The Stakes Are High

By: Michelle Storey
To be read after Bat Out Of Hell
Part One

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Buffy looked at her watch. Spike was late. If he wanted this blood he needed to be on time. She set the box containing the Red Cross Blood bags on a picnic table. She glanced at her watch again and sighed. She had told Angel she'd be there thirty minutes ago. She plopped on the bench and leaned back to look at the stars. Angel wasn't yet able to be out and about so she had been going to see him daily. He had no memory of becoming Angelus because Ms. Calendar had altered the original curse to leave out the memories and there was no fine print about the moment of happiness thing. Even if Ms. Calendar hadn't altered the original curse, Angelus was trapped in a vortex at the hellmouth and he couldn't make Angel do anything bad. They were free to have a normal relationship. normal as a relationship can be for a Vampire Slayer and her vampire boyfriend.

She glanced into the open field of the park and sighed. Her life was getting good again. Angel was great. Her mom was great. Giles had laid off her case some. Whistler was the real stone in her shoe. He and Angel had been friends for a while...years. He didn't approve of Buffy or her relationship with Angel. He was staying with Angel. That was the worst part about going to see him. She knew that Whistler probably worked on him daily to end things. Another ten minutes passed and she stood up to leave. She'd just give Angel the blood.

"Hello." Spike stepped from the bushes that were just to her left.

Buffy jumped and glared at him. "Where have you been? I don't have all night just to sit and wait on you."

"Hello Spike," he chastised. "how are you? Thank you for saving my bony ass."

"Hello Buffy," Buffy said, using the same tone. "Thank you for not staking my good for nothing demon ass."

Spike chuckled. "You are a fiesty one. Just a bit like Dru, back in the day."

"I didn't deserve that insult." Buffy put her hands on her hips. "Them's fightin' words."

Spike looked into the box and pulled out one of the blood bags. "Yummy. O positive. Not quite as ripe as AB negative but still quite nice. brought me assorted flavors and all this time."

"Yeah..I guess we're even then. I have to go." Buffy picked up her Slayer bag and started off.

"What's the rush?" Spike jogged a bit to catch up.

"What do you want, Spike?" Buffy stopped walking and looked up at him.

"I just want to talk for a few minutes."

"Because....." Buffy searched his face.

"Because being a vampire is bloody lonely."

"So go home to your precious, fiesty..insane as in-one-flew-over-the-cuckoo's-nest woman. I have to go see Angel." She started away again.

Spike grabbed the box of blood and jogged after her again. "Will you be bringing more for me tomorrow?"

"That much blood lasts Angel two weeks." She kept walking.

"Well..this feeds Dru too." He almost dropped the box and fumbled with it in his hands. "Dammit, slow down."

She stopped and spun to face him. "Spike, you're acting like a puppy. Thank you for coming into the hellmouth to rescue me but you're a big boy. You've been bringing home the bacon for you and Dru for like...two hundred years..right? Get a job at the red cross already!"

He watched her as she stomped away, her outline silhoetted against the full moon. He tucked the blood under his arm and scratched his head. What was it about this girl that had suddenly become so fascinating?


Buffy knocked on Angel's door and waited. She heard voices and knew that Whistler was lurking inside. Sure enough, it was he who opened the door. "'s the Slayer who doesn't slay. Does Giles know that you are here instead of doing your job?" he said.

"Get lost." Angel said and threw a wad of cash at Whistler. "Have fun."

Whistler tipped his hat at Buffy and muttered under his breath as he walked out the door. Buffy put her Slayer stuff down in the floor and walked to where Angel was sitting in his recliner. "You look better." she said.

"You look late." he said.

"I'm sorry. Got sidetracked." She sat on the arm of the chair and ran her fingers through the top of his hair.

"You look good late." Angel smiled and pulled her into his lap. He put his hand on the back of her neck and brought her mouth down to his. She kissed him gingerly, afraid he was still hurt. Her kisses trailed from his mouth.. to his cheek... to his neck. He made a small noise and pushed her back. "Don't."

"You started it." She grinned and bent back towards his neck.

"I mean it Buffy. Don't." He turned his head away for a if in thought and looked at her again. "I don't think we should.."

"Kiss?" Buffy asked defensively. "Hold each other? Maybe I shouldn't even sit near you. What are we Angel? Just friends?"

"No.." Angel took her hand and kissed it. "We're so much more than friends but...I have to be responsible enough to stop you from making a mistake."

Buffy gasped and stood up. "That's what it was? A mistake?"

"No.." He reached for her but she stepped away. "It wasn't a mistake. It just happened too soon. I don't think you were ready."

" you said." She turned away. Remembering the awful things Angelus had said to her about their night together.She still hadn't had the heart to tell him all the things he had done. She skirted the questions everytime he asked to be told.

"What?" he asked as he stood up. "What did I say?"

"Nothing..forget it." Buffy picked up her bag. "I should probably patrol. Whistler is hell bent on making Giles work me all the time."

"Forget Whistler." Angel took the bag from her shoulder. "What did I say."

"It''s nothing." Buffy stammered. Unable to camoflauge the hurt in her eyes.

"Don't give me that."

"I have to go." She reached for her bag. "Angel, I really do. Got to Slay."

He looked at her and put the bag behind his back. "Why were you late? You said you got sidetracked. Weren't you slaying then?"

"Not exactly." She glanced at the floor.

"Then what exactly?"

She knew he was not going to like the truth but she didn't really want to lie to him..much..she knew he'd be mad. "I was talking to Spike. In the park. I've been taking him blood bags for the last two weeks. I don't know why he wants them but I'm glad because..."

