Author's notes: I'm just giving the characters a little recognition for their hard work. Plus, they're sitting at enchanted tables, so that they are all placed exactly where I want them, when I want them for the sake of conversations, so there. Magic is a wonderful thing. No harm, no foul, no consequences (unless, of course, you happen to be Willow or Amy). There's a bit of Buffy bashing, but nothing to be taken seriously. It's all in the spirit of the (rather dubious) fic.

Pairings/Warning: little bit of implied slash but nothing graphic. It's really just Spike being a slut. (As it should be.) Oh, and Willow's a little slutty, too. In fact, keeping in mind this is a sillyfic, you can expect to see S/W, S/A, S/B, B/R, R/Sam, X/Anya, C/A, A/Lorne, X/W, Aus/Dru, L/Darla, S/Dru, C/Doyle, A/B, Gunn/Fred, G/Jenny, G/Dru, W/O, W/T, W/Faith. Either implied, mentioned in passing or sit back and watch 'em smooch. Maybe some others too. I simply can't be expected to keep up with all their naughty bed hopping, spit swapping shenanigans.

Distribution: my site -- http://www.geocities.com/spurglie/ -- otherwise please ask. I'll say yes, but I like to know where it's going!

Beta: thank you Becky!
Rating: PG-13 for naughty smoochies, inappropriate oral sex at the dinner table and occasional bad language.

Spoilers: Absolutely everything from the very beginning of the Buffyverse (even the movie) right up to season six. Teensy eensy smidges of season seven also. Includes season finales, all the good guys, the high school years, Initiativeness, bad guys past and present, etc. etc. Season one and two of Angel, plus the occasional titbit from season three that I only knew of from evil unexpected spoilers at the time of writing. Make sense? No?
Good, you're all set. On to the fic.

Another author's note: I've been Jossed. Again! Re: my reference to babies? Check it out. I think Joss has a tap into my computer. It's the only explanation (in my head, anyway).


Awards: Best Funny Fiction at the Never Over Awards.

The Grin Award for Best Humour at The Heroes Awards
Best Humour/Spoof Fic, round 7 of the Of Stakes and Spells Awards
Best Group Fic in the first round of the Black Rose Awards.

Xander: Gets my Oscar nod.
~ Beer Bad

Cordelia: And the Oscar goes to...
~ Eternity

Buffy: And, if it is an act, then the Oscar goes to...
~ Sleeper

Cordelia: I'd just like to say thank you. You believed in me when no one else would. Even in my darkest hours you were there for me... and that means more to me that you'll ever know. I guess what I'm really trying to say is - I love you. To all my fans: this is for you!
~ Birthday



The Buffy Oscars
or
How to Shrug Helplessly and Drink Champagne


by
Nomelon



The large theatre was a glitzy hubbub of brightly-lit excitement. Pristine, linen covered tables, cluttered with an assortment of glasses, were arranged in concentric circles around a wide stage. White-gloved waiting staff swam effortlessly through the throng, carrying laden trays with overflowing champagne glasses. The air was alive with the hum of excited conversation, punctuated occasionally by the clinking of glasses and pools of laughter across the crowd. Anyone who was anyone was here, the cream of high society. Business cards were exchanged, names were dropped and invitations were made.

'Lunch! Soon! Yah! Have your people call my people!'

'Working on a new project, yes, very hush hush. Jennifer's in, of course. Brad simply refused to do it without her.'

'Daaarling! Kiss kiss. You're looking faaaabulous!'

Admission to the black tie event was strictly invitation only; the gold leaf envelopes having been sent out only one week previously to the lucky chosen few. This was the event of the year, looked forward to for months, talked about for years, and remembered for a lifetime.

Yes, you've guessed it. This was the annual Buffy Oscars TM.

An excited ripple travelled across the crowd as the news spread that they had arrived. Those elite few that everyone had come to see. The clapping began and grew to tumultuous applause as a relatively small group of people schmoozed their way to the front row of tables, kissing cheeks and shaking hands as they went.

Necks were strained, tiptoes were stood upon, and all eyes were on the group at the main table. Front and centre, stealing the focus from even the elegantly spot-lit main stage were the infamous ones, magnanimous enough to spare time away from protecting their Hellmouth (or those few trying to open it) to be with us this evening.

Cool and effortlessly glamorous under the bright spotlight above them, the illustrious group of Buffy Summers, Angel (formerly Angelus, the Scourge of Europe of the Clan of Aurelius), Cordelia Chase, Xander Harris, Willow Rosenberg, Rupert Giles, Spike a.k.a William the Bloody escorting the lovely Drusilla. Also Faith the Rogue Slayer, Anya Emerson (formerly Anyanka, Vengeance Demon, first class), Riley Finn, Francis Doyle (half Bracken demon - deceased), Wesley Wyndam-Price, the Host (Krevlorneswath of the Deathwok Clan), Charles Gunn, Winifred Burkle and Daniel Osbourne (werewolf - subdued).

Taking their seats at the table next to them were Kendra (Vampire Slayer -- deceased), Ethan Rayne, Detective Kate Lockley (retired), Lindsey McDonald (lawyer -- retired), Lilah Morgan, Holland Manners (deceased), Darla (Sire of Angelus, also of the Clan of Aurelius - twice deceased), the Master, Jenny Calendar (deceased), and Tara Maclay (lesbian wicca - deceased). The zombified Maggie Walsh, escorted this evening by her wayward creation, Adam. Amy Madison, Forrest Gates, Graham Miller, Mayor Richard Wilkins, Principle Snyder, Gwendolyn Post (a.k.a fake watcher lady), Gachnar - the itty bitty six inch tall demon of fear, Dracula, Halfrek the Vengeance Demon a.k.a. Cecily, Acathla, the First Slayer, the First Evil, Jonathan, Andrew and Warren, Devon, Whistler, Clem, Moloch, Acathla, Skip, the Groosalug, the goddess Glorificus, escorted tonight by the flouncily quaffed Dr. Ben. The Anointed One (deceased), Mr. Trick (deceased), Alonna Gunn (deceased), Anne Steele, Merle (deceased), J'heira, Penn (deceased), Vocah, Virginia Bryce, the hastily re-assembled Buffybot, the Oracles (deceased) and last but by no means least, Mr Easily-defeated, but all-important Ambiguous Vampire.

Wee baby Connor was unavailable to attend this evenings events due to contract restrictions, and it's also quite easy to ignore something that doesn't make any sense to you anyway, and will probably just end up getting in the way unless they let him have a magically assisted massive growth spurt and turn immediately into a unruly teenager or young adult of cute proportions and various strange vampiric traits (can you say "Blade"?), because who the hell wants to see a vampire with a baby? *Gasp of breath* And by the way, if Angel's so damn happy about it, why is he still around to enjoy it? That boy has some funky ideas about perfect happiness...

*Ahem*

Once everyone had settled at their tables, and Spike had begun stealing all the champagne glasses within reach, the night's entertainment could proceed.

A hush fell over the crowd as the lights dimmed slightly, and the orchestra began to play. All across the hall, glowing, smiling faces turned towards the source of the music as beams of tastefully multicoloured light danced their way across the stage. The music began softly and built to a crescendo as the curtain was raised on the guest presenters for this evening, Kristy Swanson and Donald Sutherland.

'Good evening ladies, gentlemen, and various assorted demons.'

A ripple of polite laughter made its way across the crowded hall.

'It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this evening's events. Welcome, and an official invitation for all you vamps out there, to the First Annual Buffy Oscars!'

The creatures sitting at the two main tables smiled broadly at the uproarious applause that followed.

'This is nice,' murmured Buffy to a distracted Angel beside her, 'to get some recognition for once. It's kind of like the Prom, except bigger, and much better financed.'

Angel nodded without really listening to her, and watched the stage intently as the presenter's banter amused the audience. He couldn't swear to it, but he was pretty sure that Kristy Swanson kept looking at him in an oddly affectionate way.

'... so the bartender said, "The stakes are too high!"'

Another, slightly smaller ripple of polite laughter ran through the crowd, eager for the obligatory humorous dialogue to be out of the way so that the award-giving could begin. Kristy swatted Donald playfully on the arm showing her amusement at his jokes, then quickly sobered herself to begin the presentation of awards.

'Thank you, Donald. And we'll start the ball rolling with our first category, which is - "The Best Torturing of a Watcher by Villain or Villains for Gain, or Simple Torment of said Watcher".'

'Well that category just rolls right off the tongue, doesn't it?' asked Spike to no one in particular as he surreptitiously stole Giles' champagne.

'And the nominees are -

1 Faith for tying Wesley to a chair and demonstrating the five torture groups.

2 Angelus for tying Giles to a chair and threatening him with a chainsaw after torturing him for hours.

3 Buffy for shooting Giles in the ass with an arrow, and stabbing him with a letter opener.

Managing to look anywhere but at her Watcher, this was one award that Buffy silently prayed that she wouldn't win.

4 Oh! And we have a double entry folks! It's Angelus again, this time for killing Jenny Calendar, leaving her body in Giles' bed and then making it look as though Giles was going to get some good loving down by the fire, when in fact he instead discovered the cold and twisted body of the woman he loved.

Giles tapped Angel on the shoulder and smiled. 'Yes, good show. That one really wrenched out my heart and stomped it on the floor. Spectacular execution. It's no wonder your demon causes so much havoc. You showed me what for!'

Angel smiled warmly back at the beaming Watcher. 'Well, it wasn't really me, you know, but I do my best. By the way,' he leant forward confidentially, 'I've been meaning to tell you - good work on the language coaching. That time you got Spike to say "fag off!" Just too perfect.'

Giles smirked. 'Yes, the silly prat would've said anything I told him was authentic British slang.'

The two of them grinned at each other, as Giles leant forward to ask a question. 'Ah, Angel, I was wondering...'

'Yes?'

'That time you left Jenny's broken and bleeding corpse in my bed...'

Both men looked across the table to where Jenny Calendar sat happily sipping her champagne and watching the proceedings, out of earshot of their conversation and blissfully unaware that she was being talked about.

'How did you get into my house, as I never actually invited you in?' Giles asked.

'Um... I, uh,' Angel stammered. 'I... well you see it's a funny story... oooh, look, they're announcing the winner.'

Giles, suitably distracted, turned back to the stage, leaving Angel to breathe an always unnecessary, oxygenically speaking, sigh of relief. It really wasn't his fault that these slip ups were made. He couldn't be held accountable for every single detail, could he? Although, he couldn't help but wonder - there was that time he managed to enter the home of that elder guy from the gypsy clan, and then that time Kate took the overdose and never invited him in... not to mention the human baby he currently found himself the undead, unlegal guardian of. Strange things were afoot, but then weren't they always? He decided not to dwell too long on the subject, as thinking really hard about the ins and outs of vampire lore would required an entirely new set of facial expressions, and frankly, the effort just wasn't worth it. Turning expectantly towards the stage, Angel managed not to exercise the facial muscles required to show his quiet confidence in this category.

Kristy had some trouble opening the gold envelope, which held the winner's, name inside. 'And the winner is... Faith!'

'What!?' Faith spluttered into her drink. 'I won? I beat Angelus? Bitchin'!'

Setting her margarita (extra lime, hold the salt) to one side, she made her way to the stage, air kissed both of the presenters and accepted her award.

