**Part Fourteen**

"Oh my God. Go away," Buffy mumbled. She couldn't remember the last time she'd been out all night. She and Matty had certainly made a night of it. They stayed at the club until way past closing and then moved to breakfast. It was mid-morning by the time they'd gotten back and both had crashed immediately in a tangled heap on the bed. She doubted they'd managed to hang their clothes up.

The knocking persisted so she opened her eyes. Matty's leg was draped over hers and it took a little maneuvering to get out from under him. Particularly since he didn't seem to want to let go. A glance at the bedside clock told her it was four o'clock. That had to be afternoon because at four in the morning they had been somewhere other than here. And there was no way they'd slept the entire day away.

Still groggy, she padded to the bathroom to grab her robe. "Coming," she called, awake enough to let whoever it was knocking know they weren't dead. Whoever it was, they weren't giving up, otherwise Buffy would have just ignored them and gone back to sleep. Or woken Matty up for something other than sleep.

She opened the door, not at all surprised to see Faith standing there for some reason.

"Good morning, sleepy head," the brunette slayer said with a shit-eating grin. "I heard you and the hubby had a late night."

"Mm, I can't remember the last time I saw the sun rise for pleasure."

"Definitely worth it, isn't it?"

"Yeah," Buffy said with a smile. It had been. She walked to the bed and sat on the edge of it, confident Faith would get on with it eventually. "What's up?"

"Spike called. My man Jimmy gave the bat phone to me when it rang since you and the master of the house were indisposed."


"Yeah, seems he gets that I'm the captain to your colonel. Or however that works."

"You're not, Faith. We're equals."

"Don't worry about it. I know how it works. I'm cool with it. Five by five, right?" She shoved her hands in the pockets of her jeans and shrugged. "So, anyway, we're on, B. The girls are ready to roll."

"Really? Now?"

"Yup. Whatever it is, it's going to be ugly and it's going down tonight. I got an address. Spike said to be ready for hell to be unleashed on earth."

"When haven't we had that as a threat?"

"I know, right? But I think he was talking literally."

"Been there, done that once already when Glory was after Dawn."

"Buffy," Matty called hoarsely from behind her on the bed.

"Yo, Bronx boy, keep the sheet on."

"Yeah, yeah, I don't have anything you haven't seen," he said with a chuckle. He scooted toward Buffy, sliding his arm around her.

"You never know," Faith replied cockily.

"I'm pretty sure," Matty said, kissing Buffy's back through her robe. "What's up?"

"We're up."

That woke him up.

"Oh? When?"

"Sundown, Yankee fan. That's when all the creature of the dark baddies come out to play. Don't you know that?"

"I guess I did."

Matty and Faith had hit it off. They had the East Coast thing going for them. They seemed to enjoy taking jibes at one another for being from Boston and New York. She wasn't sure about Matty and Robin. Buffy wondered if the slayer's son was waiting for Matty to show fangs or something considering the only boyfriends of Buffy's Robin knew were both vampires.

"Be ready to fly, B."

"Did he say anything else?" Buffy wasn't sure what she was hoping for. Something. Anything.

"Yeah, that it may just be us left to deal with whatever mess there is."

"What does that mean?"

Faith shrugged. She didn't need to answer, Buffy knew. It meant if it was just the slayers Angel's team hadn't made it.

"Like I said, big, bad, and ugly. There are only, what, six of them? Three are human. The demon, he's pretty useless as far as I'm concerned. I'm not sure of the odds, but they're stacked I think."

"I'll be ready. Let me shower and I'll be down."

"All right. We're getting some food together. Jimmy and Maria are going all out, you'd think it was the Super Bowl or something."

"How can you think of food at a time like this?"

"Hey, we gotta do something to pass the time til sundown, right?"

"I suppose."

"I'll see you in a bit, B. Later, Bronx."

"Later," Matty quipped in reply.

"I wonder if our seeing Angel last night has anything to do with this."

"I don't know, Buffy."

"Well, I guess it's time to get ready." Buffy took a deep breath. "This is the first time I've had no idea what I am facing. It's a little strange. I'm taking a lot on faith and I really don't like going in blind."

"That's understandable, but if Angel didn't think you were capable of doing it without information he wouldn't have asked."

"You're right." She stood and walked to her clothes on the floor. "I had fun last night," she said, picking up her things.

"Me, too."

She wasn't facing him but she knew he was sitting up now. The sheet would be riding low along his hips, covering him just enough to be tempting and very appetizing.

"Good. I told Faith I couldn't remember the last time I'd watch the sun come up just for fun. I want to do it again."

"We will. Anytime you want."

She wiped her cheeks with her hand, stifling the tears as best as she could. She was in a good place here. The thought of losing everything scared her. The idea of leaving Matty for good hurt like crazy. How had that happened? How had she come to like spending time with him so much?

