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The Team

Buffy watched unseeingly from her spot on a couch across from Harmony's desk as employees flittered about.

She jumped in surprise as Lorne's too cheerful voice broke her bubble.

"Someone please get this girl a Seabreeze A.S.A.P. I don't think that frown is going anywhere without a little lubrication."

He sat beside Buffy, facing her.

"Hi there … Lorne?" Buffy waited for his nod. "Is there something I can do for you?"

"No, but there's something I can do for you Aurora."

"Aurora? What's an Aurora?" Buffy asked wearily. She wanted nothing more than to shut herself away until Spike returned.

"Aurora is Sleeping Beauty's real name." Lorne smiled.

"Ah, who's my prince?" Buffy's asked.

"That's what I'm here to find out. I was serious when I said I could help. Maybe not much, but I could clear some of the confusion." Lorne leveled his eyes to Buffy's.

Buffy asked, "How?"

"Sing for me, I'll tell you what I see," Lorne said.

Buffy groaned and dropped her head into her hands. "What should I sing?" she mumbled against her palms.

"Whatever you want, Buffy. Just nothing by Diane Warren … well, except Rhythm of the Night."

Buffy nodded and sat up straight, taking a deep breath. "If I only could, make a deal with God, and get him to swap our places. Be running up that road, be running up that hill, be running up that building."

Lorne rubbed her shoulder. "You love him."

Buffy clucked her cheek. "Already knew that."

"Yeah, but you aren't concrete in your belief of love anymore. You need to be, and no matter what happens, remember it. You guys really love each other. Spike is definitely the prince to wake you, princess."

"What do you mean, 'no matter what happens?' What's going to happen?" Buffy said, her eyebrow lifted in question.

Lorne shook his head. "I'm not the one who can answer that question. You and Angel have to talk about this. There are a few things you don't know about what's happened here with Spike. Ask Angel for a play-by-play."

Before Buffy could question Lorne further, Angel burst into the room with a tall blue woman on his heels.

"Illyria, I don't know where Spike is. Will you leave me alone!" Angel stomped into his office and slammed the door.

"Who's the smurf?" Buffy whispered.

Lorne sighed, "Long story."

Illyria's eyes fell on Lorne and she strode to him and commanded him to tell her where Spike was.

"Honey bunny, that's the million dollar question."

Illyria frowned. "Who lost my pet? No one should dare steal my things, if they try I kill them. I demand to know what happened to Spike."

Buffy looked at Lorne. "Is this chick for real?"

"Of course I'm real. Do I appear synthetic to you?"

Buffy muttered under her breath, shaking her head. "Never seen a tall smurf before."

Illyria crossed her arms. "Tiny human, do you know where my pet is?"

Buffy stared up at her incredulously. She said, "Two things, Smurfette. One, I may look little, but I pack a punch. And two, Spike isn't your pet."

Illyria dropped her hands to her side and glared menacingly at Buffy. "Spike is my pet, underling. I shall teach you to hold your tongue."

Buffy lunged to her feet and gave Illyria a hard shove with both hands. Illyria was forced back a few steps and she cocked her head puzzledly at the unexpected strength of the puny human. "Bring it," Buffy hissed. "I've killed demi-gods before. I doubt I'll even break a sweat on a not-so-jolly blue giant like you."

Lorne put himself between the god and the slayer. "Girls, girls, let's not fight. It won't help anyone if you two beat each other into a pulp."

Neither woman answered as they glared at one another.

Lorne held his palms out soothingly. "Buffy, why don't you go talk to Angel? Illyria, you can come with me and we'll talk about what happened to your … er, pet."

Illyria spun on her heels. "I go because it suits me."

Lorne walked backwards so he could see Buffy. "Well, if you need me I'll be in my office with my blueberry girl."

The edges of Buffy's lips quirked up. "Thanks Lorne, but I'm sure I can get Angel to talk all by my lonesome."

Buffy swung around and marched in to Angel's office. She stormed to Angel's desk and slapped her it with her palms, leaning across so her face was close to his. "What are you keeping from me?"

Angel leaned back in his chair and regarded her mildly. "Hi to you too."

Buffy pushed herself up, snarling at Angel. "Don't give me that shit. Tell me what I want to know, or you'll be singing in falsetto from now on."

Angel motioned for her to sit in the chair across from him. He sighed as she crossed her arms and continued to stand. "I suppose you want more info on Spike. The big stuff would be Spike's almost going to hell–"

Buffy cried, "What? He died saving the freakin' world, doesn't that count for anything?"

Angel shrugged. "I don't know, but guys like me and Spike don't fool ourselves. We don't believing we're headed anywhere but hell. It's waiting for us, but all we can do is make right some of our wrongs."

Tears glazed over Buffy's eyes, but she blinked them back. "I can't believe that. Spike tried, he deserves to be in heaven."

Angel said, "Yeah, well someone doesn't agree. After becoming corporeal, Spike went off on his own for a while. He's been doing the odd job for me here and there. We went to Rome recently, got a demon head and watched you and the Immortal dance a bit." Angel's tone was cold, his features carefully made neutral.

Buffy's brow furled. "That wasn't me! I have decoys all over the world."

Angel sat up and a sly smile slowly started across his lips. "Is that right?" He chuckled bitterly. "Well, how were we supposed to know that? It's not like you tell me anything."

Buffy sat down. "Didn't Spike even try to talk to me ... or, who you guys thought was me?"

"Yeah. We tried. But after talking to Andrew, Spike decided to move on and leave you to your life."

Buffy's face turned down and she nonchalantly rubbed a knuckle across her eyes. The door swung open and Lorne, Wesley and Halfrek filed in.

As Halfrek saw Buffy she drew back cautiously. "Figures that the slayer would run to Wolfram and Hart. What favors do you owe because of this, I wonder?"

Buffy jaw went tight and she curled her lip at Halfrek. "I owe nothing to this stinking law firm. The C.E.O here is my ex, and Spike's Grandsire."

Halfrek mumbled under her breath, "Figures."

Lorne smiled and revealed Spike's leather coat and a tape recording of Spike singing at the club. "We're all ready to start our lyrical search for our blonde friend."

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