'Oh my god,' she began when the noise had died down, 'this is so wicked cool! I never expected to win. Um, I'd like to thank Wes for being such an excellent victim.' In the audience, Wesley nodded and gave her a modest smile. 'Angel, of course, for not finding us in time to stop me. Uh, the Mayor for making sure I had a proper education, that was where the inspiration for the five torture groups came in,' she grinned down at the proudly beaming, and only slightly scaly Mayor Wilkins, displaying the Golden Stake for him to see. 'And Buffy, I gotta thank you, B, for all your tireless work in trying to kill me instead of save me. Thanks big sis!'

Faith punched the air in triumph as the audience broke into applause once more.

Buffy smiled through gritted teeth at the girl on stage, whispering to Giles and Angel across the table. 'How the hell did she get out of jail for the day? I didn't know that they gave out day passes for award ceremonies.'

Giles and Angel shared a look, and simultaneously shrugged helplessly.

Faith left the stage, gripping her Golden Stake tightly, chewing her gum with every sashay of her hips.

'Now we move onto the Award for Best Quote,' Donald expertly read from the auto-cue in front of him. 'And the nominees are...'

1 Buffybot: "Angel's lame. His hair grows straight up and he's bloody stupid."

'Hey!' Angel cried indignantly, as beside him Spike tried desperately to hide his laughter behind a linen napkin, tears streaming out of his eyes as Angel's hands went automatically to his hair as he grumbled, 'It does not stick straight up! And, y'know, no mirrors. What am I supposed to do? It's just not fair.'

The Buffybot grinned brightly at him from across the table, and decided that now was precisely the right time to Angel perfunctory questions about whether his hair was natural, or had he recently experienced an electrical shock of some type.

2 Spike: "- How can I thank you, you mysterious black clad hunk of a night thing?
- No need, little lady, your tears of gratitude are enough for me. You see, I was once a bad ass vampire... but love, and a pesky curse defanged me, and now I'm just a biiiig fluffy puppy with bad teeth. No, not the hair, never the hair.
- There must be some way I can... show my appreciation.
- No. Helpin' out those in need's my job. And, working up a load of sexual tension and prancing away like a magnificent poof is truly thanks enough.
- I understand, I have a nephew who's gay, so...
- Say no more. Evil is still afoot, and I'm almost out of that nancyboy hair gel I like sooo much. Quickly, to the Angelmobile, away!"

'HEY!' came a louder shout from Angel, enraged enough to actually forget about his precious hair and look around him angrily for Spike who had, incidentally, been rendered invisible as he had by now draped his napkin over his head and was doubled over and banging his fists on the table with laughter.

3 Giles: "What are you going to do? Lick me to death?"

Spike's laughter abruptly ceased, and he peeked out from under the white linen, glowering at the smug Watcher.

4 Angelus: "Passion. It lies in all of us. Sleeping... waiting. And though unwanted... unbidden... it will stir...open its jaws, and howl. It speaks to us... guides us. Passion rules us all. And we obey. What other choice do we have? ... It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we'd know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank... Without passion, we'd be truly dead."

5 Cordy: "Oh - Angel! I know that I'm a Slayer and you a vampire -- and it would be *impossible* for us to be together -- but..."
Wes: "But! My gypsy curse sometimes prevent me from seeing the truth. Oh, Buffy!"
Cordy: "Yes, Angel?"
Wes: "Oh, I love you so much I almost forgot to *brood!*"
Cordy: "And just because I sent you to hell that one time doesn't mean that we can't just be friends. Oh!"
Wes: "Or possibly more."
Cordy: "Gasp! No! We mustn't."
Wes: "Kiss me."
Cordy: "Bite me!"

'Hey!' Buffy interjected. 'They made fun of us? And you let them?'

Angel shrugged helplessly again; quite sure that he would be repeating the gesture over and over again throughout the night if things continued the way they were going. And, he realised dejectedly, they were only on the second category.

'It was a close one, folks,' announced Donald on stage, 'but the award goes to... Spike! For the "How can I thank you?" speech.

Spike made his way to the stage to pick up his award (where he made two comments about still being evil, three about killing everyone he knew just as soon as the chip came out, four about his poof of a sire and once told Drusilla to stop dancing on the table as she might fall off and hurt herself) and all the while the crowd went wild.

'Thank you William the Bloody,' said Donald charmingly as Spike was dragged away from the microphone. 'We now continue with the next category. The highly coveted "Best Dressed" award.'

Cordelia and Buffy immediately sat up alertly as Kristy read out the nominations.

'And the nominations are...'

1 Angel(us) - good call on the black leather, but unfortunately the judges have just informed us that he has been disqualified for never wearing a shirt throughout an entire episode.

2 Drusilla -- a timeless beauty

Drusilla cooed happily and finally allowed Spike to lift her bodily down from the table.

3 Cordelia -- Classy, classy, classy.

4 Faith -- bad girl chic

5 The Host -- oh la la!

The Host waved his seabreeze cordially at the audience.

'And the winner is... Cordelia!'

Graciously, and not to mention glamorously, Cordelia waltzed her way to the stage, her 100 watt movie star smile shining at full brightness.

'All I can say,' she began when the applause had died down, 'is that it's nice to be recognised for something that I can truly excel in. It's good to know that I look better than others around me. I would like to thank Armani, who have dressed me this evening, and of course, Prada, without whom my teenage years would have been much drabber. Thank you!'

Buffy folded her arms and sulked. 'Oh great. Now Hallmarkcard!Cordy decides to take a backseat and we get Bitch!Cordy back. What simply marvellous timing. I have to balance stylish and affordable. Not to mention slayage stains. You try to look good all the time in my line of work.'

Those seated around the grumbling Slayer studiously ignored her.

The nominations continued. Up next was the "Worst Dressed" award. Donald gripped the vampire bat shaped podium.

'And the nominations are...'

1 Buffy -- all that pastel is too much for one person

Buffy's grumbling quickly turned to furious indignation.

2 Xander -- do we really need to justify that with an explanation?

Xander wriggled happily in his seat, not unlike a puppy who had just been presented with their favourite chocolate doggy treat. 'Woo hoo! Score for the Xandman!'

Cordelia, who was busy polishing her brand spanking new Golden Stake (TM), didn't look up. 'Yeah, you must be so proud.'

'What?' asked Xander. 'Hey, I'm not knocking it. An award's still an away, no matter what it's for.'

3 Willow -- ummm, yeah.

4 Tara -- ummm, yeah.

5 Joyce -- yeeucck. Mumsie florals are a no go.

Needless to say, the award was given to Xander. He accepted his award just as graciously as Cordelia, thanking Sears from the bottom of his heart for this evening's ensemble.

'Congratulations Alexander,' smiled Kristy, seamlessly taking over from Donald once again. 'We now move onto what many will see as the more serious portion of the evening, beginning with the coveted "Best Vampire" award.'

An anticipatory murmur ruffled through the crowd as many freshly polished sets of fangs glinted towards the stage.

'That's right,' added Donald. 'We've seen many vampires come and go over the years, but only a select few have won a special place in our hearts. For some, it is their style, their humour, their darkness or their bloodlust that draws us to them. For others, it is their very humanity that singles them out from the other children of the night.

'What?' Spike glared evilly around the table. 'What!? Why the bloody hell are you all looking at me?'

Oblivious to Spike's anger, Kristy began to read the nominations.

'And the nominees are...'

1 Spike

'Bloody right,' came an indignant mutter from the centre table. 'I'm a bloody animal, me.'

2 Angelus

3 The Master

'Ha! Old Bat Face got a look in!'

*Thwap!*

Angel smacked Spike upside the head. 'Have some respect for your elders, boy,' he hissed in Spike's ear so that no one else could hear. 'If I recall, he managed to kill Buffy whereas you've just been mooning after her for two very, very long seasons.'

Spike pouted, expertly, but was annoyed to find that it had absolutely no effect on Angel. So he changed tactics, leaning towards the older vampire, a wide-eyed expression of innocence on his face. 'But Angeeelll, it was you that told me to call him Bat Face in the first place. And why are you defending him killing Buffy? Isn't she supposed to be your girlfriend? Oh, and the mooning thing? Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't you been doing that since '96?'

Without looking, Angel smacked him upside the head again.

*Thwap!*

The nominations continued.

4 Evil Willow

5 Darla

6 Drusilla

Opening the fiddly golden envelope, Kristy smiled broadly as she made her announcement.

'And the winner is... Evil Willow!'

Immediately blushing a deep crimson, Willow squeaked excitedly and practically ran up to the stage. 'Oh boy. I-I thank you. Thank you so much. I, um, I'd like to collect this award on behalf of my evil alter ego,' she smiled nervously, gripping the Golden Stake with sweaty palms. 'Evil Willow was sorry s-she couldn't be here tonight, but she is currently torturing her puppy in an alternate reality. But, ah, she sends her best wishes and her thanks to Cordelia and Anya, she couldn't have done it without you guys.'

Cordelia and Anya suddenly seemed to find their place mats fascinating, not wanting to be reminded of the Wish Universe debacle any more than was necessary.

'Oh, come on!' Spike cried indignantly, not caring a whit for either Cordelia or Anya's discomfort and more about his own lack of Golden Stakes. One measly little stake simply wasn't enough for the Big Bad. He was planning to hock them and use the money to buy a new car. The motorbike just wasn't cutting it for daytime travel.

'It's not my bloody fault that I can't be a bad guy anymore. It's not like I wanted to start fancying the Slayer!' He turned to Buffy in outrage. 'If it wasn't for the chip, none of this would ever have happened, and I'd still be kicking your ass!'

'Yeah, right,' Buffy rolled her eyes, 'if you were still fang worthy, you'd have been dust a long time ago, and you know it.'

'Yeah?' Spike countered. 'Yeah? Well... you still have stupid hair.'

Both Spike and Buffy folded their arms and sulked visibly.

Out of the corner of her mouth, Willow whispered to Xander, 'I thought that Spike could beat up on Buffy, 'cause we brought her back to life, uh... funny?'

Xander nodded. 'Yeah, and they've been "shagging" for weeks now, right? That whole invisibility deal? I told you I saw Spike's ear wiggle. Exercising naked in bed. *Tsk* Just how stupid do these people think I am?'

They stopped whispering as they noticed Angel staring at them furiously.

'Deadboy,' Xander nodded in greeting, a slight twinge of worry in his voice. 'Long time. How's things in the Big Smoke?'

'Shagging?' Angel managed to grind out from between clenched teeth. 'Who has been shagging?'

'Ulp. Vampire hearing, how silly of us to forget,' Xander looked at Willow nervously.

'Who. Has. Been. Shagging?' Angel growled.

'Willow!' Xander blurted out. 'Me and Willow. Just a couple of smut bunnies.' He grabbed her hand and interlaced their fingers. 'Yep. It was always on the cards, really.' Xander smiled lovingly at Willow, and hesitantly she returned the smile. 'That's right. Me and Willow. Shagging. We say that now, uh, bugger it all, 'cause British slang, it's the latest thing, y'know?'

'Oh.' The glare slowly faded from Angel's face. 'That's okay then. Um, congratulations, I guess... on the shagging front. You know it's funny - for a minute there I could have sworn...' He glanced at Buffy and Spike who were arguing over which champagne glass belonged to whom, although it was becoming increasingly difficult to tell with the dozen empty glasses sitting in front of Spike. Angel smiled, and then chuckled at himself for entertaining such ridiculous thoughts as he looked back towards the stage. 'Never mind.'