She walked to the bathroom, pausing at the doorway. She turned to face him then. He was exactly as she'd pictured. He looked even sexier, though. He always managed to do that.

"God, you're beautiful to look at," she whispered.

"I think I'm supposed to be the one saying that."

She smiled. "I'm serious."

"So am I."

"I've never felt like I had anything to lose before. Not like this. I'm not in high school anymore. Not that I didn't love Angel, but I know what life is about. I'm not ready for it to end."

He stood then and made his way to her, taking her into his arms. He kissed the top of her head, brushing his chin over her hair.

"Don't talk like that. It's not going to end."

"I love you. I didn't want to. I planned on walking away after the year was up being able to claim I lived up to my end of the bargain. But you got in somehow. My heart. My head. My soul. Everything."

"Me, too," he whispered. "You're starting to scare me now. You've told me I can't go with you. So, you need to stop talking like this or I'm going to insist."

"I'm sorry."

"It's all right. Just, please don't forget your cell phone."

She laughed, rubbing her cheek against his chest. "I won't."

She wasn't sure who initiated, but things escalated from a loving, comforting husband to wife hug to much more than that in barely the blink of an eye. Hands and mouths were everywhere, seemingly at once. Her robe slid to the floor in a heap and her legs went around his waist, more than glad at the moment they both chose to sleep in the nude. It came in very handy at times.

The next thing Buffy knew, she was on her hands and knees and Matty was behind her. Both of them having climaxed pretty damned intensely. They hadn't set any world records for lasting long, but she knew that wasn't on his mind any more than it was hers. Urgent sex could be good. Her body shaking at the moment was proof of that.

She groaned softly as his hand found a breast. She had come too fast, too hard and she was a bundle of nerves at the moment. He chuckled and she knew he was aware of what he was doing. And what her reaction to it would be.

"Don't want you leaving here dissatisfied. That could lead to distraction."

His other hand slid along the curve of her bottom, between her legs, a finger dipping inside of her.

"Oh God," she whispered.

It was a while later when they finally made it downstairs. She was definitely satisfied. She was pretty sure he'd banked up enough satisfaction so she wouldn't be distracted for weeks. Not that that was likely, he always distracted her somehow.

She didn't miss the knowing look in both Faith and Willow's eyes. She had nothing to be ashamed of, she mused as she joined them in devouring pizza, nachos and some meatball thing that was really good. Maria and Jim had also set out some good for them stuff, like fruits and veggies. There was still tons of that left, so Buffy dived in there, not wanting their efforts to go to waste.


She wasn't used to being one to hang back, she couldn't remember a time she wasn't leading the way. Taking point Riley would have called it. This time, she was the last to leave the house. She fought back the tears, waited until she was away from the house to cry.

"Yo, B, you'll be back."

"I hope so."

"No hope about it. We will be back. I've got dibs on that hot tub later for a little surprise I've got in store for Robin when we get back."

"Oh God, I don't need to hear that."

"What? Listen to you. You just did some nasty-ass humping upstairs with your hubby and you're going all coy on me. I mean, you can't tell me it wasn't nasty. End of the world sex always is."

"We did no such thing!"

"Uh huh. And I've got a bridge in St. Louis to sell you."

The first thing they saw when they got to the address Spike had given Faith was one of Angel's men. Buffy didn't recognize him, but Faith did right away.

"It's Gunn. He's hurt. Mortally," Faith said quickly. "It's okay, Gunn, we're here. We've got a powerful witch who knows all sorts of mojo to get you better."

A stifled groan was his only response. Whether he actually heard or not Buffy couldn't be sure.

"This is my territory," Willow said. "Maybe a couple of you can help me carry him into the alleyway so he's not out in the open."

"Can you save him?" It was Faith, and she seemed genuinely concerned about the man.

"I'll do my best. He's still breathing, so that's good."

Buffy and Faith took Gunn out of the way some. Buffy turned to the others while Faith kept an eye on Gunn. "The rest of you find someplace to cover yourself. We don't know what's coming, but we don't want to show our hand too soon. If it starts getting nasty, that's when you come out. This is the real deal, slayers, all of your training is about to be put to the test."

And they had needed all of them. Whoever Angel had pissed off, they were throwing everything but the demonic equivalent of the kitchen sink at them. Had it just been the four of them, there would have been no way any of them would have made it out alive. Angel and Spike might have been the last down but she knew they would have gone down.

Gunn wouldn't have been any help at all if Willow hadn't been there to heal him. Buffy looked at the destruction. Willow was busy healing the injured as best as she could. It was a lot for Willow to do, Buffy was proud of her friend. Unbelievably so.

Buffy and Faith took a minute to collect themselves, take in the carnage. And there was a lot of it tonight. The street sweepers would be busy in this section of LA. Demon guts and goo were everywhere. There were some casualties, slayers Willow would not be able to bring back. Buffy felt bad, but Giles and Willow had both assured her the women who had come volunteered.

