DreamLand V 2.0
Diff Worlds - Next


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Buffy wandered home around eleven that morning. She decided that it would be
best to stay on Giles' good side and be his devoted slave today. She walked
in to find Willow sitting with Giles in the living room.

Buffy panicked, "Hey Will...I."

Willow saved her butt again, "After you left my house this morning, I
noticed your Chemistry book on my desk, so I thought I'd bring it to you. I
forgot you were walking home, that's why I beat you, I drove."

Willow handed the book to Buffy and she smiled, "Thanks Willow, I knew I'd
forget something."

They both looked at Giles, "Thank you Willow, it was very thoughtful." He
excused himself and went to the kitchen.

Willow grinned, "I fed him a story about what we did last night and he
doesn't suspect a thing."

Buffy hugged her, "I owe you so much. Let's go to my room, it's time I
leveled with you."

Willow and Buffy went to Buffy's room and she closed the door. Willow sat on
her bed and Buffy followed.

"Willow, you know that I hate lying to you and everyone else, I really do,
but I had no choice. If I tell you the truth, do you promise not to tell
anyone, EVER?"

"Of course."

"I'm serious. You can NEVER tell a soul what I'm going to tell you."

"Buffy, I swear on my mother's life, God forbid, that I will NEVER tell

"Ok. Well, Last weekend when I was walking home from the library at school,
I kinda...met some guys. Long story short, they were going to kill me; but
Angel and his friends stopped them. Even longer story short, I got shot in
the side; so I was at Angel's house last weekend because I couldn't get home
at all, I was totally out of it. I was at the Bronze last night, talking to
Angel and the guy who shot me, tried to shot me again, but Angel stopped him
and got shot in the shoulder, so I was at Angel's house last night, making
sure that he was ok."

Willow had a blank look on her face, "Ok, let me see if I understand this:
Last weekend you almost got killed, but the guy that you hate saved you, but
you got shot, so you held up at his house for a weekend; then last night you
were at the Bronze with this guy that you told me you hated, then you almost
got shot again, but he saved you even though, HE hates you and got shot in
the process, so you decided to spend the night at his house again to make
sure he's ok?"


"Ok Buffy, you need to fill in some missing blanks because I am totally
lost. I thought you hated Angel and his friends."

"They saved my life when they could have just let me die, and they made sure
that I was ok. I had more than enough time to get to know all of them and
they are great people; they are so close to each other. Not to mention that
Angel risked his own life for mine last night. They aren't who I thought
they were."

"Ok, I get that. Are you guys all friends now?"

"Well, I wouldn't really say that. They are really nice to me and all, but
we aren't really friends. But Faith and I are kinda friends; she's nicer to
me than anyone."


"Yea, she's cool; but don't worry, you will ALWAYS be my first and best
friend. Now remember, don't tell anyone. I was warned numerous times not to
tell anyone what happened, I just hate lying to you."

"Don't worry, I'll take it to the grave. I'm here anytime you need me. What
about Giles?"

"Well, now that you know, it will be easier to lie to Giles. God, if he knew
ANY of this, he'd send me off to a boarding school."

"O yea, I kissed Angel this morning."


"I was putting a new bandage on his shoulder where he got shot, and when I
was cutting the gauze stuff, the scissors slipped and I stabbed him. He
looked like he was about to cry, so I did the first thing I could think of
to distract him, I kissed him."

"What did he do?"

"Well, at first I thought that he was going to pull away, but he started
kissing me back. It only lasted a minute, but I knew that he didn't want me
to stop."

Willow smiled, "So, what was it like?"

"My stomach did flip flops."

"So, I take it he's not on your bad side anymore."

"Not at all."

"Crap, I have to go to the store for my mom. That's why I left in the first
place. You can bring my Chemistry book back to school on Monday."

Buffy smiled, "I knew I didn't leave my book at your place. Thanks Willow.
I'll call you."

"Ok, and don't worry, your secret dies with me."

She winked at Buffy and left the house.


Buffy was in her room for about an hour before she couldn't take it anymore.
She had been thinking about Angel non-stop and it was killing her.

"I can't do this."

