Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project
Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project

Of The Good
By Mercutio
For Jessica

"Can you handle being on your own, Will?" Buffy asked, phone held close to her ear as she sat on the tombstone, waiting for the vampires to come out and play. "I don't know when I'll be back, given the situation. When Angel called and said that Faith wanted to come talk to me as part of her sentence and part of her quest for redemption thing, I wasn't real thrilled, but if there's any chance at all that it'll help, I've got to do it."

"What about Dawn? I..."

"Not to worry. Dawn called. Dad wants to extend the father-daughter bonding time til as late as possible on Sunday, so she's not coming home tonight. But you'll have Amy..."

"She's staying with her relatives."

Concern edged into Buffy's voice. She'd been keeping an eye on Willow since the blow-up over her misuse of magic; they all had. The redhead's remorse was genuine, but wanting to make up for her mistakes hadn't been enough to get her through the withdrawal symptoms she'd experienced after her brush with black magic. Willow was still very fragile. "Will you be all right? I can't come home, but you could go over to the Magic Shop. Anya's staying late to do inventory. And I'm sure she'd never turn down labor that she doesn't have to pay for."

"It's all right, Buffy, really."

"It's just that I worry about you. Because you're my friend, you know?"

"I know. Look, I'll write it down, how's that? I'm making a note right now -- 'Go to Magic Shop; Anya needs you.' Is that good enough, mom?"

Buffy grimaced at being called 'mom'. It didn't seem like much of joke; more like a reality she wasn't ready for. "Yeah. Wish me luck, okay? I want Faith to get better, but this is still a little wiggy for me."

"Good luck, Buffy."


Willow clicked the portable off and set it aside in favor of the sage she needed for her spell.

It's not just one last spell, she thought to herself as she carefully mixed the ingredients. There'll probably always be a need for magic as long as Sunnydale stays all Hellmouthy. I just won't do any more unnecessary magic. But I have to do this one. Have to make up for everything I've done, somehow.

She looked through the description of the spell again to see if there was anything she'd missed. The effect of this spell would be permanent, or as permanent as she could make it. She didn't want it coming undone and then having Tara hurt once again. When this spell was complete, Tara would remember everything Willow had ever caused her to forget, would be free of whatever influence she might still be under due to Willow's well-meant but ultimately ill-conceived spells.

No, not well-meant, Willow reminded herself. She'd spent some serious time lately reading both more into the nature of Wicca and witchcraft as well as books on addiction and recovery from addiction. She had a problem and she had to admit to it. I wanted her to be mine and to always love me, and to make that happen, I deliberately took away her free will and right to choose to love me. That's not love.

All of the ingredients gathered and properly mixed, she set out the candles, and then lit the small bowl of crushed herbs with an incense stick.

As much as I wish that all of our relationship experiences could be forgotten so that we could start over from the beginning, that everyone would just forget about the mess with me and Tara and let it rest, this is the right thing to do. I have to let Tara go, have to let her make her own choices.

Willow began chanting as the fragrant smoke rose up and wafted out the open window. Anyway, if wishes were broomsticks, witches would fly


Faith stared out of the car at the plasticine landscape passing by. Fake as California was to eyes that hadn't seen much of it in a while, it still beat the grey of prison.

"Still can't believe I'm out."

Angel didn't say anything. She kinda liked that about him, and kinda didn't. At the moment, she needed a little fuller response.

"I'm a murderer. I belong in a cell. I don't deserve to be out like this." If he didn't say anything this time, she was going to yell at him just to get a response. She'd had enough of talking to herself, of staring at the wall and waiting for it to talk back.

"The idea of being in prison is that you pay for your crimes," Angel said softly. "But most of it isn't done through the legal system. If you weren't punishing yourself, you wouldn't truly be paying for what you've done. Who judges us? Who judged you? People who you'd never harmed. The people who are fit to judge us will never have the chance, because we took it away from them."

"Okaaaay," she said, turning her head to look at him. "Not what I asked, but yeah. My head's a scary place to be lately."

"You want to know if you deserve to be out here when the one you killed can't ever do that again? I'm not really the right person to ask that of."

"You're the only person," Faith said, meeting his eyes for a moment before going back to stare at the palm trees outlined against the stars.


Spike wasn't lurking. He didn't lurk. He... observed. From a distance, because it was safer. Err, no -- because it was more romantic... no, not that either. Well, he had a reason, and it wasn't a nancy reason or a sappy reason, but a really good one, and as long as Buffy didn't see him first, he wouldn't have to figure out what it was.

He was completely and utterly in love with the Slayer. So much so that he was hiding here, watching his inamorata from afar, rather than actually speaking to her and having his heart stomped on yet again. Although -- now that there was a chance of getting to shag her after the pummeling was over, he liked the whole scenario much better. However, he still needed more nicotine first.

Or possibly a great deal of alcohol, he thought, as a familiar-looking convertible pulled to a stop near where Buffy was waiting.

A swirl of black leather was his erstwhile sire getting out of the car. Hackles raising, Spike dropped his cigarette to the ground. Oh, no, he wasn't about to let Angel ruin what he had going with Buffy. Not if he had to use a crowbar on that gelled head.

Not that that would exactly endear him to Buffy... but it would make him feel a whole lot better.

And then the other slayer got out of the car.

Christ! Two of them. Did he really need this?

He looked again at Buffy, at the strong spirit wrapped in a deceptively fragile-looking shell. Yeah. He needed this more than he needed blood.

Spike stepped forward, walking up to Buffy, who ignored him as though that would make him go away. Hadn't worked yet, had it?

The second slayer barely glanced at him. Hmph. He'd show her a thing or two about ignoring a master vamp. Starting with rearranging her innards... oh, yeah. Well, if he could rearrange her innards, he would, but she wasn't supposed to know he couldn't.

