Part 6

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Time line adjustments: For my purposes, Spike has already been chipped. (You'll recognize dialogue from "Pangs.") Kate is in love with Angel and already knows he's a vampire, but still cares about him. Also, Riley has already told his friends about his crush on Buffy. Okay?


LYRICS: All lyrics are from Live.


if i said you ought to give him some of your water
you'd shake your canteen and turn away

"I think we should be worried," Xander said at the impromptu, sans Buffy, Scooby meeting.

"I agree," Giles answered, nodding.

"Well, she said he was a little off, not crazy and he still has his soul," Willow added weakly.

"Why wouldn't he have his soul?" Xander asked, standing up in his outrage, "Is there a reason why he wouldn't have his soul now?"

"Um..." Willow started and turned as a knock sounded on the front door, "Oh, door!"

Giles looked over Willow disapprovingly before turning that look on the desperate, blanket covered form of Spike. Smoke rose from him as he cowered in the doorway, trying to get away from the indirect sunlight.

"Help me," he said weakly, causing Giles to push him back out into the day and listened to Spike's yelp of pain with mild enjoyment.

"What part of ‘help me' do you not understand?" Spike shouted as he hovered back by the door, looking into the house with longing.

"The part where we help you," Xander said, standing next to Giles.

"Come on, I'm parboiling out here," he groaned, pressing his nose against the invisible barrier like a lost kitten, "Invite me in."

"No," Giles said, shaking his head calmly, "It's fairly unlikely."

"Damn it! Look, I'm safe. I can't bite anyone. Willow, tell' em what I did."

"You said you were gonna kill me," Willow said, recollecting the incident clearly, "then Buffy."

"Yes, bad, but let's skip that part and get to the part where I couldn't bite you."

"It's true. He had trouble performing," Willow said, a little too gleefully for Spike's taste.

"Yeah, well, it looks like they've done me for good," he muttered with disgust, as if the white hats were supposed to somehow feel bad for him.

"So....What're you saying is?" Xander asked, almost hopeful of the explanation to come.

"I'm saying that Spike had a little trip to the vet and now he doesn't chase the other puppies anymore. I can't bite anything. I can't even hit people."

"So you haven't murdered anybody lately? Let's be best pals," Xander said, leaning against the door with heavy sarcasm.

"I've got information," Spike babbled nervously, "About the soldier boys you were fighting. Got the inside scoop. Come on, what have you got to be afraid of?"


if you've ever known love
if you've ever known peace
if you've ever known joy

If Angel had ever felt sure about anything in his entire existence, it was about the gorgeous blonde woman straightening her clothes before him now. Trembling in the aftermath of their lovemaking, she gingerly touched the rebroken scar on her neck and looked up at his ridged face as if it were what love should look like, like love was the face of an ensouled vampire. He bent, kissing her gently over his fangs and pulling her close against his body, wondering how he was going to return to his other life, to what he was becoming before he came back to her.

"Buffy," he whispered, pulling back enough to look into her eyes as he reverted back to his human form. The transformation came slowly because her blood was moving so strongly in his body, "Let's go somewhere."

"Where?" she asked.

"Anywhere," he said, "Away from here, from the Hellmouth. Just for a little while, let's go where no one can find us."


"No," he said, squeezing his fingers into her narrow hips, "don't say ‘no' yet, just listen. We can come back. I just want to take you somewhere where no one knows us, where we are just two people in love, not a vampire and a Slayer."

"We'll always be that no matter where we go," she whispered as tears filled her eyes. Reality was too heavy on her emotions and it was forcing sorrow from her.

"I know," he answered, "and I know you deserve a normal life. I'll leave, I promise. I just want a little time, so I can remember...I want to have this for when..."

He didn't finish and he didn't need to. Buffy knew the long nights he was about to refer to and the lonely times that were rocking ahead of them. She started her sentence with his name but wasn't allowed to finish it when an electric shock traveled from his body to hers, jolting them both. As they moved to look on their attackers, they were both shocked again...separately this time.


she was a bitch, but i don't care

"Why are you in the office again today?" Doyle asked, squinting in the dark office after coming inside from the brilliant day, "It's beautiful outside and the boss is away."

"Which is why I'm here," she said, slipping out of his arms quickly, "He still hasn't called."

Cordelia had been living in a land of doubt and absolute denial about Doyle and the fact that she was...was not...was...was not, damn it....attracted to him. When she was at home or anywhere that was where he wasn't, she could steer herself away from thoughts of him - almost, but when he was around...that voice, those eyes and the way his hands moved on her body was distracting, to put it mildly.

"Why're ya fightin' it?" Doyle said, pulling her back against him again and smiling into her hair as she relented, "No one can even see us."

"Actually," a female voice said from the door and they turned around to see Kate, standing there with a silly grin on her face. She was thrilled, not to catch the two in an embrace, but that the couple wasn't Angel and anyone else. She had harbored suspicions for quite some time that Cordelia, despite her harsh demeanor, had feelings for Angel. She couldn't be happier that Cordelia was no longer in the running for the sexy detective.

"Um, hi, Kate," Cordy said as she took one long step away from Doyle, "Did you need something?"

"I was looking for Angel," she said, still smiling widely, which pissed Cordy off to no end, who did not understand the meaning behind the smile.

"He's not here," Cordy snapped, "He's out of town."

"Oh, okay. Do you know when he'll be back?"

"We have no fu-"

"What Cordy means," Doyle said loudly, interrupting her, "is that he's taking care of a bit o' business and we're not too sure when he'll be back."

"Oh," she said nodding in confusion. Being a police detective, it didn't take much to make her suspicious and Angel's two employees definitely fell into that category. Those thoughts multiplied when the phone rang. Cordy snatched up the receiver quickly.

"Hello? Angel?" She asked nervously, "Oh hi. It's you. No, we haven't. Of course not. When? So what you're saying is both of them are missing? We're coming there. No, he needs us. Yes, I think it's necessary. Stop being so damn British. We're on our way! Yes, now. Aren't you listening?"

Doyle and Kate were definitely listening and the blonde cop was the first to pipe up when she hung up, "Angel's missing?"

"," Cordy answered, turning to glare at Doyle with a message that said yes, he's missing and we have to go right now, "He's helping to look for someone else who is missing. And we are going to help him."

"But it sounded like that wasn't him on the phone," Kate asked accusingly.

"Well, it wasn't, Little Miss Detective, it was a friend of ours."


hope is a letter that never arrives
delivered by the postman of my fear

The room was fuzzy to the Slayer's eyes when she came to and she blinked and strained to see for several minutes until she found she was restrained to a hospital type gurney and standing over her was a doctor, Riley and Professor Walsh. She wished she could rub her eyes or pinch herself because a few minutes ago she was in Angel's arms and now she was staring up at her Psychology Professor and the T.A.

"Record time," Walsh said to the doctor who nodded and smiled, "Interesting. You seem to be human but your body chemistry is definitely not normal."

"Why am I here? And where is here?" Buffy said, struggling against her restraints, which she didn't realize where specially designed to hold demons, not humans and so were not so easily broken.

"You were bitten by a vampire," Walsh said, "And apparently you allowed it to happen. Since you have not been turned, we suspect you are his minion."

"I'm not his damn minion," Buffy said angrily and continued to pull at her restraints, "Now let me go. Riley, what is going on?"

He shook his head and stepped back a step to let her know that he was not going to answer her questions, even though his resolve was weakening more every second she pleaded with him with her beautiful eyes.

"Ms. Summers," Walsh continued, "We have a few questions and if you cooperate, we will set you free. If not, you will remain in our custody until we know what to do with you."