She jumped out of her chair and decided to go for a walk to think about
things. Giles had gone to the school to get some stuff he had left there, so
Buffy left a note, telling him that she was going for a walk. Simple and to
the point was good enough for her. Buffy stopped by a gas station and bought
the paper. As she was looking through it, she stopped and starred at the
local section. She read the headline: LOCAL TEEN FOUND DEAD AFTER APPARENT
GANG FIGHT. Under the headline was a picture of a guy lying on the ground
almost exactly where Buffy had knocked out Jack, except, that wasn't Jack.
Buffy immediately freaked out; she grabbed the paper and ran back home and
took Giles' car. The only rule he ever had was that when she took his car
with or without asking, she always had to fill up the tank afterwards and
Buffy agreed. She drove to Angel's house as fast as she could, crying all
the way. When she got there, she ran to the door and pounded on it.

Kyle answered and smiled at Buffy, but he stopped when he saw that she was
crying, "Buffy, what's wrong?"

Buffy shoved the paper in Kyle's face.

He looked at the article and his face went white, "Holy shit."

He backed away from the door, "Come in."

Buffy went in and immediately started pacing back and fourth, still crying,
"Who the hell is that?!"

Everyone obviously heard Buffy and they all appeared from different corners
of the house, including Angel, who was the last to get there.

He saw Buffy crying, "Buffy, what happened?"

Kyle handed the paper to Angel and he just stared at the picture of the guy,
"What the hell...."

Buffy was in hysterics, "Who is that? It sure as hell isn't Jack.

Faith went over to calm Buffy, "Chill out B. Someone must have found Jack,
and either tried to help him, or tried to kill him, but they got killed

Angel studied the picture on the paper, "Steve."

Buffy looked at the picture again, "Who's Steve?"

Kyle looked at the picture too, "That is Steve. He is...was a friend of

Faith was still with Buffy, "So he found Jack and tried to help, but someone
killed him..."

In unison, everyone looked over at Xander and he smiled, "Hey, I didn't kill
anyone. If I had, I sure as hell wouldn't have killed Steve and just let
Jack get away. Besides, I listen to Cordy, believe it or not."

Everyone then looked at Spike, and he replied, "I listen to Cordelia too, I
didn't kill anyone." He smiled.

Angel sat down, "This doesn't make any sense, if someone killed Steve, why
didn't they kill Jack too?"

Faith studied the article, "Maybe Steve helped Jack, but someone came along
and there was a fight, Steve got killed, and Jack got away?"

Kyle dropped the paper on the table, "I don't buy it. I'm gonna go see what
I can find out."

Buffy was a little calm now, "You're gonna go by the scene?"

"No way, not with all the cops, way too suspicious. I have other ways to
find out stuff."

Faith went to Kyle, "I'll go with you."

Xander motioned to Cordelia, Spike, and Dru, "We'll go see if we can find

Faith looked at her brother, "What about Angel?"

Angel rolled his eyes, "Please, I can take care of myself. I don't need
anyone here."

Buffy casually said, "I'll stay here with him."

Angel tried to sound annoyed, but it didn't work too well, "Whatever."

Everyone smiled at the pair, then left the house.

Buffy sat on a chair across from Angel, "This is nuts."

"Welcome to my life."

"I'm sorry."

"It's ok, I'm so used to it now, stuff like this doesn't even faze me

"Man, it's driving me crazy. It's my fault he's dead. If I had never knocked
out Jack, Steve never would have tried to help, and he wouldn't have been

"Ok; first, none of this is your fault. When you did that to Jack, you saved
my life; second, Steve was almost as big an asshole as Jack, so whoever
killed him did the world a favor. Third...well...It's not your fault, you
saved my life. You had nothing to do with Steve's death."

"Yea, but I can't help but feel responsible."

"I was like that for a long time, but I learned to get over it and move on,
just like you will. I'm sorry I got you in to all of this. If anything, it's
my fault."

Buffy smiled, "We're trying to blame ourselves when it obviously isn't our
faults. So, forget it. How's your shoulder?"

"Same as it was the last time you were here."

"You mean when I stabbed it with the scissors?"

"Yep, pretty much."