Xander and Willow waited a moment, and then released their entwined hands.

'Whew,' Xander grinned at her. 'That was so clo--'

'Smut bunnies? You two are a couple of smut bunnies?'

Xander's face froze, and he turned around slowly, his body radiating sheer terror. 'Anya, I...'

'Smut bunnies?' Anya asked again, hands perched indignantly on hips. 'With the smut? And the... ugh, I can't even bring myself to say it again. Xander Harris, you got some 'splaining to do.'

'Oh boy,' Willow whispered, glad for the first time in a long time that she was no longer in a loving, monogamous relationship (despite the only two loving relationships she'd ever had ending so completely disastrously) and so was perfectly justified in being a smut bunny whenever she so desired. With whomever she so desired, she thought happily as she rested a head in her hands and stared along the table at Faith who was busy licking dessert cream from her fingers.

Faith looked up and noticed Willow staring at her. She held her gaze for a long moment, an unreadable expression on her face, before grinning, then picking up her Golden Stake as though saying 'cheers' and 'well done' in the one gesture. Willow picked up her award and nodded it back at Faith.

Meanwhile, awards were still being given.

'And the nominees for "Best Arch-nemesis" are...'

1 The Master

A muffled cough from the centre table, sounding suspiciously like someone saying 'AhemBatfaceahem!' could be heard, followed swiftly by a loud *thwap!*

2 Angelus

'AhemArsefaceahem!'

*Thwapthwapthwap!!*

3 The Mayor -- he's just a big snake.

4 Adam -- Frankenstein's monster on steroids.

5 Wolfram and Hart -- evil lawyers. Wolves in human's clothing.

6 The goddess Glorificus -- nearly the end of the Scooby gang as we know it.

7 The Troika

A sound very like a high-pitched squeal of delectation could be heard all over the hall. For a long, uncomfortable moment all eyes were on Andrew, who sat in between Jonathan and Warren with his hands clapped over his mouth.

Angel nudged Spike in the ribs. 'Who's that?'

'That bloke? Haven't a clue, mate.'

'That's Tucker's brother,' explained Xander helpfully.

'Ahh, Tucker's brother,' said Angel nodded in understanding.

The moment passed and everyone turned their attention back to the stage.

'Who the hell is Tucker?' Angel asked no one in particular.

Meanwhile, back on stage...

8 The First Evil

Donald paused, letting the tension reach near tangible levels, before announcing the winner.

'And the winner is... Glory!'

Rising in an inexplicably annoying fashion from his seat, Dr. Ben flounced up to the podium and waited for the applause to die down.

'Great Scott!' exclaimed Spike in wonder. 'I don't believe it. I just don't believe it!'

Angel heard the horror in Spike's tone and relented to speak to him. 'What is it, Spike?'

'His... hair,' Spike said in morbid fascination, covered his face with both hands. 'It's his hair. It's got more styling products in it than yours. Dear Lord, I just didn't think it was possible!'

*THWAP!!*

'I'd like to thank the academy,' began Ben, 'also the hospital, all the smelly little troll people who wander around after us... me all day. I'd also like to...'

'Um, if I may,' interrupted Donald snootily, 'who the hell are you and where is Glory?'

Ben looked a little abashed. 'Oh, uh, Glory couldn't make it this evening due to, um, a prior engagement, so I...'

'I don't believe that for a second!' spat Donald. 'Let's just see who you really are, mister.'

Bringing a hand from behind an immaculately tuxedoed back, Donald held out his palm and blew a handful of glittering magical dust into Dr. Ben's face, making him sneeze.

From his seat at the bar, Francis Doyle frowned at the sound of repeated sneezing. 'Hey, dat's moy line!'

Kendra looked up from the cocktail she was sipping out of a coconut shell. 'What's ma line?' Receiving no answer, she asked again. 'What's ma line? Are ya talkin' aboot "What's ma line: part one" ar "What's ma line: part two"? Nobody paid any attention, so she shrugged helplessly and went back to sipping her drink.

On the seventh sneeze, just as Spike was guffawing about the flopping waves of hair, Glory magically appeared, looking unamused.

'Yeah, that's right,' she snapped, doubly annoyed to have to make her public appearance wearing a tuxedo several sizes to large for her petit form. 'I'm here. Still in this stupid dimension, going slowly insane trapped inside this body. And, ugh, that boy's hair! But will he cut it? Noooo. So I'm stuck. Not ruling like I should be. Like my destiny foretold. I should have beaten you! I should have had the Key!' She glared at Dawn with a steely eye, pointing the Golden Stake award at her. 'And you know what? I'd of gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't been for you lousy kids.'

There was a second of absolute silence as the goddess' tirade came to an end... and then the theatre erupted in laughter.

'What?' Glory stamped her foot in anger. 'What the hell is so funny? God I hate humans.' And with that, she stormed off the stage towards her waiting, simpering minions.

Buffy, meanwhile, was banging her head on the table.

'What is it, honey?' asked a concerned Riley.

'Scooby.' Bang. 'Doo.' Bang. 'Scooby.' Bang. 'Doo.' Bang. 'I can't.' Bang. 'Get away.' Bang. 'From Scooby.' Bang. 'Doo.' Bang.

'Oh, is that all,' muttered Riley, tearing the label from his bottle of beer. 'I don't know what you're complaining about,' he grumbled. 'Scooby gang been doing okay since I left, has it? And hasn't anybody seen "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back"? I suited the whole blond thing way better than Freddy...'

Meanwhile, back on the stage...

'Thank you, Glorificus,' said Donald with a smug smile. He continued with the award for "Most Easily Defeated Bad Guy".

1 The bug guy of the Order of Tiraka

'I'm sorry, I'll have to stop you there,' giggled Kristy. 'What was his deal anyway? They stomped him into glue? Come on. And how was he supposed to actually kill anyone, anyway? By offering them free make up and then grossing them out to death?'

'Amen to that,' nodded Cordelia, clinking her champagne flute against a heartily agreeing Xander's.

2 The Anointed One

'Annoy-ing One, if you please!' called out Spike.

3 Gachnar - The six-inch tall Halloween demon of fear.

Several inappropriate snorted giggles could be heard from the Scooby gang. Giles slipped off his glasses to wipe a tear from his eye.

'Hee hee! Actual size, indeed. I won't make that mistake again.'

4 Mr Easily-defeated, but all important Ambiguous Vampire i.e. random faceless vampire always in game face so we don't get to see any individuality or redeeming qualities they may have, except for occasionally like that one vamp in "All the Way" but Dawn staked him before we got to find out.

A bright red Dawn shrugged helplessly in the face of the Buffy-wrath and went back to fiddling with the straw of her very non-alcoholic cocktail.

5 Ethan Rayne for turning them all into their Halloween costumes, even though nothing ever happens at Halloween, but it always does.

Kristy opened the envelope, this time with a little more ease as practice, usually, makes perfect. 'And the winner is...

Angel whispered to Buffy, 'hey Buffy, if this is the annual Buffy Oscars, why are they nominating things that happened to us five seasons ago?'

'Seasons?' Buffy asked, confused. 'You mean like winter? Or spring?'

Angel slapped himself on the forehead and shook his head. 'Never mind,' he said, then added under his breath, 'boy, am I ever glad I have my own show now.'

'... Mr Easily-defeated, but all-important Ambiguous Vampire!'

An ordinary, grinning, game-faced vampire made his way to the stage to a standing ovation. Tripping once on the steps leading up the side of the stage he stood at the podium gripping his Golden Stake with delight.

'Oh boy, I never expected to win. I mean I know that the Slayer, uh, I mean Buffy wouldn't be where she was today if it wasn't for me, and I always end up being everyone's minion, and following their orders blindly, sacrificing myself without question for the greater evil, but I do take a modicum of pride in my work. All that stalking through dark alleyways, wandering about aimlessly in cemeteries and sewer tunnels, luring young girls out of the Bronze night after night after endless night takes hard work and patience, y'know. Most people just don't realise how hard it is to get "Die, Slayer!" and "Can we fight now?" to sound different time after time. It's just nice to be recognised as a fear inspiring creature of the night, instead of just a space filler. So, from the bottom of my unbeating hear, I thank you.'

As he made his way back to his seat to further applause, Mr Easily-defeated, but all-important Ambiguous Vampire walked past the centre table. An elegant, tanned leg stuck out in his path, tripping him up, causing the Golden Stake to fly into the air. A plain old wooden stake appeared from nowhere to plunge into the vampire's chest crumbling him instantly into dust. Before the Golden Stake hit the ground, an elegant, tanned hand on the end of a matching elegant, tanned arm intercepted it.

Everyone glared at an elegant, tanned Buffy.

'What?' she asked with elegant, tanned... no wait, with wide hazel eyes. 'What!?' she asked again. 'I kill vampires. That's the whole point! Why does everyone suddenly have such a problem with this? You're all getting too soft in your old age.' Pointedly ignoring the disapproving glares she was getting at her shocking display of inappropriate public slaying, Buffy coolly sipped her drink... only to grimace and spit it back out over the now not-so-pristine tablecloth. 'Ugh!' she cried, wiping furiously at her mouth. 'Who put blood in my cocktail? Huh? Who did it?'

Spike was conspicuously nowhere to be seen.

Meanwhile, back on the stage...

'And the nominees for the "Best Vampire Bite" are...'

1 Angel drinking from Buffy to cure his poisoning

2 Spike's attempt at drinking from Willow

3 Xander and Willow draining Cordelia in front of Giles in the library

Xander frowned in confusion. 'Hey, we never did that. I don't think we ever did that. Still human, last time I checked.' He poked himself on the arm. 'Yep. Still human.'

'Evil us, Xander, evil us,' Willow explained. 'From the other universe?'

Xander still looked confused.

'You know, like in a demonic Bill and Ted sort of a way?'

'Ohhh,' Xander nodded finally, 'I get it now. So in another reality, we really are smut bunnies, huh?'

Willow couldn't help but smile in return. 'I guess so.'

'Huh.' Xander turned his attention back to the stage, mumbling under his breath. 'Gay my ass. I always knew you were bi.'

'Wait a minute,' Cordelia spoke up, just realising what they were talking about. 'You guys killed me? I can't believe you killed me! You suck.'

Xander and Willow looked at her, then at each other and shrugged helplessly.

4 Darla turning Angel - Close your eyes. You should really learn not to listen to women when they tell you to do that, Angel.

5 Drusilla turning Darla while Angel watched helplessly. Ouch! That had to hurt.

'Oh, and it's a close one,' Donald told the eager nominees. 'But the winner is... Spike!'

'Oh bloody priceless,' Spike grumbled as he stormed past the table on the way to collect his award. 'The one award I do win, and what's it for? Being a useless, impotent effin' bastard!'

'Spike!' Giles snapped as Spike past by. 'Do shut up, can't you? This is still a family show. Just barely. You have to watch the swearing. Say "bollocks", "tosser" or the like, so none of the Americans understand you.'

Spike shot Giles a sly wink. 'Gotcha, Rupes,' he said, then added under his breath as neared the stage, 'you wanker'.

'Anngggeelll?' Buffy turned her face expectantly to Angel. 'What's a wanker?'

