***Passion Twenty-Two***

November 1999

"Giles," Buffy called out, grabbing her jacket as she went for the front door. If what Spike had told her was true, she had to get to Angelus.

Giles came out of the kitchen, drying his hands on a dishtowel. "Yes, Buffy."

She glanced from Spike who was tied securely to the chair to her watcher. Spike did not know about Ryan and Buffy thought it was better that way. If he did not look so much like his father perhaps she would not be so adamant about it. Given how well Spike knew Angelus she doubted he would be fooled that his father was someone else. "I've got to go. Will you watch over everything for me?" She met his eyes, conveying that the everything she was asking him to watch was upstairs sleeping.

"Yes, of course, I'll hold down the fort." He offered her a sympathetic look, he knew she was taking a chance letting Spike stay here with Ryan here, too. But what choice did she have? She could bring Ryan with her, but Spike would see that she had a child along and wonder who's it was.

"What you got a hot date or something, Slayer? You sure are in a hurry to get on out of here."

"It might have something to do with the company, Spike," she shot back.

"Don't forget the blood," Spike piped in from his chair.

"I'll get right on that," Buffy said as she put her jacket on, fixing the collar before leaving Giles' apartment. She knew Giles would do whatever it took to keep Ryan safe, even if he was still unhappy over one year later with Buffy for preventing Willow from resouling Angelus. She took a deep breath outside in the courtyard before heading in the direction of the mansion.

Buffy would have to remember to ask Angelus whether Spike knew Angelus was still here or not. She could not imagine he did, or he would have gone to Angelus for help not Buffy. Then again, Angelus was not known for helping the needy, and Spike was weak and needy at the moment. Or at least that's how he portrayed himself to be, Buffy was not sure yet whether she believed his story. Maybe it was not so odd Spike had come to her for help instead of Angelus after all.

She entered the mansion through the back door like she always did these days. Gone were the days when she felt the need to knock or she felt like an intruder on Angelus' property. She had no idea if he actually owned this place or what, she should ask just out of curiosity.

She found him in the music room, his fingers stroking the keys aimlessly. "Good evening, Lover," he said without looking at her.

"Hi," she said, removing her jacket and tossing it on a nearby armchair. He probably thought she was coming here for sex. She rarely came to visit him without Ryan along, the few times she had come without him they had ended up having some of the most amazing and passionate sex. "This isn't a social call."

"Oh really," he said with a low laugh. "Getting right down to business then, Slayer?"

"Hardly," she said and walked so she faced him while he remained seated at the piano.

"What's wrong," he finally asked.

"You don't know?"

"What am I supposed to know?"

She looked at him, really looked at him and he seemed genuinely in the dark. "You're in danger."

"What did I do now? Did I piss off Giles or Xander, or maybe it was Willow this time?"

"Nothing like that. Spike showed up at Giles' house today."

"You think I'm in danger from Spike?" He sounded a little too amused by that concept, not that Buffy could blame him exactly.

"No, Spike says he was abducted."

"And the people didn't drive a stake through his heart?"

"Would you listen to me, Angelus, this is serious."

"I wouldn't believe a word Spike tells you, Buffy."

"This group of people have a containment area somewhere in the tunnels full of all sorts of demons, including vampires. Lots of vampires, Spike said."


"Angelus, they're altering these demons and vampires somehow so they can't hurt anyone."

"Spike unable to hurt anyone? I'll bet he's jonesing real bad." She slapped him across the face, not with her full strength but enough to get his attention and glared at him. He grabbed her hand before she could pull it away and stood from the piano bench, knocking it to the floor due to his momentum. "What the hell was that for? I knew you liked it a little unconventional but I didn't know you got into that type of thing."

"Stop talking about our sex life for a minute. Spike escaped, Angelus. They're doing these things to these vampires, but they're keeping them confined he said. He's at Giles' house because he got lucky and was able to escape."

"What do you want me to do about it? Help him? I wouldn't trust him, Buffy."

"I want you to leave Sunnydale."

"What?" he asked eyeing her suspiciously?

"I don't want you to get captured, Angelus. I want you to go until we can figure out what's going on."

