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Return to You by Thianna
6 - Meeting Peaches
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Disclaimer: The characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer are owned by Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and Fox studios. This story is not meant to infringe upon anyone's rights, only to entertain.

Chapter 6 - Meeting Peaches

Collin stared blankly at the thick book infront of him. The letters seem like they were melding together and the crick in his neck was getting hard to ignore. Standing up, he stretched tired muscles and couldn’t help hide a slight yawn. “I say we call it a night. I can barely see straight and I need a drink”, he said to no one in particular. Yawning simultaneously Emily and Jessica closed the books they were reading.

“Yeah! I’ve had enough Demons and Their Clans for the night and I still have to do my Physics homework for Monday.” Jessica said with a small pout.

“We can do study group.” Emily suggested hopefully.

“Is it okay? I can go ask Mom if I can just sleepover.” Both girls turned to their Watcher with pleading eyes.

“You girls do more partying than studying when you’re together.”

“We’ll be good!”, they both chimed in.

“Sure you will,” he said rolling his eyes. Giggling, both girls rushed out of the study and up the stairs. Despite himself, Collin smiled at seeing Emily adjusting nicely. He wished he could say the same for himself. He needed sleep but sleep usually meant dreams and he wasn’t ready for any of that tonight. Grabbing his keys and a light leather jacket he headed towards his car in the garage, shouting loudly to let his two charges know he was going out for the night.

He decided to go the club that he took Buffy to a few nights ago. As he saundered in, he ran his fingers through his hair, and scanned the crowd to see if there was a place to sit at the bar. He found an empty seat by the end of the bar area and quickly ordered a couple of bottles of beer. As he downed the last drop of the first bottle and started reaching for the second he heard a sweet voice behind him.

“I hope that if you’re going to drink like that you have a designated driver.”

He turned around and was surprised to see Buffy smiling sweetly. “What are you doing here, pet?” His eyes taking in her beauty.

“Shouldn’t I be asking you the same question? I thought you’d be pouring over books and ancient text.”

“Got bored and stuck. You?”

“Meeting someone...”

“And here I thought you got dolled up just for me, love” he said chuckling.

“Ha ha!” she said then she stuck her tongue out at him. It was moments like those that Collin couldn’t believe that for someone that had seen what she had seen how she could still find humor in little things. Her smile was infectious and his lips curled up into a grin.

“Actually, you might want to join us.”

Before Collin could ask why, a tall man in a large dark trench coat came up right behind Buffy. Smiling, Buffy turned around and gave the man a long hug. “I’ve missed you.” the man said somewhat inaudibly. Collin looked at them with disgust as they held each other and turned around to focus on his next bottle of beer. He really wasn’t sure why, but he just didn’t want to see them together much less being in each other’s arms.

“Collin… I’d like you to meet ...”

“Angel,” Collin coldly cut in without even looking towards them.

“Oh ... well, Angel this is Collin. He's the new Watcher that Giles sent over.” She sounded a little hurt. With a sigh, Collin turned around and looked at Angel squarely in the eyes. He was expecting the gasp any minute now -- the one he was sure he would receive because of his face. But it never came. Buffy pointed to an empty booth and headed straight for it. Shaking his head, he motioned for another three beers and pointed towards Buffy’s direction. He plopped himself down on the cushion and gave the waitress a polite smile and thanks as she placed the beers on the table.

“He’s been bitten,” Angel said flatly. Collin’s eyes grew as he turned to Buffy with slight indignation that she told someone else his secret.

Seeing the torment on his face, Angel spoke up “Buffy didn’t have to say anything. I can smell it ... sense it off you. It’s faint but it’s there.”

“Guess I can’t keep anything from you then”, Collin said a little haughtily before taking another swig of beer.

Crossing his arms, Angel leaned back watching Collin intently. “You’re walking a fine line,” he said calmly. “If you’re not careful …”

“Can’t help it mate. I’m bloody obsessed or cursed. You can pick whichever one you sodding want.”

“I don’t think you understand the gravity of the situation here, Collin!”