Angel, on the other hand, looked right at him. "Spike."

"Spike," Buffy hissed. "Go away. This isn't a good time."

"Looks like a perfect time to me, love," he said.

"No time is a good time for you, Spike. Leave."

"Maybe this was a bad idea coming down here like this," Faith said uncertainly. God, it was hard being here. In her own body this time. Before... she'd had a chance to jump into Buffy's body and be her, and it'd been good, so good. So good it had almost driven Faith nuts. To get all the respect and admiration that Buffy inspired, not to mention the lust... She'd gone more than a little wild. Faith felt sick now at the memory. For some unknown reason, though, Buffy seemed to be giving her another chance and she wasn't going to turn that down.

"No, no," Buffy said. "This is... this is incredibly awkward, isn't it? I sorta feel like I should be kicking your ass over the whole body-switching thing, but at the same time, I've got that whole came-back-from-the-dead thing going for me and all, so it's not like you did it to me so much as you did it to the former me, you know?"

Faith nodded.

Spike scowled. Where was the violence? The screaming? The blood? At this rate, they'd be hugging and knitting tea cozies soon enough.

Then the world faded out on him, sending him crashing to the ground. It gave him a small surge of glee to catch a glimpse of Angel and the other slayer being taken down too, before everything went completely black.


Angel sat up and rubbed his head. Something hurt. Must've hit it when he fell down. Had it been a demon attack that put him on the ground? He didn't quite remember.

Three people lay sprawled around him. He recognized two of the three. Spike, Faith and a blonde girl he didn't know. He looked around. Sunnydale. A cemetery. Had he and Faith interrupted Spike's attack on the girl? No. Spike couldn't hurt humans, so that wasn't it.

He remembered bringing Faith to Sunnydale. Remembered that he was helping her to integrate her past with her present, to confront the people she'd betrayed. But as far as he knew, Spike had never been one of those. Very strange.

The other vampire came to before either of the women. He looked straight at Angel, then jumped up into a fighting stance. "Bloody hell. What hit me?"

"How would I know?"

"Finally admitting you don't know everything?"

Angel shook his head, dismissing Spike, before turning to Faith, who groaned. "Are you all right?"

Faith opened her eyes to the sight of a vampire leaning over her. Hell of a position to be in. Good thing she knew what to do about that. She reached for her stake -- which wasn't there. Stupid, stupid, stupid. So what if she was just out of jail and hadn't been able to carry a weapon? She knew this was Sunnydale and should have known she'd need one, should've asked Angel to bring something for her to use. But she was stake-less. So instead, she punched him.

He went down with a satisfying crunch. Faith's eyes darted around, quickly taking stock of the situation. One downed vampire in need of staking. Another vampire, blonde, who looked slightly familiar, in need of an ass-kicking. And a blonde girl, lying on the ground, obviously an intended victim of the pair. Stakes, none, but plenty of trees available if she wanted to spare the time to wrench off a branch.

Couldn't spare the time though, 'cause she had to protect the other girl. She spun into a low kick aimed at the second vampire, who blocked her and dodged away, putting a tombstone between them.

"What the hell do you think you're doing, Slayer?"

"Slaying," Faith quipped back.

"Damnit, Slayer, Angel isn't going to like this."

"Who's Angel?"


"No, thanks. I'm not that hard-up."

The vampire dodged again as she came around the tombstone. The way he was refusing to fight her but not running away was weird. Usually they did one or the other, not weave around like... like they were trying to get her attention and keep it off of something else. Damn. The girl. The shorter vampire was trying to keep her busy while his companion took off with the girl. She was really out of practice with this shit.

She edged backward, keeping a careful eye on the vampire while moving toward the girl. Her attention was split. Not a good situation.

The other vampire had woken up. He was bending over the girl, who was conscious, but apparently too scared to move. Bad vamp. Bad Faith for letting it happen. She kicked him in the head and pulled the girl up. "C'mon, run!"

Incredibly, the girl struggled. "No, I've got to..."

"Fuck that. Run!"

Faith grabbed the girl's hand and forcibly pulled her out of the cemetery and toward the lighted area of downtown Sunnydale. She'd see the girl to shelter and then come back and finish this. She hoped the vamps would still be there. She felt like killing things.


Spike scowled down at Angel. "Good show, mate. Getting beaten up by your own pet slayer."

Angel rolled over and pushed himself up. "Yeah, well, we all have our off days. You have off lifetimes. Where did she go?"

The smaller vampire shrugged. "Away. Not like I care."

Angel's hand was suddenly around his throat. "Time to start. I have to find Faith. She doesn't know the town anymore, and she hasn't been slaying on a regular basis. She could get hurt."

Spike shook himself free and snorted disdainfully. "More like she's going to hurt you if she catches you. What'd you do to her, shred her favorite dolly?"

"No." Angel frowned. "I haven't done anything. We were getting along fine on the ride down. She was talking to... was talking, and then everything... it's a spell. Or a prophecy or something like that. She's obviously forgotten who I was. Who knows what else she's forgotten? She could be in danger."

"Who the bloody hell cares?"

"Spike, we need to get this resolved."

"Resolve whatever you like. I'm not getting involved in one of these spells again, and if you knew what you were about, you wouldn't either. Before you know it, you're prancing around like a nancyboy and calling yourself 'Randy'. Wait a mo --", Spike smirked, "nothing different than normal for you there, so you go right on ahead. You know where to find me when things get back to normal."


He was already backing away from Angel. "No. I know how these things work and I'm not getting involved. I don't care about anyone or anything in this town, and that includes you. So bugger off."

