“Are you sure about this?” Buffy asked Angel, after he'd explained what he had in mind.

“I don't see any other way. Do you?”

Buffy was hard pressed to come up with a better plan. “No... okay. Let's get this show on the road,” Buffy said, getting ready. She knew if this didn't work, they probably wouldn't have another chance. Time was running out.

“On three...”

Buffy kissed Angel quickly, “For luck.”

He nodded, knowing he'd need all the luck he could get. “One... two...,” he started.

Buffy could feel the adrenaline rush in the body, the Fight or Flight syndrome was hitting her... hard. 'Funny... I'll be running to a fight,' she mused briefly, when she heard...


Buffy jumped up and ran.

Angel watched for a split second as Buffy left their hiding place, and ran to the unknown activity happening in the back of the warehouse.

Had he been alive, he would have taken a deep breath, to calm his nerves. He knew the risk he was taking, that they both were taking. He had some protection, his hands gripping the sheet metal harder. Buffy had nothing... nothing to stop a bullet from ending her life if these men decided to take that route.

Gathering his courage, Angel held the piece of sheet metal in front of his body and ran in the opposite direction.

Gerald had seen the girl run, it didn't matter to him. He didn't give her a second thought, he was to keep her companion, 'The vampire,' he thought, from getting away. A moment later the young man in question popped up and started to run in the opposite direction, with something in his hands.

Gerald started shooting, he heard a distinctive ping as the wooden bullets bounced off whatever the vampire was shielding himself with.

Xander and Cordelia had run, they didn't know in which direction to turn. They blindly turned around a corner, each desperately hoping they had not gone into a dead end. Xander looked quickly behind him, he wanted to know how closer their pursuers were...

He was puzzled...

There where only two men chasing them now...

Getting closer...

He tightened his grip on Cordelia's hand, seeing the frightened look on her face. Not that she'd ever admit she was scared, that wasn't her style.

He smiled... and ran.

Willow's hand jerked away from the doorknob as the shooting began.

'This isn't good,' she said to herself.

“GERALD!! What's going on!?”

“I can't talk right now sir!”


He focused the cameras on Gerald, he saw him firing in short controlled bursts.

“I DON'T believe this,” he said, shaking his head as he watched a piece of metal bobbing up and down as the wooden bullets bounced harmlessly to the ground.

Xander was rapidly running out of places to run, he looked behind once more.

'What's going on?' he thought.

There was only one person chasing them now.

“Xander... I can't do this anymore!” Cordelia told him. She wasn't built for all this running around.

“Don't worry, you won't have to,” came a familiar voice.

Both Xander and Cordelia stopped and looked behind them.

Buffy was holding the last man by his shirt collar, his eyes were closed. She casually opened her hand, and he crumbled to the floor in a boneless heap.

“SO... what took you?” Cordelia asked.

“Oh... you're welcome,” Buffy replied, then ran back the way she had come.

“What are you waiting for? Let's go,” Xander told Cordelia, as he started to follow Buffy.

“Arghhh... men,” Cordelia uttered under her breath.

Willow could still hear the gunshots outside the door.

'I have to help Buffy,' she told herself.

Grabbing the doorknob, she quickly pulled the door towards her. She fell back a few steps, surprise coloring her face. She couldn't believe her luck, the door was unlocked.

Cautiously, she looked around, the gunshots were coming closer. She saw the man called Malcolm leave a room and heads towards in the direction of the gunshots.

'I don't have time,' Angel thought, as he continued to dodge the lethal barrage of bullets. He had been nicked a few times, but none of the wounds were as serious as the one he had sustained earlier. He had to find some cover, and quickly. 'He stopped shooting?' Angel mused, briefly.

“Going somewhere?” he was asked as he hit a solid wall of human flesh that had seemed to appear out of nowhere.

“Oh...fu... !” he uttered before a large meaty fist connected with his face.

Gerald had seen Malcolm come into view, he stopped firing. Taking the clip out of the UZI, he checked, he only had six bullets left.

He reached behind his back, to get the extra clip he carried in the small of his back, when his wrist was grabbed and wrenched up, the pain was instantaneous.

“Be a good boy, drop the gun and I won't break your arm,” Buffy hissed in his ear, stressing her point by forcing his arm up higher.

“Okay... okay,” Gerald said, through clenched teeth, placing the UZI down.

“Xander... you and Cordy look for Willow,” she called out behind her.