Angel tried not to meet her gaze and thought about how he could answer her question. Eventually he just shrugged helplessly.

Spike grabbed the Golden Stake from the podium, refusing to give an acceptance speech for the unwanted award, growling in full game face at Kristy when she tried to shake his hand.

'Well I never! Vampires today. Just so damn rude,' she tutted.

'And you'd best not be forgettin' it, blondie,' Spike ground out on his way back off the stage.

Kristy shot daggers at Spike's retreating back and muttered some very rude words about his parentage, luckily standing just out of range of the microphone. Donald shook his head and continued on with the next category.

'Next up, we present the award for the "Best Killing of any Living of Unliving Creature". And the nominees are...'

1 Angelus for breaking Jenny Calendar's neck -- evil, evil, evil.

2 Oz for staking Vamp Willow -- because the irony was just too perfect.

3 The Master for breaking Buffy's neck and also drowning her, alternate realities permitting. Also an honourable mention for burying her alive in Nightmare -- a glimpse of things to come?

4 Spike for the breathtaking slow motion killings of demons in Primeval

'Yeah,' Spike sniffed, toying with yet another pilfered champagne glass. 'Just coz I looked so damn good doing it. Y'know, you develop a real passion for murder and mayhem when you're denied it. I'm going to thank, well, me. AndIguessmypoofofasireforteachingmeallheknows.'

Donald smiled gameshowhostfully, and opened the envelope. 'And the winner is... the Master!'

Angel stared in surprise at Spike as the Master made his way to the stage, a little taken aback. 'Well, um, thanks Spike. I guess.' Angel put a hesitant hand on Spike's shoulder in a fatherly way. 'But, ah, you know you don't have to make a speech if you don't actually win the award, right?'

'What?' Spike looked up from the champagne bubbles he had been lost in when he realised that Angel was talking to him, and immediately slapped his hand away. 'Get the hell off me, you fruit! I was just thinking out loud is all.' With a last glare, Spike looked viciously back to the stage. Angel simply sighed and smiled fondly at the back of a blond head.

The Master stood at the podium, waiting for the applause to die down.

'Way to go man,' called out Xander from the crowd. 'You succeeded where many before you have failed.'

'Well, thank you, thank you,' the Master replied. He looked over the cheering crowd fondly, the sea of smiling faces upturned and waiting for him to speak. 'Thank you,' he said as the noise died down. 'I really wasn't expecting this award. I mean it's been so long since I was around I... well, I must admit I was beginning to think that you'd all forgotten about me.' He had to raise his hands to quieten the crowd when they replied en masse in statements to the contrary. 'But now I can see that I was wrong. I may be gone, but I'm not forgotten, and that means more to me than...' He broke off, his eyes looking suspiciously damp. 'It means more... more to me than I could possibly... I just don't know what to say....' Shining tears brimmed up and the Master began to unashamedly blubber. 'Oh no, I promised myself I wasn't going to do this.'

He took a deep breath and managed to gasp out one more heartfelt 'Thank you' waved his trophy at the crowd and allowed himself to be led off the stage by a supportive Donald Sutherland.

'Thank you, the Master,' Kristy said, keeping the show rolling like the pro she was. 'The next category is... the "Best Permanent Death of a Main Character". And the nominations are...'

1 Kendra the Vampire Slayer

2 Francis Doyle

3 Jenny Calendar

4 Tara Maclay

5 Joyce Summers

'And ladies and gentlemen the award goes to... Doyle!'

Doyle stood in surprise, spilling his Guinness in the process, as the theatre erupted in applause. Barely noticed over the resounding cheers, Joyce also rose to her feet, twisting a linen napkin angrily in her hands.

'WHAT!? But I-I had an entire episode devoted to me! Does "The Body" ring any bells? I just don't understand how I couldn't have won. I went out in style, and everyone was distraught!'

Donald Sutherland, who had just returned on stage after leaving a very overcome Master in the capable hands of a cooing Drusilla, took the microphone to answer her question. Taking a deep breath, he said, 'yes, but you had a brain tumour, no vamping or demonic possession in sight, and we didn't even get to see your Pet Cemetery return when Dawn cast that zombie spell. Plus you got to come back lots of times in future episodes -- in the Restless dreams, when Buffy went catatonic and then when the whole universe turned out to be in Buffy's mind in some mental institution in the "real world" to name but a few. And, I'm afraid, you went out with a whimper, not a bang. Now don't get me wrong, we did all cried buckets, but we also did have to look at Buffy-puke.

'Now when Doyle died, he gave his life to save others, meaning that Angel survived (and let's face it - that's the most important thing) and Cordelia finally got some demon smoochies, plus the visions which have now made her into a demon. So,' he said, taking a deep breath and looking rather sternly at Joyce, 'once again, unless there are any further complaints, the award goes to Doyle.'

Very quietly, Joyce sat down. 'Well, gee sorr-ee, all I did was ask...'

While Doyle made his way to the stage, Buffy pouted and grumbled to nobody in particular, 'yeah, best permanent death of a main character. Nobody said anything about best resurrection of a main character, 'cause you know then--'

'Darla.'

Buffy looked up at the cute guy she was sitting opposite. She had never met him before, but there was something about him... She immediately didn't trust him. 'I'm sorry, what did you say?' she asked politely.

'Best resurrection. That would be Darla.'

'No, you don't seem to understand,' Buffy told him with a patronising smile, intending to clear the matter up for him. 'I came back from the dead twice. I'd been dead for months. Killed by a god to save the dimensions. I got dragged out of heeeaaaaaaaven, by my well-meaning but ultimately interferring friends. Had to crawl out of my own grave. I think that I would be the one who--'

'Hey, kid, trust me. Darla would get the award.'

With that the cute guy turned his attention back to the stage in time to see Doyle receiving his award, plainly refusing to get drawn back into any further conversation with the irate Slayer.

Who the hell does that guy think he is? Buffy thought furiously. Actually, who the hell is he? Sitting at our table like he owns the place? Watching the aforementioned Cute Guy closely, she had time to see a flash of an expensive Rolex as he applauded Doyle stepping up to the microphone, and a strange scar encircling his wrist. On the linen tablecloth in front of him was a discarded pen that had obviously been used to write the word "kill" over and over again on the white linen.

Buffy swallowed nervously.

Meanwhile, up on the stage...

'Um, yeah, cheers,' said Doyle, obviously a little uncomfortable with all the attention, but obviously delighted to have won. 'I'd just like to thank Angel and Cordelia for not holding me back from leaping to certain death; the PTB for hooking me up with this crazy deal in the first place; Schlitz, for their excellent malt liquor, and Cordelia again for letting me bite the big one with a little demon chubby. Oh yeah, and better luck next time, Mrs S.'

'Next time, sure,' grumbled Joyce. 'How many more times can I die?'

'You'd be surprised,' Buffy and Darla muttered simultaneously.

As Doyle left the stage, the next award was being announced.

'The next category is... "Best moment to make you go oooooohhhh"!' said Donald with a chuckle. 'And the nominees are...'

1 When Buffy and Faith swap bodies

'What's that?' asked Spike. 'When the hell did that happen and where was I? Coulda had some fun there.'

'Hah. You have no idea,' muttered Faith. Seeing a passing waiter, she snapped her fingers to get his attention. 'Hey buddy, I need another drink over here. Yeah, I think I'm in the mood for a little warm champagne.'

Buffy just rolled her eyes.

2 The return of Darla at the end of "To Shanshu in LA"

Buffy looked opposite her to see a smug smile on the face of the Cute Guy with the scar on his wrist.

3 Angel losing his soul. Nuff said.

4 Oz saying 'Sunset. Rules change.' To the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde guy - because it was just too damn cool.

'Bitchin',' Oz said, smiling a tiny smile.

5 And finally -- Donald took a deep breath - When Riley goes to Adam at the end of "the Yoko Factor" and you think that he might have some redeeming potential as becoming an interesting evil character who was playing Buffy the whole time, but it turns out later that he just has yet another chip and is still the same crappy old Riley

'HEY!' yelled Riley. 'What the heck kind of nomination is that?'

Buffy patted him reassuringly on the arm. 'Don't worry honey, it's a perfectly good nomination, and I'm sure that you'll win at least one award toniYYIIIIITTEEE!'

While Riley's attention was firmly on the stage, Buffy snuck a look at Angel who was grinning at her, his hand out of sight under the table, suspiciously close to her thigh. Checking to see that Riley wasn't looking, Buffy blushed and made mooshy eyes at Angel.

'The award for evilest character is coming up,' Angel said, leaning in close so that only she could hear. 'Angelus is bound to win. Wanna go to the cloakroom and fool around?' he asked under his non-existent breath.

Buffy carefully considered his question for all of half a second.

'OK!'

The exited pair practically jumped out of their seats and made their way to the cloakrooms to get with the said fooling around.

'And the winner is... Angel! For losing his soul. Nuff said.'

After much rapturous applause and much swivelling of heads to try and find the soulful vamp, it was with great embarrassment that Donald accepted the information that Angel was not there to pick up his award. He had already shrugged helplessly and attempted to move swiftly along when Spike had appeared on stage to accept the award on Angel's behalf.

'Evening all,' Spike said as he grabbed the Golden Stake out of Donald's hand. 'Angel's gone AWOL, so I thought that I could accept this here award for him, what with me being his errant childe an' all.'

'Grandchilde!' came a collective shout from the tables at the foot of the stage.

Spike sighed. 'Yeah, whatever. Like any of you were there. So, anyway, the acceptance speech. Well, I guess Angel would have so many people to thank. Of course, there's Buffy - without whom, being a complete slapper and letting him shag her in the first place, none of this would ever have happened and all our lives would probably have been a lot easier. Giles - a Watcher who let his Slayer date a vampire. Like we didn't all see trouble a-brewing with that little scenario? Jenny Calendar and the pesky gypsy clan she hails from. Where were you all thinking? Umm, the Scooby gang for being such excellent victims, but never actually seeming to experience any long term effects from all the demonic transformations, magic use and multiple beatings they undergo on a nightly basis.

'So, in conclusion, I'd just like to draw your attention to the obvious facts that Angel is, in reality, a huge flaming queer; the ridiculous amount of hair gel that he uses and... oh, I see that Buffy is missing too, so somebody'll just have to fill her in later about how he's currently shagging Cordelia. And sometimes that green bloke Lorne. Thank you!'

Donald and Kristy breathed a collective sigh of relief at the site of the back of a blond head as he left the stage.

'Thank the gods,' muttered Kristy under her breath. However, she smiled widely, ever the consummate professional. 'And, moving swiftly along... the next category is "Most deserving of a Vampire Bite". And the nominees are...'

1 Riley Finn -- *ahem*

Riley had the good grace to blush at the nomination, and the manners to quickly brush off the Skank!Vamp who was currently making the rounds of the tables offering suckjobs for ten dollars a pop.

2 Dawn Summers, just for being a whiny pest and continually putting herself in danger.

3 Principal Snyder. Although he got the biggest bite of all by the Mayor, he may have been better off with a vamp nibble.

4 Xander Harris, 'cause we think he might just like it

5 Willow Rosenberg, 'cause her vamp character is worth it!

Flashing a whiter-than-white LA smile, Kristy announced that -- 'The winner is... Riley Finn!'