"You can't hold me here!"

"Yes, we certainly can. We are a government program and since we do not see fit for you to walk the streets, we are authorized to quarantine you as long as necessary. Indefinitely, if we see fit."

"Quarantined? From what? I already told you I'm not his minion."

"Why did you allow him to feed off of you?"

"The hell with you!" Buffy answered, "Let me go!"

"The two of you seem to have extraordinary abilities," Walsh said, "He seems impervious to all harm. We couldn't even perform accurate tests on him because of his accelerated healing rate. You also have accelerated healing, although not to the same extent. Why is that?"

"You really think I'm going to answer your questions?"

"I think you will if you want to go home," she said and then thinking for a moment, changed her tactic, "If you want him to live you will."

"You can't kill him," Buffy said weakly, knowing that they could if they figured out the power of the Gem of Amara.

"You don't seem that sure," Walsh answered, "We are scientists and there's a way to kill everything. It's just a matter of trial and error for some beasts."

"He's not a beast," Buffy said, not sure why it mattered to her what Walsh thought of him. The only thing she was sure of was that he was alive and in the complex...somewhere.


the subculture of my dreamsis waiting for me to fall asleep
i know you're scared, you should be
i know you're scared

When Angel woke up, he was in a white room containing nothing but him. He could feel that Buffy was close by but couldn't see or hear her. His first instinct was to vamp out and roar in anger, which is exactly what he did. Professor Walsh approached Angel, while several of her aides were in Buffy's room performing minor torture tactics. With the first slice of her delicate skin, Angel ran toward the transparent door and screamed her name as the shock tore through his body.

"Angelus, I don't think we've been properly introduced," Walsh said with a cold smile.

"You've done your homework," Angel growled, "But trust me, bitch, you don't want to be properly introduced to Angelus." He growled and flinched as Buffy was cut again, her pain searing his skin as if they were slicing his, "Don't touch her again."

"We're not hurting her," Walsh lied. He flinched again as they deeply sliced her skin again three containment cells over.

"Yes, you are! Stop hurting her NOW! Do whatever you want to me but leave her alone."

"So it's true," Walsh mused looking into her handheld monitor, watching the connection between the two unfold.

"What's true?"

"You can feel her pain. Let's see how strong the connection is," she said with a cold smile and nodded at the aide standing by the door. Angel turned to look at him, but the arrow had already struck his chest, inches from his heart. Walsh watched through her monitor as Buffy flinched for the first time.

"Angel," she whimpered. The aide shot three more arrows before one hit him and in once again, Buffy flinched.

"Now we know how to hurt you," Walsh said turning to walk away, "You don't seem to respond to your own pain. We haven't been able to rehabilitate you as we have the others because you seem to be impervious to any physical harm. But this should more interesting than what we originally planned."

"Take me to her!"

"Why would I do that?"

"As long as you continue to hurt her, you will get no cooperation from me."

"I will hurt her until I get cooperation from you."

"What do you want from us?"

"I want to document the coupling of the legendary Slayer and her vampire," she answered simply and Angel stared at her slack jawed.

"You've got to be kidding," he said with disbelief.

"No," she said, staring at him stone faced.

"What the hell for?" Angel said, his whole body shaking in anger.

"We're scientists, Angelus," Walsh replied, "It's an experiment."

"For WHAT?"

"I can't reveal the whole process to you and even if I wanted to, I wouldn't."

"Just take me to her," Angel answered as his mind raced for a way to escape. The complex seemed airtight. He could see cameras attached to the walls outside of the cell and assumed correctly that they were deep underground.

"I will bring her to you," she answered with a tight lipped smile.

"And bring some bandages with you!" He yelled after her. "Perverse bitch," he muttered looking down and yanking the arrows from his chest. Several minutes later, a cloud of thick gas drained into the room. One of Walsh's aides stood watching as the drugged smoke filled the room.

"I don't breath, you fucking moron," Angel said, with his game face intact. He began to sway from the gas and faintly heard the aide's answer, "It permeates the epidermis, moron."


Part 7


this information caused a cut in the line
now i'm remembering

"Bloody hell! Cuttin' off the circulation," Spike complained as the Scooby meeting went into full swing. It was ridiculous that he had gone, in just a couple of days, from the biggest bad around to a helpless, starving vamp. And now he was tied to a chair begging for blood! The Powers That Be had to be laughing their asses off.

"You don't have any circulation," Anya said, without blinking, "Vampires and several other forms of demons have no circulation."

"Well, it pinches," he whined.

"Get used to it. We have more important things to worry about," Xander said, reeling as well from the curious situation. Spike couldn't kill anyone? His whole sense of life was out of whack.

"You know," Spike continued, forcing a sigh from most of the group, "I came to you in friendship....Well, all right, seething hatred, but I've got useful information, and I feel I'm being mistreated."

"Tell me everything you know," Giles said, "It's of certain importance now that Buffy and Angel are missing."

"I'm too hungry to remember everything," Spike said, lifting his chin in protest, "Bet you wouldn't treat Peaches this way."

"Then sit there," Giles said, "Until you are able to overcome your devastating hunger and tell us where to find the complex."

"Oh bloody hell," he moaned, "I don't remember exactly where it is. I can probably send you in the right direction. Just give me a little taste. There are plenty of veins in here, you know. You stingy bastards could share."

"No," Giles and Xander said at once.

"You fucking humans," Spike complained, pulling half-heartedly at his ropes, "You probably wouldn't be able to get in there anyway. It's Fort Knox."


anal, tight-assed soldier with that dogged heart
put down your gun
we are ready to explode, we gotta take it smart
and take it slow

"Professor Walsh," Riley started slowly, "Not to question your judgment, but Buffy is bleeding profusely. She needs medical attention and you just locked her in a cell with a vampire."

"I realize that Riley," Walsh answered with her eyes peeled on the monitor, "The vampire is restrained."

"For how long? Is this just a test of bloodlust or something? She's going to die if she doesn't receive treatment and soon."

"I realize that too. This is a test of several different things. Bloodlust, yes, is one of them."

"Please," Riley begged before he even realized what was coming from his mouth, "I...I can't let her die. You can't let her die. This is crazy!"

"Stand down, Agent Finn," Walsh said, pulling rank, "I will conduct my experiments as I please and you will follow orders."


"Silence!" she shouted, "You either stand there and follow orders or you can leave this room. Understand?"

"Yes, ma'am," he mumbled, staring at the screen. All he could do now was wait and wish he had never run into Parker that morning, that he had never found the couple having sex against the building, that he had never joined the military.


hold on to the reigns

Buffy was bleeding and unconscious when they dragged her in the room. Walsh and Finn watched from the monitoring room as they dropped her drugged body in the room and left. Angel growled at them when they dropped her to the hard floor, as if they wanted her to be hurt when she fell and the menacing sound coming from the vampire caused them to rush from the room, even though he was strapped to a chair.

"Buffy," Angel said, "Wake up, love." Pulling against his restraints, he looked over her frail body. God, she was so pale and blood was flowing from several different wounds. She looked weak. Weaker than he had ever seen her, except maybe when he had fed off her before graduation. He forced the guilt from his mind as he looked over her. If he hadn't fed off her today, she would be healing faster. She might be awake. If she died, he knew he would carry a large part of the blame with him for the rest of his days.

"Buffy," he said louder, "Wake up. You have to wake up and stop the bleeding. Baby,'re bleeding." She was not moving and the smell of her blood was overpowering. He felt his face changing again in spite of his constant efforts not to. He pulled more roughly at the bindings and took inventory of her wounds.