Buffy grinned, "I'm sorry."

"It's ok, it's of the past."

They both thought about what had happened after she stabbed him, and they
were silent.

Buffy spoke up, "Sorry I kissed you. I just wanted you to forget how much
your shoulder hurt. I mean, you looked like you were about to cry and I've
NEVER seen someone so...tough almost cry, so I knew it hurt. I wanted to
give you a distraction."

"It worked."

Buffy didn't like all the tension in the room, so she changed the subject,
"You know, I owe you guys my life. I mean, I've only known you all for like
a week, and you've already saved me twice. How can you do this? You guys go
through this every day; I've been shot once and almost killed twice, in one
week; I can only imagine what you guys go through. Don't you want out?"

"Every day of our lives; but we don't have a choice. If we drop our guard
for a second, we're dead."

"I suppose you're right."

"Believe me, if I could, I would drag all of us, including you, away from
this shit and we'd all start over, but that isn't a possibility."

Buffy and Angel continued talking for hours about random things, Buffy's mom
and dad, Giles, her friends; Angel talked about his family, his friends, and
who the whole rival thing had started. The longer they talked, the closer
they felt to each other.


Around 7 that night, Faith, Kyle, Spike, Dru, Xander, and Cordelia all came
home. They saw Angel and Buffy sitting on the couch together talking.

Faith smiled, "Hey guys, how's it going?"

Buffy smiled at the group, "It's good as can be expected."

Angel looked at Kyle, "So, what did you find out?"

Kyle sat in a chair by the T.V., "Jack killed him."

Angel and Buffy exchanged confused glances, "So, Jack is alive?" Buffy

"Yea, Steve found Jack unconscious and he went to help. Jack woke up and
thought that someone was trying to kill him, so he pulled a knife from his
pocket and stabbed Steve in the chest, 3 times. Jack didn't even stay to see
who it was; he jumped up and ran off."

Buffy was really confused, "How do you know all this?"

"Friends on the inside."


"We know a guy who is supposedly on Jack's side, but he "works" for us. At
times like this, he comes in handy. He keeps us informed."

"Oh, not a bad idea."

"Be on the look out Buffy. He's gonna really have it in for us."

Buffy's stomach twisted into a bunch of knots "Can't wait."

Faith saw the look on Buffy's face, "Follow me B."

She went upstairs to her room and Buffy followed. Faith opened her top
dresser drawer, rummaged through it, and pulled something out. She handed it
to Buffy, "Here, you need this."

Buffy saw a small gun that she would be able to hide in her purse...or back
pocket, "No way. I don't know how to shoot those things."

"Take it, B. It could save your life. It's easy to fire, just point, cock
the gun, and shoot. Only, do it faster than I said it." Faith smiled.

Buffy took it and carefully inspected it, "Ok, but if I shoot myself, it's
on your shoulders." Buffy tried to make it sound like a joke, but this
wasn't the right time.

She smiled, "Thanks. I'll be careful."

They went back downstairs and Buffy looked at her watch, "Man, I gotta go
home. Giles will kill me if I'm late again."

Angel stood up, "Let me walk you home."

"Angel, I'll be ok, I promise."

"Buffy, I-"

"Willow. I'll call her and ask if she can pick me up."

Angel agreed, "Ok."

Buffy went to the kitchen and dialed Willow's number. No one answered, so
Buffy faked it, "Hey Will. Can you meet me at the corner of Wisland Street
in five minutes?" She waited for a minute, "Thanks. See you then." She
didn't want to put anyone out of their way anymore than she already had.

She smiled at everyone, "It's all set. I'll call when I get home?"

Faith smiled, "You better."

Everyone exchanged their goodbyes, and Buffy left the house.

Buffy walked down the street looking behind her every five seconds. When she
got to Wisland Street, she heard a noise, "You don't trust me?" Thinking it
was Faith or one of them, she smiled and turned around.

When she saw the person, her smiled vanished, "Jack."

She saw Jack standing behind her with a big grin on his face, and Buffy's
heart stopped.

Jack was standing about 10 feet away from Buffy and he had a huge grin on
his face; Buffy was half-tempted to slap it off, but she knew that would
only make things worse.