'Hey,' grinned Riley. 'Hey! I won! This is so cool. Buffy, you were right! I wo--' He looked at where Buffy had been sitting at his side, but the seat was now occupied by a tiny and very grumpy looking demon who was currently trying unsuccessfully to reach for his thimbleful of champagne on the tabletop. Riley shrugged. 'Huh, she probably went to get her camera to immortalise the moment or something'.

Riley made his way to the stage amidst polite applause. He took the Golden Stake gingerly and held it aloft in triumph. 'Um, firstly I'd like to thank God. I'd also like to thank my mom and dad for all their love and support. Professor Walsh, and all the boys, you know who you all are.'

Riley's acceptance speech continued as meanwhile...

Willow and Spike had given up any pretence of caring who won the award and were busy throwing peanuts at the stage and drinking even more champagne.

'Hey, Spike,' said Willow, her eyes shining bright from an overload of excitement and champagne bubbles. 'I thought that Riley already did get bitten? Like a lot?'

'He did, pet, but by then he was kind of enjoying it, if you know what I mean,' Spike said with a lewd waggle of his eyebrows.

'You mean he...'

'Mm hmm.'

'While he was...'

'You know it.'

'So he actually left town because...'

'Who's the cleverest li'l witch in town?'

'Oh boy.' Her eyes wide, Spike could practically see the wheels turning in her head as she thought this over. 'So, um, that's actually fun, then?'

'More than you could know, sweets.'

'I see,' she considered. 'So if you were, for the sake of argument, to say... bite me, in the nibbly sense of the thing, it would be, uh, a fun thing?'

'Red, believe me when I say - oh yeah.'

'Really?' Willow's eyes lit up as her cheeks turned an interesting shade of pink. 'Ohh. Well. I see. Um, oh dear, I-I seem to have, um, dropped my fork and now it is all lost and alone under the table. Spike, would you mind helping me to look for it?'

Spike's grin widened considerably. 'Don't mind if I do.'

They were just ducking under the table when Willow paused. 'Spike, hold on a minute, you can't bite me.'

'I can't?'

'No. What about the chip?'

Spike smiled beguilingly. 'It's an enchanted table, ducks. We can say and do what we like. No consequences.'

She frowned. 'How do you know that? It wasn't on the invitation.'

'No. I read it in the author's notes at the start of the evening. And also, didn't you notice how everyone kept magically swapping chairs when they were talking to each other? I started off the night at the opposite end of the table to you, sitting beside Drusilla.'

Willow looked along the table seeing how there were now seated far away from Anya and Xander, a large cluster of empty champagne glasses marking Spike's chair, which was now occupied by the Host, who was talking animatedly to Xander, who was in turn looking rather afraid.

'Where did she go?'

'Drusilla? Oh, she was with the Master a little while ago, I don't know where she is now. I think she's been enchanting her way around the theatre, munching a little on each of the tables. It's like an all you can eat buffet in here.'

'What!' Willow tried to scramble to her feet. 'We have to stop her!'

'Wait, wait, it's okay,' Spike said grabbing her arm. 'You can let her play. No consequences, remember?'

'Oh.' Willow relaxed a little in his grasp. 'You mean like "no harm, no foul"?'

'Are you sure you weren't reading the author's notes?' he asked with a smirk.

'Positive,' she replied, sliding off her chair under the table to kneel at his feet. 'So that means the chip shouldn't be an issue for you, either?'

Spike grinned lasciviously. 'I guess we'll just have to find out, won't we?'

'Right,' she said. Then, in a louder voice, 'So, my, um, knife...'

'Fork, luv.'

'Right, I knew that. My fork. We must retrieve it. Come Spike, help me find my fork.'

'You got it, luv, because let's face it, ducking under a crowded table in public for a fork has always been one of my favourite pastimes.'

Grabbing her hand, they dived under the table, where the sounds of giggling were drowned out by applause.

Meanwhile, up on the stage...

'Thank you, Riley Finn. Now we have reached the award for the "Most Evil Character".'

An appreciative 'Ooooooh' rose up from the audience.

'That's right,' said Donald. 'The most inherently evil character to grace our screens in the entire Buffyverse. And the nominees are...'

1 Angelus

2 The Mayor

3 The Master

4 Principle Snyder

5 Adam

6 Glorificus

7 Darla

8 The First

The evil doers in the audience held their breath. Well, those of them who had breath to hold did. The others just crossed their fingers. Well, those of them who had fingers... you get the point. The golden envelope was opened and the winner's name announced.

'The winner is... Angelus!'

A very evil laugh of cold triumph could be heard from the side of the auditorium, where Angelus could be seen striding out of the cloakrooms with a very red faced Slayer in tow. Realising he was still holding Buffy's hand, he dropped it with an exclamation of disgust, leaving her standing to collect his award.

'Oh-oh sure!' Buffy shouted after him, desperately trying to fix her twisted dress. 'You get what you want and then leave. Men. A-and vampires! Vampire men! You're all the same!' No one seemed to pay her any attention and just as soon as her dress was no longer riding up in places that a dress should never ride up into, she stomped her tiny foot with a very Homerlike cry of 'D'oh!'

The tumultuous applause continued until Angelus had collected his award and taken the stage. He stepped up to the microphone and immediately a great hush fell over the crowd. But it didn't squash 'em, coz it wasn't heavy.

'Overacting,' he said authoritatively. 'It lies in all of us. Sleeping... waiting... and though unwanted... unbidden... it will stir... open its jaws, and howl. It speaks to us... guides us... Overacting rules us all. And we obey. What other choice do we have?'

'Speak for yourself, man,' said Oz, sneakily accepting an offered bong from Devon and then taking a hit of it under the table.

'It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without overacting, maybe we'd know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank... Without overacting, and excellent special effects -- I mean really, have you all checked out my fight scenes recently? Top quality stuff -- without those special effects... we'd be truly dead.'

'Oh puurlease!' snorted Cordelia. 'He couldn't even write something original for his acceptance speech. What a crock!'

Shooting daggers at Cordelia, Angelus bowed theatrically on stage before making his way back to the table where an excited Drusilla immediately leapt into his lap.

'Ooof! ... Hello Dru.'

'Daddy's home! Daddy's home!' she cried delightedly, clapping her hands together.

'That's right,' he said dramatically. 'I'm back. Uh... again.'

Taking her seat to their right, Buffy slumped down in her chair, folded her arms and pouted. Under her breath she muttered something about a 'skanky ho' before shrugging helplessly and taking a hit of Oz's offered bong. Her eyes opened wide as she struggled to hold her breath, failed miserably and began to cough and splutter all over the table.

Interrupted from their family reunion, Drusilla and Angelus looked at her in disgust.

'Well really,' said an indignant Dru, placing her hands on dainty hips. 'Such deplorable table manners.'

'Ha!' Buffy countered. 'So says the girl who gets bloodstains on her napkin!'

Settling herself more comfortably in Angelus' lap, Dru looked deeply into Buffy's eyes and the coughing miraculously stopped. 'Be in me,' Dru said in a lulling voice. 'Be in my eyes, Miss Fussy Pants Slayer. Be in me.'

Buffy's eyes had just begun to glaze over when Giles reached across the table and pulled them apart. 'Here now! None of that!' he scolded. 'Play nice for just one evening, can't you?'

Buffy blinked rapidly as she regained her bearings. She squinted at Giles as a huge, shit-eating grin appeared on her face. 'Okie dokie, Gilesy.'

'Good lord,' Giles said, examining his Slayer more closely. 'Are you... are you stoned?!'

Buffy didn't get a chance to answer the question as Dru jumped off Angelus, leapt nimbly over the table and onto Giles' lap.

'Ooof! ... Uh, hello there Drusilla.'

'Ooh, I just loves a gentleman who takes control, I do!' Drusilla beamed happily, her hands disappearing under the outer layer of Giles' very best tweed suit, taken especially out of storage for the evening. 'Would you like to play doctors and nurses? Last time we played teachers from the schoolyard, but doctors is so much better.' She looked the shocked Watcher up and down impishly. 'They get to play with all the inside parts. The parts that you can't see. It'll be such fun.'

Understandably, Giles was more than just a little freaked out. As he wriggled nervously against Drusilla's roving hands, he looked beseechingly across the table at Angelus, pleading silently for help. Angelus simply lent back in his chair, folded his arms and smirked. 'I never did get to finish torturing you, Watcher. Maybe this'll give you a little taste.'

'Oh, bloody hell,' Giles murmured as Dru bent down to his throat, thinking that this was finally it -- his last moment had come, enchanted tables or no enchanted tables he was about to have his throat torn out by a hungry vampire who played with dollies. Dru didn't pause at his throat, however, but slid the entire way down his body to the floor and disappeared under the tablecloth at his feet.

'Oh, ah, I say!' Giles suddenly became very quiet as his face turned an interesting shade of crimson.

Meanwhile, back on the stage...

Kristy smiled in an extremely photogenic manner as she read from the auto-cue. 'And the nominees for the "Best Comedy Moment" are...'

1 Angel and Wesley dancing oh-so very badly at socialite's party

2 Xander, Anya, Willow and Tara discovering Giles singing in the Espresso Pump

3 When Spike tried to tell the Scoobies that Glory was living in Ben's body.

'Wait a minute!' said Xander, banging his glass on the table in surprise. 'What are you saying here? Glory... was Ben?'

Hearing her name mentioned, Glory looked up from where she sat a few seats away, only to groan in disgust and go back to guzzling her thirteenth mamosa, muttering under her breath about lousy, meddling kids.

'Geez, Spike!' Xander continued. 'Why didn't you tell us? We could have saved a bunch of time... not to mention Buffy's life. Uh, again.'

Unusually for Spike, there was no indignant reply. Xander looked up and down the table for the vampire. 'Spike? Spiiiike, where arrrrrreee you? Huh. He's gone *poof*.'

'I am not a poof!' came an enraged shout from somewhere under the table, followed by a loud shushing and a very Willow-like giggle.

4 Giles drunk at absolutely any point in time

5 Xander as the spider-eating man-bitch of Dracula's - 'the dark master -- bator'. Also in Once More with Feeling, singing - 'Right in her tight... embrace, tight embrace...', the girlie slap fight he had with Harmony. And pretty much all of what he says. All the time.

'Hmmm, Angel's bound to win this one. Bound to,' Cordelia stated firmly, her eyes glued to the stage.

'Don't be so sure,' countered Xander. 'I'm the funny one. I've always been the funny one! I didn't get the Class Clown award like I so richly deserved. This one is in the bag, baby.'

'Ha!' Cordy retorted loudly. 'You haven't seen Angel dance!'

Angelus growled at the mention of his alter ego's name. 'My name is Angelus.'

Cordelia sighed wearily. 'Yeah, so? That's like an Irish prayer, right? You're named after a prayer? *Pfft* If I was you I'd stick with Angel. Harbinger of doom and the might of our Lord God and all that jazz.'

Angelus looked at her narrowly. 'Watch it, little girl.'

'Or you'll what?' Cordelia asked with a raised eyebrow and sounding more than just a little bored. 'You can't kill me because my contract isn't up for another two seasons, and don't even think about turning me mister -- I'd make your unlife a living hell. And we all know that you know what that's like. Plus,' she added as an afterthought, 'you've been teaching me to fight, remember? And now with my spankin' new demon strength, I think I'd kick your ass if I really put my mind to it. So you'd better watch it -- little man.'