Locking eyes with Angel, he placed his beer on the table, afraid he’d break it out of exasperation. “Oh I do, vampire! I’ve lived with this for months on end – re-living nightmares filled with blood and anger. I feel guilt and shame for something I haven’t even done, yet I can’t separate the dream from the reality. I doubt myself each time I walk out into the world. So yes, I walk a thin line and I’ll walk it everyday if I have to. There’s something in here”, he said pointing to his temple “and in here,” pointing to his heart “that wants to come out and play but I won’t let it. You should know that better than anyone.”

“The demon can consume you.”

Buffy watched in silence at the verbal tennis between Angel and Collin. It all seemed surreal as Angel tried to advice Collin, but the latter didn’t seem to want to listen. There was fire in his eyes and the tension between them was all too familiar.

She placed a comforting hand on Collin’s right shoulder. “Enough! This is going nowhere and this isn’t why I invited you over. Men!”

Turning to Angel, “We need to know everything you know about what happened to Spike”.

Turning to Collin, “Now listen here Watcher. Stop being so stubborn. We’re only trying to help.”

“I don’t need your sodding help,” Collin exclaimed as he reached into his pocket and threw a twenty on the table. “I’m going,” he looked at Buffy with the look of betrayal in his eyes. “Don’t worry. I’m walking.” He headed towards the door only to be blocked by the vampire as he was about to step outside.

“I’m not trying to preach to you and frankly I don’t even care what you do. I can smell the demon growing inside you. I don’t know how and I don’t understand it either but that woman over there apparently cares about you. I don't particularly approve with any of this.” He moved in closer, his face morphing into vampire guise. Angel paused, his senses picking up something and his brow furrowed. "You look like him and ... you smell like him! Spike?! “, he said looking at the man in front of him and wondering why he could sense his childe in this one. “Your nightmares ... Spike's? "

"Sorry, Peaches. That ain't my name!"

Angel morphed back into his human face but it was still brooding. He placed a hand on Collin’s shoulder. "You were given a second chance, don’t blow it.”

If that was suppose to scare him, Collin was unimpressed. He waited with a smug look on his face, for Angel to move out of the way. The vampire stepped to the side to let him pass. "Let him rest, Collin. Buffy's been through enough as well."

Collin stopped and looked back at him. "I would if I could, Peaches. Would love to get rid of those sodding dreams" "And be be with Buffy", he thought.

Outside, he quickly lit a cigarette and let the nicotine slowly calm him down. Something was bothering him and he really couldn’t figure what. He knew Angel was just trying to be helpful but there was just something about the vampire that irked him. He headed towards the street corner, hoping that maybe the walk home would calm him down but as he reached the lightpost that illuminated it his initial idea didn't seem to appealing. It would give him too much time to think – too much time to think up of things that would just confuse him even more. Grudgingly, he turned around and walked back the way he came. He thought it would be better to stay in his car anyway. Just a few feet after he passed the entrance to the club he heard what sounded like Buffy giggling. He turned around to check and sure enough it was the Slayer and her former vampire lover exchanging pleasantries. He felt anger welling up inside him. Rolling his eyes at the sight before him, he turned around and tried to concentrate on his cigarette and finding his car in the parking lot. Upon finding it, he quickly went through the motions of getting in when he heard her voice again this time in an accusing tone.

“I thought you said you were walking home.”

Without even looking at her, he shrugged and replied “Didn’t feel like, love.”


“Yes?”, he said sounding agitated

“He was just trying to help.”

With a sigh, Collin shook his head. He didn’t want to talk about it anymore. He knew he made a bit of a fool of himself in there and an even bigger fool for feeling angry at seeing her with Angel. He stepped out and made his way to the passenger side, plopping himself in the seat. “Well, if you’re not letting me drive home, you might as well do the driving yourself.”

Buffy looked at him wide-eyed. "Right, you obviously haven't seen Buffy's wonderful driving skills. I think in your current condition, you'd be better off driving than me. Me and driving a little un-mixy. And especially with this nice car."

Collin tilted his head to one side and raised an eyebrow. "Bugger, but I know you drive."

"Yeah, but have you seen my car? This is really nice, Collin. I don't think my salary can cover any damages if we get into an accident."

"Bullocks", he said getting out of the car again and moving back to the driver side. "I'll take you home.

Buffy moved to the other side of the car and settled into the passenger side. She wanted to resolve everything but Collin obviously didn’t want to bring Angel up again. Whether Collin knew it or not, he was starting to share more with Spike than his memories.
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