He vaulted over a tombstone and vanished into the night.


Faith only let go of the girl when she had them both inside, of all things, a late-night ice cream parlor. "Okay, you're safe now. You got anyone you could call to give you a ride home?"

"Faith, what's wrong with you?"

"Look, I don't know who you are, but--"

"I'm Buffy. C'mon, Faith, I know you know me."

Faith looked the blonde over again. More carefully this time. "Nope. Never met you before."

"Freaky. Did you lose your memory or something?"

"I remember everything just fine." Too fine. If she could forget, there were a lot of things she'd pick to forget about. Like prison. Like growing up. Like all the times life had shit on her and then moved on to shine on the pretty ones, the golden ones.

"No, you don't. I'm Buffy. I'm a vampire slayer. Just like you."

"You're a what?"

"Slayer. S-L-A-Y-E-R."

Panic flashed through her. The one thing she had, the one thing that made her special, gave her any reason for continuing to draw breath was being taken away from her. "I know how it's spelled, B. And it's not true. There's only one slayer. Always has been, always will be."

"Yeah, yeah, I know the routine. One dies and another one is called and all that. Well, I died. Twice now. And that's why you're here."

I owe the only good thing in my life to this girl? "So where's number three?"

"Number three?"

"The third slayer. You said you died twice."

"I... I don't know. Maybe there isn't one, because I'd already died before."

Some hope then. The blonde's story didn't add up. "Yeah, right. I'm here because you died once, but when you die again, nada? Sounds like a crock of shit to me."

"Huh. You haven't changed at all, have you, Faith? Should've known... should've known you couldn't change."

Oh, that was just enough. Faith's hand shot out and gripped the other girl around the throat, squeezing enough to make her point. "You better hope I've changed, 'cause otherwise I'd just keep going."

A knee to the groin followed by a nasty twist to the wrist made her let go. Not that Faith had intended to really hurt the other girl. She wasn't about that now. On the other hand, the strength behind Buffy's blow tended to prove her story. You didn't pack muscle like that into such a frail frame unless you were a slayer. Or a demon. And Faith would've known if she were a demon.

"Like trying to kill me is really going to convince me."

"I wasn't trying to kill you. I just saved your life from that vampire."

"No, you dragged me off before I could stake him." Buffy pulled out her closest stake and waggled it in demonstration.

"I didn't know that," Faith mumbled.

Buffy looked at her for a long moment. "No, you didn't, did you? And you did the right thing anyway. Thanks. If I'd needed your help, it would've been cool.'

Embarrassed, Faith looked away. Anywhere but at Buffy. She didn't get thanked much. If ever. "Yeah. Whatever."

"C'mon. We'll go see..." she paused, knowing there was someone she would normally go see about things, but not able to think of who that might be. "...someone, and figure out what to do to fix things."

Faith nodded, and let Buffy lead her away.


Willow woke to find herself in the middle of a circle of spell components. "Okay. I was casting something. And then I passed out. Not of the good."

She looked around and found a book open to a cleansing ritual. "I passed out during a simple cleansing spell? Very not of the good."

Slowly, she noticed the room around her. "This isn't my house. This is... I don't know whose house this is. Was I trying to get rid of an evil spirit in the house or something? No, because if I had been, I would've used a stronger spell. Maybe a binding or a barrier spell, too, to keep it out permanently. Ooh! Maybe I did two spells!"

There were indeed multiple books lying on the floor. One had a post-it note stuck in it, and she opened it. On a memory spell. To help someone get their memory back. "That doesn't make any sense. Whose memory was I trying to get back? Kinda ironic, too, since I don't remember what spell I was casting or why. Very wiggy."

The post-it note was more revealing. "'Go to Magic Shop; Anya needs you'." Willow remembered Anya, which was one good thing in a rapidly expanding lake of bad things, although she didn't remember writing the note -- which was in her own handwriting -- or, for that matter, why Anya needed her.

"No problem. I'll go see Anya. Even if she can't help, I'll be at the Magic Shop, and maybe I'll find something there that will help. But first I've got to get this mess cleaned up and get out of this house before the owners come home."


Anya looked up when the door jingled. "We're closed, but you can still spend money if you want to -- oh, it's you."

"Hi, Anya," Willow said, setting her things down on the table. "I've got a problem."

Anya wrinkled her nose. "It's not something that's going to cost me money, is it? Because I'm just starting to really make a profit on the store, and I don't want that to stop."

"No. Well, no, I don't think so. I just... I think maybe I did a spell -- well, no, I know I did a spell 'cause I woke up with candles and books and stuff all around me, I just don't really know what spell I did, and something seems to be wrong because I can't remember what spell it was, and I don't know where I was when I did it, and that's just, well, wrong."

"Are you going to do any more spells?" Anya asked.

"If I can find one to reverse what I did, then, probably, yes."

"Don't do it here. Your spells aren't very reliable."

Willow flushed. "That isn't very nice. You shouldn't say things like that."

"Obviously someone ought to be, considering what you've done."

"What I've done? What have I done that went wrong?"

"The wish spell?" The door jingled again, but Anya didn't look away from Willow. "When you made Buffy fall in love with Spike?"

"I don't know anyone named Buffy."

"And I don't know you either," Buffy said, coming down the stairs toward them, Faith slightly behind her. "Which is pretty strange, because you're talking about me."

"You're Buffy?" Willow asked.

Buffy nodded. "In the flesh."

Willow looked at Anya triumphantly. "See? I couldn't possibly have cast that spell, because I've never seen her before in my life."

"Red screwed up a spell?" Faith asked. "Where's the watcher? Giles, right? He'll probably know what to do to fix this."

Three identically confused faces turned to her. "Who?"

