Willow frowned harder at Xander's lecture.
"Well, it's not FAIR! All I need is, like, FIVE minutes of her time! I'm having real pain here, you know? And she should know how it feels... she went through the same thing with Angel! Half the reason she isn't there for me now is that she's KILLING herself trying to deny she still misses him. She's lying to herself, and to all of us, especially Riley! She should just..." she grit her teeth, watching her best friends's shocked expression at her grousing. "The stupid gods or whatever should just *cancel* the curse for a while! Let BOTH of them be honest with themselves each other and with us for a change, and Buffy should just go to LA, where she belongs!!!" she ranted, waving her arms in emphasis.
Buffy glared at Spike, wishing that the old saying about looking daggers was literally true. And changed to stakes.
"I am SO sick of you! I can't tell you how little I care right now, about how much you may or may not know about the commandos! I'd just as soon dust you, vacuum you up, and FIGURE IT OUT FOR MYSELF!!!" she shouted.
Spike sneered and narrowed his eyes at her. "Oh, you think you've got what it takes, little girl? I'll just BET..."
He never got a chance to complete his sentence. Without warning, the spot where the Slayer had just been standing before him, in the middle of Giles' living room, was vacant. Buffy was gone.
Spike started a little, staring at the empty space. After a moment, a grin spread across his pale features.
"Well, it's ABOUT BLOODY TIME I GOT MY WISH!" he shouted to the empty room. "Take that you lousy, holier-than-thou, bloody bitch!"
Cordelia set down her magazine and looked up at the clock again. 11:30 a.m. She could SWEAR Doyle showed up later and later, every day.
Suddenly, the air beside her desk seemed to crackle and shimmer, and she stared at it in alarm.
A split second later, she found herself staring at Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy blinked, staring wide-eyed back at Cordy.
"Uh... hi, Buffy," Cordelia said.
"What do you MEAN, she DISAPPEARED?" Giles screeched at the blond vampire, utterly unable to keep his characteristic cool.
"I mean, she dis... ah... peared." he repeated for the hundredth time.
The gathered Scooby Gang and Riley stared at him.
"What did you do, Spike?" Giles hissed, more convinced than ever that the vampire had finally just taken his hatred of the Slayer into his own hands and somehow magickally made her disappear. So long as she wasn't hurt, there was nothing to stop him.
Spike raised his hands defensively, "I didn't do anything! We were just... arguing -- and I had a really good comeback, I'll have you know -- and then she just went *POOF*!"
Angel stared at Cordelia dumbly, clutching his towel around himself and dripping all over the floor.
"What do you mean, *poof*?" he asked, confused.
Cordelia crossed her arms angrily, "I MEAN, one minute: pretty LA morning through the front window. Next minute? *POOF* Pretty view blocked by skinny blonde!"
"Alright... alright... let us all remain calm..." Giles mumbled, calming no one. He glanced back at Spike again, "What did you say immediately before Buffy vanished?"
Spike sighed and rolled his eyes, "I said, 'I'll just bet...' Listen! When I said I'd try to help, I wasn't expecting the Spanish Inquisition!"
"Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition," Xander deadpanned. He was soundly ignored.
Riley rose from his seat and stood next to Giles and Spike.
"My question is, where did she go?" he asked.
"I don't KNOW where she came from!" Cordelia shouted, sick of his grilling, "Sunnydale, probably! Why don't you put some clothes on and go ask her yourself?? She's right upstairs!"
Angel stared at his friend for another moment. He had known instinctively that Buffy was there... the tingling had simply started without warning, several minutes before Cordelia came down, dragging him out of the shower by pounding frantically on his bathroom door.
"Right," he said nervously, "Yes, you're right."
"Of course I'm right!" Xander insisted, "Will said something like, 'Buffy should just go to LA, where she belongs.' I bet if you just call Angel..."
The phone began to ring, cutting him off.
"See?" he said, as Giles picked up the receiver.
"No, Giles, really. I'm fine," Buffy repeated, "I'm just... in LA now..."
Her words came to a screeching halt as Angel reached the top of the stairs and stood there, staring at her, barely dressed in sweats and a white tee shirt, his hair dripping wet.
"I... uh... I have to go," Buffy mumbled absently into the phone, ignoring Giles' objections as she hung up to focus fully on returning Angel's confused stare.
"Hi," she said finally.
Angel blinked. "Hi."
Buffy couldn't help herself. She gave him a wry grin. "Sorry I didn't call first."
He smiled back.