Buffy knocked on Angel's door and went in when she was told to. "Hey guys," she said. "Sorry I ran off earlier."
"It's okay, Buffy, I let Gunn hear about it."
"I should be used to it by now, but when it's someone in our line of work I just lose it sometimes."
"Buffy," Willow said, offering her a smile. "I was just getting done explaining to Angel that everything I could research about the spell I did indicates it's just the restoration."
"So it should be permanent? It's been permanent all along?"
"It seems that way, yes."
"Okay, so what's with the long faces?"
"Well, the thing is that I don't have the original spell that Miss Calendar's clan performed to compare the two."
"But if the spell you did makes it permanent I don't understand why you'd need to."
"Because I don't know if it's the same spell or not, it might be something in the magic itself, or it could be a side effect of the spell."
"There is something we can do," Wesley interjected. "To be certain. I researched it once Willow told me her findings. It would not alter or weaken Willow's spell, if anything it might even bind Angel's soul more securely."
"But we want to make sure you understand the risks, Buffy. He'll be ingesting a poison."
"Yes, a poison. He would be rendered unconscious and would have to remain that way for seventy-two hours."
"Three days," Angel interjected.
"Three days," Wesley repeated.
"So you'd be killing him again? Is that what you're telling me? He has to die all over again?"
"He would not die and would be no deader than he already is, Buffy. He would essentially be sleeping for three days while the poison ran through his system and bound his soul. There's something else."
Buffy glanced at Angel, who was no longer meeting her eyes. "Angel?"
"He would have to have blood to bring him out of this state."
"Okay, so we'll get him blood."
"A lot of blood, Buffy. He'll be coming to with the hunger a vampire has when he's first risen."
"So I'll give him my blood. No problem, I've done it before."
"And you almost died, Buffy," Angel said gruffly.
"So he drinks this poison, goes to the sleep of the dead for three days, I wake him up with my blood and the soul is permanent, right? We can make with the happiness, in and out of bed, all we want?"
"I want to do it. It's my decision, it's my blood I'm offering. You can all come into the room when I do it and pull him off of me if he doesn't stop."
"Buffy," Angel said, meeting her gaze.
"Angel, it's worth it to me. Isn't it to you?"
"Not if you die again, no."
"I won't die. I won't like seeing you lay there unmoving for three days, but I want to do it."
"Willow, is there anyone you can contact to inquire after the spell? Anyone from Miss Calendar's clan still existing?"
"I don't know that they would tell me, Angel."
Angel looked into Willow's eyes. "Find out, Willow. There's something that's bothered me ever since you restored my soul, it never really bothered me when I was without it for those months."
"What's that?" Buffy asked.
"Why would they restore my soul only to put such a condition on it? You would think they would never want me to lose it. I mean, I could have gone off and been happy two days later and all their hard work would have been ruined. It was supposed to be a punishment; I was supposed to live with my wrongdoings. Why should the demon be rewarded in the event of my true happiness?"
"He has a point," Wesley said with a nod. "It does seem rather contradictory. Perhaps they've improved or revised the spell and the one you used, Willow, no longer has that as part of it."
"If we can't get in touch with anyone by tomorrow morning, so long as Buffy is willing to take the other avenue I am too. But I want to be chained when you go to feed me, Buffy, and I want you all there with crossbows at the ready," Angel said to Wesley.
"Done," Wesley said simply.
"Angel," Buffy whispered.
"I just don't want to kill you, Buffy. You don't know what the hunger is like and what it can cause you to do."
"I've still got Miss Calendar's files saved on the computer at home."
"Well, that's not going to do us any good, Will," Buffy said a little frustrated.
"No problem, I can dial-in to that computer and get to them. I think there were some names and numbers on it, I can't remember any more, it's been a while since I went through her things."
"You can do that?"
"Yup, easy as pie, I'll get right to it."
"No problem, Buffy. I kinda figure I owe you one, or two," she said and Buffy smiled.
"You do this, Will, and you can call us even."
"Let me get crackin' then."
"Right, I'll continue to research and see if we can come up with another alternative."
"Thanks guys," Buffy said and went to sit on Angel's lap. Her arm went around his neck and she kissed him. "Are you thinking about changing your mind?"
"No," he said with a shake of his head, nuzzling her cheek with his. "Is Spike all right?"
"He'll be fine. I told him there might even be a room for him at the mansion."
Angel kissed along her jaw lightly until he got to her ear. "You think I'd allow that?"
"I think you would, yes. If for no other reason than Dawn's safety. Like I told Spike, who'd dare come mess with our house with the Slayer, a vampire and a witch living there?"
"I suppose you have a point. Do you trust him?"
"I do, Angel. I don't know that he even really loves me, or if he just became fixated on me for some reason. Wanting to get back at you maybe? I'm not sure. But I know he cares about Dawn and he'd protect her until he was dust. And, she's at that age where boys will be coming around."
"Oh yeah, I sort of forgot about that. She might prefer Spike to me in that regard."
"The possessive Daddy, you mean?"
"Yeah, I'd have no problem letting them know what I am."
"She'd hate you," Buffy said. It was easy to picture in her mind Angel coming down the stairs in game face to meet Dawn's prom date. Not that Spike would let a boy think they could get away with anything where Dawn was concerned; he would just be less obvious about it.
"Exactly," he said and Buffy yawned. "You tired?"
"Mm, yeah. Busy day. Training, sparring, patrolling."
"Do you want to sleep in here tonight?"
"No," she said softly with a shake of her head. "I want to sleep in my room. It's a great room, I'd hate to let all that hard work go to waste."
"Right," he said moving to stand.
"Are you going to carry me?"
"I was thinking about it, yes."
"That's nice," she said sleepily. "You're going to stay with me, right?"
"I don't know that I'm going to sleep tonight, Buffy. But I'll stay in our rooms."
"Okay, it's not quite the same, but okay."
"I'll lay down with you until you fall asleep."
"You read my mind," she said as he placed her on the bed. "I need to get ready for bed, though. I should shower."
"Buffy, you're tired."
"I don't want you to smell me."
"You smell fine, Buffy."
"You say that now," she said, scrunching her nose.
"You are impossible sometimes, Buffy."
She knelt on the bed and skimmed her hands along the length of his chest. "But that's what you love about me, isn't it?"
He closed the distance between their mouths and kissed her. "It's one of the things I love about you, yes."
"I'll be right out, I promise."
"Okay," he grumbled.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com