"Buffy!" He yelled, snapping the restraints and falling to his knees to scoop her up. Turning back, he yanked one of the restraints off of the chair and bandaged her right arm with it. Pulling off the other restraint, he bandaged her left leg. Finally, he ripped off his shirt and bound several other wounds, all the time trying to revive her. Checking her vitals, he found her heartbeat steady and her breathing normal.

"I know you're watching," he said looking out into the hallway where a camera was mounted on the wall. He stared at the blinking red light and growled, "If she dies, everyone in this fucking building will follow her."


my brain waves confused between what is and ain't

"Looking for the redhead," Oz said, standing at Giles' front door. Giles stood back and let him in.

"Thought Armageddon might be coming since you missed class," he said to his girlfriend, only half kidding. In Sunnydale, it was hard to tell.

"We're not sure," Willow said, biting her lip to stop her tears, "Buffy and Angel are missing."

"We'll find ‘em," Oz said, strolling in and perching on the arm of the couch next to Willow. He slung an arm around her and pulled her closer to him, showing, as usual, that although his words were flippant, his feelings were not.

"I hope you're right," Xander said pacing around the room, "Cause we don't even know for sure if Angel has a soul."

"Sit down," Spike said, "You're making me bloody dizzy...the hunger isn't helping!"

"Perhaps you can perform a location spell of some sort," Giles offered, cleaning his glasses for the fourth time in the past ten minutes, "Since Spike is less than forthcoming with the information we need, we should be able to find them another way."

"Yeah and then we can watch him starve to death!" Xander said, leaning in to the defenseless vampire.

"Oh shut up," Spike growled.

"Ooh, scary," Xander retorted.

"Children!" Giles yelled irritably, "Willow?"

"I can try," she said.

"Works for me," Oz said, threading his fingers through her silky red hair and offering a soft smile, which she tried to return without much success.


she'll have to handle this one on her own

Kate walked out of Angel Investigations, climbed in her unmarked police car and waited. She watched as Cordelia and Doyle climbed in a little red economy car with the license plate, "Queen C." She put her car into gear and followed, hanging back as much as she could.

She had no idea where they were going or how far it was, but she knew she had to find out what was going on. The close knit team always had something up their sleeves and were usually dancing on the line of the law. But this wasn't about the law. This was about Angel's life. Strangely, she cared about that much more than she should.

One hour turned into two and she stayed with them. As the sun began to set, they passed the "Welcome to Sunnydale" sign. Cordelia's car seemed to know the roads, steering more than the driver, turning over well traveled tree lined streets. Kate wondered what danger this simple little California town could have for a vampire like Angel. Guess she'd find out soon enough.


if i was half alive
then you were dead
subsistin' on that same old bread

Angel was starting to enter full blown panic as he looked down on Buffy's unconscious form. She wasn't waking up. She was breathing, her heart was beating, her skin was warm as usual but she wasn't awake. He caressed her damp forehead and rocked her back and forth, whispering her name over and over, promising her the sun and the moon and the stars, if she would just open her eyes and speak.

She didn't and the sound coming from him was moving from angry to the damaged cry of a lunatic. He felt like howling at the moon, if he could see one. He stood and paced with her in his arms. Crushing her body to his chest, he roared for medical attention for her, screamed at them to come save her or he swore they wouldn't be able to save themselves.

Walsh watched the monitor with the coldest smile that Riley Finn had ever seen. As Angel paced, he paced along with him in his mind, sharing panic with a member of the walking undead.

"Captivating," Walsh said finally, speaking for the first time in a half hour. She stood alongside Riley, both of them glued to the screen like mindless zombies. Riley was sickened by her for the first time since he had known her. He had always thought her to be ruthless, calculating and brilliant but this was over the edge.

"How can you just stand there?" Riley shouted, "Save her!"

"She's not going to die," Walsh said, smiling at her young agent, "We gave her a strong sedative. She'll wake up soon."

Riley sighed and slouched next to her, feeling relief sweep over her body.

"College boy's in love," Walsh said with a smile - one that was not returned.


the fact that you moaned

Buffy moaned lightly and Angel's head snapped down to look at her, "Buffy?"

"Angel?" she moaned in a voice so light that only vampiric hearing could have caught it. He crushed her even more tightly to his chest and felt like crying. Instead he whispered, "Thank God."

"Feel funny," she said.

"I'm going to get you out of here," he said, looking around again, knowing there was no way out, but certain he was going to find one. He had to. Even as he began looking around another round of steam hissed into the room. They were about to be drugged again and Angel hurried to the furthest corner of the room and sat against the wall, holding her tightly to him. Winding his hands in with hers, he whispered, "Hold on to me, love. Don't let go of me."


make sure that you are on time
you are on time, you are on time
we are on time

"Think that worked?" Cordy asked Willow when she finished the spell.

"One second," Willow said, holding up her hand and looking around the room. Soon the tiny shining light of the guide she tried to summon in the frat house on Halloween appeared, flickering her tiny light, "Take me to Buffy."

The light moved toward the door and the group stood, all moving to follow the miniature glimmer that flew through the door. Running to keep up with her spell, Willow followed it closely. No one heard the irritated vampire shout after them, "What about me? Don't leave me here, damn you!"

The light engrossed everyone and no one noticed the tall, blonde jogging after them. The light led them through a cave and stopped at a wall. After a few seconds, she disappeared. With their guide gone, they all stood listening closely for any sounds and heard nothing. Finally, they branched out, searching the cave's tunnels and rooms. Three hours later, they all gathered at the mouth of the cave again, exhausted, dirty and empty handed.

"It didn't work...again!" Willow said sadly.

"Uh, guys?" Oz said, pointing to the wall where the light had stopped. Pressing in a nearly invisible bump on the wall, a door swung open.


my emptiness has built your altar
and i've worshipped myself in you forever
until now

Angel groggily opened his eyes and the first thing he did was look down. He wanted to see his lover still in his lap, he wanted to see bright, healthy green eyes looking up at him. He sucked in an unneeded breath at what he did see - golden eyes looking up at him.

"Buffy?" He choked.

"Hello lover," she crooned through fanged teeth. The last completely sane thought that Angel had before he came unhinged was that every fucking person in that complex was going to die...just like she had.


hey man, this is criminal, it's hard line symmetry of people

Buffy opened her eyes and found herself staring a white tiled wall. Immediately, she noticed the most feral sound she had ever heard coming from behind her. Slayer senses kicked in, despite of her weakness and she rolled over to face the insane eyes of her. She came face to face with an enraged vampire. She whimpered in fear and pulling herself to her feet, pressed herself against the wall.

"You're going to kill me," she whispered. They could have done anything to her. Anything but this, this...whatever the hell this was and she could have bared it. But locked in a cell with an insane vampire? Deep in her soul, she knew she was about to die.

"They killed you," he growled.

"Killed me?" she asked, completely confused.

"Feel your face!" Angel screamed, "Can't you feel the death? Take your pulse. You're fucking dead, Buffy!"

Buffy believed him for a second and her hands flew to her face. Normal as ever, unless she just couldn't feel her own deformity. She checked her pulse. Her heart was racing, but it was beating. She held out her wrist to him, "I'm alive. But I think you're dead, whoever you are."

"You're dead, my love," he said, falling to his knees, "You're dead and it's all my fault. My God, I let them kill you."


Part 8

AUTHOR'S NOTE: For my purposes, Willow's power is more like it is now than it was then.

DEDICATION: For Peygan & SailorGirl


and i was reachin' foward

Oz looked around cautiously as he climbed in through the now open door in the cave. The room his black booted feet landed in was empty and blindingly white. The rest of the crew climbed in after him and looked around room in confusion.