She tried to hide her fear, "I shoulda known you being dead was too good to
be true."

Jack held the grin and strolled over to her, "I must say, you do know how to
protect yourself...usually." He pulled a switch blade out of his pocket.

Buffy scoffed, "Those haven't been used since the 50s. But these..." she
pulled the gun that Faith had given her from the back of her jeans and
pointed it at Jack.

Jack smiled, "Try it."

Buffy pulled the trigger, but nothing happened. She shook it and tried
again; nothing happened. In two seconds, Jack was on her and he grabbed the
gun out of her hand and laughed, "You have to cock the gun first my dear."
He cocked the gun, pointed it towards the sky and acted like he was going to
fire it, but didn't, "O yes, we must not alert your friends."

Buffy tried to run, but Jack threw the gun across the street and pounced on
Buffy. They both fell to the ground and Jack pinned Buffy to the ground with
his weight and held her hands above her head. She tried to get away, but he
was too strong.

Buffy was beyond anger; now it was fear, "Please Jack, don't do this."

Jack smiled, "You know, I thought about that, but I decided on something a
little more effective."

He held on to her arms tightly and got up, pulling her up with him, then he
slammed her against a gate that went around a park. Buffy hit the gate with
a hard slam and he legs buckled and she almost fell, but Jack caught her,
"You know what really pisses Angel off? When his friends come home with
bruises and such. So I figured, he'd get the message better if I just beat
the hell out of you. I hate to hurt that pretty little face of yours, but,
it's strictly business."

He held her against the gate with one hand and backhanded her with the other
hand as hard as he could. The pain shot through Buffy's face and she cried

Jack covered her mouth, "Shh...close your eyes, this will be over in a

Buffy wanted so badly to scream, or try to get away, but she knew that it
would make everything worse, besides he was too strong. Buffy closed her
eyes and tired to concentrate on something other than the incredible pain
that she felt everywhere.


Buffy lay on the ground not moving for ten minutes after Jack took off.
Every part of her body hurt and she knew that getting up would kill her.
Buffy felt rain drops on her face and it felt so good, anything to relieve
the pain. But then it started raining hard and she knew that if she stayed
there, she would freeze to death. She grabbed a hold of one of the bars on
the gate and slowly sat up. Immediately, she felt the pain in her arms and
mostly her head. She held on to the bar tightly and slowly pulled herself
up. Her legs practically gave out from under her and she fell against the
gate. She stood there for a minute and let her head rush pass, then she
slowly let go of the gate to make sure that she wasn't going to fall over.
By now, she was soaked from head to toe and was already cold. She staggered
away from the gate and headed towards Angel's house; it was closer and
safer. About a block away from Angel's house, Buffy spotted Giles' car on
the side of the road and almost started laughing, "You stupid fucking
moron." She thought to herself. She had totally forgotten that she had
driven to Angel's house. No wonder she didn't remember walking there. She
contemplated driving home, but she knew that she must have looked like a
train wreck and if Giles saw her, he would freak out. Besides, Angel knew
how to deal with these situations. She staggered to Angel's front door and
tried to make herself look a little better, but obviously, she couldn't do
it. She rang the doorbell and leaned against the wall to keep from falling
over. She waited a minute, but no one answered, so she rang the bell again.
Still no one answered, so she pounded on the door with her fist as hard as
she could, but she didn't have any strength. Finally she heard footsteps and
soon she saw a silhouette through the window that looked like Faith. When
she opened the door, Faith's mouth fell to the floor when she saw Buffy.
Buffy was drenched from the rain, she had a split lip, her left eye was
puffy and as black as a tire, and she had small, grayish colored bruises on
her cheeks.

"Oh my god, Buffy! What happened!?" Faith waited for a response, but got

She took Buffy's hand and pulled her inside and shut the door. Buffy lost
her balance and fell right into Faith. Faith caught her and almost fell
over. Everyone was in a different room, so Faith had to holler to get
someone's attention, "A little god-damn help here, please!"