The two of them glared viciously -- and with absolutely zero sexual tension, honest -- at each other as the announcement was made.

'And the winner is... Xander! For, um, pretty much all of what he says... all the time!'

Xander let out a whoop of triumph and leapt out of his seat, leaving the bickering Cordy and Angelus behind him. Angelus, seeing that he was up against a will of iron not easily bent by mortal (or immortal) man, grudgingly realised that Cordelia was absolutely right and not a girl to be messed with. He mumbled ancient curses as Xander made his way to the stage to collect his award, high-fiving numerous delighted members of the crowd on the way.

'Wow... this is just... wow. I'd like to thank all my friends -- Buffy, Willow, Giles, Anya, you all know who you are. I'd also like to thank Spike for being such a great target for some of my very best lines. Deadboy, obviously,' he nodded companionably at Angelus. 'Gone, but not forgotten, and still providing me with much humour filled ammunition to this very day. Dracula -- for making a complete fool of me and yet still making me funny. And on a more serious note... I'd like to dedicate this award to my late friend Jesse. There but for the grace of god, and other contractual obligations (such as Six Feet Under and 24), go I.'

He held the Golden Stake above his head.

'Thank you.'

The crowd applauded wildly as Xander made his way off stage and back to his seat.

'Thank you Xander,' said Donald. 'And the next award is -- "Best Plot Development". The nominees are...'

1 Professor Walsh - for Spike's initiative chip, because without it we wouldn't have had Spike staying with us and being in many more scenes. And you know... nude scenes, bonus.

Donald blushed furiously, realising what he had just said. The silence in the theatre was absolute. Looking around at all the upturned faces, he took a long breath and mumbled, 'Damn this auto-cue. Clearly it's discovered Smirnoff Ice.' Kristy stood behind him, her mouth hanging open in surprise. '*Ahem*. Honestly, I'm just reading what's on the auto-cue, folks.'

The audience seemed to buy this explanation, and a thousand heads turned to smile at Spike, who had just appeared back in his seat beside a broadly grinning Willow who was sporting some rather large hickies on her neck.

'Hey, what's this?' Spike asked, wondering at all the attention. Giles leant over and whispered hurriedly into Spike's ear. The proverbial penny dropped and Spike too, most uncharacteristically, blushed. 'Yeah, thanks for that Maggie.'

Everyone turns their attention back to the stage eager to hear the remaining nominations.

Then - 'Hold on a mo, did I just THANK the bitch for putting this in my head?' cried a certain irate blond vampire.

'Shhh, Mr. White Hair, shhh. Quiet for the talking man.'

Spike's head snapped around to see who was daring to tell him to be quiet when he was in mid-rant. 'What the hell is...? Oh for the love of god. It's you.'

'Yes it's me. I'm eating soup,' the voice said proudly.

'That's right, mother,' came another, much deeper voice to her side. 'Open wide for another spoonful. Here comes the aeroplane... neeeeeeeaaawwww.'

Spike's fury took a backseat to the amused confusion that the little scene in front of him provoked. Maggie Walsh, with mottled greenish-blue tinge to her skin and many tubes sticking out of odd places on her body, was wearing an oversize bib over her straitjacket that read "I was a test tube baby!", and being fed soup by her very own wayward creation, Adam. Spike leant his chin casually on one hand to watch Adam trying not to spill anymore pea-green soup on her straitjacket.

'Come on, mother, two more spoonfuls and we can stop. They told me at the home that you have to eat. It helps to wash down your medication.'

'Um, Adam, me old chestnut... what are you doing?' asked Spike.

Adam sighed heavily as yet another spoonful of vivid green pea soup dribbling its merry way down Maggie Walsh's chin to the accompanying sounds of her slurping and giggling. 'It appears that zombie/human/machine hybrids never truly die,' Adam explained with another longsuffering sigh. 'I am living proof of that and my punishment for my acts of evil are being punished by serving twenty thousand mandatory hours in a community outreach program where I must assist in the care and rehabilitation of the zombies that I created back into society.'

'Ah,' said Spike, nodding thoughtfully. 'So you've been a bad boy and now you get to look after mumsy dearest.'

'That is correct. It is an interesting study in social behaviour, but the daily logistics are...'

'Shitty?' Spike offered.

Adam thought about this for a moment. 'Shitty,' he said, cocking his head to one side as his internal processing units whirred and computed at the speed of light. 'Adjective. To evacuate the bowels. Ordure and as a term of abuse used commonly in modern language. Yes, I believe "shitty" is the correct terminology to use in this case.'

'Well, keep up the good work,' Spike said to the large zombie/human/machine hybrid sitting opposite him. 'Oh, and eh, mate? She's drooling soup again.'

Spike leant back in his chair, propped his feet on the table and felt ever so slightly better about his lot in unlife, offering up a silent prayer of thanks to the Karma gods.

Meanwhile, Donald continued to announce the nominations for the "Best Plot Development" award.

2 Angel - Angel losing his soul -- setting the high standards of the Buffyverse as we know it, and paving the way for Angel the Series, which is -- and if I may be so bold as to paraphrase the words of the late great Wayne Campbell -- in many ways superior, but will never be as recognised as the original.

3 Anya - The Wish universe and resulting mayhem.

4 Dawn -- the Key moulded in human form, and while the whole thing seemed incredibly odd and more than just a bit of a stretch at the time, did manage to move the plot along nicely.

5 Buffy -- for dying and so giving us a second slayer.

Again the silence across the hall was absolute, marred only by a loud champagne burp from, you've guessed it, a certain blond vampire.

The golden envelope was opened.

'And the winner is... Angel! For losing his soul and setting the high standards of the Buffyverse as we know it!'

Smiling triumphantly, Angelus strode towards the stage, leaving a trail of fear and lovestruck vampire groupies in his wake. 'I have no one to thank,' he said in a voice of cold steel, after snatching his Golden Stake from Donald. 'I have been beaten down and kept in a cage for over a lifetime. I should have been free to rage and pillage and feed and kill as I saw fit, but instead a hokey gypsy curse took it from me. And why?' he asked bitterly. 'I'll tell you why. As a goddamn plot device. A plot device leaving me as a weak, blubbering fool, too caught up in his own pain and misery and scum-sucking starcrossed lovers syndrome to take pleasures of blood and flesh when they were offered. That is,' he said, his gaze sweeping the hall, laden with meaning, 'at least most of the time.'

Several of the drooling, lovestruck vampire groupies in the audience shuddered in delectation and fainted dead away at the commanding presence that was the vampire Angelus.

'But no more!' his voice rang out. 'Now I am free. And I intend to stay that way.'

'Oh god,' gasped Willow as she realised what had happened. 'He's evil. They've been fooling around again.' She peered at Buffy who was also sporting some rather large hickies on her throat. 'Oh boy,' Willow gulped.

Quickly emptying her magically large witchy pockets, she lit some incense, scattered some runes on the tablecloth and scampered to the edge of the stage where she deftly swiped the pretty glowing paperweight that was being used to hold down a stack of golden envelopes. Returning quickly to her seat, she centred herself and in a hurried voice she began to speak. 'Not dead nor not of the living, spirits of the interegnum I call...'

Meanwhile, back on the stage...

'So now I am free,' Angelus continued. 'I intend to continue where I left off. You had better run and hide. Every. Last. One of you.'

The audience gasped as one person.

'You really think I'm going to let that happen?' called Buffy from the floor, her eyes still a little bloodshot, cheeks still a little sore from giggling too hard with Oz. 'I killed you once, buddy, and I can do it again. Make no mistake that I-- OOF!'

Angelus let out a little chuckle and nodded his thanks to the large stone demon who had chosen that particular moment to sit heavily on the petit Slayer, effectively cutting off her rant.

'Thanks, Acathla,' he said.

Acathla adjusted his seat on the wriggling Slayer and nodded obligingly to the vampire on stage.

'So, where was I?' asked Angelus with a dashing smile. 'Oh yes... threatening you all with a violent and bloody death.'

Trying valiantly to regain some semblance of control over the proceedings, Donald stepped forward to the microphone and asked, 'So, Angelus, now that you've won the award, what exactly are your plans for the future?'

'My plans?' Angelus stroked his chin. 'Well, let me think...'

His eyes looked around the hall until he met Spike's eye.

'What about it, Spike?' Angelus grinned. 'Same thing I do every night?'

Spike tried to snort in disgust, but unfortunately was drinking yet another glass of champagne and only managed to choke on the bubbles. 'What?' he asked when his choking had finally died down. 'Try to take over the world? Yeah right, mate, after the last time? You're on your own.' Ignoring Angelus' look of pure fury, Spike clinked glasses with Acathla who was also nodding his agreement.

'I don't need you, boy!' Angelus yelled in fury. 'By the time I'm finished with you, those months you spent in a wheelchair will be a happy memory, mark my words. You should know better than to mock me when I--'

Suddenly, Angelus seemed to crumple right before their eyes, grabbing onto the vampire bat podium for balance. His eyes glowed golden, and with a stab of pure fury he realised that he only had time for one final violent glare at Willow, who was wiping her sweaty fringe out of her eyes after having just finished re-recasting the gypsy curse. Again.

After a long moment, Angel seemed to regain his equilibrium. He straightened, and smiled, obviously relieved. 'And finally,' he said, his voice only a little shaky, 'I'd like to dedicate this award to Willow, for giving me back the greatest gift. My soul.' He took a step away, then seemed to remember something. Bending back down to speak, he added, 'Um, again.'

Willow blushed bashfully.

On the way back to his seat, Jenny Calendar held up a hand for a well-meaning high-five, which Angel gratefully returned. He took his seat at the table and polished off his drink in one long swallow, wishing that it was a large scotch instead of the weaker champagne he was drinking. A moment later, an even more rumpled looking Buffy sat back down beside him and immediately began picking an argument as to why he hadn't dedicated the award to her seeing as she was the one who made him lose his soul in the first place.

Angel sighed heavily and winked across the table at Cordelia, who looked back with a sly, womanly smile. Ignoring Buffy's complaints, he struck up a conversation about going to the ballet, and in no time at all he and Cordelia were playing footsie under the table.

Meanwhile, back on the stage...

'And, um, okay, back to the nominations,' said a visibly shaken Kristy. 'And now the nominations for "Best Episode". There's a lot of nominations for this one because... well, basically because Spurglie couldn't decide. Yeah. And the nominations are...'

1 "Surprise and Consequences"

2 "Becoming 1&2"

3 "The Wish" and "Dopplegangland"

4 "This Year's Girl", "Who Are you?" and "Five by Five"

5 "The Harsh Light of Day" and "In the Dark"

6 "I Will Remember You"

7 "Hush"

8 "The Yoko Factor" and "Primeval"

9 "Fool for Love" and "Darla"

10 "The Body"

11 "The Gift"

12 "Birthday"

13 "Normal Again"

14 "Once More with Feeling"

15 "Rain of Fire"

16 "Awakening"

After a long look of confusion around the table, Giles was the first to speak. 'Does anybody have the foggiest idea what they're talking about?'

'Well, I know my own name,' said Darla, looking Giles up and down in a way that made the Watcher want to squirm. Or perhaps that was because Drusilla was still somewhere underneath the table being ever-so-slightly mischievous.