Faith blinked. "Giles? English guy?" She looked at Buffy. "Trains slayers? Did he die or something?"

Buffy shook her head. "No. Not that I know of. 'Cause I have absolutely no idea who you're talking about."

"Okay. Everything is most definitely not five by five here, kids. B says she remembers me, I don't remember her. None of you remember the watcher. Red and B don't remember each other."

Anya smiled at Willow. "I told you it was your fault."

"This is not my fault."

"How do you know? You don't remember."

"Lack of evidence is not proof."

"You said you passed out in the middle of a spell casting. You know you did a spell. You also said you don't remember what spell it was. The whatever-it-was made people forget. You forgot. Therefore it's your fault."

"It is not. And your reasoning is just, just completely wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong."

"Is too your fault."

"Is not."

"Is too."

Buffy and Faith watched the interplay, bemused. Whispering, Buffy said, "I feel like we're interrupting something."

Faith snorted, not quietly. She'd seen a lot of this in prison. A lot of everything. "If we weren't here, they'd be making out by now."

"We would not be making out!" Willow said loudly, turning so she couldn't see Anya at all, her cheeks flaming.

"Why not? I think you're very attractive," Anya said. "If you did something with your hair, I mean."

"What's wrong with my hair?"

"Have you seen it lately? Or did you forget about it also?"

"Just because your hair is perfect..."

"See? You think I'm attractive too. We could be making out."

"I may not remember everything, but I know I'm not your girlfriend!"

"How do you know? You may have forgotten that I'm your girlfriend."

"Because... because..." Willow looked over at Faith and Buffy. "Help me out here, guys. Does anyone remember who we were dating, or if we were dating?"

Faith raised her eyebrows. "I'm not exactly part of the Sunnydale social whirl, and B doesn't remember you. How would we know?"

Buffy held up her hand. "No... Anya was dating Xander. I remember that. I was... I don't think I was with anyone."

"Who's Xander?" all three of the other women asked.

Buffy shook her head. "This is going to be a long night."

The door opened again, and Angel stepped inside. "Faith! I'm so glad I found you. Are you all right?"

"What is it with the vampires in this town?" Faith asked. "Can I borrow your stake, B? Promise I'll have it back within a minute."

"Sure thing." Buffy passed it over.

"Now hold still," Faith said to Angel. "This won't hurt a bit."

"Why is she going to stake Angel? Is he evil again?" Anya asked.

Faith didn't look away from the vampire. "You people know this guy?"

"Never met him," Buffy said.

Willow shrugged. "Me neither."

Anya stood up and went over to where Faith was. "Are you evil?" she asked the vampire.

"What? No. I brought Faith here to help her come to terms with her past."

"You brought me here? I actually went someplace with a vamp voluntarily?"

"Bad move," Buffy said.

"You're telling me?" Faith asked. "I can't believe it."

"Oh, but it's true," Anya said. "The part about Angel anyway. Well, not that part about you going with him voluntarily, since I don't know how you got here, but he's one of the good guys. He has a detective agency in L.A. But he usually stays there, because of, y'know, the Buffy thing."

"The Buffy thing?" the blonde slayer demanded. "What Buffy thing? Faith, give me back my stake. If he's done anything to me, I want to dust him myself."

"You dated him."

"Way to go, B. Dating a vampire. Very slayer-correct of you."

"I did not!" Buffy said, indignantly. "I would never do anything like that. Vampires are..." she shuddered. "No. No way."

Willow came over. "Anya wouldn't lie about that. She's a very honest person."

Anya beamed at her. "Thank you."

"Besides, we all know we've forgotten things. We just have to figure out what exactly we've forgotten so we can figure out why, and then we'll know how to fix it." Willow smiled proudly before her face fell. "Of course, it won't be easy trying to figure it out when we've all forgotten what we're supposed to be figuring out."

Angel made a clearing-of-the-throat noise. "Perhaps we could all sit down and tell each other what we remember about them? Make a list of what we remember that they don't?"

"Ooh, good idea," Willow said, going back to the table, and pulling out a notepad. Anya stepped down to join her, then looked back at the others, plainly exasperated. "Well, come on. You can't stake him, so sit down and help already."

The reluctant trio sat down, Buffy and Faith close together, near the vampire so that they could stake him quickly if he tried anything, but not so close that he could touch them. Under the cover of the table, Faith slipped the stake back into Buffy's hand. Her vampire, her chance to stake him. Faith could find someone else to stake later.

The other girl's hand held onto hers, closing their fingers together warmly around the stake for a moment, before letting go.

Faith swallowed hard and tried not to look at the blonde. Just a little gesture. Nothing much. Buffy couldn't know how long it had been since she'd felt something like that, had someone who cared about her. Not since... no. Faith couldn't remember anyone ever caring about her.

Buffy transferred the stake into her right hand, and acting quickly so she wouldn't lose her nerve, Faith took Buffy's left hand and held it, hoping that the other girl wouldn't let go.

Buffy didn't let go. Just intertwined their fingers and held her hand.

Faith smiled.

"I'll start," Willow said. She looked at Angel. "I don't remember you, or you," she looked at Buffy. She turned to the brunette sitting next to her. "You're Faith. You're a slayer. You were called when... okay, I don't remember that part. But you were called and you helped us until you started working with the mayor and betrayed us, and... and I guess I don't remember anything more about you."

"Yeah, I'm a slayer," Faith acknowledged. "I got called. Met the Scoobies. Hated Wesley. Useless stuck-up moron. Did some stuff. I remember... going bad. Feeling like I was going out-of-control and--" And was she really saying this to a bunch of near strangers? Telling them that she'd known she didn't belong, felt the one place she was supposed to be slipping away from her? She shook off the thoughts. "I don't remember the mayor. And the stuff I remember after that doesn't really relate."