Kyle was the first to answer Faith's "cry" for help. He saw Buffy and ran
over to help. He picked her up and sat her on the couch. Soon, everyone else
came into the room and saw Buffy. Angel just about went through the roof,
"What the hell happened?" He looked at Faith.

She threw her arms in the air, "Hell if I know.'

Angel sat by Buffy, "Buffy, what happened."

Buffy opened her mouth to speak, but barely got out a rasp, "I'm so sorry. I
should have listened."

Angel asked, like he didn't already know, "Who did this?"

Buffy squeaked, "Jack."

Faith ran upstairs to her room, and Cordelia and Dru grabbed some blankets
and wrapped them around Buffy. Faith came back downstairs and
had a pair of flannel pajamas. She pushed everyone away from Buffy, "First,
we have to get her out of these clothes; she's gonna get hypothermia."

Cordelia and Dru helped Faith stand Buffy up and they led her to the
bathroom to change. Angel got up and dumped over the coffee table and
everything on it, crashed to the floor, "That son-of-a-bitch!"

Xander was standing by the door, "Dammit, I told you we should have killed
that fucker when we had the chance!"

Kyle was standing by the couch, "He's challenging us, you know. He wants us
to fight back."

Spike was sitting on a chair, "I really don't think he needs to worry about

The girls came out of the bathroom; Buffy was dry and had a towel wrapped
around her wet hair. They helped her back to the couch and she sat down.
Spike went to the kitchen and came back with a glass of water; he handed it
to Buffy, "Here pet, drink this."

Buffy took the water and slowly drank it. She gave the empty glass back to
Spike and smiled at him, "Thank you." She whispered.

Angel held her hand, "Buffy, what happened?"

Buffy took a deep breath, "I was walking home, and-"

"Wait, you were walking home? I thought Willow was picking you up."

Buffy looked down at the ground. Angel's face got red like he was about
ready to blow up, but he didn't. Instead, he took a breath, "Never mind
that, what happened with Jack?"

Buffy looked at Angel again, "He came up from behind me. I thought he was
going to kill me, but instead, he did this. Just before he left, he told me
that this was a gift for you, and that it was your move. What was he talking

"Basically, he said, 'come kill me.'"

"Oh, ok..."

"Are you ok?"

Buffy looked at him like he was insane, "Do I look OK? I can't see out of my
left eye, my mouth hurts when I try to talk...my whole face hurts, as do my
legs, arms, and especially my back."

"Your back?"

"Yea, he slammed me against that gate by the park a few times. I lost count
after about the third time. Oh yea, I'm cold as all hell too. You wanna know
what really pissed me off though? I forgot that I drove here in Giles' car.
I was way preoccupied with this Jack thing, so I forgot about the fuckin'
car. This never would have happened if I had any brains!"

Buffy looked around and could see everyone starting to laugh, so she gave
them all a death look, "Don't even think about it."

They saw her face and their smiles vanished...for a minute.

Buffy looked at Angel again, "I'm sorry I lied; it's just that you guys have
done so much for me and I don't want to put you guys out anymore. And Angel,
you still haven't healed all the way, you need to be resting, not running
around, and worrying about me."

Faith stepped in, "B, you totally don't get it. There is no you anymore,
it's all us. You are NEVER to go ANYWHERE alone anymore. You are a part of
us now, and that is the only way that you are going to be safe."

"Yea, I get it now. Don't worry, I don't want this to happen again. I must
really be pissing you guys off."

Buffy waited for someone to object to her remark, but no one did, they just
smiled at her; that didn't make her feel any better. Buffy remembered Giles,
"Oh, Giles, what do I do? Should I go home and tell him that I ran into a
door and it decided to fight back?" Everyone chuckled at that.

Faith studied Buffy's face, "No, you better stay here tonight. I know from
experience, it should be a lot better tomorrow morning." She looked at
Buffy's arms and legs. "You can sleep in my bed, I'll take the floor; you
need as much comfort as possible to heal the bruises. You should bring some
ice for your eye and lip."

Buffy smiled and tried to shift her body, but winced.

Cordelia grabbed a bottle of aspirin out of her bag, "Oh yes, you can't
forget the aspirin." She threw the bottle at Faith.