"You're serious?"

"Yes," she said softly. She hated it, she did not want him to go. He could still be downright cruel, but they had come to some sort of unspoken agreement over the past fifteen months. She brought Ryan to see him every day. "We're researching it. I've seen some guys dressed in commando type gear around town, but the first time I saw them was on Halloween so I didn't think anything of it."


"But, Angelus, I need to know you're safe. Just like when I told Mom to get out of town for graduation, I can't concentrate on my work if the people I love are in the thick of it."

"What about Ryan?"

"He's human, Angelus, he's not in any danger."

"True," he said. "And then what, you'll call me back like a dog who you expect to heel?"

"No, Angelus, that's not it. Do you want to get captured and have something done to you? Do you want to drink drugged blood? Do you want to find out what these people are doing to the demons that they're holding captive by getting captured yourself? I'm guessing with Spike's escape security is tighter than ever. If you don't want to come back when it's over, then don't."

"Why don't you and Ryan come with me? Giles, too, if he feels it's necessary."

"What about school? And my mom?"

"She'd understand."

"No, she wouldn't, she still doesn't know what you are. She's accepted the fact you're involved and that we're not getting married and stuff. I don't think she'd be okay with my going away with you indefinitely."

"Screw her, Buffy."

"Not, but Mother aside, I can't just up and leave when there's something going on, Angelus. There's someone at least remotely organized abducting, drugging, and somehow altering demons. Something tells me they're not on the side of good or they would not be doing this covertly."

"You're the Slayer, you're supposed to kill demons and vampires, what do you care?"

"Because I kill them, I don't toy with them before I kill them."

"You've toyed with me, Lover."

"That's not quite the same, and you know it."

"I know, you just couldn't resist my charm."

"Right, that's it. You caught me. So untrue."

He chuckled lightly. "You're worried about me."

"And you wouldn't be about me?"

"Now it's you who caught me," he shrugged.

"I should get back to Giles', Ryan's there and Spike doesn't know about him."

"You left Ryan there with Spike in the house? Are you insane?"

"No, I'm not insane. Was I supposed to tramp down the stairs holding a baby that looks just like you and not expect Spike to question me about it?"

"I won't be able to see him before I go."

"I know," she said softly.

"Come upstairs with me, I want to at least be able to say good bye to one of you properly."

"Where do you think you'll go," she asked, following him up the stairs to her bedroom.

"LA, it should be far enough away and yet you could get on a bus so that I can see Ryan every once in a while."

"Is that all you care about, seeing Ryan?"

He growled, low and predator-like as he lifted her shirt over her head and off, tossing it aside. She could tell by the look in his eyes that he wanted her. And badly. "God I hate you," he whispered. His actions to follow were a direct contradiction to that statement and Buffy realized how true the saying actions spoke louder than words was.

"You'll call me when you find somewhere to stay?" Buffy asked while she got dressed. She felt his eyes on her, following her every move and it sent shivers down her spine to know he was watching her that intently.

"Don't close me out of your mind, Buffy. Our ability to read one another's thoughts might come in handy."

"I don't anymore unless I need to concentrate on a fight or something."

"I know," he said. "I'm just saying. With my being so far away, it might be the quickest way for us to at least ensure the other one's okay if we need to."

"Ryan's going to miss you."

"Thanks," Angelus said softly and Buffy was not sure what he was thanking her for. "You be careful, Buff. Watch Spike, I don't trust him. Watch your back and keep your guard up all of the time."

"I don't trust him either but I can't turn him out knowing he can't feed."

"A sympathetic Slayer," he said with a low chuckle.

"I guess." She walked to the bed, knowing the longer she prolonged this it would only get worse.

"Go on now, Lover, I'll call you when I've gotten somewhere."

"Thanks," she whispered, fighting the tears that were threatening to fall. She would not let him see her cry. Not tonight.

"Oh and Buffy?"

She paused, her hand on the doorjamb. "Yeah?"

"I don't hate you."

"I know," she said. She stared at him taking in every inch of him, committing him to memory in case she did not see him again for a long while.

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