Disclaimers: Everything belongs to Mutant Enemy and Joss Whedon. I'm just having fun with the characters

Summary: Begins at 'Once More With Feeling' and pretty much takes on a life of it's own after the exit from the Bronze

Pairings: Buffy/Angel, Spike/Tara

Reviews: Welcomed and appreciated

Notes: Started this at the same time as 'Family', one story sort of went two directions, so you may see some similarities. Hope this one's different enough and hope you like it


Buffy came downstairs with Angel following close behind. "Okay, so let me tell them first. They have no idea…"

"Angel!" Dawn screeched as she launched herself into his arms. "What are you doing here? Did you go all sing songy?" She looked over at Xander. "His fault, not mine. Anyway, it's so good to see you. We all missed you so much. Especially…hey, wait a minute. How come you're coming from upstairs?" She squeaked as realization hit her.

"You were with Buffy and you're still you? This is so great! Fantastic!" She hugged him even tighter and kissed his cheek. "You're back?"

Buffy rolled her eyes. "He'll be here for awhile, so you can let go."

Dawn turned to her sister with tears in her eyes. "Oh Buffy, I'm so happy for you. After everything…"

"Dawnie, it's all good. Don't start, we're here now."

Xander had heard the news from the living room and he was livid. He didn't care that both Buffy and Angel could send him across the room with a light tap, he was pissed.

"I don't believe you Buffy. You're taking up with him again after he walked out on you? And what's to say he won't lose his soul again? All soulboy does is bring you misery, you know that." His voice was seething, causing the slayer to narrow her eyes as she looked from her lover to one of her best friends.

Anya stood up and put her hand out for Angel to shake. "Oh, you're Angel. This explains so much." She turned to Buffy. "No wonder no one else was ever good enough, look at him. So handsome, so tall, so hot. And a vampire with all that stamina thrown in for good measure. An unbeatable combination." She looked over at Xander. "You just pull in those jealousy hormones. You have me now and I'm better than you deserve so you better watch it mister."

Angel shook his head in agreement.

"Boy, you'd better watch yourself." He growled with a shake of his head. "You and Cordelia, the two of you are so alike. You'll never have Buffy and Cordelia will never be with me yet the both of you seemed determined to try and keep us apart. It isn't gonna happen boy so just accept the inevitable. Buffy and I are together now, so deal!" Buffy put her hand on Angel's arm to hold him back.

"Baby, let me talk to him." She turned to Anya, "Could you go and get some blood for Angel, please? Let me talk to Xander, I promise it'll all be fine."

Anya huffed. "Alright, fine. Just make sure he knows I won't be second place." She motioned to Dawn. "Come with me, I hate going to Willie's during the day. The dregs that hang out in the daylight are scary." Dawn kissed her sister and gave Angel one last hug as she whispered in his ear.

"Be patient, he's crushed on her since sophomore year."

Angel nodded. "Yeah, no worries." He went into the kitchen to allow Buffy some private time with Xander as Willow came in.

"Willow, didn't know you were up. So, I guess you heard us?" Angel clenched his fists, trying to fight his demon's urging.

She sniffed. "Yeah, congratulations Angel. The two of you deserve some happiness." A tear escaped her eye.

"Willow, what's wrong?" Angel put an arm around her.

"I totally blew it with Tara." She looked up at him. "Umm, you did know I was seeing a girl didn't you?"

"Oz mentioned it last time I spoke to him. So, what happened?" Angel invited her to dump.

"The magics. I used them when I shouldn't have. I use bramble's breath, to make her forget an argument. And it just got worse, so much worse. So she left." Willow sobbed.

"Maybe you guys'll work it out." He commiserated. "When did she leave?"

"Last night, after the whole musical spell fiasco. Glory sucked her brain last year and she pretty much accused me of doing the same. Oh Angel, look at all the bad I've done. I thought I was doing something good, first with Buffy and then with Tara. I just…I'm still the nerd from high school only difference is I'm now a nerd with a little bit of power. And I really hurt Giles too." She fell against him with sobs wracking her body.

"Oh Willow, I don't know what to say. If you hadn't brought Buffy back I wouldn't be with her so I can't be too objective. As for, Tara? Is that her name?" Willow nodded. "I don't know Will, once trust is broken it's hard to fix. All you can do is try."

"I guess I don't really deserve her, but I have to try. Just not with magic, huh?"

"Most definitely not with magic." He rubbed her back.


"Buffy, what in the hell are you thinking?" Xander quietly asked her.

"I'm thinking that I have never loved anyone but him and that I will never love anyone but him. And I'm thinking, no, not thinking, I know that I need him. I've died twice Xander, twice saving the world. I got yanked out of heaven and now I deserve this. I deserve Angel." She looked deeply into his eyes, silently begging him to understand. "I love you Xand, but if it comes to choosing between you and him, I'm sorry, he wins."

Xander rose. "Yeah, whatever. But when he breaks your heart I won't be here for you. I'm done. We've all been here for you. Even when you died we were here for you and you would do this? You would betray us all for him? For a fuck?"

A resounding slap was heard in the kitchen and Angel and Willow ran into the living room to see what had happened. Xander had his palm up against his stinging cheek as a red welt began to spread over his face.

"Who in the hell do you think you are? Did you ever ask us if you should date Cordelia of all people? No! Did you ever consider what we would think of you dating an ex-vengeance demon? No again! We had no right to dictate to you who you should or shouldn't see. And you have no right to dictate to me. You dare to question me? Question my choices? Do you really know who I am? You come along, but when push comes to shove, it's always me. I sacrifice, I put the world first. You can walk away if you choose. But me? I'm the fucking slayer, the goddamn chosen one!" Her face was flushed with anger.

Willow stepped in between her best friends. "Buffy, please." She placed herself between her two best friends and turned to face Xander.

"Xander, I think you should leave before you say something else you can never take back. Go home, we'll tell Anya where you are." He blinked several times and hesitated.

"Buffy…I…" He stammered.

"Not now Xander. Just go." Willow pushed him out the door. "Go home and figure out how to make it up to her. And to Anya, your fiancée, remember?"

"Willow? You agree with her choice?" He was incredulous.

"Xander. We don't always choose love, sometimes it chooses us." She sadly smiled.


Anya waited on a bar stool at Willie's, Dawn close to her side. "See that demon over there? Does nothing but drink and spew that putrid liquid from those gills." She shivered. "Ugg."

Dawn stifled a giggle. She looked up when Willie set down two quarts of blood. "That'll be 20 bucks for the slayer's sister." He winked at her.

She smiled back. Despite it all, Dawn like Willie. Spike brought her here a couple of times and he always gave her a cherry coke with ice. "Thanks Willie. Hey, have you seen Spike? He was with us last night and then he disappeared."

Willie shrugged. "Have you tried his crypt?" He didn't want to squeal on the white witch but he was a sucker for Dawn, he like the little girl.

"No, but you're right, I'm sure that's where he is." She smiled as Anya put the money on the counter.

"Don't forget, Buffy owes me 20 dollars." She handed the bag to Dawn, who handed it back.

"Do me a favor Anya? Take this back to the house? I want to run by the crypt and see if Spike is okay. He just took off last night and he didn't say good bye or anything." She left before Anya had a chance to disagree.

The ex-vengeance demon rolled her eyes. "Yes, whatever you say princess." She looked over at Willie. "I swear, that little girl gets whatever she wants." With a huff, Anya grabbed the bag and left.

Willie smiled to himself. He'd love to be a fly on the wall when the little princess walked in on Spike and the white witch.