She was confident now it was over. Whatever it had been Buffy still wasn't sure. She hoped Angel would fill her in now that it was over and done with. Buffy held up her finger up as Faith turned to say something to her. She already had her cell phone out and had pushed the first button on her speed dial.

"Uh hi, wow, that was fast," she said when he answered before the first ring had finished.

"I've been waiting."

"Well, it's done and I'm here."

"Faith? Willow? The others?"

"Faith and Willow are fine. We lost a few, I don't know how many yet. I feel like I just poked my head out of a rabbit hole, so I haven't gotten to assess much."

"The first thing you did was call me?"

"Once I got done ensuring I had all ten fingers and toes, as well as a face and hair."

"That's good, because I like your face, hair. And I love your fingers and toes. All ten of them."

"Mm, me, too. And I'm still all tingly from the last time you showed me."

She felt herself blush and turned, running smack dab into the wall that was Angel's broad chest. She knew it was him, because well, she'd snuggled up to it plenty of times over the years.

"Uh, yeah, I've got to go."

"Okay," he said, sounding confused. "Are you all right?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. I just, you know, there's clean up and stuff to be done. I just wanted you to know I'm okay."

"Can I help?"

"No, we'll be fine. Get some sleep. I'll wake you when I get home."

"Many a pleasant dream will be had with ideas on just how you'll wake me up."

"Matty," she whispered.


"Nothing." She glanced at Angel, who didn't look at all pleased at the moment. "I love you," she said softly, quickly.

"Love you, too, babe."

She turned off the phone and glared at Angel. "What?"

"Are you done socializing?"

"Uh, yes, I took five minutes to make a phone call, letting my husband know I'm not dead."

"Sounds like you were doing more than that."

She rolled her eyes, said nothing. She didn't think he deserved a response.

"Good job here tonight, by the way. I guess I have you to thank for saving Gunn's life."

"Willow did it."

"But you got here in time. A minute or two later, Willow said it might have been too late."

"How many did you lose?" Buffy asked.

"I'm not sure. Wesley and Lorne weren't here. I'm pretty sure that means Wesley didn't make it. Lorne," Angel shrugged. "I asked him to do something I know he wasn't happy about so I'm guessing he took his exit stage left."

"Oh." She wasn't sure what to think about Wesley. "I'm sorry," she said simply.

"You lost some, too. Women who didn't even know why they were fighting. So, thank you. We wouldn't have made it without you."

"I know, I realized that already. And you're welcome."

"Slayer, Peaches, I think it's time we moved on to the cleanup portion of the plan. That kid, by the way, he was incredible. I thought he was human."

"You mean Connor?" Buffy asked, glancing at the boy in question.

"You know him?"

"Faith told me about him."

"But," Angel said with a shake of his head. "Never mind. How did you know it was him?"

"I just assumed. What other young kid do you know who has fighting abilities?"

"Good point."

"Excuse me, what am I missing? Who is the kid?"

"Angel's son," Buffy said simply.

"Your what? Why don't I know about it then?"

"I'm not sure," Angel said. "I don't think Buffy's supposed to, or Faith either. I kind of altered things."

Spike scoffed.

"Maybe it's a slayer thing."

"Maybe. Anyway. Spike's right, we need to start cleaning up. I'll arrange to have the girls flown home."

"Thanks. I think Giles is planning on billing you."

"I figured as much. Not sure when I'll be able to pay it off. I'm kind of jobless at the moment."

"You'll find a way. You always do," she said simply.

She gave him a hug and then Spike, not surprised she started crying.

"I'm so glad you're both all right. I'm sorry about Wesley, but I'm just so glad."

"Me, too," Angel and Spike both said.

"I would have felt terrible if I got you involved in this and something happened."

"Angel, I knew what I was getting into when I signed up. There was no force or coercion involved."

"I know. It's just," Angel shrugged. "You seem happy with this guy. With your life."

"I am, but I'm still the slayer, Angel. Always. Until, I guess, I get too old to wield Mr. Pointy anymore anyway."

"All right, let's get with the cleanup so we can all go home."

"Not all of us have someone waiting for us."

"That's your fault, isn't it," Buffy said saucily, but she smiled, hoping he and Spike knew she was kidding.

"There was someone," Angel said.

"Oh?" Buffy spun around to look at him. She had never thought he lived life as a monk or anything, but it was the first time he'd talked about someone else to her.

"I sent her away. I wasn't sure this would go down the way I pictured, and I couldn't risk giving anything away."

"Well, maybe you can get her back."

"It's a thought, Peaches. Now, let's go. Some of us have a pint of Jack waiting."

"Right, there's always that I suppose," Angel said.

"Men," Buffy said simply and strode away, prepared to get her hands dirty once again tonight.

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