Angel's jaw tightened as he interrupted her. "WHAT!?"

"Well..I know it sounds weird but he did technically save my life and if he isn't killing anymore then that's a good thing." she ran her fingers through her hair and sighed. "It's not like a big deal, Angel."

"Not a big.." He glared at her. "Buffy, you DO remember that this is Spike, right? Spike..the same Spike that damn near killed us too many times to count. He's still a vampire!" His voice raised on the last word.

"I told him that I was finished with it tonight, Angel." Ohhh.. she thought. He's madder than I thought. She could see him grinding his teeth together. "So..I'm not going to take him anymore blood, okay?"

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"I just did."

Angel threw her bag on the ground and glared at her. "Can you PLEASE be less of a smart ass!?"

Buffy's mouth opened a little as she gasped. "Well, that was harsh!"

An awkward silence followed. The kind of silence that is almost deafening because it is so thick with tension. Buffy bent down and picked up her bag. She glanced at it and then bit her lip. "I'll call you tomorow." she whispered without looking at him and started for the door. She was *not* going to let him see her cry.

"No.." Angel stepped forward and grabbed her arm. "Don't leave. Not like this. I'm sorry, baby. I'm just..I worry about you, Buffy." He pulled her into his arms. "I love you."

She sighed heavily against him and returned the hug. "I love you too. So much, Angel. I won't see him again."

"You don't really have to leave do you?" Angel kissed the top of her head and massaged her back. "I miss you so much. It isn't like when I could patrol with you. I can't wait to build my strength back up."

"Speaking of which.." Buffy pushed him back into his chair and went into the kitchen to make him a drink before she left. She came back in and handed it to him.

"I'll drink it later." He took Buffy's hand and pulled her back into his lap. "I'm sorry. I really am. I shouldn't be so short tempered with you."

"Yeah..well, I guess I bring it out in everyone." She put her head on his shoulder and told him all about the massive scolding she had gotten that day from Giles.


Xander sneaked up behind Cordelia in the lunchroom and goosed her. "ACK!!!" she bellowed so loud that the people all the way in front of the line turned to glare at them. "Xander Harris!"

"Cordelia Chase!" Principal Snyder charged straight at them. "What is the meaning of this outburst?"

"It was my fault, Sir." Xander said.

"Ms. Chase?" Snyder leveled her with a glare.

"It was his fault, Sir." She nodded toward Xander who suddenly looked deflated.

"Very good." Snyder smiled widely. "I'll see you BOTH in detention."

"Wha..." Cordy watched him leave. "How did I get detention?"

"Your mouth." Xander said and looked at Buffy and Willow who were walking up the aisle to get in line. "We saved you a place, guys!" he motioned them to come up.

"HEY!" Said an obese boy who HAD to be a freshman. "No fair cutting in line!"

"You won't miss a thing, Willy." Cordelia sneered. "They were drop shipping a ton of fish just for your lunch today."

"And that is why it's good that we are seniors." Xander said to Willow and Buffy. "Cor's mouth. If we were freshman I'd be getting beat up on a regular basis for that mouth!"

Buffy and Willow looked at each other and then went back to their conversation. "So you guys made up?" Willow asked.

"Mmmm.." Buffy grinned. "We *so* did."

"Nympho." Cordy said.

"We didn't do THAT!" Buffy said. "We just...petted."

"'s so romantic." Willow smiled.

"Petted?" Xander said and raised his eyebrows and nudged Cor. "Do I pet you enough?"

"You piss me off enough." she shrugged.

A few minutes later they were all seated together at a round table in the corner. Buffy picked at her pasta dish. On her left.. Cordy and Xander snuggling. On her right..Oz and Willow were snuggling. She yawned and laid her head on the table. A second later someone tapped her on the back. She sat up and looked at Principal Snyder. "Sleeping in class, Summers?"

"No." She said slowly. "Dozing inthe lunchroom."

"Smart ass." Snyder said angrily. "You have detention. See you at 3:30."

Buffy opened her mouth to protest but he was walking away. Willow giggled and leaned to whisper to Buffy, "Everyone thinks you're a smart ass."

"What was that Rosenberg!?" Snyder yelled and stomped back to their table.

Willow cowered. Getting into trouble for the first time ever left her unsure of what to do. "Nothing sir."

"Backtalking your superiors! See what happens when a good girl hangs with riff raff?" He glanced at Oz. "And pond scum?"

"Hey!" Oz said.

"This entire table has detention at 3:30." He looked at Oz. "And don't you threaten me again."


Giles jumped and threw his index cards when Snyder slammed the doors of the library open. "Mr. Giles, your favorite group of delinquents have gotten themselves into detention this afternoon. I expect you to be there at 3:30 in Mr. Mosley's room."

"I'm not available." Giles said as he glanced at the cards scattered on the floor that now had to be re-alpahabetized.

"Did I ask you for your day planner?" Snyder kicked the cards. "You are these kids mentor. I blame you fully for what they lack..which is character, morals and the three percent of the brain that counts."

"Ten percent." Giles muttered.

"What was that?" Snyder sneered. "What did you say to me?"

"I said ten percent. The human mammal uses ten percent of it's brain. Not three." Giles glared back.

"You be there at 3:30 or you don't have a job." Snyder walked out of the room.

"You were right the first time.." Giles muttered. "YOU are the exception, Mr. Three Percent." He chuckled aloud at his own joke.


Snyder locked the door of his office and picked up the phone. "Hello, Mayor?'ll be done by 4:00. The poison will take effect and our Slayer troubles and everyone who knows...will be gone."

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