Author’s note: In case you do not remember the character Gwen featured in this story, she was in the Season Three episode of Angel “Dad” and was the woman who was in the “Files and Records” department. There was also another more prominent character named Gwen Raiden but it is the first one that I am mentioning.
It had been over a month since Angel and his gang had defeated Wolfram and Hart and ruined Gwen’s life. Since the firm had fallen she had not heard from the company except to hear that they would consider her for a position if a vacancy opened up. She was not holding her breath though. Gwen was insulted. What did a half demon have to do anyway to secure a job. She had been indispensable to the firm as the link to all of their files. Once the Los Angeles branch was destroyed the link she had with all the files was terminated but she retained much of the information. She had plenty of money left from her lucrative pay package but she had become accustomed to a certain level of opulence that would not be sustainable if she did not get a well paid job soon. She left out a sigh as she opened the front door to her penthouse. Standing in the middle of her living room were three suited men. She managed to stifle a scream of shock before she regained her composure and reached for the door handle. The stockiest of the three was too fast however and grabbed her hand.
“Now we want to play nice,” he said in a non threatening manner as if he was trying to put her at ease. She was not convinced however. The man ushered her over to the sofa and motioned for her to sit down opposite his colleagues. Working at the law firm had taught her how to read people. She took the opportunity for the first time to really examine her “guests”. The stocky man was clearly the brawn while the silver haired man with the impeccably neat suit had to be the leader of the outfit and the younger looking bespectacled man his lackey.
“What do you want with me?” she demanded.
“We know you worked for Wolfram and Hart and we would like to offer you a position” the silver haired man said, “You would be handsomely paid of course.”
“What makes you think I would be interested?” she snapped, “you broke into my flat after all!”
“We can offer you a job that will pay as well as your last job” the man explained. “We need information and we hear you have it in spades. Your expertise and information would be invaluable to us and you need a job in order to continue living in a place like this. It would be a mutually beneficial agreement.”
Gwen simply shrugged in response. The man sighed. Clearly flattery was getting him nowhere or reason for that matter. It was time to try a new tack.
“We can also an opportunity to take some vengeance on a mutual enemy,” he offered with a knowing smirk.
“Who are you talking about?” she asked, her eyes narrowing.
“Angel!” the man spat. “He thinks he owns the city.”
“Why do you think I would be useful?” she asked.
“You used to work for him and considering your position you must have a lot of dirt on him. So are you interested?.”
“Yes. Tell me more,” she replied smiling for the first time that evening.
Back to present
The last couple of days had been like an emotional rollercoaster for Buffy Summers. Right now everything was good. Spike was back in her life again and there was rightness about that. Buffy smiled at her reflection and turned to leave the bathroom with the grin still on her face. She almost bumped into her sister in the doorway to the kitchen.
“Buffy’s in love,” Dawn whispered in sing-song voice.
“Shut up,” Buffy reproved her younger sister, “Spike and I are just good friends.”
She was still smiling broadly, however, and “for now” she added in her head.
“Sure yeah and I'm the Queen of England,” Dawn scoffed.
Buffy shook her head laughing at her sister’s childish antics.
“So tell me. What’s with the snugglies if you two are just friends then?”
Dawn had her but Buffy was not about to give in.
“I can’t help it if Spike’s flirtable,” she protested “and comfortable” she added thinking of the previous evening spent with her head on his shoulder and his arm wrapped around her.
Dawn seemed to grin even wider if possible and it was then that the slayer felt the unique tingle that signalled Spike’s presence.
“Talking about me, girls” he leered and she turned bright red.
“Conceited much” Dawn replied in a teasing tone.
Spike looked fondly at his two favourite women and was struck by the domesticity of the scene. He may have lived in the basement that last year in Sunnydale, but this was a whole new level of intimacy. Back then there had been dozens of girls not to mention the ever constant presence of the Scoobies. This may not be his home but he felt at home for the first time since he had been a human really. He knew it was silly and he was being a bit of a nancy boy, but it was how he felt and he did not deserve one whit of it.
“I have a hot date planned, kids, so you will have to excuse me. I need to get ready” Dawn said heading for the bathroom.
The pair followed her up the stairs peppering her with questions.
“Ooh! Who’s the lucky guy?”
“What! Who’s the fucking wanker?”
Buffy and Spike spoke simultaneously as Dawn shut the bathroom door on her would be interrogators. They could hear Dawn laughing behind the door.
With a sigh, Dawn opened the door and she popped her head out.
“His name is Thomas” she said, “Yes he's lucky and he's not a wanker. Now, go away, and leave me get ready in peace.”
Buffy giggled as Spike still looked furious and pulled him into the living room.
