"Buffy?" Giles voice posed an unspoken question when she returned inside holding Jenny Calendar's battered body in her arms.
Tears began to spill from Buffy's eyes onto her cheeks, cascading in droplets onto Jenny's face. "I'm so sorry." She set Jenny gently on the couch, leaving the curtain in place over her body.
"What did he do to her, Buffy?"
"He didn't do anything to her, Giles. It was Spike and Drusilla."
"And you believe that?"
"Giles he brought her to us. He wouldn't have if he was involved." Willow picked up the phone on Giles' desk to call an ambulance while Buffy was in a stare-down with her watcher. "Did you know she was a part of the gypsy clan that cursed Angelus with his soul?"
"That's what Angelus said and that Spike and Dru did this to her I guess to stop her from trying to restore his soul."
"She was," Willow said, her hand resting over the phone's receiver. "I was going to help her with it."
"Why didn't you tell me? Why didn't she tell me?" Giles queried.
"We weren't sure it would work, so we didn't want anyone to know. We figured if we tried it and it worked, great, Buffy and Ryan get Angel back. If not, no one but us would know."
"You can really do that?" Buffy asked, unable to keep the sound of hope out of her voice.
"Miss Calendar seemed to think so."
"Buffy, I think we've got more important things to worry about," Xander said from the armchair. "Miss Calendar is obviously hurt and needs to get to the hospital."
"An ambulance is on the way," Willow offered as she hung the phone up. Buffy met the eyes of her best friend and held them. "Xander, Miss Calendar really wanted to do this."
"And look where it got her. I don't believe Angelus had nothing to do with the attack on her."
"Can you do it, Will?" Buffy asked her best friend again.
"Yeah, I think I can. Miss Calendar walked me through it and the Orb of Thesulah she bought this morning is at the library."
"Would you try? We can't all be with Miss Calendar at the hospital anyway."
"Yeah, let me call Oz, he can be my anchor in case something goes wrong."
"Is it dangerous, Will?"
"There's always a risk with magic, Buffy, you know that," Giles said toying gently with Jenny's hair.
"Do it," Buffy said.
"And then what, Buffy? You do the horizontal mambo with your boyfriend and we're back to where we are now. Things could be worse in fact."
"I don't want my boyfriend back, Xander. I'll be content with Ryan having a father. I don't need to have sex with him."
"You two can't keep your hands off one another now. You think he's going to go back to going without?"
"Xander has a point, Buffy," Giles offered. "Ordinarily I would keep my opinion on this to myself. I don't like the idea that you've been having relations with a vampire, but the next time could be even worse. He never got past taunting you this time around, we might not be so lucky if there is another time around dealing with Angelus."
"But it's what Miss Calendar wanted."
"Should we really be sitting here talking about this when Miss Calendar is in the shape she's in? Maybe he wasn't involved with what Spike and Drusilla did to her, but if she dies it's just as much his fault because he brought her here and not to a hospital."
"Xander!" Buffy and Willow both exclaimed.
"Willow, I want you to get the things you need together. Call Oz and take Xander with you to the library in case you need more than Oz. I'm going to go talk to Angelus. If you don't hear from me by," she paused glancing at Giles' wall clock, "midnight go ahead and do it."
"You think you can walk in there and tell him that you want to restore his soul and he's going to let you."
"No, Xander, I don't, but he's changed. I feel it. He's not the same as he was back in January when it first happened. He's not Angel either, but I'm going to find out if I really need to ask Willow to take the risk."
"In other words, you don't know if you can keep your hands off him so you're hoping that your bad boy, soulless boyfriend can curb his evilness just this side of acceptable so that you can keep him around."
"If that's what you believe, Xander, then you don't understand me at all. I love him. Can you not understand that? Is my loving Angelus, soul or not, any more bizarre than you being with Cordelia?"
"Is she really," Buffy shot back. "And if she is what's her excuse for being so rude and unforgivably cruel to people?" Buffy stormed to Giles' front door. "I'm so out of here. Willow, will you do it?"
"I'll be ready at midnight, Buffy."
"Sure, Miss Calendar really did feel bad, Buffy."
"I know, I believe that now," Buffy said casting a glance at Miss Calendar on the couch. "Tell her I'm sorry, Giles," Buffy said softly before she left the apartment.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com