"What is this place?" Willow whispered.

"Must be part of the complex that Spike spoke of," Giles answered. There was only one other door in the room and Xander charged ahead, turning the knob. As the rest of the Scoobies prepared to object, a red light flashed from the corner and sirens went off all over the complex. They all scrambled back toward the door. Oz was the last to climb out and turned around to extend a hand to his girlfriend. He found that the door was now closed and Willow Rosenberg was trapped inside. He pressed the button and found that it yielded no response this time.

The wolf started to appear as he slammed his shoulder against the door again and again, shouting for his lover, until he was completed transformed. With no memory of what he had been doing, he stopped pounding on the door and turned to face the humans before him.


i wanna feel
i wanna try
i wanna rock in the city tonight
i wanna dealdon't wanna die

The night was getting the most of Spike. He had been left alone too long for his short attention span to handle. He pulled at the ropes three times and smiled as he felt them snap. Maybe if The Slayer had tied him up, he might have stayed tethered, but as it was, he was now free.

He moved toward the door, wondering why on earth he had gone there to begin with. What had made him think he was helpless, that he needed the superfriends to save him? Angel lived without feeding on human flesh, so could he. He headed toward the local butcher, regaining the proud stride in his steps. He may not be able to kill, but none of the demons in town knew it yet. All he had to do was pretend for a little while until he figured out how to fix the mess he was in.

As he kicked in the white door in the back of the butcher shop, he felt almost like himself again. If only he could get a good spot of violence tonight his mood would be back in place. As the smell of blood attacked his senses, he felt his face changing.


i can't remember
it all, it needs to be clear, i tell you,
if the feeling drops out of your voice,
would you kindly pick it up.

Buffy stayed against the wall and watched with mortification as the vampire who seemed so frightening a few moments before crumpled on the floor overcome with sobs. His large shoulders shook with his sorrow and he repeated her name over and over, although she wasn't aware that it was her name. She observed him for ten minutes, waiting for something to happen.

It took twenty minutes, 39 seconds for him to raise his face and swipe a large hand over his tears. His eyes hardened as he looked at her and a smile twisted over his previously devastated face. Fear returned as she met his eyes and she wished the wall would swallow her before he did.

"You know," he said looking over her trembling body, "I have been waiting for this moment since the day I laid eyes on you, gorgeous."

"W-w-waiting for what?" She stuttered.

"For you to die," Angelus whispered, "Together we are unstoppable."

"T-together?" she whimpered as he crossed the room to her.

"Yes," he hissed. She tried to move farther back when he reached her but there was nowhere to go. He slipped his fingers through a handful of golden hair and forced her lips to his. Despite her fear, she felt her body responding to his. She knew this kiss and this rough embrace. She had memorized the hips that jutted against hers and the hard chest and pressed against hers. She remembered the searing heat that began to course through her body in response to her mate.

"I know you," she said hoarsely when he broke the kiss. She moaned as nimble fingers pinched her tender nipples, "I can't remember, but I know."

"I'll remind you," he growled as he ripped away the front of her shirt, baring perfect breasts to his starving eyes.


almighty fear

"Um, hi," Willow said, lifting her hand in a tiny wave to the five armed men standing before her, "I just got lost and then the door closed."

"You're trespassing on government property, Miss," the leader stated plainly, aiming a intimidating semi-automatic weapon at her and feeling slightly absurd for it.

"‘Kay," she said, paling, "Sorry. If ya just open the door again, I'll go away."

"Please come with us," the leader said, waving the men toward her. Two men stepped forward and Willow held up her hand, "Please don't touch me. I'll leave on my own."

"Secure the girl," he ordered. The men continued toward her and Willow's raised hand, moved forward, as if she was brushing air from her path and the power took the soldiers away with it. She smiled at the crumpled heap of men on the floor and gingerly stepped around them. She asked them nicely. It wasn't her fault that they didn't listen. She looked back at the door that led to the mouth of the cave and then entered the complex, deciding to seek out Buffy instead of her other friends.


we've got to stick together after all

"This get any worse?" Xander said, backing slowly away from the snarling werewolf.

"Could you not jinx us?" Cordy snapped, feeling Doyle's hand on the small of her back. Strangely, she felt safer just from the light touch. The group backed slowly away, an inch at a time, wishing desperately that someone had brought the dart gun, a damn brick or something. Giles flipped his eyes around the empty cave and couldn't see so much as a large rock in the vicinity.

"Everyone move very slowly," Giles whispered over his shoulder at the group, but his voice was the breaking point for the wolf and he dove toward the Watcher, who was the nearest to him. Giles braced himself for the attack that never came. He nearly swallowed his own tongue when he saw a demon he thought, perhaps, was Doyle meeting the wolf in mid-flight.

"Don't kill him!" Cordelia shouted, unsure of who she was talking to. She didn't want either one of them to die. She almost smiled in spite of her worry, she was so proud of her demon. All breath was held as the two grappled with each other. Much to everyone's surprise, Giles ran out of the mouth of the cave, leaving the two to battle.

"Giles!" Xander called out and looked from the fight to the mouth of cave and back again, trying to decide where he should be, when Giles ran back in with a large rock. He bounced around the two, dodging the rolling bodies until Oz's furry head came in view. Swinging, he struck him, knocking him unconscious.

"Jesus!" Doyle said, disentangling himself from the unconscious werewolf, standing up and dusting himself off, "I think I need a drink!"

He looked over and saw a dazzling smile on Cordy's face and knew it was all for him. Suddenly, his back didn't hurt, his leg wasn't bruised and he thought, if he tried, he might be able to take flight.


but will it stand the test of time
or will it rot
like the mission that tried too hard

Finn and Walsh glanced at another set of screens when the alarms went off and after a moment spotted the intruder.

"Willow," Riley said and looked over in time to catch Professor Walsh's curt nod. She pressed a button and spoke to one of the two teams on call that evening, "Bring in the girl."

Riley cursed to himself. Things couldn't have turned out worse if he had planned it that way. How the hell did they find the cave entrance anyway? No one ever used that. The laboratory was not even known to exist by most of the complex, but there she was. He watched closely, hoping that she would escape somehow but was struck dumb when all the men simply crashed to the floor unconscious. Walsh turned to Riley angrily, "Go get your little friend."

He nodded and walked out of the surveillance room. Navigating the hallways and passages, he followed Walsh's updates on her location through his earpiece and found her in a hallway away from Buffy and Angel.

"Hi Willow," Riley said with a smile.

"Riley," Willow said, taking a small step back, " here?"

"Yeah," he said, nodding, "I need to show you out. Sorry about not having any hospitality but people here are not very cool about visitors."

"I'm looking for Buffy," she said, "I need to find her."

"She's not here," Riley said, straining to make his lie believable.

"Don't lie to me," Willow stridently.

"I haven't seen her," he lied again. He regretted his lie when her eyes flooded an inky black. She flicked her fingers and sent him colliding with the nearest bare wall. She was quickly losing patience and gaining anger.

"Asshole," she muttered as she turned and walked down the hallway. She turned a corner and glass slid down on both sides, trapping her. Mist clouded the room and she pushed the doors back up, trying to escape, but before she could walk across the room, she dropped to the floor.


dead beyond destruction
though it leaves me quite erect

"Who are you?" Buffy whispered at the vampire as he licked her lips, "What's your name?"

"Angelus," he said smoothly and the sound of his name coming off his silky lips in a rumbling baritone increased her arousal and the beat of her heart, which he had already convinced himself did not exist.