“What do you know about this Thomas bloke?” he asked, eyes narrowed.
“Nothing. Dawn’s a big girl. I think she can handle a date and you're not going scaring away the first bit of fun she has had in a while.”
Spike just growled something incoherently. Buffy rolled her eyes at his sulking as he paced the living room floor. It was rather sweet that he was being protective but Dawn would not thank him for it. Buffy was trying to think of something to distract Spike, before he decided to stalk Dawn and her date when the doorbell rang.
“Is that him?” he asked, as Buffy opened her door only to find Rupert Giles and Willow Rosenberg standing there looking sheepish. Buffy let them in the door as Spike watched from the corner.
“Spike,” Giles acknowledged coolly, once he spotted him which was expected.
Spike returned the gaze and replied frostily, “Watcher.”
Willow regarded him warmly and to his astonishment hugged him tight.
“I'm glad you're back,” she said sincerely.
“Good to see you too, Red,” he replied, still a little taken aback at the gesture.
“Buffy, I'm sorry if I was a little tactless yesterday,” Giles said quietly. “I know things have strained between us of late, but I've only ever done what I thought was best.”
Spike snorted but other three ignored him.
“I know that, Giles," Buffy said quietly, "but I'm an adult and I would appreciate it if you would let me make my own decisions."
Buffy caught Spike's smug smile in the corner of her eye and decided he needed a reminder.
She glared at both men in turn. "I'm sick of people deciding what is best for me and that goes for you too Mr-I-Won't-Even-Bother-Letting-You- Know-I-Survived-Burning-To-A-Crisp.”
The vampire and man looked at their feet.
“I think they are sufficiently scolded” Willow pointed out.
Buffy tried hard not to smile.
“I guess if I can forgive this peroxided dumbass, then I can forgive you too.”
Giles smiled in relief and was quickly swallowed in a warm embrace.
“I hate fighting with you Giles, even if you are a pain in the ass sometimes,” Buffy mumbled.
“I really wish you would not use that word,” Giles complained. “You Americans have a knack of abusing the English language.”
“You have got that right, Rupert,” Spike agreed.
Buffy shrugged and turned to hug Willow as Giles headed in Spike’s direction.
“Spike, a word if you please,” Giles asked quietly.
“I don’t please, but I will give you one anyway.”
"Would you mind?" Giles gestured to the door.
Spike nodded, and the vampire and man went outside to speak privately.
“Hurt her again, and I'll finish what Wood and I started,” Giles said menacingly.
“Wouldn't expect anything less, Rupert,” Spike replied much to Giles’ surprise.
Giles didn't know what to say judging by his slack jawed expression.
“How about we play nice for Buffy’s sake, old man.” Spike proposed, “We do not have to like each other just tolerate each other.”
Spike held out his hand but Giles just looked at it. He was about to withdraw it when Giles’ warm hand met his cold one and they silently came to an understanding.
The rest of the day passed quite happily and without incident. Dawn managed to sneak out on her date with Spike none the wiser. Buffy was relieved to have made her peace with the man that was better father figure to her than her real one had ever been. Spike for his part was just happy to see her in such good spirits. It was still too bright for Spike to head out and Buffy was complaining about the lack of quality on television.
“How about a game of cards?” Spike suggested.
“No way! You cheat!” she said, shooting his suggestion down.
“I don't,” he lied and she simply looked incredulous.
“Yes, I do,” he conceded, “but how about I teach Miss Goody Two Shoes to cheat?”
“Hey, I'm not a goody two shoes,” she protested causing to Spike to roar with laughter.
His phone rang interrupting their banter. He looked at the caller id before he picked it up.
“Bloody hell! I meant to call the ponce earlier”.
He had forgotten to return the phone call he had received from LA the previous day what with all the events of the day. He excused himself to take the call in another room.
“This had better be important Captain Forehead,” Spike said, not happy that his time with Buffy was being interrupted.
“Yes - it is damn important!” Angel snapped.
“Where the hell have you been, and why haven’t you returned Illyria’s call?”
“Been busy,” Spike answered, being deliberately elusive.
“Alcohol, sex and blood! That's all you ever think about.” Angel's tone was snide.
“And you don’t?” Spike retorted.
“It’s Connor!” Angel blurted out.
Spike could tell it was something bad. He'd grown quite fond of Angel Junior when they were working together in the aftermath of the LA’s relocation to a hell dimension.
“What happened?” he asked.
“He's missing,” Angel said in a dead voice, “He was last seen being bundled into a van and I'm worried. I need your help.”
Spike knew it was serious when his grand sire was asking him for help.
“I'll get back as soon as I can,” he promised. “We'll get him back Angel.”
To be continued...
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