“On it,” Xander replied.

Willow opened the door as quietly as she could. She grasped the piece of 2x4 she had found on her way.

She could see papers tossed everywhere. The monitors showed different parts of the warehouse.

“Xander?” she said out-loud, when she saw her friend on one of the monitors. “Cordy?”

“AH... Miss Rosenberg. So nice to see you again.”

Willow hadn't realized she had been heard.

“XANDER!!! I'M UP HERE!! XANDER!!” Willow cried out behind her.

“I do wish you hadn't done that,” the man said, pointing a gun in her direction.

“Wills!! Oh... gun,” Xander said, having first seen Willow then the gun.

“Hello again, Mr. Harris.”

Xander had done a double take when he looked at the man holding them at gunpoint.

“Xander? You know him?” Cordelia asked.

“Come now Mr. Harris, don't tell me you've forgotten already,” he said. “Can I help you young man... ah... yes, Mr. Giles sent you, did he? Very well, I'll be right back, have a seat, and I'll get those books for you,” he said in a completely different accent.

“IT'S YOU!!”


Angel blocked the next punch the behemoth of a man threw, and countered with a right that connected solidly.

The man stood there, then shook his head and smiled.

“Damn it,” Angel uttered before he was grabbed by the lapels of his jacket and tossed onto a crate, which shattered on impact. “Okay... now I'm MAD!” Angel said as he got up. Easily lifting the man up, his game face on and got ready to pound the stuffing out of him when he heard...


“Willow?” he said, momentarily distracted by the shout.

Malcolm took the opportunity to bring his forehead down against Angel's nose...

CRACK!!! Instantly Angel dropped the man as his hands flew to his injured nose, blood gushing through his fingers.

'This is easy,' Malcolm thought, then he swallowed... hard, when Angel looked back up at him.

Angel's right hand shot out, and began squeezing the man's throat.

Malcolm began to claw at the hand that was keeping the life-sustaining air from his lungs. He kicked out, connecting with the vampire's legs. It felt as if he had hit a brick wall. Malcolm knew he was in deep trouble when Angel started to walk backwards, holding his two hundred sixty-pound frame aloft.


Buffy looked towards the sound of Willow's voice.

Gerald felt the pressure on his arm lessen; he relaxed and fell forward. Buffy found herself flipping over the prone figure beneath her.

Gerald quickly got to his feet, getting into a martial arts stance.

“You really don't want to do this,” Buffy said after she got up.

He shrugged. “Neither do you,” he replied.

Gerald threw the first punch, which Buffy blocked easily. Shortly thereafter they traded a flurry of punches that they each countered. Neither of them was able to get a clean shot in.

Buffy spun into a roundhouse kick, which Gerald deflected by bringing both his arms up to absorb the shock. He watched as Buffy kicked out with her other leg, and connected with a solid kick to the back of his neck, while falling to the ground.

Gerald dropped like a sack of potatoes.

Buffy quickly flipped back up into her fighting stance. She was bouncing slightly on the balls of her feet, waiting to see what would happen next.

Gerald got up sluggishly, wiping the back of his hand across his mouth.

'Got first blood did you?' he thought to himself. “Nice move,” he told her begrudgingly.

“Thanks... I've got some more. I'll be glad to show them to you,” Buffy replied.

“Maybe I can show you some of mine?” he asked, as they slowly began to circle each other. Each of them seeking out any weakness the other might have.

Gerald attacked with a sweeping backhand punch. Buffy threw her arm up and blocked it, her hand grabbing his wrist, before she kicked him in rapid succession in the stomach, doubling him over.

Buffy swung his arm up and snapped it down, flipping him over. He landed hard, dust from the floor billowing around him.

Gerald looked up slowly.

“Look... I don't have time to play with you anymore. Just stay down,” she told him, knowing that he probably wouldn't.

Gerald shook his head, “I can't.”

Sighing, Buffy responded, “That's too bad.”

Gerald knew he'd lost. She was better than they had been led to believe. Once back on his feet, he launched another attack.

Buffy backed up as he used a variety of kicks against her. She blocked as many as she could, but a few managed to get past her defenses to reach their mark.

Looking behind her, Buffy spotted a metal railing, her eyebrows shot up as a plan formed.

Waiting until he was practically on top of her, Buffy turned and ran towards the railing. At the last possible second, she jumped on the rail, and using her momentum, she spring boarded off, somersaulting in mid-air, before landing behind him.