"Do love me?" she asked confused from the string of conversation that had transpired.

"Not sure love is the right word," he said, as he slipped her pants off her hips.

"I don't understand," she said, her words turning to a moan as he reached between her legs and plunged into her dripping opening.

"You are mine," he said simply, as if that should explain everything. End of conversation, but she pulled away. Pulling her pants back up, she moved away.

"What the hell are you doing?" he demanded, feeling the unbearable throb of his arousal against his pants. He stared at her in disbelief that she would dare refuse him. No woman ever refused him. Not Angelus. Not even Angel. The woman he wanted, he always got. The Slayer was no exception, until now. Her bare breasts rose and fell with her quickened breaths and suddenly it occurred to him, that she was breathing. With vampiric speed he crossed the room and felt her neck.

"You're fucking alive!" he shouted.

"I tried to tell you," she said, stepping away again.

He looked around the room and jumping up, he slammed his fist into the place in the wall that held the spouts that had released the gas. He looked around the room and found another one, pounding at it furiously and ignoring blood pouring from his fist. When he was finished, he turned on her with golden eyes and the most powerful Slayer in history was frozen in fear.


turn my head
turn my head
it's aimed at you

"Incredibly sloppy, Agent," Walsh said unforgivingly as he limped back into the monitoring room.

"She's a witch," Riley said, "I thought she was going to let me lead her to the trap before she knocked my skull against the wall."

"Well, you failed," she said, "It's a good thing that the foolish girl walked into it herself."

"I guess," Riley said, pausing to look at the monitor. Angel was growling at a forgetful, bare chested Buffy, who was cowering in fear, not knowing her own strength or ability. She was helpless and the vampire was closing in. Panic filled him as he looked on.

"Calm down," Walsh muttered, "He won't kill her."

"How do you know?" He asked, a little too loudly, gaining a warning glance.

"He won't," she said sternly.

"I can't take that chance," he said and extending his arm, he released a powerful bolt of electricity into his superior officer.


when they lanced his skull
there was puss and light

"He's okay," Giles said, looking up from Oz to the group and noticed for the first time the blonde woman standing in the doorway, "Um...hello."

"That was the strangest thing I've ever seen and I thought I had seen some strange things. Doyle, you're a demon?" Kate said.

"Half," he said, nodding.

"You followed us?" Cordy shouted.

"Yeah," she answered, "I knew you were lying about Angel being missing."

"It's none of your damn business!"

"I'm Ruppert Giles," Giles said, crossing the cave to her, "This here is Xander, Anya and the werewolf is our friend, Oz."

Kate shook his hand and was thankful to find his skin warm and human. At least he seemed to be. She was so surprised at the events that had transpired, she was tempted to think she was a demon too.


Part 9

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Sorry for the confusion I caused some of you. Hopefully this section will clarify any questions...or confuse you further...not sure. Anyway, hope you enjoy it either way!



if you've ever known pain
if you've ever said no

Oz woke up with a pounding headache, which was made significantly worse by all the yelling in the room. He knew immediately why he felt like he had a hangover and it wasn't because he had partied too hard with the band the night before. Although he couldn't remember turning into the wolf, he knew that was exactly what had happened. He opened his eyes to find he was wrapped in a blanket and bound to the chair that Spike had previously been tied to.

"There has to be a way back in there to get Angel out!" Cordy shouted, red faced and puffing anger into the room.

"And Buffy and Willow," Xander added with irritation. Cordy always did have a one track mind. Which was curiously similar to Anya's usual behavior. Before he bothered to notice the pattern, he turned away from Cordelia and looked over at Giles, "Any ideas?"

"Well without Willow, the magick element is next to impossible and so is breaching the complex through their computer systems. Their security, as evidenced today, is very high. I'm afraid I'll need to think about this."

"Um...guys?" Oz said calmly, "Could someone untie me now?"

"Oh no way, wolfy," Kate said, standing from the couch and stepping back in fear of the beast turned into man.

"As much as I loathe to leave you there, you did turn when there wasn't a full moon," Giles said.

"Yeah, what's up with that?" Xander asked.

"Sorry," Oz said, with the same blank expression on his face, "I got upset. I'm fine now. I just need to find a way to get Willow out of there."

"I think it's a horrible idea to let him go," Anya said, "He could kill us all."

"Just keep the dart gun handy if you're afraid," Oz suggested, trying to keep as calm as he could as full blown panic filled his body, "I have to help Willow."

"How?" Kate asked, testing the werewolf's plan before unleashing him.

"Who asked you anyway?" Cordy asked and taking the side that wasn't Kate's. She strolled over to untie the ropes with defiance, "Oz very rarely eats people and if he does turn back into the beasty, we'll just point him towards you."


i've willed, i've walked, i've read
i've talked, i know, i know,
i've been here before

Angelus was livid. His dreams of being with the vampiric equivalent of his mate were shattered when he felt her pulse strongly on her warm body.

"I can't believe this shit," Angelus said, dropping his hand from her neck and pacing around the cell.

"I don't understand why you're so angry," Buffy said, trying to keep her fear in check, "First you were upset that I was dead, then you said you were glad I was dead. Now you're mad that I'm not. Do you have multiple personalities or something?"

"Right," he said in frustration, "I forgot you're Forgetful Sue now. You were so much more fun before you forgot who you are. At least I would have gotten a little fight out of you instead of this cowering in fear bullshit. I was freed of my soul when I thought you were dead. Not sure how because I wasn't having any fun at all and guess what? I'm still not! I've got to get out this room so I can kill that bitch!"

"My name is Sue?" Buffy asked timidly and nearly jumped when he whipped his head around to look at her again with those cold, angry eyes.

"For the love of fucking hell," Angelus raged, "Your name is Buffy. You are a vampire Slayer and we're trapped in this little room because of you!"

"S-slayer? What did I do?" She whimpered, trying to figure out how she could be a vampire Slayer. She was terrified of vampires. Not that she had ever seen one before today but Angelus was frightening.

"Oh let's see, you had sex with soul boy in the bright sunshine where anyone could see and neglected to mention that there are demon hunters on campus."

"Soul boy?"

"This is useless," he growled, "Forget it. I'm just going to kill you and then I'm going to find a way out of this room."

Buffy slid across the wall, begging the tiles to become a door as he moved toward her. He grabbed her by the shoulders and slammed her back against the tiles, wishing the same thing.

"No," she whimpered. She reached out with her small hands and pushed him as hard as she could. She was utterly shocked when he flew across the cell and slammed against the transparent wall, sending a jolt of electricity through his body. He stood and brushed himself off with a cold, fanged smile.

"That's more like it," he said smoothly approaching her again, "Let's see what else we can get you to remember."


and to right or wrong
and to meek or strong
it is known, just scream it from the wall

Riley hurried from the monitoring room and ran toward the place where Willow was sleeping. He swiped his card and punched in a five digit code, which released the door. Crossing the room and looking over his shoulder every few seconds, he slung the unconscious witch over his shoulder and ran toward Buffy's cell, trying to figure out how he was going to get her out of there without releasing the vampire. His thoughts were halted when he came face to face with Forest and three other men who were normally under his command.

"Stand down soldier," Riley ordered his friend.

"Don't try to pull rank," Forest said angrily, "You stunned Walsh and released a captive. From the looks of it, you were about to release a couple others."

"These are innocent people," Riley said, tightening his arm around Willow, silently begging her to wake up, "It's wrong to keep them here against their will."

"Since when did we care about what's right or wrong?" Forest asked, "This is about following orders. Set down the girl and walk away. I'll let you leave."

