***Part 10***

Buffy forced the stake through the vamp's heart and let go once he had begun turning to dust. She bent over, placing her hands on her knees to take a breath. Her dancing kept her in shape, but two years of no slaying had left her a little rusty on the toying she used to do with a vamp before dusting it.

"See," Illyria said with obvious contempt in her voice. "Slayers are not so very tough after all. She acts hurt and I did not see one touch her."

"I'm fine," Buffy said. She stood and spun on her heels to face the former god. "I have more than held my own and I have not once put Spike or Angel in danger. What is your problem exactly? Can you not stand to have Spike or Angel paying attention to another woman? Afraid of a little competition?"

"Buffy," Angel said in a low voice.

"No, I'm tired of Miss Attitude here. It's not like I came to LA for the express purpose of causing problems between you and Spike. I didn't even contact either one of them." A thought occurred to her, it was childish really but she was feeling a little snarky. "Did Spike happen to mention that I kicked a god's ass?"

"You would not dare touch me," she said defiantly. The doubtful glance she sent in Spike's direction betrayed her lack of confidence, however. Spike merely shrugged with a nod of his head, as if defeating Glory had not been any big deal. "Surely it was a lesser god for a mere mortal to be able to do such a thing."

"You'd like to think so," Buffy said as she shoved her stake into the waistband of her Capri jeans.

"I do not like that you cause them pain."

"Yeah, well, feel my pain. Can you tell that they've hurt me too? I bet your hurt scale radar doesn't tell you that Spike spent three years trying to kill me or that I had to choose between sending Angel to hell and saving the world when I was seventeen years old. It doesn't tell you that I gave him my blood so that he could live even if it meant I would die. How about the fact I've died twice and came damned close a third time. I bet it doesn't tell you despite all of my power, all of the incredible gifts the Powers That Be gave me I couldn't save my own mother. Feel my pain, feel everybody's pain because we've all got it, it's a fact of life. I don't care where or when you were a god, you're not the god of me so don't talk to me in a tone that suggests I'm not worthy to lick your boots. I'm the slayer."

She turned to Angel then, having said way more than she had meant to. She was just tired of the attitude. "Can we get out of here? The nest is empty, I don't think there are any left."

"Yeah, of course," he said, sliding an arm around her waist. He drew her close and placed a kiss on top of her head. She drew away and glanced at him and saw it again in his eyes, respect for her. "Good night guys," Angel said as Buffy walked in the direction of her house. "What about your stuff?"

"I'll get it another time. I'm not in the mood to deal with her anymore."

"I'm sorry. Maybe I should have had us go by ourselves."

"No, it's okay I just can't handle her attitude. I know Spike's not happy, I know our doing whatever we're doing hurts him but I did not do it intentionally. He knew," she said softly and trailed off, unwilling to complete her thought.

"He knew you would always be mine?"

"Yeah," she whispered. "Pathetic, huh? You left wanting me to move on and I went through the motions but never really did it."

"Until recently."

"I had to keep to myself for a while and do things for me. I was really going to try this time. Thus the going to school thing and all that. I wanted to give normalcy a chance."

"And what if I don't want you to give it a chance?"

"I still need to go to school, Angel."

"I understand that, Buffy, I'm not talking about your going to school or holding down a job. I think you know what I'm talking about."


"I want us to try again, have a relationship."

"I'd like that," she said sincerely and felt her heart and soul grow lighter as the weight of worrying over Angel not wanting her was lifted.

"Now, about this job."


"Come on, Buffy, there's got to be something you can do to earn a decent living."

"Sure, I'm doing it. It's only temporary, Angel, until I'm done with school."

"Buffy, you've got at least three years left."

"So you'll just have to keep your jealous streak in check. You've got a woman living in your house."

He sighed heavily. "True. And then there's this demon hunter I've got to find."

"If you want to start coming to the club you can," she said, realizing it was not fair to tell him to stay away when he had a job to do.

"I wouldn't let you stop me even if you said I couldn't," he said with a light laugh.

"When did you get so lighthearted?"

"It was either that or go nuts from being so serious all of the time. So I learned to laugh a little."

"I'm glad. You have a nice laugh."

"Thanks," he said. They stopped walking in unison and Angel kissed her. The streetlight spotlighted the reunited lovers for all to see.

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