Gerald stopped and watched her, amazed at her creativity. Turning around, the last thing he'd recall of the fight was the burst of white light going off in his head, before darkness surrounded him like a warm blanket.

Buffy watched, a smirk on her face, when she connected with a kick to the man's temple. His eyes rolled up in his head, and he fell to the floor. Buffy waited until she was sure that he wouldn't get up, before rushing to check on Angel.

Angel had been able to catch some of the fight Buffy was having. Turning his attention back to his own problem, Angel noticed how red the man's face had gotten. Looking over to his right, Angel smiled.

'I'm going to die!' Malcolm thought. His mouth opening and closing in a grotesque parody of a fish gasping for air, when it's taken out of the water.

“Pay back time,” Angel uttered, as he lifted the man over his head, and threw him on to wooden crates that had been left behind. “HURTS... doesn't it?” he asked, not expecting an answer.

“Show off,” Buffy said, when she finally reached him.

“I try,” Angel shrugged.

“VERY nicely done Miss Summers,” a voice rang out through the warehouse.

Both Buffy and Angel turned around quickly, trying to locate the sounds origin.

“Show yourself!” Buffy shouted out.

“I will in due time, Miss Summers, in due time. AH... speaking of time, I thought I should let you know... ANGEL...”

Buffy and Angel looked at each other. They both knew that whoever this man was, knew that Angel was a vampire. They had no idea that he knew Angel's identity.

“It's ten after five, and if I'm NOT mistaken, the sun rises in another six minutes.”

“He's right,” Angel answered, looking out the window.

The dark sky was giving way to the coming daybreak.


“I've got to find someplace to hide,” Angel told Buffy, his eyes darting around the interior. It didn't look good there were windows everywhere.

“I know... the room where Giles monitors me from,” Buffy said excitedly. “There aren't any windows in there!”

“Let's go,” Angel said, he could feel a slight tingling on his body already, an itch that was telling him to hide, and the sun was coming.

They ran towards the room.

“Miss Summers... I wouldn't move, if I were you. I'm afraid one of your friends might have an accident,” the voice said.

“You wouldn't DARE!” Buffy shouted.

“Of course I would. NOW, why don't you and Angel come up the stairs, as it looks as if you were coming up here anyway, slowly,” he replied.

Xander had been shocked by the turn of events. He couldn't believe how or why this was happening. Cordelia hadn't gone in with him when he had gotten those books for Giles that was why she seemed surprised when Jason Mercury said his name.

“Umm... Mr. Mercury?” he asked, wondering if that was the man's real name. After all, when you've seemed to have gone through all this trouble, why use your real name?

“Yes Mr. Harris, what can I do for you? Short of letting you go of course,” Jason replied.

“Umm... Why?” Xander said, shrugging his shoulders.

Jason Mercury laughed out-loud, the Xander, Cordelia, and Willow looked at each other, then back to him.

“OH... that's priceless, Mr. Harris absolutely priceless,” he said as he calmed down.

“He's crazy,” Cordelia whispered.

“WHAT gave you THAT idea?” Xander replied.

“Care to fill us in?” Cordelia asked. 'Laughing boy,' she added silently.

“Come now, this is not a movie... or some book, or even some tawdry melodrama. You know the ones, where the bad guy tells the good guy all about his plans for world domination,” he said as he began pacing in the room. His gun was still trained on the teenagers, his eyes catching glimpses of the television monitor. “I mean, where would I be, if I arbitrarily told you why I was doing this? I'd be out of a job, that's where I'd be,” he concluded.

“Soo...” Xander asked shaking his head, “I take it you're not going to tell us?”

“'Fraid not,” he replied.

Buffy and Angel approached the steps; they were about to start climbing when they heard:

“Miss Summers... if you would just stop where you are? Thank you, now, I would like for you and Angel to hold hands, call me a sentimental old fool,” he said waiting until he saw Buffy holding what he thought to be Angel's hand.

Buffy and Angel glanced at each other, both with puzzled looks on their faces.

“Like what's up with that?” Buffy whispered.

Willow had been looking at the monitors; she had wanted to see where Buffy and Angel were in relation to the room. She tilted her head from side to side, she wasn't sure if she was seeing... what she was seeing.

Buffy was on the monitor... clear as day. Willow cringed when she noticed some of the bruises on her friend's face and arms.