"You'll let me leave anyway," Riley said, pulling his gun from the holster and pointing directly at his friend's head, "Step aside."

"This is stupid. You're not going to get very far with her."

Riley ignored the last comment as he jogged down the hall and took the quickest route out of the Initiative.


it is easier not to be wise
and measure these things by your brains
i sank into Eden with you

As soon as Cordy released the ropes, Oz was on his feet. He headed for the door, holding the blanket tightly around his naked body.

"Where are you going?" Cordy asked, "And you're welcome!"

"Thanks. To get clothes," Oz said, "And then my girlfriend."

"But how?" Xander asked, approaching him.

"Haven't figured that part out yet," Oz answered as he opened the door and walked out.

"Wait for me!" Xander shouted as he ran after him. The two men who loved Willow headed off into the night without weapons or a plan, but determination was overflowing and well aimed - or they hoped it would be.

"Kate," Giles said, turning to the police officer, "Could you possibly contact the Sunnydale police force and ask them into intercede on our behalf?"

"Not if it's government," Kate said, settling back into her seat, "I wish I could, but the PD will not interfere with this situation. Even if they did, they would have no jurisdiction when they were turned away."

"They can't be above the damn law!" Cordy shouted angrily.

"Not above the law," she answered, "They just follow a different one."


oh why, oh why, oh why

Walsh was revived by Forest and Graham who stood at attention waiting for her orders, after helping her to her feet. They both looked anxious despite the emotionless faces they were trying to hold on to.

"Debrief," she said simply as she sank into a chair.

"Agent Finn took the witch out of the complex," Forest said, keeping his eyes on the wall behind Walsh's head, "He was heading toward the vampire and Slayer when we blocked his path. He threatened us with his sidearm and we allowed him to leave."

A enraged roar came from the monitor as he finished his sentence causing everyone to glance over at screen. Angelus had The Slayer in his arms and was moving back and forth like a tiger in front of the glass wall.

"What's the problem?" she asked her aide, who now had orders to stay at her side at all times until the security was tightened again.

"She appears to be dead," the aide answered.

"He only thinks she's dead," Walsh answered happily, "she isn't."

"Excuse me, ma'am but I went over the footage you missed," he said, "he was speaking to her before and has already realized that she's alive. This is a separate incident."

"Scan the cell."

"The vampire damaged all of the sensors," he answered, "We can't monitor anything but video and sound."

"Damn," she said, standing slowly to her feet and checking her balance before walking across the room and out of the door. Forest and Graham followed closely as she neared the cell where the vampire held the seemingly lifeless body of The Slayer.

"You frigid bitch," Angelus said, turning golden eyes on her, "You killed her."

"She's not dead," Walsh said, looking over the girl's paled body, "and by the look of her neck, I can see that if she is, you are to blame."

"I tasted her and she fucking died before I could turn her," Angelus growled, "What the hell did you give her? There are more drugs in her system than I've ever tasted in human blood!"

"That's not your concern," Walsh answered, "You will lay her by the door and we will remove the body."

"The body?" He raged, "You better pray I can't figure out how to get out of here."

"We'll make sure you don't. Put the girl down."

Angelus growled and laid her at the entrance and backed several feet away. Walsh nodded her consent to Graham and he opened the door. As he bent down to pick her up, Buffy's foot shot up and met with his jaw, knocking him back against the wall. Angelus charged into the door that Walsh was trying to close and attacked Forest, who was just raising his gun. Forest met the wall, landing near Graham and Angelus turned on Walsh. With one quick movement, he snapped her neck and dropped her lifeless body to the floor. He glared at the two soldiers, silently daring them to attack him, as he grabbed Buffy's hand and pulled her roughly behind him as he moved toward the exit.


and to love: a god
and to fear: a flame

The angry stride of Oz's shorter legs were hard for the taller Xander to keep up with. Xander was sure he had never seen a look that cold in Oz's eyes before - he was almost calculating in his fury. When they settled on the unconscious form of his lover slung over the broad shoulder of Riley Finn, the air became brittle in response.

"Don't wolf out," Xander mumbled as Oz called out, "HEY!"

Riley stopped and turned slowly, cursing under his breath, "Hey."

"Put her down," Oz commanded with hands curled into tight fists. He was shaking as he tried to keep control but his werewolf senses smelled a strange, drugged odor on her ashen body. He could almost feel his claws extending as he watched the soldier gently lower her to the ground.

"So you're one of those commando guys, huh?" Xander said coldly, "Where's Buffy?"

"Look," Riley said, stepping away from her as Oz rushed over and knelt at her side, "I didn't do this. I saved her. I tried to get Buffy out...I couldn't."

"Try harder," Xander said as his eyes darkened to black glittering jewels, "You can't keep her there."

"I know," Riley said, backing further away, "I tried to tell them that and nearly got shot trying to get Willow out."

"Thank you," Oz said, lifting her body into his arms. He looked Riley over slowly, as if he were deliberating a decision. Finally, he he said, "If you ever come anywhere near her again, I'll kill you." He turned and walked slowly away. Xander nodded in agreement before following Oz back to Giles' flat.


free love is a knife through the jugular vein son
free love, I can't afford to add up what you fuckers are made of

"Where are we going?" Buffy asked, trying to keep up with the long strides of Angelus, "Are you taking me home?"

"Yeah, right, I'm taking you home. No, I'm not taking you home! You're not going back home," he answered as he led her along.

"What?" she said, pulling her hand out of his and stepping back, "You said if I helped you get out of there you would take me to my family so I could try and get my memory back!"

"Yeah, Buff," he answered, "I'm a vampire. Do the math, baby. I don't care if you ever get your memory back."

Buffy turned and ran toward the dark cemetery, holding her tattered shirt to cover her breasts. She knew it wasn't safe, but needed to get away from the lunatic that was trying to hold her captive. Once glance from his dark eyes held more power than anything that jumped out in the night. Angelus knew that as well and smiled as she fled. He moved to follow her, strolling after her confidently. At first he found it enormously annoying that she couldn't remember and barely fought him but now the little game of cat and mouse was much better than he expected.

Buffy kept reminding herself that she was strong and could take care of herself as she moved away into the murky night. When a hand grabbed her arm and spun her around, she expected it to be Angelus and was surprised to see a different vampiric face in hers.

"Slayer," he sneered, punching her hard enough to knock her off her feet. He dove for her and she rolled over, moving from the spot where he landed. Scrambling to her feet, she started to run. He looked after her for a second in confusion before jumping up to follow. The Slayer was running away?

The Slayer was running away and terrified. She looked over her shoulder every few minutes to see where he was in his pursuit. When she turned around the fourth time, he was no longer there. She kept running as she scanned the surrounding area for him and hurried right into his arms. She screamed as he lunged for her neck and pushed him away, only to find him attacking again. Weak from the numerous drugs running through her system and the loss of blood, she found herself trapped in his strong grip again. He lowered his mouth to her neck and prepared to feed, gloating shamelessly for his kill before he made it, which was why he didn't notice Angelus approaching.

"Are you fucking blind?" Angelus shouted after he ripped the vampire away from her and punched him soundly in the mouth.

"Huh?" the vampire asked, climbing to his feet.

"She's marked," Angelus said, pointing to the broken scar on her neck.

"I don't understand, Master," the vampire said, drenched in fear.

"And you never will," Angel said, pulling the branch down that hung over his head and breaking a section away. He shoved the branch through the vampire's chest and watched him dissipate to ash with disgust.