'I know what the Yoko factor is,' Spike offered, only to have four irate Scooby members glare at him. 'Yeah, well, I'm evil remember?' he said, and stuck his tongue out at them, but remembered to squeeze Willow's thigh under the table. 'But the rest of it, haven't a clue, mate.'

'Oooh,' Dawn piped up, waving her hand excitedly. 'That musical demon guy sang something about "Once More with Feeling". Remember, guys?'

'What?' asked Lorne, suddenly drawn into the conversation. 'No, I didn't.'

'And who the hell are you?' asked Dawn, with her patented teenaged 'tude.

Lorne simply raised one green eyebrow. 'I'm Whitney, pre-Bobby, while you're quite obviously Britney, post-Justin. Let's just leave it at that, shall we?'

'Look at that... so pretty,' said Maggie Walsh from across the table. Soup was dribbling down her chin as a weary Adam bravely tried to feed her. 'It's pure green energy.'

Dawn and Lorne looked suspiciously at her and then back to each other.

'Is she talking about me or you, sugar?' asked Lorne.

'It's a long story,' sighed Dawn. 'Wanna buy me a cocktail and we can talk about it?'

'Aren't you underage?'

Dawn giggled at the ridiculous notion. 'Who -- me? Are you kidding? I'm mystical energy older than time itself.' She shrugged helplessly. 'I just can't fit all that on the little box on my I.D.'

'Works for me, babycakes,' grinned Lorne. 'I never did like the drinkin' laws in this dimension. Let's hit the bar.'

'Oh sure,' mumbled Anya, as the Key and the only naturalised member of the Deathwok Clan jumped from their seats and scampered hand-in-hand towards the bar. 'They believe her when she says she's real old and just wearing a teenager's body. Fine. That's just fine.'

Meanwhile, back on the stage...

Kristy opened the envelope and smiled. 'This was a particularly difficult category to decide, but the judges have decided that the award for best episode goes to... "Becoming 1&2"!'

She waited for the applause to die down and cast a disapproving eye over the two tables of fictitious characters who didn't have a clue what this award was for and were getting steadily more drunken and rowdy as the evening wore on.

'This award was going to be presented to a Mr. Joss Whedon,' explained Kristy, 'but unfortunately he can't be here this evening as he is, in fact, a real person and as such has no place in a work of fanfiction.'

The audience nodded at the reasonable explanation.

'And so now we move swiftly on to the final, and possibly most illustrious awards of the evening. The best male and females characters in the Buffyverse. First off, we have the award for "Best Male Character".'

The audience seemed to immediately sit up straighter in their seats. This was it. The final two. These were the awards they'd been waiting for.

'And the nominees for "Best Male Character" are...'

1 Spike

2 Angel

3 Xander Harris

4 Francis Doyle

5 Lindsey MacDonald

6 Rupert Giles

7 Daniel Osbourne

8 Wesley Wyndam-Price

9 Charles Gunn

10 Oh, and Riley. We suppose. If you have to.

Riley sat alone at the end of the table, head in his hands. 'What happened? What did I do that was so bad? I just don't get it. I was nice to everyone. I did my job. Why do I always get the rough end of the stick? It's just not fair.'

A shadow fell across him, making him look up from his self-pity. A waitress was smiling down at him, carrying a silver tray and looking at him expectantly. 'Hi there, Mr. Finn, is it? Can I get you another drink?'

Riley felt himself drowning in the deep pools of her eyes. 'What? I don't... I mean... did you... a drink?

'Yes,' the waitress' smile widened. 'Would you like another?'

'You look so familiar,' Riley said, taking the surprised waitress' hand and gently pulling her into the seat next to him. 'What's your name?'

The waitress looked around nervously, not wanting to be caught fraternising with the patrons on her first night on the job. That, and the fact that she was actually a government agent, working undercover as part of the discrete security assigned to the Buffy Oscars (TM). A meeting of so many vampires and demons under one roof had the potential to get very ugly, no matter how enchanted the tables happened to be.

But as she let herself be pulled into the seat, their eyes met and she found that she simply couldn't look away.

'I'm Riley,' he tried again, looking painfully earnest as always.

'Hi,' said the waitress hesitantly, as the beginnings of a radiant smile lit up her face. 'I'm... I'm Sam.

'It's very nice to meet you, Sam.

'Likewise,' she breathed.

Across the table, completely ignoring the two soldier-types in the process of falling in love only feet away, Winifred Burkle sat holding hands with a typically grumpy Charles Gunn.

'Oh, sure. Now I get a mention. Right at the very end. It's because I'm black, right?'

'Shut up, honey,' said Fred, in a very loving sort of a way.

Gunn shut up.

Meanwhile, back on the stage...

Kristy opened the envelope and smiled, waiting a long moment to let the tension build before making her announcement.

'And the winner is... by a landslide... Spike!'

Spike rose slowly to his feet, his face a picture of confident satisfaction as he made his way to the stage to collect his award. The way things were going it looked as though he might be able to get a new car out of the evening after all. Three Golden Stakes of his own, plus those he could steal off of the other unsuspecting award winners would make him a pretty penny when he pawned them all later.

Standing centre stage, he accepted his award, and looked out over the audience, an unreadable expression on his face. The applause went on and on, building to a crescendo when Spike raised his arms over his head and postured for the crowd (a la the dream sequence in "Restless") resulting in several more of the squealing lady members of the audience to faint dead away in a frenzy of passionate adoration.

Eventually the noise died down enough for Spike to be heard. 'Well, here I am again. I'd just like to say that this came as a complete surprise to me and I honestly thought that there were many others who deserved this accolade much more than I.'

Several eyebrows crawled their way up several foreheads in disbelief at this statement.

And with good reason.

'That's what I'd like to say, but I'm evil and I don't mean a word of it,' Spike continued smoothly. 'I knew I had it in the bag and, well gosh darn it, I earned it. Looks like the best vampire won. In the words of Sid: I did it my way. Good show me. That's all she wrote. Cheers all.'

Waving the Golden Stake in the air one last time, Spike turned on his heel and seemingly ignored the standing ovation he was being given as he strolled off the stage, wearing nothing but leather, denim, peroxide, jet black nail polish and an arrogant, yet very sexy grin.

Spike dropped back into his seat with a very self-satisfied flourish. 'I knew I had to be recognised for something proper.' He smirked at Angel. 'Too bad, Peaches, guess we know who all the girls are voting for.'

Angel gave him a tight-lipped, yet very evil smile in return. 'Yeah, and who all the guys are voting for as well. What exactly are you trying to say with the hair and the nail polish and the skin-tight black T-shirts, hmm? And what about you and Xander practically drooling over each other all the time? Face it, Spike. You're the Jack to our Will and Grace.'

Spike's face actually flushed red with anger as he banged his fists on the table, causing empty glasses to fly in all directions. 'YOU RAGING POOF! Firstly, what the bloody hell are you doing watching that show? And secondly, I bloody well am not. I can't help it if I'm irresistible, and I wear the tight shirts 'cause I'm a gorgeous, hot bodied VAMPIRE and I happen to like BLACK.'

Feinting disinterest, Angel rolled his eyes and settled back more comfortably into his seat for some heavy duty Spike-baiting. 'So you're telling me that there's never been any sexual tension between you and Xander? Don't forget I've known you for almost your entire existence, Spike. Probably only Dru knows you better, and she happens to agree with me.'

'I am not a poof! And Dru knows that!' Spike argued, his fury growing by the second.

'Whatever,' said Angel, dismissing him with a wave of his hand, knowing that this was precisely the way to irritate Spike the most. Call him names and then pretend not to care. It worked like a charm every single time.

Unfortunately for Angel, it seemed to work a little too well, which he discovered when Spike bellowed with rage, tossed his precious Golden Stake over his shoulder and leapt ten feet through the air to land with a heavy thud on Angel, knocking him from his chair so that the two vampires hit the ground and rolled in a tangle of struggling limbs and growling expletives.

'Stupid bastard!'

'Spike! Get the hell off me, you moron!'

'Not bloody likely, mate!'

Above them, Drusilla watched with mild interest for a moment, stepping daintily to one side when they rolled a little too close to her on the floor, but soon got bored and wandered away to see if Darla wanted to play judges and lawmen with Lindsey.

'Stupid pillock!'

'Idiot childe!'

'Wanker!'

'Bleached menace!'

'Dirty old poof!'

'Well I guess it takes one to know one!'

'You what?' Spike asked, temporarily gaining the upper hand as he pinned Angel beneath him, glaring down into brown eyes flecked with gold. 'So you're admitting it then?'

'I admit nothing, Spike. I don't need to,' Angel spoke in a low growl, infuriating Spike all the more. 'You said it yourself. You were there during all those blood-soaked glory years. You know what went on. You've had a change of heart in the last century... fine. But hello! Photographic memory here, and some things are harder to forget than others.'

'Harder, huh?' asked Spike.

Angel narrowed his eyes, silently readying himself to flip Spike over his head just as soon as he figured out the right trajectory to make the younger vampire crash headfirst into the dessert cart.

However, at that very instant, Spurglie came to the decision that while the obvious resulting foodfight would be amusing, there was still one more award to be given out, so it was with an overwhelming sense of relief on behalf of the caterers and cleaning staff for the night's festivities, that at this point Spike leant in close to Angel and licked his ear.

'SPIKE!' yelped Angel, his eyes widening in shock. 'What the hell are you doing? This isn't fanfiction!'

Then it was Spike's turn to roll his eyes. 'Oh purr-lease. Like you're complaining. You said it yourself. Blood-soaked glory years, yadda yadda, I know what really went on, yadda yadda, evil vampires, bippidy boppedy boo. Besides,' he sucked in his cheeks to smile down disarmingly at his sire, 'you never used to mind.'

Angel growled in a very manly demonly way, trying to hastily backtrack, seeing that his plan to annoy Spike had backfired. 'Spike, we have NEVER had sex!'

Spike leered through his disbelief. 'Oh come on, Peaches, you know very well this is fanfic, and of course we used to shag! You, me, Dru and Darla. One big happy incestuous family. Talk about your Freudian father issues! Who sired who and what really went on through all those Blood Soaked Glory Years (TM)? We are vampires *patented grrr* after all. Incest is best and all that? You've even hinted at it yourself. All those double entendres we let out all the time. We're hundreds of years old and evil. It's only natural that we'd have experimented at some point. It's the vamp thing to do.'

Spike's grin widened as Angel tried to form words and failed miserably. 'And don't think I don't watch all the reruns. You and that Lindsey bloke had a crazy kind of love, any fool could see that, too! And don't even get me started on Wesley. Pink motorcycle helmets? Come on. It's so obvious that Joss has been reading fanfiction, no matter how much he denies it. That or he's in touch with his inner closet queer.'

'I-I-I had to wear that helmet! Safety first,' said Angel lamely, jutting out his chin in outrage.

Meanwhile, no one was paying the two bickering vampires any attention at all, except for Buffy, frozen to the spot in horrified fascination.

'Angel... and Wesley?' she spluttered. 'Spike and... Xander!? And-and... you guys used to... shag?!' She started flapping her hands in dismay. 'Ew! Ew! This is one gross love triangle. Mental pictures, mental pictures!'

Ignoring the Slayer's alarm, Spike's hands, which had miraculously found their way down to Angel's butt (some kind of mystical matter transporting side effect from the enchanted tables, most likely) squeezed a little harder.