Spike came back into the living room, "We hit him on his home turf...so to

Buffy looked at Spike, "Home turf?"

"Satan Street."

"Satan Street?"

"Ironic isn't it?"

Angel nodded, "Not a bad idea."

Buffy was confused, "Satan Street? Is that where Jack lives or something?"

Kyle explained to Buffy, "No, Satan St. is way on the other side of town,
close to where Jack lives. He and all his friends and a bunch of other
people from his school. They are always there on Friday night, so that's
when we hit.  All of his friends will be there, but we call him out alone,
and he'll go. See, he has a lot of pride, and while most people would bring
a thousand other people with them, Jack will go alone, as long as we call
him out in front of everyone. He thinks he has this big, bad-ass reputation
that he wants to protect, so he'll go alone just to look cool and so people
won't think he's a wimp, even though no one else would ever go alone. And
then, we beat him down.

Buffy kinda understood,  "Ok, makes sense...sorta. But, you said we're on
their turf, so how does that make us safe? There will be a whole lot of
them, can't they like ambush us?"

Everyone there, except for Jack's friends know better than to mess with us,
or Jack and his gang. They know that if they even try anything, they might
never see the light of day again; so we don't need to worry about them, just
Jack and his friends."

Buffy smiled, "Ok, now I get it."

Angel thought for a minute, "Tomorrow night."

"Ok, it's a plan." Faith walked over to Buffy, "Come on B, you need sleep."

Buffy slowly stood up, "What about Giles?"

Xander smiled, "I'll call Willow and fill her in...sorta, then you can call

Buffy smiled, "Thanks Xander."

"No problem."

Buffy followed Faith up to her room and sat on the bed.

"Ok B, I'll go get you some ice."

"Thanks Faith, I so appreciate this."

"No problem, now relax."

Faith went downstairs, got the ice, and brought it back to Buffy, "I'll be
up in a while."

"Ok, Good night."


Faith went back downstairs and joined the conversation.

Angel was holding his shoulder a little bit, "Ok, tomorrow night, we get

Xander was totally serious, "Can we kill him this time?"

Kyle, "No, we DON'T kill him. Just forget killing him. I want him to die,
believe me, but we can't kill him. If we do, it will eventually be traced
back to us, and if that happens, we are all fucked. As long as he stays
alive, he doesn't have to stay...healthy."

Faith: "What about Buffy? Are we going to bring her along?"

Angel: "No, she needs to stay out of the line of fire."

Cordelia: "Do you think she will be safe with none of us around?"

Dru: "They have ways of finding out where she lives, maybe they already
know. She should stay with us, especially tomorrow night."

Kyle: "She's right, she's safer with us than she is at her home."

Angel: Safer? How is being with us on a night like tomorrow safer?"

Xander: "We can protect her."

Spike: "Angel, if you want to keep her alive, at least one of us has to be
with her at all times."

Angel: "Ok, fine; she goes, but don't let her out of your sight. She is such
an amateur at this shit. She could be in so much danger."

Faith: "Don't worry, if things get to heavy, she can bail and I'll take her
home and stay with her. Besides, this might get her to realize what she's a
part of now, and it might wake her up; I mean, she obviously doesn't really
realize how dangerous it is, otherwise she never would have walked home at
all, much less alone. This is a sure way to bring her down to OUR Earth."

Angel: "Ok, you're right."

Kyle: "Tomorrow, we all go "armed and dangerous" so to speak. Who knows if
any of Jack's friends will try to come to the rescue."

Faith: "Um, may I suggest something? I think someone needs to teach Buffy
how to shoot. I gave her a gun and it obviously did no good."

Angel: "Good idea; I'd do it, but I'll probably end up shooting myself with
this damn arm."

Faith: "No sweat, I can do it. Hey, are you going to school tomorrow?"

Angel: "Yea, my arm is good enough now."

Faith: "Should Buffy and I skip tomorrow so I can teach her too shoot? I
really don't think that a few hours after school is enough."

Kyle: "Yea, skip tomorrow; practice all day. She needs to be a pro if she is
going to stay alive."

Faith: "Got it. Well, I' off to bed. Night all."

Everyone exchanged 'goodnights,' and they all went to bed.