What she didn't see was Angel.

Willow knew that Angel was right next to Buffy... otherwise Jason wouldn't have asked them to hold hands.

'That's why he wants Buffy to hold Angel's hand, he can't SEE him,' she thought. She needed to pass on the information to them... 'But how?' “Xander...” Willow whispered, never taking her eyes off Jason Mercury, who seemed less interested in them at the moment.

“Yeah?” he replied.

“Look at the monitor,” she told him.


“Xander,” she uttered through clenched teeth, 'I'm going to kill him,' she mused. “He can't see Angel,” Willow said.

Xander peered intently at the television screen, he watched in amazement, as Buffy's hand seemed to tightly clasp... air.

“No whispering please,” Jason said.

“Um... you know... Buffy's... Buffy's gonna be REALLY mad, if you don't let us go. And you don't want to see her mad... no,” Willow shook her head to stress the point. “No, it's not a good thing... Buffy mad... no. Pe... people tend to get hurt... not us,” she said pointing to Xander and Cordelia. “No... but um, other people get hurt... or killed when she's mad,” Willow stuttered.

“I'll keep that in mind Miss Rosenberg,” he replied.

Angel and Buffy could hear Willow's voice coming from the room they needed to get to. Angel started to squirm a little, the itch was becoming more insistent.

“Good ol' Willow, she trying to give that creep some warning,” Buffy said. She had noticed Angel's behavior, she knew that he was extremely worried about how little time he had left.

“Yeah... she's a good kid,” Angel replied, taking a quick look outside. He could hear birds waking, chirping their good mornings to each other.

“I... I mean. Do you KNOW what... what... Buffy and... and Angel would do... if... if they found out about your secret?” Willow asked.

Intrigued, Jason walked within a few feet of Willow, the gun pointing in Xander and Cordelia's direction.

“No false moves, Miss Rosenberg. Otherwise, one of your friends will end up with a third eye... if you understand my meaning,” he said.

“OH... no... no false moves from me. I'm like a statue... only I breathe and move... NOT that I would move... never... besides... statues don't move... un... unless they're being moved... from... from one room to another... but not me...,” Willow uttered before being interrupted.

“ENOUGH!!” Jason looked over at the other teenagers, “How do you put up with it?”

“It's endearing after awhile,” Xander replied.

Cordelia rolled her eyes, “Not to me it isn't.”

“Miss Summers... Angel, would you mind coming up the steps now... slowly,” Jason said loudly. “Now..... Miss Rosenberg... what IS this secret you've mentioned,” he said, keeping an eye on the monitor.

“What's going on in there?” Buffy asked.

“I have a feeling we're going to find out,” Angel replied.

“I'm going to give you a moment to collect your thoughts together Miss Rosenberg. After that, if you SO much as trip over a word... stutter, or anything else, I'll shoot you instead. Do you understand?” he asked, pointing the gun in her direction.

Willow nodded yes, she figured she couldn't go wrong.

“Goood, now... tell me. What's this secret?”

Taking a breath, and hoping beyond all hope that Buffy and Angel would hear the information, Willow opened her mouth...


Time seemed to slow down as Willow began to speak. She explained why he had wanted Buffy and Angel to hold hands. He couldn't see Angel, and as long as they held on to each other, he could be somewhat aware of Angel's whereabouts.

“So... you see, THAT'S why you want them to hold hands. Isn't that right?” she asked.

Before he could utter a single phrase, Jason noticed a blur out of the corner of his eye. In the fraction of a second it took him to breathe, he found himself on the floor, face to face with an angry vampire.

Buffy and Angel had heard Willow from their vantage point on the stairs. Without a word Buffy let go of Angel's hand. He practically flew up the remaining steps to get into the room.

He only had a moment to take in the situation before him. He saw Xander and Cordelia standing off to the side, looking to their right, at the man holding a gun on Willow.

“..... that right?” Angel had heard Willow say, as he tackled the man.

Buffy ran up behind Angel, in time to see the two men struggle for a gun.

Willow's brain had barely registered Angel's dramatic entrance, before she was being pulled out of the room. By one very insistent vampire slayer.

“COME ON!!! Get outta here!” Buffy yelled, pulling Willow to safety.

Xander and Cordelia didn't need to be told twice, and were right behind Willow.

“Cordelia... can you bring your car to the back... to the loading docks? I need you to have the trunk open.”