Willow was writing. "Faith doesn't remember the Mayor. Does remember someone called Giles, and Wesley. Oh, and Anya and me, too." She looked up. "Oh, yeah, it's still my turn. I remember Anya. She's a former vengeance demon who came to town because... well, I don't remember why, but I know I met this scary vampire version of me, and then Anya somehow lost her powers and... um, I don't know how she became of us -- and isn't it weird that I'm saying us when I only remember there ever being just me and her? It seems like there were more, but when I try to think about it, it just isn't there, y'know?" She made a note. "Willow doesn't remember who else was in the group. Okay. Um, Anya. More about Anya. She owns the Magic Shop. And she's really, um, blunt about the way she says things. That's about it."

Anya nodded. "I don't understand why everyone doesn't just say what they mean. It would really help them to get it all out in the open and deal with what they really want and feel. Hiding things only makes it harder."

Willow smiled. "But what do you remember that I didn't say about you?"

"Oh. Well, you already said that I was a vengeance demon. I granted wishes to women who had been scorned by men. So I must've come here to grant a wish, but I don't remember to who or why or what it was. Obviously, I lost my powers, and have been working here, although I don't really know why now that I think about it, as magic items are never going to draw the kind of volume you need to build a wide customer base. Especially not in a town as small as this."

"Okay. So Anya remembers me, and being a demon, but not why she's here or how she lost her powers."

"Um, I remember that," Buffy said. "You granted a wish to Cordy. Xander had... well, I don't remember. Done something. The town turned into some kind of alter-Sunnydale where everyone was vampires. Cordelia broke your necklace, and that put everything back the way it was. Eventually, you and Xander got together, and he proposed and you're getting married."

"Wow," Willow said, eyes wide. "That's a pretty big thing to forget. You really don't remember that, Anya?"

The ex-demon shook her head. "No. None of it sounds familiar. Was this Xander rich? Demonic or possessed of some other supernatural quality? Really good-looking?"

"No, no, and no. He's kinda cute, I suppose."

"Do you remember me being insane?"

Buffy looked puzzled. "Uh, no?"

Anya turned to Willow. "You'd better write that down. Buffy has forgotten that I was insane. I must've been, in order to want to marry someone like that. You know, I'm not so sure I want this spell reversed. I don't think I would like being insane again."

Willow looked dubiously at her, but dutifully wrote that down.

"That makes me next," Anya said. "I remember all of you. Willow is a witch whose spells never go quite right. Buffy is a vampire slayer, and was recently dead. She's denying having orgasms with Spike -- why I don't know, because it is so obvious."

"Spike?" Angel sat up. "You'll have sex with him, but you're insulted at the thought of loving me?"

Buffy shrugged. "Don't remember either of you."

Anya ignored them. "Faith is a vampire slayer. You talk about her a lot. She supposedly went bad. No one talks about Angel. He went evil when he and Buffy had sex. Willow gave him his soul back, and he ran away to L.A."

"I had sex with him? Ew."

"Your turn, Buffy," Willow said.

"Oh. Okay. I don't remember... Willow? That's your name?" The redhead nodded. "Right. I don't remember Willow. Or the vampire. Anya -- already been there, done that. Faith -- everyone already said what I know except that she was in a coma for a while after I pushed her out of a window."

Faith froze, and tried to let go of Buffy's hand, but Buffy held it a little more tightly before turning to her. "I'm sorry, Faith. I don't remember why I did that, but whatever you did, I shouldn't have done that. I'm glad you're alive now. You deserve a chance at redemption."

"Thanks, B," Faith said in a small voice.

Buffy squeezed her hand again and smiled.

"Um, Faith," Willow said. "Do you know why Buffy pushed you out of the window?"

Faith shook her head. "I don't remember any of that."

"Do you remember anything about us?"

"You were dating a werewolf when I first showed up. Name was Oz."

"I remember him," Angel said. Both slayers glared at him. He looked sadly at Faith. "Dyed his hair in different colors. He and Willow broke up when she and Xander got caught kissing."

Willow blushed. "I'm sorry," she said to Anya. "I didn't mean to kiss your fiance."

"Subliminated lust. You really wanted to kiss me."

Angel shook his head. "No, you weren't here yet, as far as I remember."

"Do you remember anything else about Anya? Or me?" Willow asked.

"Willow and Xander were best friends growing up."

"And I don't remember that," Willow said, writing it down. "Anything else?"

"Not a whole lot. Lately, I've spent more time with Faith than in Sunnydale." His features slumped. "And as not much time as I should have visiting Faith in prison either. Sometimes I almost forgot about her, and I shouldn't have done that, even with everything that's been happening."

Faith didn't know what to say. It was nice to hear that he cared about her, but that he didn't see her much was all 'same song, different verse'. So she went with the flip answer, the easy one that defended her from the hurt. "Forget about it. I have."

Sad brown eyes looked at her. "I can't. I won't."

Damn, she thought. Could almost think he does care.

"Okay," Willow said. "I've made the list of what everyone's forgotten. Everybody read it, see if you can find some sort of pattern to what we can't remember."

The notepad was passed around. Buffy shrugged immediately, while Angel pondered it thoughtfully for a long while before handing it back to Willow.

"So does anyone have any ideas about what it is that we're forgetting?"

"Sex," Anya announced.


"Nearly everyone had sex and no one who did remembers it. Isn't it obvious?"

Buffy scrunched up her forehead. "Y'know, I don't remember ever having a relationship. No boyfriends at all. Or girlfriends."

"Me either, B. But I don't think I'm the kind of person who has them."