"I don't get it either," Buffy said, staring at the ground where the vampire had been, holding her arms against her destroyed shirt. Angelus lifted her arms and watched with glee as the material fell away from her erect nipples and round, full breasts. He pulled her against his bare chest and growled lightly. Much to her confusion, she was turned on by the animalistic sound. She squeezed her thighs together only to find his hand was already there, rending the material from her body.

"You belong to me," Angelus explained as he growled again purposely, knowing the sound made her wet, made her want him even more than she already did. She was naked, defenseless and trembling as he stepped out of his pants and then lowered her to the grave behind her. She folded to the ground without objection, wondering why she didn't protest. His strong cold hands on her body, his sucking mouth on her nipples, was breaking into her thought patterns, making her less aware of the demon and increasingly aware of the man.

"You're mine," he said, reinforcing his claim on her as he knelt between her legs and looked down at her glistening opening.

"I don't belong to you. I don't belong to anyone," she objected finally, feeling vulnerable under his stare. She began to scoot away but he grabbed her legs, pulled her back against him and slid inside her.

"Oh but you do," he growled, rolling them over, "Every inch of your body is mine."

He looked up at her sitting astride him with obvious conflict on her face. Although she didn't remember anything of her former life, she knew she was a person and didn't belong to anyone. She also knew that flesh to flesh with this demon felt right. It didn't make sense, but her body couldn't forget the touch of its mate. She shivered as his hands moved over her thighs, over her abdomen and cupped her breasts. He laid still beneath her as he caressed her naked body, waiting for her to move. He held on to his resolve, making himself remain motionless as her blazing heat melted him.

"S-stop," she whispered. She couldn't think with his hands roaming over her and couldn't move from his lap.

"You can move away any time you want, Buff," he whispered, tucking a large hand between her legs to pinch her clit. He smiled lazily at the jerk of pleasure that went through her body and groaned as her inner muscles flexed around him. She closed her eyes to block the sexy vision of him below her and he pulled her hands to his chest, bracing them against the muscled surface, "Come on, Buff, you know you want it."


Part 10

DEDICATION: This one's for Peygan, cause she's the only reason it exists. You have kept me going many times! And for Sharon, who always gives me honest feedback. I really, really, really appreciate both of you.


the perception that divides you from him is a lie
for some reason you never asked why
this is not a black and white world
you can't afford to believe in your side

Buffy and Angelus laid on the fresh grass planted above a grave, glistening in the moonlight from their exertion. The quarter moon was so soft against the clouds that it seemed to meld into them. Buffy thought it looked like a wispy dream, a surreal intrusion of her reality.

"Oh God," they both whispered in unison and turned their heads so they were face to face. Memories of what happened flooded both of them simultaneously.

"Buffy?" Angel said, gulping grass flavored breath as if he needed it.

"Angel," she breathed and wiggled across the grass to climb into his embrace.

"What happened?" she said with her face buried in the crook of his neck.

"I'm not sure," he answered, "Something in the drugs they gave us made you lose your memory and I...well, I couldn't have lost my soul, so maybe the drugs altered my mind."

"Could a drug do that?" She asked, pulling back to face him.

"Guess so, cause it did," he said, "And now I'm...well...actually, I'm not fine."

"That's not what I thought you were going to say," she said, resting her cheek on his outstretched arm. She felt so tired. She was bone weary, mentally exhausted and wished she could just climb inside her lover's body and hide from the world.

"The ring," he said, holding up his hand, "I think I have to destroy it."

"No!" Buffy shouted, bolting to a sitting position.

"It's...changing me, Buffy," Angel said, "You know I've been acting differently since I came back. What happened with Parker...and outside your dorm. Even now I feel like reclaiming you and then going out to kill him."

"But..." Buffy said, preparing her objection and finding that there wasn't one. The tears that filled her eyes crushed Angel and he reached out to wipe an escaped drop from her cheek.

"Please don't cry, love," he whispered and gathered her onto his lap to rock her as she began to sob. He could barely make out her muffled words against his chest but he understood. Taking off the ring meant no protection from the curse and no protection from the curse meant no relationship. No relationship meant he was leaving again.

"Can't...stop," she said as her words squeaked out like the rest had, between torrents of tears and heaving breaths.


used to be so calm
used to be so sane

Everyone was used to seeing the taciturn Oz, the guy who rarely even makes an expression, nearly panicked with Willow's unconscious state. He stormed into Giles' flat as if being chased by a cadre of demons and laid Willow on the couch. He crouched on the floor, swept her hair away from her face and didn't bother acknowledging anyone's presence in the room.

"Willow," he said gently, clutching her hand, "Wake up."

He waited and alternated between shaking her gently and burning holes into her with his gaze. She wasn't waking up and he was tiptoeing toward the edge. Finally, he looked up and his eyes swept the room until he landed on Giles.

"She's not waking up," he said to the Watcher with pleading in his eyes. Giles stepped forward, with a fatherly stride and although he had the best of intentions, he had no idea what he was supposed to do once he reached the girl's side. Giles reached over the arm of the couch, so Oz didn't have to move out of the way - although he suspected the boy would not have moved anyway - and felt her pulse.

"She seems to be breathing well and her pulse is strong," Giles said.

"Will," he said again, shaking her, ", you have to wake up."

"She might be in coma," Cordy offered and gained a sharp look from Oz that caused Queen C to whither to silence. The rest of the room opted for the same quietude and were reduced to staring at the couple. Ten long minutes passed while everyone simply stood there, listening to the tick of Giles' clock. Finally, Willow moaned and Oz jerked at the sound.

"Willow?" he said, trying to get his constricted throat to release the word.

"Oz," she breathed as her eyes fluttered.

"I'm here, baby," he said, "Open your eyes."

She took a moment to focus on her boyfriend's face and the terror that it held. When he was sure that she was completely with him he pulled her into his arms and squeezed her tightly against her.

"I thought I lost you," he whispered into her hair. If Willow ever had a second's doubt that he loved her, every wedge of it disintegrated into the tight embrace.


if it slithers into the haze
it can't be true

Riley couldn't go to any of his friends. In fact, since his room was above the compound, he realized that he had nowhere to go at all. After a long walk around campus, he finally decided to go back to the Initiative and receive his punishment.

The moment he walked through the door, he knew that something was seriously wrong. There was a buzz all over and strange expressions. As paranoid as he was about what he had done, he knew that this couldn't possibly be about him. He found Forest and Graham inside a group of men who were about to be sent out.

"What's going on?" he asked. The hard eyes of his friends were painful but he stood his ground and waited for a response.

"Angelus murdered Professor Walsh," Forest said, narrowing his eyes in anger. Riley could see by the bruise on his cheek and his split lip that he was present for the event.

"She's dead?" Riley asked, slumping in pain. She was not a very nice person and tended to be ruthless, but over the years, he had begun to care about her, respect her mind and her brilliance. He was sad that she died and glad that he hadn't been the one to release the vampire from containment. He suddenly felt like an outsider. After his betrayal of her and her death, he knew he no longer belonged there, "Are you sending the men out to recapture him?"

"This is a kill, not a capture," Forest answered and turning to Riley's men he said, "Dismissed."

They fell in line and vacated the complex in search of the vampire and...Riley thought with a start...The Slayer. He stood there trapped in indecision, until it dawned on him that there had to be an answer to all this confusion in Walsh's experiments on the couple. Without speaking another word to his friend, he turned on his heel and headed for the research lab.


she needs your love

Their tears turned to caresses, melting into desperate kisses. Buffy clutched Angel to her as if he would disappear if she dared let go. Angel clung to her as well, needing the feel of her. She began to push him back into the grass and he resisted, pulling back to look into her eyes.