'What was that for?' asked Angel, using the remaining tatters of his willpower not to squirm against Spike, but unable to stop the involuntary groan in his childe's ear.

Spike leered down at him. 'I just got a mental picture of my own.'

Buffy chose that particular moment to turn her back on the two vampires physically reacquainting themselves on the floor at her feet. Her brain was threatening systems overload and she didn't think she could take any more visual stimulation from the two of them just then.

In front of her stood Darla and Drusilla, having just returned to the table arm in arm, delicately wiping bloodstains from their chins.

'They used to shag?' Buffy asked weakly.

Darla and Drusilla shrugged helplessly, and grinned at the floundering Slayer. Bottom lip quavering noticeably, Buffy's eyes brimmed with tears, in danger of spilling down her cheeks at any moment. Just then, the fanfare began to play, announcing the arrival of the very last award of the evening.

This was it.

The award for "Best Female Character".

Spinning around to face the stage with joyous anticipation, Buffy instantly forgot her tears as she whipped a dainty little compact from one of those magically invisible hiding places in her skin-tight dress usually reserved for stake concealment, and began primping and powdering her face. Behind her, a large gathering of other female characters simultaneously downed a shot of tequila and licked salt from the backs of their collective hands in bitter abandon.

'Of course she'll win,' snarked Kate Lockley, her eyes crossing as the result of a few too many icy beverages that evening. 'It's her frickin' show.' With a slightly wavering hand, she raised yet another glass.

'Amen to that sister,' agreed Lilah Morgan, raising her glass with a tad more elegance to clink against Kate's. 'If the tab for this gig wasn't being picked up by Wolfram and Hart, I don't think I'd have even bothered coming tonight.'

She was interrupted by a loud, rumbling growl on the floor behind her, followed by something very solid connecting with the legs of her chair. Turning to see what the commotion was, she was just in time to see the happily snarling faces of Spike and Angel as they rolled away from her to disappear behind another table.

'Although,' she contemplated, 'I guess you could say the evening has had its highlights.'

A little distance away, Drusilla had just found her way back to her original seat, and sat, gently patting her full tummy and absently picking her teeth with the pointy end of a discarded cocktail umbrella.

'It doesn't matter, dearie,' she said to no one in particular. 'The stars told me who would win. They sang it from the heavens, and I also read the script before I came tonight. I know what's going to happen.'

Throwing the tiny umbrella away, where it was caught deftly by a delighted Gachnar (the itty bitty six inch tall demon of fear), Drusilla sighed, looking down just in time to see Spike and Angel complete their roll-a-round the table to come to rest at her feet.

'My Spike, will you dance with me? I need to feel the melody.'

'Not... not just now, luv,' panted Spike with a grin as he valiantly tried to wrestle Angel beneath him again. 'Why don't you ask little Xander to dance?'

'My kitten?' Drusilla looked up slowly in thought, across the table and right into the eyes of a very perturbed Xander. 'Now that is an idea with merit.'

Bouncing suddenly to his feet, Xander developed a sudden urgent need to go and find Anya.

And hide behind her.

Anya was easy to find. She was sitting apart from the others, straining towards the stage with her fingers crossed on both hands.

'Anya, what are you doing?'

'Go away, Xander. You'll jinx me. I'm trying to win.'

Xander smiled at her earnest expression. 'Anya, let it go. The Slayer has to win. It's just not on the cards, sweetie.'

Anya's face crumpled into a perfect blend of frown and pout. 'But I really wanted to win,' she said solemnly, 'y'know, before my good looks start to fade.'

'You'll always look good, Anya.'

Anya looked up at him coyly from beneath her eyelashes. 'Do you really mean that?'

'Of course I do,' said Xander, sitting down beside her and taking hold both her hands. Anya let him, but didn't uncross her fingers. 'Anya...'

'Yes, Xander?' she asked, her voice tinged with girlish anticipation.

'Spike and I don't drool over each other, do we?'

Anya's girlish anticipation quickly morphed into weary resignation. 'Oh for the love of... only like all the time. Now shut up, Xander. I want to hear if I win.'

Meanwhile, back on the stage...

'And finally, we come to the final award of the evening.' Donald beamed over the audience, waiting until the anticipation became a tangible force, fuelled by the excess magic flying around the room, until it gave everyone tingles.

'And the nominees for "Best Female Character" are...'

1 Cordelia Chase

'Please let me win, please let me win, please let me win,' whispered Cordelia, hoping that the PTB were listening. 'Give me this one opportunity to use my acceptance speech.'

2 Willow Rosenberg

Willow gnawed nervously on her lower lip, bouncing lightly in her seat, holding her sweaty palms in her lap.

3 Buffy Summers

Grinning brightly, Buffy held her breath expectantly.

4 Anya Emerson

'Xander, I said go away. I love you, but you're really going to jinx me. Do you think it's too late to sleep with the judges?'

5 Kendra

'I wish I'd worn me other shirt.'

6 Dawn Summers

Dawn, by this stage, had passed out on the bar in a pool of her illegally purchased alcoholic beverages. And the moral of the story, kids, is don't listen to the green fairy and never drink underage when you're a character in a television program. It just never ends well.

7 Faith

8 Drusilla

'I know who's going to win, I know who's going to win,' sang Dru as she danced to the music only she could hear.

9 Tara Maclay

10 Winifred Burkle

'Why am I only mentioned right at the end?' asked Fred. 'Is it a Texan thing? Or a Pylean refugee thing? Or maybe because I'm so smart? I mean I calculated the precise probability factor of me winning an award, and the odds were much more favourable than...'

'Shut up, honey,' said Gunn, in a very loving sort of a way. 'Here, I brought you pancakes.'

'Oooh, goodie!' Fred grinned, already lifting a forkful of sugary goodness to her lips. 'My favourite. All that fat and starch and sugar and yet I remain so painfully thin and stick-figure-like.'

'There you go, sweetie,' Gunn smiled indulgently, patting her on her razor sharp little knee.

Meanwhile, back on stage, Donald opened the final golden envelope.

The silence (apart from the sound of pancakes being guzzled, the slight snores from Dawn on the bar, and two over-stimulated vampires breaking down into breathless giggles somewhere on the floor) was absolute.

'Oh my...' Donald said as he read the all-important words, 'and it's a landslide for the Slayer.'

Anya's hopeful grin faded as she turned to Xander in disappointment.

'I told you, honey,' Xander shrugged. 'The Slayer had to win.'

'Ohh... just... shut up!' Anya said crossly, stamping her foot. 'Just go-go-go and find Spike! I think he's over there somewhere.' She pointed vaguely across the hall. 'Just look under Angel.'

Buffy stepped forward with a big fat grin on her face. Kendra, Faith and the First Slayer, who was demurely sipping a frothy glass of non-alcoholic cocktail, looked at each other and shrugged helplessly.

'I say let B have her little moment in the spotlight, like she needs any more,' said Faith, and the other two girls nodded their approval.

'That's right, folks,' Donald continued, struggling at this stage to be heard over the rapturous applause. 'You wanted it. You voted for it. The award for best female goes to the Slayer... the one, the only, the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Miss Kristy Swanson!'

Lights danced across the stage and the theme music for the evening began to play as Kristy dropped the old golden envelope she'd been holding. Her hands flew to her face in shock.

'Oh my God, this has to be a mistake!' she cried delightedly as she was swept into a congratulatory hug from Donald.

'WHAT!?' screeched Buffy from the foot of the stage. 'Who the hell is she? They said the Slayer! Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That's me!'

Ignoring her completely, Donald stepped back to the microphone. 'That's right, Kristy, and to present this award, we have a special guest.'

A spotlight appeared on the curtain behind them as it was drawn to the side to reveal a figure grinning broadly at Kristy.

'That's right, Kristy, to present this award to you, Mr. Luke Perry!'

'Pike!' whooped Kristy. 'Um, I mean, Luke! This is all so unexpected!'

'Did she just say my name?' asked Spike, his voice a little muffled under the solid weight of Angel.

The assembled females at the table executed a perfectly synchronised group eye roll.

'Oh yeah, right, come on! Like the movie was anywhere near as successful as we are! The vampires could fly and didn't turn into dust! How realistic was that?' asked Faith, throwing her hands into the air.

'Yeah, and I was so fat!' added Buffy miserably.

Everyone pelted her with bread rolls.

To those remaining audience members who were still sober enough to pay attention to the proceedings at this point, it quickly became apparent that this was the point at which the evening's events completely broke down. At the excitement of being reunited after so long, and unable to help themselves, Kristy and Luke/Pike immediately began to make out rather passionately onstage, while around them, the evening descended into chaos.

With a look of unadulterated confusion on his face, Xander stood very still and watched as a strange-looking vampire wearing a Dracula-esque cloak clambered up onto the edge at one of the box seats in the theatre, and stepped off, floating gracefully around the room.

'Amateur,' said Count Dracula in distaste, transforming himself into smoke and drifting out of the hall so he could beat the rush to the valet parking outside.

Other vampires were getting out of their seats and running around the theatre, growling at the assembled guests and flashing their fangs.

'Lothos! Lothos! Master Lothos!' called a one-armed, fuzzy-haired vampire from the ground, chasing around after the flying vampire.

'Hey,' said Xander to nobody in particular, raising his arm very slowly to point at the one-armed vampire, 'isn't... isn't that Pee Wee Herman? And-and that guy over there... Hey, is David Arquette a vampire?'

Happy to have some new music to dance to, Drusilla was busily conducting the orchestra as she danced, and shortly, once the pancakes had been polished off, Fred and Gunn got up to dance as well. Spike, who had managed to get Angel to say uncle by pulling on his ears and threatening to muss his hair, pulled up a chair beside Willow and Faith and they then proceeded to play drinking games with the remaining champagne. Angel picked himself off the floor and sat with Giles, Wesley and Ethan Rayne, striking up an intellectual conversation about battle-axes.

Meanwhile, back on the stage...

Buffy stormed her way past the security officers (who were surprisingly easy to defeat as they only attacked her one at a time, dancing around patiently, practising their moves while she finished them off one by one) and stomped her way across the stage towards Kristy, yelling her head off about how desperately jealous she was that she had never got to make out with Luke Perry when he was still really cute and not all gross and beardy like when he was in Oz.

'Did she just say my name?' asked Oz.

'No, no,' explained Angel, propping himself up on one elbow. 'It's a show on HBO. You see,' he said, sitting forward in his seat, 'there's a bunch of men in this high security prison and we get to see the trials and tribulations of living in that environment on a day to day basis--'

'You watch Oz? I knew it! I bloody knew you were a poof!' yelled Spike with glee.

On stage, battle commenced as SMG!Buffy and, uh, Kristy!Buffy began to fight it out, their spectacular high kicks and roundhouse punches rapidly descending into a hair-pulling, name-calling catfight. Luke Perry shrugged helplessly and joined the men at the table. They all sighed contentedly, clinked their glasses, and sat back to enjoy the show.

Spike deftly filched one of the Golden Stakes out of an oversize pocket in Angel's leather coat, and immediately started taking bets from nearby tables on which Slayer was going to win.

The theme music played again.

The camera panned slowly away.

The audience could just be seen shrugging helplessly as the curtain fell on this year's annual Buffy Oscars.



The end.

Grr. Argh.


Don't ask. Just... don't ask. ~ Nomelon.





The End





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