Buffy woke up the next morning to the sound of Willow's voice, "Buffy,

At first, Buffy thought that she was home, but then, all at once, the
from the night before came flooding back and she remembered that she
sleeping in Faith's room, at her house, and now...Willow was there.
immediately sat up and saw Willow next to the bed, and Xander standing
the doorway.

"Willow, what are you doing here?!" She winced when she touched her lip
inspect the damage.

Willow's eyes were as wide as Oreos, "Buffy, what the happened to you?"

Buffy ignored her and looked at Xander, "What is she doing here

Xander walked a little closer to the bed, "Well, after you went to
last night, I called Willow and asked her to cover for you again and I
told her that you wouldn't be in school today. She immediately thought
were dead or almost dead or something and she freaked out. She told me
if I didn't tell her where she was, she was going to call the police
tell them what was going on. I thought she was bluffing, so I didn't
her. Well, five minutes later, the police called and asked if
everything was
ok. So, here we are."

Willow waved her hands in the air, "Hello? I'm right here! Don't talk
me like I'm not here."

Buffy got out of bed, "Willow, are you insane? Do you have any idea how
dangerous it is to be in this house?"

Willow laughed, but when she noticed that Xander and Buffy weren't, she

"Willow, I'm serious. If anyone saw you come in here, you're in
Dammit, why couldn't you just trust me!? You have to leave now!"

"Buffy, why aren't you going to school?"

"Look at me, I can barely stand."

"Are you ok?"

"I'm fine. I'll live. You have to leave here, now. The less you are
the better." She shot a glance at Xander, "Xander will take you to
and I promise I will call you tonight."

Willow wouldn't budge, "No way, you aren't getting rid of me that
easily. I
want to know what's going on."

Buffy hated it when Willow showed her stubborn side, "No, you are
now! You don't understand, the longer you are here, the better chance
have of not waking up tomorrow morning! I mean, I have been shot and
the hell out of in less than two weeks. You have to leave NOW!"

"Buffy, please tell me what's going on."

"I'm sorry Will, I can't now."

"I'm not leaving."

Buffy looked at Xander, "Take her to school, will ya?"

Xander smiled, "Gladly."

Willow waved again, "Hello? I'm still here."

At that, Xander grabbed Willow's arm, pulled her closer to him, grabbed
around the waist, picked her up, and threw her over his shoulders,
"I'll see
she gets there safely."

Buffy smiled, "Thanks."

Willow started hitting Xander's back and trying to kick his stomach,
Let me go! Put me down!"

Xander ignored her and carried her downstairs, passed the gawking
out the door, to his car, which was already running, plopped her down
on the
drivers side, Willow quickly scooted over to try to get out, but the
was locked, and by the time she got it unlocked, Xander was already in,
he sped off. Willow glared at him and crossed her arms over her chest.

Xander just smiled, I knew you would be stubborn, so I had to think
Look, Buffy is as safe as she can possibly be with us. None of us would
anything happen to her, so dont worry.

Willow kept glaring at Xander, Like she already told me, she has been
and totally beaten in the last two weeks. And its all because of you,
dont take it personally if I hate all of you for turning my best
into one of you. She could die, just like the rest of you, and while it
would suck for you, it would suck even more for Buffy because she has
friends and family who truly care about her.

Willow realized what she had said, Im sorry. I didnt mean that you
dont have people who care about you, its just

Xander kept his eyes on the road, Dont worry about it.

Willow saw how collected Xander was, How do you do this day after

Its quite simple, I dont have a choice.

Willow studied Xander for a moment; he was wearing jeans, shoes that
like combat boots, a white t-shirt, and a leather jacket. He also had a
silver chain latched onto his jeans.

Typical clothing for people like him. Willow thought to herself.
she didnt understand the chain.

Whats with the chain?

What chain?

Willow pointed to it.

Oh, well, I guess you could say, its part of the typical clothing
people like me wear.
Willow looked at him and he winked at her, You should think to
yourself a
little quieter next time.

Willow blushed, Oops.

She paused for a moment, This might sound like a stupid question, but
you ever killed anyone?

