slid into the car to rest Angel's head on her lap. "Yeah...plus, you're done with school for the summer, and I think he'll rest easier in his own bed." She looked at Willow -- who stood with the rest of the Sunnydale gang a few feet away --, as Adam went around the car and into the driver's seat. "You're sure that you'll all be alright without us here?"
Willow nodded, as she said in exasperation, then calmly, "Yes
, we'll be fine! We've been able to survive without you before...and this time we have another Slayer to help us. The only time we'll need to call you is if we have another Apocalypse on our hands, like what we had with Glory."
Something eased within Buffy's expression, as the Slayer said apologetically, "Sorry, Wills, but I'm just really nervous about leaving you guys here."
"Are we ready to go then?" asked Adam from the front seat.
"Yeah, I think we are," Buffy said, just as Dawn leapt out of the car. "Dawn!"
"There's something I forgot! I'll be back in a minute," the youngest Slayer called over her shoulder as she ran into Giles' apartment.
Dawn quickly closed the door, then turned around to gaze at Spike.
"Li'l' Bit," the vampire said quietly.
"Thought you could get away without saying goodbye, huh?" Dawn said scowling, as she crossed her arms angrily. "You know, Angel pulled that same crap, and looked what happened."
Raising an eyebrow, Spike said, "Why should I say goodbye when I'm goin' ta be followin' you?"
Dawn's scowl grew, as she said, "Oh no you aren't! I need you to stay here and watch over everyone for me, Spike."
Tilting his head to the side, the chipped vampire said, "'Ow 'bout this: I'll stay 'ere, but visit you on weekends."
"Only if you call me on that cell phone Angel made you get everyday," Dawn said, suddenly grinning.
Spike chuckled, then said, "You li'l' imp.... Of course." He then moved in front of Dawn, tilted her head up, and kissed her softly on the lips.
As he pulled away, he took a small jewelry box out of his pocket -- along with an envelope --, and handed it to the young Slayer, saying, "You better go. They'll start to wonder wha' took you so long."
They were half way to LA before Buffy finally fell asleep. Dawn sighed in relief, and turned around to face the front, as she took out the box and envelope that Spike gave her. She saw that he had written the nickname he had given to her on the front: Nibblet
. It made her smile. Just like him
, she thought in fond amusement.
She opened the envelope, and took out the single sheet of paper within, and began to read: Nibblet,
I didn't tell you my cell number yet, 'cause I wanted you to know it after you left. Which means you better call me once you figure it out. I want to hear your reaction to the little box I gave you when you open it. If what I just said doesn't make sense, then know that in order to know my number, you need to solve a little puzzle first. 'Er's the puzzle:
On a phone keypad, there're letters under the numbers. Those numbers are as follows: 1 = space, 2 = ABC, 3 = DEF, 4 = GHI, 5 = JKL, 6 = MNO, 7 = PQRS, 8 = TUV, 9 = WXYZ. The first two numbers are the short form of BLOOD, then a space, followed by a shortened version of SUCKER.
On more clue, Love: we once talked about what I would 'ave as a phone number. I chose one of those.
Call me on that Ancient Immortal's cell when you got it.
Dawn frowned, as she thought, It sounds familiar. Now if I can only figure out the numbers.... Blood's easy: BL, then we've got that space.
She grabbed her daytimer, and began writing as she continued to figure out the puzzle Spike had given her. That makes the first three numbers 251. Ok, now for sucker.... SUKER...hmm, too many letters.... SUCR...no, that's not the one. Oh!...SUKR! That makes it 7857. That means his number is 251-7857.... Cool!
Grinning triumphantly, Dawn turned to Adam...to find him already holding out his cell phone to her. As she gazed startled at the Immortal, he said -- not taking his eyes off of the road --, "Spike and I had a talk night before last. He told me about what he had planned for you, and gave me his number just in case you couldn't figure it out. Neither of us thought you wouldn't, but he wanted to make sure."
Eyebrows nearly up to her hairline, Dawn took the phone, turned it on, and dialed Spike's number. He answered on the second ring. "Took you long enough. When did she fall asleep?"
"Hello to you too, Spike, and about ten/fifteen minutes ago."
He chuckled. "Figured that was 'ow long it would take. You got that box I gave you in your hands?"
"Yeah." "Open it then."
Nodding, Dawn lifted the jewelry box up, and slowly opened it. As she had suspected, it was a ring, but she couldn't see much else in the dark. Taking the ring out of the box, she lifted it to eye level. Just at that moment, a big rig's lights flooded the car, and brought the ring into stark relief. She gasped in shock.
"Oh, Spike! You shouldn't've!" "I wanted to, Nibblet. I knew you liked that ring of mine. So, to show my likin' of you, I'm giving it to you."
Slipping the ring on her right thumb finger, Dawn said with love and a promise in her voice, "I'll wear it always."
It was midnight, when they at last pulled up in front of the Hyperion Hotel. Dawn gawked in the front seat, as Buffy gazed on in surprise, saying, "I'd forgotten how big it was."
At the gate, Cordelia, Wesley, and Gunn stood. As the car was parked and turned off, they came forward.
Buffy and Dawn were helping Angel out of the car, when Cordelia said -- concern in her voice --, "If this is what he looks like now, I'd hate to have seen him before
"Nice to see you too, Cordelia. Now could you move so that we can get Angel inside before he collapses?" Buffy said, a warning to not mess with her at that moment in her voice.
Raising an eyebrow, the Seer said -- as she moved to the side --, "Still the same, I see."
"Maybe to you," the eldest Slayer muttered as she walked past. She then said as they entered the hotel, "This is going to be Hell until we get everything worked out."
Epilogue One Year and Some Odd Months Later (or something like that):
Buffy awoke beside her husband, frowning as she groggily checked the time. What are they doing already here at eight in the morning? They usually wait until ten to come to work
, she thought as she got out of bed and put on a bathrobe.
The Slayer walked out of her and Angel's room, went down the corridor, and stopped, gazing in shock at the foyer of the Hyperion Hotel. The entire floor had been decorated with party favors, and all her friends were there.
"Happy birthday, Mom!" Dawn said happily from the staircase, her arm around Spike's waist. "How does it feel to be twenty-one?"