"It's got to be more than just sex," Willow said. "I don't remember having a boyfriend either, but we've forgotten too many people. We would have had to each had sex with just about everyone in this room. And I can't believe I just said that."

"If you stopped repressing so much, it would be easier."

Willow shook her head, but hints of a smile broke through before her face settled back into thoughtful lines. "Hey, does anyone remember their parents? Or siblings?"

"No," Buffy said. "That is kinda weird, isn't it? I have to have parents, right?"

Faith shook her head. "I'd rather not remember."




"I don't remember them, but it was a really long time ago."

Willow's expression grew more excited as she scribbled another note. "Does anyone remember having any friends?"

Everyone but Buffy shook their heads, some more quickly than others, Faith almost immediately.

After a long pause, Buffy said, "I don't know. I guess I had people I called friends, but it seems now, looking back, that the people I remember were more like acquaintances. That something kept me from getting close to people. Maybe because I'm the... a slayer?"

Willow nodded, then opened her mouth to ask another question.

"You can just cut to the chase, Red," Faith said harshly, a little more harshly than she liked. Didn't want everyone to know how much it mattered. "I don't remember anything good. No life, no family, no lovers, and no friends."

Buffy let go of her hand, and Faith felt the pain like the light disappearing when they put you in the hole. But then she scooted closer and wrapped her arm around Faith. "You've got me," she said. "You're not alone, Faith."

Faith closed her eyes. She wasn't going to cry. She didn't. She gave in, though, and rested her head briefly against Buffy's. "Thanks, B."


"It's not a spell to make us forget good things happening," Anya said to Willow. "I made a large sale this afternoon to a tour group interested in candles and tea, and I remember it perfectly."

"You stock tea now? Never mind. Tell me later. I don't remember much good happening, but this is the Hellmouth, right? Apocalypsy stuff happening all the time. Bad, bad, bad, day in, day out."

Buffy frowned. "Nothing good recently, but I remember being happy at finding a blue dress that matched my shoes."

"The weapons cabinet is really clean," Angel offered up. The others stared at him. "Hey, it's a good memory for me."

"So it's just people that we've forgotten. Or good memories about people," Willow said. She made a face. "I couldn't have done this spell. Only someone really evil would've wanted everyone to forget about the people they care about."

"It might have been an accident," Anya said. "Like when you made Buffy and Spike get engaged. You didn't mean that. Unless you knew that they secretly wanted each other?"

Willow shrugged. "How would I know? I don't remember doing the spell, or them having a relationship." Then she brightened. "But we know where to start. We can do research and try to find out what spell it was and how to break it. If it is a spell, I mean."

"It's a spell," Anya said decisively. "Or bunnies. It could be bunnies."


Four hours later, they had discovered nothing. Or rather, they had discovered several spells that could have caused them to forget, but none of the reversals worked. With each failed attempt, Willow grew more depressed.

"This just isn't working. I don't think we're going to find a cure, not like this. If only there was someone we could call. Someone who isn't under the spell. For all we know, we've been spelled to forget about the spell that did this to us and so the answer is right here, but we can't see it because of the spell."

"You could call Angel's people," Anya offered.

"I have people?" Angel asked.

Anya nodded. "You have a staff. I think I have your business card in my rolodex. We could call and ask them if they remember us."

A few minutes later, Anya was on the phone with Wesley who, it turned out, did remember them and was well-aware that both Angel and Faith had gone to Sunnydale to see them.

"And you say you've forgotten everything?" the former watcher asked.

"Not everything," Willow said into the telephone, having been nominated as the person who knew the most about what was going. "I think we've just forgotten about our past relationships."

"Which means that Angel doesn't remember us."

"No, he doesn't."

"Hmm. You've tried a general reversal?"

"Yes. And several specific ones. Everything we could find that might work."

"You probably need the reversal to that particular spell then. You're sure it was a spell?"

"It looks like it," Willow said reluctantly. "When I woke up, I could tell that I'd just cast a spell, and the post-it note in my spell book was stuck to a page with a memory spell."

"Could you reverse that spell?"

"Yes, but--"

"Then reverse it."

"It was a spell to help regain memory. What if I'm wrong and I didn't cause this? If something happen to make us lose all of our memories entirely, and I cast that spell in order to get them back, but it only partially worked? If I reverse the spell, we could all forget everything."

"Oh, dear. Indeed. No, you're right. Don't reverse it. Leave everything as it is. We'll come down. I think I have an idea on how to help, but we should look at everything in situ, as it were, first. Just in case."

"Okay. We'll be waiting then."

As she hung up the phone, the slayers bounced through the door, carrying food supplies.

"Weren't you supposed to be gone longer?" Anya asked.

"Well, we were patrolling," Buffy said, "when Faith reminded me that any of the vampires could be someone I liked but couldn't remember, and while they are vampires, I didn't want to accidentally kill someone who I shouldn't have."

"And we brought doughnuts," Faith added.

Willow took a glazed doughnut. "Thanks. Wesley said he thinks he can help us, and that we should wait until they get here."

"Can do," Buffy said. She grinned at Faith. "Maple or chocolate with sprinkles?"

"Sprinkle me, babe."


Wesley arrived with four people: Cordelia, who everyone but Anya remembered; a young black man named Gunn; a nervous girl who, immediately after being introduced as Fred, had taken shelter beside a bookcase; and a green demon in an eye-blinding orange suit called Lorne who had to be forcibly shushed in order to let the others speak.

Once introductions had been made, everyone who wanted to sat down, and Wesley explained his plan. "I want to read over the spell that Willow cast--"

"Two spells," Willow interrupted. "I think. I'm not sure if I cast both of them or not, but the book was open to a cleansing spell, so I may have cast that one instead. Or cast them both. I don't know."