Xander didnt answer at first, Not because I wanted to. If I could, I
never hold another gun or knife, ever again. Just because we live this
doesnt mean we like it.

Please take care of Buffy. She wont let me be there to watch out for
so you have to. I havent slept in four days because Ive been worrying
about Buffy.

She is as safe as she can possibly be with us, I promise.

They got to school, and Xander pulled into the bus lane, Ill keep you
posted. Would that make you feel any better?

Its a start, thanks.

No sweat.

Willow smiled at Xander and got out of the car. She shut the door; he
and then drove away.

Was that Xander Harris?

Willow turned around and saw Oz, Gun, and Fred behind her, Oh, um,

Oz looked confused, Why did he give you a ride to school?

Willow started to panic, Well, ummy car died, so I had to walk to

Willow saw the questioning look on Ozs face, I tried to call you, but
had already left. Anyway, when I was walking here, this guy came out of
nowhere and started harassing me. Well, Xander came along and saved
and then he dropped me off here. Hes not as bad as you would think.

Oz hugged her, Are you alright?

Couldnt be better. Lets go.

She took Ozs hand, and they all went to class.


Buffy got dressed and limped downstairs, Hello? Anyone home?

In here.

Buffy heard Angel in his room and went to see him, Morning.

Morning, how do you feel?

How do I look?

Angel chuckled, Yea, Ive been there.

Hows you arm?

Almost good as new.

Buffy took Angels hand and made him sit on the bed, then she sat on a
across from him, Ok, we need to talk, or at least I do, you can just
listen. These past few weeks, as you know, havent been a walk in the
for meor you, but youre more used to it than I am. Anyway, in these
few weeks, Ive realized that you cant take live for granted. Every
we have on Earth is a blessing, because tomorrow, we might be dead; you
probably know that more than anyone. Ive also learned that you have to
life to its fullest, and Buffy moved to the bed, and sat next to
You also have to seize the moment.

She put her hand on his cheek and he closed his eyes and felt the touch
her hand, You love doing this, dont you?


Driving me crazy.

Im sorry, I

Angel cut her off, by kissing her.

At first, Buffy wasnt sure what to do. This was totally different than
first kiss she had with Angel. This time, he had made the first move.
thought about pulling away, but decided against it when she felt his
hand on
her cheek. She returned the kiss, but was hesitant; even though she
this, she didnt know if it would be a good idea to get so involved. As
as the whole Jack situation was taken care of, she planned on leaving
Angel and Faith and everyone else. She was eternally grateful for what
had done for her, but this was NOT the life for her. She couldnt spend
rest of her life looking over her shoulder for someone who wanted to

Buffy pulled away, Wait, I cant do this.

Angel smiled, Why not?

I am so grateful for what all of you have done for me, but I cant
live the
rest of my life like this. I have to get out now, before I mess
up for all of us. Trust me, you dont want me. I would bring you guys
in two seconds flat. I mean, look whats happened to you guys already
me involved. You were almost killed twice because of me and I WONT let
happen again.

Angel didnt smile this time, Well, I hate to tell you this, but there
no getting out now. And if you even try, Jack WILL kill you. You are
vulnerable when you arent with any of us and thats to his advantage.
I know youre scared, but you cant get out if you want to stay
alive. The
only way or your friend Willow will be safe, is.

Willow? What about her? What are you talking about?

Im assuming that Xander carried her out of here like that because she
refused to leave. And Im guessing you told her to leave because its
for her, right?

Yea, so?

Well, I hate to say this; we are being watched like a fuckin' hawk.
the house is. They see anybody and everybody who enters and leaves this
house. Unless Willow is a pizza guy, or a salesman, she's been seen and
she's in trouble. You guys are safest here, with us. I've told you so
times, we fight everyday to stay alive. You did the right thing, trying
keep Willow away, but she's just like you, stubborn and persistent. Why
you think Xander took her to school?"

"So you mean that she has to be with one of you guys at all times now?"

"Well, no. But you need to keep a close eye on her all the times."

"God! How could I let this happen?"

"It wasn't your fault."

"I'm not feeling so well, I'm gonna go back to bed." She smiled at
and then went back upstairs.