“Yes... but why?” Cordelia asked.

“I'll explain later... just do it!”

“Well...” Cordelia huffed, going downstairs.

“Cordy... go out the front entrance, it's to your right!” Buffy called out. Turning back to Xander and Willow, she told them, “I've got to go help Angel... Wills... I'm SO glad your okay,” she said as she briefly hugged the other girl. “Giles is worried sick about you,” she whispered. “Go with Xander downstairs, I'll be right back, I promise,” Buffy said, then turned around and went back to Angel's side.

Buffy spotted a piece of 2x4 on the ground, picking it up, she moved in closer, trying to get a clear shot at the man Angel was rolling on the floor with.

Raising the makeshift club overhead, she watched as they fought for possession of the gun.

Buffy stood stock still when the gun went off.

For a brief moment, Buffy's world, condensed to the two men, neither of them moving.

“Angel?” she whispered. 'Oh... God, please... let him be okay,' she pleaded silently.

“Buffy?” Angel replied as he was pushed off the other man, blood seeping through his shirt.

“ANGEL!!!” Buffy yelled.

Jason managed to push Angel off, hoping to get some more breathing room, when he saw a very angry looking woman shouting at him. He cringed.

“YOU SON-OF-A-BITCH!!!” Buffy shouted as she swung the club with all she had. She heard a sickening crack as it connected with his head. Not giving him another moment of her time, Buffy grabbed Angel.

“Angel? Come on... speak to me, please?”

“Uh... Buffy? I don't feel too good,” he moaned.

“I'm gonna get you outta here... just hold on,” she said as she tore off a piece of her shirt and pressed down on his wound, hoping to staunch the blood flow.


She turned to see Willow and Xander standing at the door.

“I thought I told you to get to the car!” she told them.

“We were... but then when the gun went off... and well... we want to help. Don't we Xander?” Willow replied.

“Yeah... I... I wanna help,” he said.

“I've got to get Angel back to his place and fast,” Buffy said, as she looked down at her hands. The blood had seeped through the material.

“Xander,” Willow said turning to her friend.


“I need you to go the last door on the right. There's a bed inside, bring the sheet and the blanket. Hurry,” she said.

“I'll be right back,” he replied and went for the items.

“He's gonna be okay Buffy. You've got to believe that, he's strong,” Willow said, trying to comfort her friend.

“That's funny...” Buffy replied. “Angel said the same about you.”

“Well... you know... great minds...,” she smiled.

Pleased that Buffy had smiled in return.

“Okay... I've got the stuff,” Xander said as he returned. The blanket draped over his arm, while he held the a torn sheet in his hand.

“Hand it over,” Buffy said. Xander went to her and gave them to her. “Angel... can you hear me...?”

“What?” came the weakened response.

“We're going to get you outta here. I know it hurts, I'm sorry. I promise you'll feel better once we get you home... okay?” Buffy opened his shirt wider, determined to stop the blood flow. She could see that he had been shot with a regular bullet, and not a wooden one. She didn't want to think of the ramifications had he been shot with the lethal projectile.

They heard Cordelia honking.

“Umm... Buffy, I think we should get going... I'm surprised the police haven't shown up yet... with all the shots and everything,” Willow suggested.

“You're right,” she replied, turning to Xander she said, “Xander... I'm gonna need you to help me take Angel down the steps,” as she wrapped the sheet around his torso.

The wound, although at first glance seemed life threatening, was nothing more than a flesh wound. But taking into consideration his previous injuries, Buffy didn't want to take any chances.

“Willow, I need you to tell Cordy what's going on,” Buffy watched as Willow nodded, then headed out of the room. She grabbed the blanket from the floor and wrapped Angel in it the best she could, making sure to keep his head covered. “Let's get going.”

“What about him?” Xander asked, gesturing towards the prone man.

“Leave him... I don't have time,” she replied.

Xander went to Angel's side and helped Buffy move him. It took them longer than they thought to get Angel downstairs. They tried to walk in the darkest sections of the warehouse, while getting to the loading docks. They passed the bodies of the men Buffy and Angel had taken care of earlier, some of them had begun to moan out-loud.

“We've got to get outta here before any of these goons decide to wake up,” Buffy said, as they approached the car.

Cordelia was waiting impatiently, tapping her nails on the steering wheel. All this saving humanity stuff was okay for Buffy, it's her job. As far as she was concerned, she was only here because of Xander... 'Okay... maybe, I don't want anything to happen to Willow... MAYBE,' she thought.