"We shouldn't," he said, absently sliding his hand over her spine.

"Yes, we should," she answered in protest, "I need this. I need you now because...tomorrow.... Angel, please, don't think about the consequences. You still have the ring for now. Just love me."


everybody's anxious
for the coming of the crisis
the collapse of the justice

When Oz released Willow, she looked nervously around the room, "Buffy and Angel are still trapped in that place. We have to find out where they are and how to get in."

She stood and grabbed her bag from the corner, pulling her laptop free, "If I can breach the security, we can get a window of time to get them out. "

Giles leaned against the wall watching the little witch pound furiously on her keyboard. Sometimes he forgot her genius, neglected to notice how much they all relied on her. He had to admit that he was just as afraid as Oz was that she wouldn't wake up. He always felt that they all were his children. Even Cordelia in her own funny way. He looked over at her and Doyle, curled up next to each other on the couch. He smiled at her attempts to pretend she didn't care about him. Anyone could see that they were both far gone.

"I think I can decrypt this," Willow said as the door opened and revealed two weary warriors. Willow jumped from her chair and pulled Buffy into her embrace as she began to babble, "We tried to get in there to save you and then I was caught and then Riley trapped me and then he saved me and I was asleep for a while but when I woke up I tried to save you again but here you are. I'm so glad you're safe. You are safe, aren't you?"

"Calm down, Will," Buffy said with a sad smile, "We're good."

Angel slipped around the two reunited friends and headed over to Giles. "I thought you might want to know that I destroyed the Gem of Amara. It's too dangerous even for me. I figured you might want to document it in your Watcher's Journal or something."

"Yes," Giles said nodding and realizing the weight of the situation, "Thank you, Angel and I'm sorry."

"Me too."

A knock on the door caused all eyes to raise.

"Who could that be?" Giles asked as he headed for his door.

"Yeah, I thought everyone we knew was here," Buffy added.

"Riley," Buffy said curtly, moving to stand next to Giles. A low growl from Angel made everyone turn to look at him except for Buffy who wasn't at all surprised.

"Step through that door," Angel warned. Oz stood there bristling as well, feeling protective over his love, just as Angel did.

"He did save me, guys," Willow reminded, taking Oz's hand in hers.

"I just have some information on the drugs you were given. After Professor Walsh was killed, I went back and looked through the research."

"Well?" Buffy asked, crossing her arms.

"When you two were given the sedative, two of our lab rats injected you both with separate drugs. Buffy, yours was an extra sedative so you would sleep longer, a drug that blocked your memory temporarily. Angel, yours was a depressant and a hallucinogen. There was another element that made it seem like you lost your soul but the notes were difficult to understand. There were a couple of elements both mixtures had in common, but I'm not a scientist," he said, looking over at Willow and extending a folder, "I thought Willow might be able to decipher it."

"I hope you don't think you're safe now," Angel growled, still feeling after affects from the drugs and the Gem.

"I just committed treason for you people," Riley said angrily, "The least you could do is stop growling at me."


behold the unsheathing, it's love the blade is not ready to cut
it's dull from our thinking, it's rough

Willow studied the file for years, if you asked Buffy's version of the story. There was definitely more going on because something was seriously wrong with Angel. Still. Again. Whatever. His teeth were grinding in his mouth as he tried to keep the pain that coursed through his body in check. He kept telling himself that if he waited just a little bit longer Willow would find out what was wrong and could fix it.

Buffy was feeling a little faint herself and went to the bathroom four or five times during the researching to splash water on her face. During the third trip, Angel was leaning against the wall and Kate was standing in front of him, whispering in his ear. Buffy felt jealousy surge through her as she watched them exchange quiet words. She tried to think logically but the fact remained at the end of her discourse with herself that Kate lived in LA, where Angel lived and was undeniably beautiful. Buffy was pretty sure she hated her. She watched closely as they talked and when Kate touched his arm, Buffy crossed the room and interrupted them.

"Excuse me," Buffy said asked under an icy glare, "Something going on?"

"No," Angel said, shaking his head.

"Just talking to Angel," Kate said, "In private. Until now."

"About what?" Buffy asked boldly, wishing she could hit Kate just once.

"Nothing," Angel said meeting her eyes and glancing over at Kate and then back again.

"Why not tell her Angel?" Kate said, "It's not a big deal. I wanted to know if he was staying with you or if he was coming back to LA with me."

"I see," Buffy said, stepping closer.

"Buffy," Angel said, shaking his head, "Don't."

"Why not, Angel?" she said, mimicking Kate's earlier tone, "Maybe we need to chat about territory for a second. And what's mine or more importantly, Kate, what's not yours."

"Wow, Cordy," Xander said, grinning at Buffy.

"Hey!" Cordy said, "Don't compare her to me. I'm much better at being a bitch than she is. Although I do have to say: Kate, give it up baby. Angel's spoken for. And even if he wasn't-"

She stopped talking when Doyle elbowed her and she turned on him, "What? Why are always trying to shut me up. I can say whatever I want to say."

"And you never stop saying it," Xander added.

"Shut up," Cordy snapped.

"Guys," Willow said, standing up, waving the folder at them. Riley stood up from the stairs, which apparently was the Siberia section of Giles' small flat, "I got it."


angel, don't you have some bagels in my oven?

A month later, Buffy was smiling down at Angel, whose head was laying on her bare stomach. It was becoming a daily ritual and she hadn't stopped thinking it was adorable.

"Do you really think you're ever going to hear a heartbeat? I mean, really, Angel," she said, chiding him.

"I might," he said, flashing her a smile before gathering her into his arms, "Vampires have extraordinary hearing."

"Among other things," she said, smiling suggestively.

"Did Giles and Willow ever come up with anything new?" he asked, gathering her into his arms and tracing swirls onto her softly rounded belly.

"Well, Giles said it might just have been the prophecy all by itself. Willow has been trying to decrypt Initiative files to see if Walsh knew about the prophecy of the Slayer bearing the child of a vampire or if she just had great timing."

"Either way, I wish I could have thanked her before I broke her neck," Angel said and then mumbled, "Not really all that sorry for killing her."



"No you're not," she whispered as she kissed his neck.

"Not really," he said with a sly grin.

"Maybe you should be punished," she said, sliding her hand over his thigh.

"Buffy," he growled delighting in her response and protesting at the same time.

"Are we going to talk about this every day until our child is born?"

"Not every day," he said, grinning, as she swung her leg over his hips, "Maybe every other day. You know, whenever Doyle has a vision and I have to run back to LA, we probably won't talk about it those days."

"You're invulnerable," she whispered as she bent to kiss his perfect chest, while her hands began to wander over his body, "you absorbed the powers of the ring when you destroyed it. So stop worrying. There's no fear. Not anymore."

"There's no way to be sure," Angel dissented, "Not really."

"Don't make hormonal Slayer angry," she warned, "Listen, when the commando guys attacked us and Forest staked you... I almost died before I saw that you lived. We've made love every day and you haven't lost your soul. Accept it. It's here to stay. You're here to stay. And I'm not letting you ruin this for us."

"Well, I'm definitely not going to resist if you keep that up," he said, relenting with a groan as she rubbed his cock through his black pants. Her breath tickled him as she giggled against his skin, using the tips of her fingers to tease him further. He pulled her up to his lips and kissed her firmly and then met her eyes, "If something should ever happen. If it wears off..."

"Stop," she said, "You're going to make love to me for the rest of my life with a soul. Now would be a good time to start.."

"Yes, ma'am," he said jokingly as his hands slid around her.