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A Win, a Loss and a Choice

Buffy sat on the couch with Spike's head cradled in her lap, and held the blood packet to his lips. "Please Spike, wake up. Drink!" Her voice cracked, her features marred with concern.

Spike groaned softly and stared up at Buffy through tiered eyes. "Stop yellin'," he croaked hoarsely. "I'm dead, not dust."

Buffy breathed out in relief. "Just drink the blood." She pressed the envelope to his mouth.

Spike slipped into his vampire visage and bit into the plastic, taking deep draughts.

"Oh thank God," Xander sneered. "I was afraid the Evil-dead wasn't going to make it."

Buffy's eyes snapped to Xander and she glared at him. "Shut the hell up, Xander. I swear to God that I will kick your ass if you keep up your commentary."

"Yeah, well why didn't you let Willow call an ambulance? This stupid bandage itches, I think Anya put it on wrong. Does yours itch?" Xander kicked the wall in frustration. He winced and slumped into an armchair.

"Of course it itches, it's supposed to. If you're going to keep complaining, you can hide in the kitchen with the others."

Xander continued as if Buffy hadn't spoken. "I think that it's got something to do with Spike. That's why I'm not at the hospital right now."

Buffy glared at Xander. "What was I supposed to tell them? Besides, Spike needed me."

"Yeah, well I don't even know why you care about him. He's not good for you."

Buffy ran her knuckles down Spike's cheek as he worked on his second packet of Slayer blood. "He's my Champion, Xander. He went through hell to get his soul. He gave his life to save the world." She brushed her lips across Spike's ridged forehead. "He did it for me."

Xander snorted and rolled his eyes. "I get it. You didn't learn your lesson with Angel, so you decided to go it again with some other vampire. What if he loses his soul, Buffy? What then?"

"Then I will love a soulless vampire. What gives you the right to say anything about my relationships anyway? You've never done anything to warrant that." She slid Spike's head off her lap and stood. "Actually, it's just the opposite. The last time I took your advice I ended up blaming myself about Riley leaving. He was a jerk, and so are you. And you're selfish, and ignorant and… a prat!"

Xander gaped at her. "What…?"

"What, Xander?" Buffy stood akimbo.

"I—uh. Buffy, I'm your friend. I love you. I wouldn't try to take a chunk out of your neck."

Buffy moved to the chair. She leaned in close to Xander with her hands on the arms. "You want to talk about love? Spike hurt me, like every one of you scoobies have. The difference is, he made it better. He stayed with me, even though I made him feel worthless. He believed in me when all of my friends kicked me out of my house. Tell me, Xander. Tell me how you love me more than he does."

"I don't really like wha—" He was interrupted by an urgent knock on the door.

Willow scuttled from the kitchen and opened the door. "Clem? What are you doing here?"

Clem shifted nervously. "I'm here to… umm. There's a big group of demons headed over here. There's about nine or ten of them."

Willow nodded grimly. "How long do we have?"

"Ten minutes tops. Their on foot, I took my car." He pointed at a cherry red Volkswagen.

"Thanks, Clem."

Clem smiled and hurried off to his car.

Willow closed the door and looked at the others. Everybody but Spike gathered around her.

"Well this sucks," Xander said.

"Understate much?" Dawn scoffed.

Buffy pulled Anya into the living room. "You do magic, right?"

Anya raised her eyebrow. "I can do easy magic."

"Can you do spell to protect the house?"

"I can do easy magic," Anya repeated.

Buffy glanced at Spike. "How you feeling?"

He struggled to a sitting position. "Like a million bloody bucks."

Buffy hissed air out through her teeth. "We're screwed. Three of us were shot. One can't do magic, and the other only does 'easy' magic. We're screwed."

A duo of voices sounded off in annoyance. "Hey!"

Buffy glanced over at both Dawns. "And we have a couple of kids to take care of. We're really screwed."

There was another knock at the door, cutting off any comment the teenagers had.

Buffy scooped up an axe from the floor and opened the door hesitantly. "Wesley?"

XxXxXxXxXxXxXx

Past-Buffy looked between Angel and Angelus. "There's two of you guys too?"

Angel glanced at Past-Buffy and strode over to Past-Spike. "You look like shit."

"Thanks, Peaches." Past-Spike glanced at Illyria and Lorne before looking back at Angelus. "Who the hell do you travel with in the bloody future?"

"We'll talk about that later. Get Buffy down, I'll take care of this prick." Angel moved closer to Angelus.

"You think you can take me? You're forgetting, I'm the strong side of you. You're just a pathetic, worthless—"

Angel punched him in the nose. "God you talk a lot. Do I always monologue like the dick?"

Angelus snapped and pounced on Angel, tackling him. Angel head butted Angelus, the feel of breaking bone coupled with a sickeningly loud crack told Angel that he had broken Angelus' nose.

"Is that all you got?" Angel taunted.

With blurry eyes Angelus swiftly smashed his elbow into Angel's face. "Just warming up."

"Hey, mate."

Angelus looked over his shoulder at Spike, who was holding a mace. Before Angelus could react Spike swept the metal ball through the air and into the back of Angelus' head. Angelus went ridged and fell on top of Angel.

Angel rolled his evil double off and climbed to his feet. "Thanks." He averted his eyes. "Damn, put on some pants."

Spike dropped the mace and moved his hands over his nether regions. "Got none."

Angel stripped his coat off and pushed it at Spike. "Just… cover it up."

"Ta, Peaches." He buttoned the oversized jacket and left to find Past-Buffy, who was ushered off by Lorne and Illyria.

"Alright Peaches," Angel said wryly. "let's get you tied u—" Angel's head swerved as he looked for Angelus. He was nowhere in sight. "Shit."

XxXxXx

A knock on his door distracted D'Hoffryn from his ancient tome. "Yes?"

The door opened tentatively and a young, male Vengeance Demon entered hesitantly. "Sir, I have news."

"Yes, James?"

"Miss Rosenberg, she's made up her mind."

"And?"

"And… she's agreed to become a Vengeance Demon."

An unpleasant smile spread across D'Hoffryn's face. "Well, bring her here."

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