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"I'm cookie dough. I'm not done baking. I'm not finished becoming whoever the hell it is I'm gonna turn out to be. I make it through this, and the next thing, and the next thing, and maybe one day I turn around and realize I'm ready. I'm cookies. And then, you know, if I want someone to eat— or enjoy warm, delicious cookie me, then... that's fine. That'll be then. When I'm done."

 

Buffy opened her eyes and stared at the ceiling of her bedroom for a second or two, images from the dream she'd just woken up from flashing in her head. She couldn't say that the thought hadn't crossed her mind once or twice over the years, but she'd never thought about it quite so… vividly.

And, wow, had her imagination been vivid.

"Huh," she said. "That might just work."

*

It didn't take as long as Buffy expected to find the newest home of Angel Investigations.

It had moved around a lot over the past few years, after everything had gone down with Wolfram & Hart. The new Watchers' Council—and she would never cease to think of it that way, even though it probably couldn't be considered "new" by this point—did its best to keep track of them, but sometimes it seemed as if they were purposely trying to avoid being watched.

Which was probably because they were, but that was beside the point.

Still, it hadn't been nearly as difficult to find as she'd thought it would be. All it had taken to get a straight answer was a few questions to the right people, a very emphatic "hell no" to a request for a song from a green demon, and an awkward meeting with a vaguely familiar woman who had thanked Buffy for her name.

Now she was standing in what was apparently the front lobby of the newest branch of Angel Investigations, a dingy office in an even dingier building, staring at Wesley Wyndam-Pryce making out with two… women? Well, one woman and one blueish person whose gender wasn't quite so obvious although Buffy thought that they looked at least somewhat womanish.

Buffy cleared her throat. Again. Much more loudly than she had the first four times.

Wesley pulled away from the dark-haired woman he'd been kissing, his eyes widening a bit when he saw Buffy standing there. She thought that she saw a hint of a flush on his neck, but that was the only outward sign of embarrassment he gave. It was impressive; the Wesley she had known would have been sinking into the floor just about now.

... actually, the Wesley she had known would have never been in this particular situation. Still. The point stood.

A sudden thought popped into her head, and Buffy frowned. "Wait, aren't you supposed to be dead?"

This time, Wesley actually did look a bit sheepish. "Yes?" he replied, and she couldn't help but think it sounded like a question.

"Oh," she said. There was a long pause. "Just checking." There was an even longer pause. "There wouldn't be any vampires around, would there?"

She didn't think she'd ever seen a man look so thankful for the subject to be changed. "Down the hall," Wesley said, gesturing. "Third door on the right. You, uh, may want to knock first."

The dark-haired woman rolled her eyes and elbowed him.

Wesley narrowed his eyes. "Lilah," he said warningly.

The woman just gave him a smile that sent a shiver down Buffy's spine.

"Third door on the right," Buffy repeated dutifully. "Got it."

*

Buffy had to admit, she was pretty damn glad she hadn't knocked first.

She stood in the doorway, openly staring at the sight in front of her. She honestly wasn't certain what she'd been expecting, but the sight of Angel and Spike thoroughly kissing each other? Definitely not on the list.

Still, she really couldn't complain.

She was more than a little disappointed when, a minute or so later, Spike noticed her standing there and shoved Angel away with a rather heated "bloody hell!"

Angel gaped at him for a moment before following Spike's gaze. When he saw her standing there, he opened and closed his mouth a few times, but no words actually came out.

Buffy gave Angel a half-shrug. "So, I think that I'm kinda done baking?" she said a little sheepishly. Or maybe she asked. It was a little difficult to tell, even for her.

Spike blinked. Then, as if for good measure, he blinked again.

Angel just stared at her for a moment before his eyes widened. He glanced at Spike for a second and then his eyes darted back to her.

"Any idea who gets to, uh, enjoy warm, delicious cookie you?" Angel asked slowly, as if he was trying to very carefully make certain that he had the words right.

Buffy couldn't help but let the corners of her mouth turn upward into a half-smile.

Spike stared at Angel. Then he glanced at Buffy for a second and stared at her. "One of you want to fill me on in on whatever the hell it is I'm missing?"

Biting her lip, Buffy took a few steps forward so that she was within an arm's reach of both of them. Then she pointedly crossed her arms in front of her chest.

"I've been thinking," she said, and this time she was looking at Spike. "That as many times as I've saved the world, maybe I can be a little selfish just this once."

Spike raised an eyebrow. "Selfish?"

It overlapped with Angel's asking the same thing, and Buffy felt her mouth twitch again.

"Selfish," she agreed, nodding.

It surprised her that Spike figured it out first, even though she figured that she probably should have expected it. He smirked at her suddenly, realization flashing in his eyes.

"How selfish are we talking?" he asked.

Angel glanced at him, obviously trying to hide his confusion and not doing a very good job at it.

This time, Buffy didn't even attempt to hide her grin. "Well, everyone keeps telling me that I have to pick one of the, uh, desserts."

Spike snorted.

Buffy rolled her eyes.

Angel blinked, and she thought that she could practically see him figuring out where she was going with this.

"But there are two of them," she said, continuing on as if she hadn't been interrupted. "And, well, I really like dessert, and if both desserts were interested..."

She trailed off and raised an eyebrow.

Angel tilted his head. "I actually think your analogies have gotten worse."

Buffy couldn't help it. She threw her head back and laughed, and for the first time in what felt like years she thought that it might actually be real.

There wasn't much need for words after that.

*

(The door opened. Then it slammed shut.

"What the hell?"

"Oh!" There was a short pause. "You probably want to knock first, Gunn."

"You couldn't have warned me before I opened the damn door?")