The trunk was open and Willow stood by, having moved the car jack out of the way. She guessed what Buffy had in mind.

It would be tricky getting Angel into the car trunk and into his house in broad daylight.

As gently as they could, Xander and Buffy placed Angel inside, they didn't want to aggravate his injury.

Buffy had nearly lost it when they had passed a series of windows, smoke had appeared around Angel's legs... the blanket only covered so much.

Closing the trunk, they piled into the car, and drove away from the warehouse.




Giles was beside himself with worry. He hadn't received any word from Buffy or the others since she left hours ago.

'They're okay... they're okay,' he kept repeating to himself.

He had been told more than once throughout the rest of the night, by the nursing staff, that he was in no condition to leave. After attempting to do so... once or twice.

He realized that if he really wanted to... he could.

There would be nothing the staff could do. Except shake their collective heads, wondering what on earth could be so important that he'd risk his well-being.

But, he had come to the same conclusion as the hospital staff.

He was in no condition to leave, the meds they had given him had effectively dulled the pain caused by his various injuries. They had also left him feeling quite lethargic. Which made his previous attempts to leave... quite useless.

Like himself. He felt totally and utterly useless. Even if he had managed to leave under his own accord, there was no way of knowing if Buffy and the others were still at the warehouse. He had to stay, no matter how much it galled him to do so.

'Come on ol' boy, get a grip. With your luck, they probably would have made it here, while you were off traipsing around Sunnydale trying to locate them.' “No... I must stay here,” he told himself. “They'll expect to find me here.”

Heaving a heavy sigh, Giles looked out of the window. It looked like it was going to be another beautiful day in Sunnydale.

The sun had risen over two hours ago.

“Where are they?” he wondered out-loud.

Cordelia backed the car into the garage, while Xander stood in the back, directing her progress.

“Okay... Stop!” He yelled. There was enough room for them to get Angel out of the trunk.

“Cordelia... pop the trunk!” Buffy said, standing off to the side of Xander, with Willow.

There was a part of her that didn't want to see how badly Angel looked. Another, stronger part, had to see, needed to.

“Park the car... pop the trunk. What am I? A moving service? Xander... you owe me,” Cordelia uttered under her breath. All the while thinking of ways to torture her boyfriend. 'Oh... there's the function next month at daddy's country club. Oh... yes Xander... you won't be able to wheedle your way out of this,' she mused, an evil glint in her eye.

Giles was starving, he hadn't eaten since lunch the afternoon before. He was hoping he wouldn't have to wait much longer.

He grabbed the bedside remote for the television and turned it on. Deciding to see what was on, while he waited. He had flicked through the stations... nothing much, except cartoons.

'It's Saturday... of course. They show cartoons on Saturday,' he told himself.

He was about to turn the television off, when something caught his eye.

He looked down at the remote and increased the volume.

“... Repeating our top story. A warehouse on Delancy is up in smoke. The Sunnydale Fire Department has two battalions fighting the blaze. At this time, it is uncertain how or what caused the fire...”

Giles tuned out the reporter. All he could see was an overhead shot, apparently coming from the television station's helicopter.

There was dark, thick, black smoke, bellowing from the structure. Yellow and angry red flames burst through the acrid smoke, sending sparks upwards.

He couldn't make out the building... he subconsciously leaned forward, trying to get a better view. The helicopter pilot was keeping his distance from the fire.

“I guess he doesn't want to fan the flames,” he said.

Suddenly his door opened, turning quickly his eyes looking for a familiar face.

“Good morning Mr. Giles. I'm your nurse for today, my name is Dean. I'm here to take your vitals,” Dean told Giles as he moved to the side of his bed.

“Ah... yes... good morning,” he replied, absently.

Dejected, Giles turned his attention back to the television set.

“How are you feeling?” Dean asked, as he placed the blood pressure cuff around Giles uninjured arm.

“Hmm... oh... fine... thank you,” he replied, turning quickly to the male nurse, then back to the television.

'Blood pressure is a little high,' Dean thought. After taking Giles' temperature, and pulse, which was also a bit faster than had been noted by the night nurse, Dean wrote the information down on an index card that contained his notes on his patient condition. “Well, Mr. Giles, I've already contacted the MRI Department, you're scheduled to go for your exam at 8 am. Your breakfast should be here momentarily. Is there anything I can get you before I check on my other patients?” he asked.