"Is it possible that you combined the two spells somehow? Took elements from both of them to try to create a new spell?" Wesley asked.

Willow nodded, expression unhappy. "It's the most likely possibility. It would explain why things went wrong."

"What were you thinking?" Cordelia asked.

Anya looked at her. "That's a stupid question. She doesn't remember. That's why you're here. Or did you forget that, too?"

Cordelia bristled, but Wesley held up a hand. "Now, now. There is a way we may be able to determine what happened. Lorne can read people's auras; it's possible that he can tell what spell Willow cast or if, indeed, she was responsible at all for this catas... ah... situation."

"It's all right," Willow said softly. "I know this is a disaster and that it's most likely my fault. In fact, I'm kinda hoping it's my fault, because then we know where to look and we have a better chance of figuring out how to fix it than if it's a prophecy or some random bad guy."

"Time for me to do my stuff then," Lorne said. "All you gotta do is pour your heart out in song, and I'll tell you what I see."

"You want me to what?"

Wesley intervened. "Lorne can only read someone's aura if they are singing at the time. He runs a karaoke bar in L.A."

Dubious looks were cast at the green demon, but no one said anything.

Willow nodded. "I can do this, I guess. Okay, here goes." She looked around the room quickly. "I guess it makes it a little easier that I don't know everybody here anymore. This is difficult."

Lorne reassured her. "I know, honey. Believe me, I know. But if Angel can do it, anyone can do it."

"Hey, I can sing," the vampire said defensively.

"No, you can't," Cordelia answered swiftly. "Trust me on this."

Willow drew a deep breath and, before she could lose her nerve, sang. "When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are. Anything your heart desires will come to you. If your heart is in your dreams, no request is too extreme. When you wish upon a star, as dreamers do. Like a bolt out of the blue, fate steps in and sees you through. When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true."

Lorne dabbed at his eyes with a blue handkerchief he pulled from his pocket. "You have no idea how true that is, do you?"

"It's a Disney song," Cordelia said. "From Pinocchio."

"Yes, I know. But for our young enchantress friend here, it's literally true. When she makes a wish -- a real wish -- under the right circumstances, it comes true. This time it did."

"I wanted this to happen?" Willow asked, paling. "This is horrible. Awful. I didn't -- I couldn't want this to happen."

"You know," Anya observed. "You'd make a great vengeance demon. I'm surprised that no one's offered you a job yet."

"Or they have and I don't remember it," Willow said, dejected, wrapping her arms around her waist.

"What else did you see?" Wesley asked. "Anything that might help us to fix this?"

"It can't be fixed," Lorne said, eyes on Willow. "She wanted it to be permanent when she cast the spell, and it is. Oh, she didn't mean to hurt anyone. She's as hung up on redemption as the brooding one over there," he waved toward Angel, "but when she cast the spell, she made a wish at the same time, and they both happened. If it helps any, I get the feeling that it was meant to be this way. It isn't just any whim of hers that comes true. Only the right ones, said at the right times for the right reasons."

"It does seem a little cruel though," Wesley said quietly, just to Lorne.

"I don't think so," Lorne replied, voice equally soft. "The little witch there had a full heart's load of pain stored up. It's gone now. She may have forgotten a lot of good in her life, but a lot of bad went with it. She's got a second chance. They all do."

"Still... how many people did this affect? Just their group, or everyone in range? We know it didn't reach as far as Los Angeles, but if all of Sunnydale got caught in the spell, we could face widespread panic in the morning."

Lorne shook his head. "I don't think so. I think this is the Powers That Be's way of granting them absolution. It just feels right somehow."

"Right?" Wesley asked, looking at Faith and Buffy, who were leaning against each other, smiling; at Angel, who was talking to Cordelia; and at Willow, who had broken down into tears and was crying against Anya's shoulder. "This feels right?"

"I suppose I could ask them all to do a chorus of 'Mandy', if you want to be sure."

"No, never mind. You're probably correct. But how do we convince them of that?"


The L.A. gang stayed the night. After a bit of trial and error, Willow and Buffy had discovered that they were living together and, with a lot of accommodation being done, everyone had managed to find somewhere to sleep, although nearly everyone had had to double up in order to fit into the number of available sleeping spaces.

Faith and Buffy had been an obvious pairing, as had Willow and Anya. Cordelia had gotten the small twin bed they'd discovered upstairs, while Gunn, Lorne and Wesley were sandwiched tightly together on the folded out couch. Angel, the odd vamp out, had had to make do with a cot in the basement.

Faith didn't think she'd ever been so happy as she was falling asleep next to Buffy, their shoulders brushing, and Buffy's hand wrapped around her arm. It felt good and comforting. The saddest part was the knowledge that she was expected back in jail on Monday morning. It was a little like seeing Heaven and then being kicked out of it for good.

But at least she'd gotten to see it. Got to touch it for herself and know that she could have it, if she hadn't screwed up so badly in the past.

Maybe Buffy will still be here when I get out. Maybe... Faith closed her eyes and stopped wishing. She had everything she needed right now, and she didn't want to ruin that by spending the time thinking about how rotten her future might be.

This moment was a very good place to be.

They had been up late the night before, and so most of them slept in. Faith woke a long time before Buffy, and spent a long time lying there next to her in the still quiet of the room, storing up memories to take back with her.

Gradually, though, everyone began getting up, most of them congregating in the kitchen, although neither Anya nor Willow had come downstairs. There was, however, a suspicious amount of giggling coming from the second floor.

"What now?" Buffy asked, yawning. "If this is permanent--"

"It is."

"Then what do we do?"

Faith shrugged, uncomfortable. "I go back to prison."

"And I go back to L.A.," Angel said.

Buffy didn't seem to hear him, looking instead at Faith. "Oh. I didn't think about that."

"It's where I belong, B. Don't worry about it."

Buffy bit her lip, but nodded. "I don't like it. I know we weren't friends before, or I wouldn't remember you at all, but it's different now, somehow."

"Yeah. It is."

Buffy hugged Faith, which took the brunette by surprise. She stiffened, then hugged back, fiercely.

The front door banged open, and Xander rushed in, yelled, "Come in, Spike," and a smoldering, blanket-covered shape followed him, slamming the door shut behind them.

"Blinds, blinds! Close the... oh. They're already closed."

"Xander?" Buffy asked.

"Oh, uh, hi, strange but oddly attractive blonde person. Spike, don't drop that on the floor," Xander added, as Spike shrugged off the blanket.

"Why not? 'S not like I need it anymore."

"Because you could start a house fire, which is not really how we want to introduce ourselves to the nice people."

"Stomped on it, didn't I?"

Xander visibly considered answering that, then shrugged. "Whatever. Good enough, I suppose. So, who are you people, and where is Anya?"

"You remember Anya?"

"Nooo. I don't actually remember any of you except Deadboy and geeky watcher-guy. And may I say, eek, about the big green demon drinking coffee in your kitchen?"

Buffy ignored the babble. "If you don't remember her, then why did you come to see her?"

"Because the chit rang him up, you twit."

Angel stood up, intervening. "Spike, what are you doing here with Xander?"

Suddenly, Spike glommed onto Xander, holding him tightly and managing to loom over him -- a neat trick given that Spike was several inches shorter than the other man. "Mine!"

"Xander?" Angel asked, questioning him with his eyes.

"Um, yeah," Xander said sheepishly. "I'm kinda his now."


Xander patted Spike's hand. "Yours. It's kinda funny really. Spike came over last night, and I didn't remember him. Did know he was, well, exceptionally hot. If more than a little insane. He told me that I was dating some girl I didn't remember, and I accused him of lying to me, since obviously I was gay, and then I... well, you don't need to know that part, but needless to say, I was really really surprised when the girl he'd been talking about called this morning and said that, yes, I was not only her boyfriend but also her fiance and could I come over as soon as possible, as long as it was after lunch?"

Spike growled. "You are not hers. You're mine."

The other man rolled his eyes. "Yes, Spike. That's why we're here. It's a custom in human relationships to break up with one person before you date the next one."

"'M not human."

"But I am. So there."

"Good. You're here," Anya said, coming down the stairs. "I thought I heard new voices talking loudly. Which one of you is Xander?"

"That would be me."

"Mine," Spike re-emphasized, in case she hadn't heard him any of the previous times.

"You cheated on me?"

"I didn't know I was dating you."

"Well," Anya said consideringly. "I suppose that's not so bad. I do have connections, you know. I could punish you for that. I won't, though, since you didn't know that you were cheating. But now I'm going to keep the ring. By the way, I'm breaking up with you. I'm going to have orgasms with Willow now."

"And I'm surprisingly okay with that." Xander looked around at the group. "That over with, something tells me you people have an explanation for what's been going on. So -- why don't I remember Spike? Or Anya? And is it significant that I don't remember most of the people here either?"

Buffy looked at Faith, and took her hand, leading her out the back door. "I don't think we need to be there for that discussion," she said, shutting it, and sitting down on the stoop. "Already caught it the first four times, after all."

Faith settled next to her, as Buffy cradled her hand in both of hers, stroking it gently. "B... I don't know how to say this, but..."


"I don't want you to come visit me when I'm back in prison."

"You don't? I thought... well, I didn't think about it very much, but now that you've said it, yes, I do want to go see you. It must be pretty lonely there."

"Yeah. It's lonely."

"So why don't you want me to come?"

"Because you don't belong there and I don't want you to have to see it." Faith felt an unfamiliar tremor in her throat, and fought it. It didn't have to matter that Buffy couldn't come see her. The other slayer wouldn't want to, anyway, not after one visit to the place. Wouldn't like Faith anymore after she saw what kind of life she deserved.

"You're trying to protect me?"

"No." She was trying to protect herself. This was entirely selfish and terribly painful all at once.

"You don't think I can handle seeing the worst of what people can do? When I've been slaying demons and vampires for how many years now?"

Faith bowed her head, letting her hair fall around her, hiding her as best she could. "No. I don't want you to see the worst of what I can do. If you knew how awful I really was, you wouldn't want to be anywhere near me."

There. It was out. Hanging between them like dust retained the shape of a vampire for a few seconds before collapsing into a small pile on the ground. Any second now, the pleasant illusion of having a friend would vanish and be blown away like a slain vamp.

Then it happened. Just like she knew it would. Buffy laughed.

Faith tensed and pulled away, standing up, then staying there as she found she had no place to go. "Yeah, that's kinda what I figured. Faith, the joke. Faith the colossal failure."

Buffy stood up too, and moved until she was looking straight into Faith's eyes. "No, Faith, that's not what I meant. I wasn't laughing at you. Not like that. I was laughing because I realized that you've forgotten--"

"Forgotten that I wasn't good enough for you? Don't worry. I remember now."

"No!" Buffy said sharply, before continuing more gently. "You've forgotten that I didn't lose my memories of you. I know what you've done. I know how you've been paying for it, and I can tell how much you mean it. It's all right. I don't blame you anymore. I think you made mistakes and that you've been doing your best to make up for them. I admire you for that."

"You do?"

"Yes, I do."

Faith let the other woman embrace her, ducking her head to rest it against Buffy's, feel their cheeks brushing together.

"So, can I come visit you?"

"Yeah. I think I'd kinda like that."