“Umm... no... no, thank you. You've been most kind,” Giles replied.

Dean smiled, then left the room.

Giles spent the remainder of his time switching between stations, hoping to get more information on the blaze.

“Thank you,” he uttered, as his breakfast tray was brought in. If it wasn't for the fact that he hadn't eaten in well over 16 hours, he probably wouldn't have touched his breakfast. He practically inhaled it, not tasting anything.

He was staring at the set.

'Please... let them be okay,' he said to himself.

Buffy peered into the dark interior of the trunk.


Stretching out a hand, Angel came into view, he winced as he propped himself on his elbow.

“Buffy,” he whispered.


“Did you get the license plate number?” he asked.

Buffy had a confused look on her face.

“License plate number?” she asked.

“Yeah... of the truck that hit me,” he said, a smile playing across his handsome features.

“OH... Angel,” she said exasperatedly. Secretly overjoyed that he was okay. You wouldn't think that to look at him. His shirt was ruined, blood saturated it. Angel took Buffy's hand, and pulled himself out.

Xander stood close by, just in case. He wouldn't help Angel, not unless it appeared that he really needed it. He knew that if he were Angel, he'd want to do this on his own.

“Angel... are... are you okay?” Willow asked quietly.

Turning to her, Angel nodded his head. “Yes, Willow, I'm fine. How are you? Did they hurt you?” he asked, ignoring the pain in his shoulder and side.

“N... no... they didn't,” she replied, unshed tears in her eyes.

Angel knew that the tears in her eyes were for him.

Her heart was so big, that she probably was berating herself that he had been injured on her behalf.

“Willow?” Angel whispered, releasing his hold on Buffy. He took a step closer to her.

“OH... Angel... I'm... I'm so sorry,” she hiccupped, tears falling down her cheeks.

“Come here Willow,” he said, opening his arms to her. Willow stepped into the hug. She felt Angel's arms wrap themselves protectively around her.

It had dawned to her, on the drive to Angel's place, how her friends had placed themselves in danger for her.

“I'm... I'm... soo sorry,” she said, meaning it for all of them.

“Willow... it's okay,” Angel replied, rocking her slowly. He wanted to give her all the time she needed, deserved.

“No... it's not... you... you could have been killed!”

He smiled at that remark, until the nagging pain in his shoulder told him otherwise. Looking over to Buffy, a silent message passed between them. They both knew, no matter what had happened in the warehouse, he would have done it again... in the proverbial heartbeat.

“Um... Willow, I'm kinda tired...”

“Oh... gosh, you're right. You... you should get some rest,” she said, whispering before letting him go, “Thank you.”

“Any time,” he replied, placing a quick kiss on her cheek. “I'm glad you're okay.”

“I'll be right back,” Buffy said, as she walked with Angel into the house, via the connection to the garage.

“Uh... Xander?”

He had stood by watching his friend thank Angel, there was a certain part of him that seemed miffed at this. But he had known Willow long enough to know that she'd want to thank everyone.

“Yeah Wills,” he answered.

“You... didn't get hurt or anything... did you?” She asked, almost afraid to hear the answer.

“Nah... I'm okay,” he replied.

“And Cordy?” she asked.

Xander turned to see Cordelia in the car, fixing her make-up.

“She's fine,” he shrugged. “Are you sure you're okay... I mean it's me. You can tell me... you know.”

He knew Angel and Buffy had already asked the same question, but, Willow was the kind of person who would rather see to your pain first, rather than her own. Willow walked over to where Xander had been standing, and gestured him to bend down.

Xander's heart lurched. 'Okay Harris, you've got to be strong for her, suck it up,' he thought to himself.

“I'm fine, honestly. I... I love you, you know?” she said, before placing the lightest of kisses on his face. Making him wonder if she actually did it or not.

He blushed, and stood up straight.

“Your my best bud Wills. I... I was worried. I... I didn't know what to do. I'm really glad you're okay,” he hugged her briefly. “I do too,” he added, letting her go.

“XANDER!” Cordelia called out from the car, “I've got to get home.”

“Yeah... okay, let me get Buff,” he said.

Willow stopped him.

“That's all right Xander, I'll get Buffy. Why don't you thank Cordelia for me?” she said pushing him towards his girlfriend.

“All right,” he replied.


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