Dancing on the Head of a Pin
Richard Ruth

Part Ten

Sunnydale High School Library 
6:20 P.M. 

Hanging up the phone, Nick Boyle remarked, "Stop right there, Giles. 
Are you saying that an honest to God avenging angel is loose around 

"Well, yes, but I wouldn't have expressed it exactly in those terms, 

Interrupting, Derek asked, "Nick, were you able to contact Agents 
Mulder and Scully?" 

"Yeah, Scully said they questioned the kid and were going to get 
something to eat." 

"Some kid," remarked Derek, "but that does explain my visions." 

Realizing what had just been said, Giles inquired, "You mean you 
actually got close enough to read his thoughts? You're fortunate to be 
alive, Derek. Semyaza nearly dispatched both Buffy and Faith last 


Deciding not to waste time explaining the dual Slayer arrangement, the 
Watcher sidestepped the issue by remarking, "New girl in town...I'll 
explain it all later. Now tell me about your visions." 

"It didn't look like any place on earth, Giles. More like one of 
Dante's visions of Hell. Broken bodies everywhere. And they weren't all 

"It sounds like you may have glimpsed the Apocalypse, Derek. The final 
battle between good and evil." 

"You may be correct, Rupert." 

"Sounds like a great place. Remind me not to make reservations there," 
quipped Nick while typing on the computer keyboard. 

After a pause, the Legacy Precept then asked, "But why didn't Semyaza 
just kill us when he had the chance. From what you're saying, even 
Nick's Immortality might not have protected him." 

At this remark, Nick spoke up again, "Wait, I'm confused here. Giles, 
are you saying that the name Mario Seraphim is actually an alias for 

"Semyaza," both Giles and Derek chorused. 

"Yeah, whatever. So now what do we do?" 

"What do you mean, Nick?" 

"Giles, a supernatural being is in FBI custody at police headquarters. 
Won't it be hard to explain how he...it...is enrolled as a student at 
Sunnydale High School?" 

"No...not necessarily," the librarian replied, "you'd be surprised 
what's been enrolled at this school over the years." 

"No, Nick's right, Giles. Legacy policy demands that we settle 
situations such as this as quickly and discreetly as possible." 

"Don't you think I've been trying to come up with a solution, Derek? So 
far, I haven't found any documented cases of mortals -- or Immortals, 
for that matter -- battling an angel and winning." 

After a long period of contemplative silence, Derek stated, "I suspect 
that the answer may lie in discovering why he came here at this time." 

"Yes, I suppose that may provide us with some insight." 

"Nick, call Alex back and apprise her of our discussions. She might be 
able to find something useful in the Legacy archives." 

"I'm on it, Derek." 


The Bronze 6:35 P.M. 

The Bronze was THE hip place in Sunnydale. In addition to dancing to 
some of the cooler local bands, it also offered other diversions for 
its mostly young clientele, including pool, darts, fast food, faster 
waitresses, and for some, slaying. However, this last activity usually 
took place after closing or in the alley out back...USUALLY. As Oz 
strummed his guitar behind the lead singer of "Dingoes Ate My Baby," he 
noticed two seriously out of place adults sitting at a side table. 
Continuing to strum in rhythm to the music, he couldn't help but 
wonder, "What's up with those two in the trenchcoats?" 

"Nice place, isn't it, Scully?" 

Looking around, she leaned toward her partner before replying, "Kinda 


Raising her voice, she tried again, "I said it's kinda loud." 

"Yeah, well the kids seem to like it." 

Surveying the writhing crowd out on the dance floor, not to mention the 
few couples necking on nearby couches, she couldn't help but remark, 
"We never had places like this when I was in high school, Mulder. In 
fact, I don't think we even had places like this in college." 

While replying, "Oh c'mon, Scully, it looks innocent enough," their 
meals arrived. 

"OK, we have one burger and one house salad." 

"The burger's mine," replied Mulder. 

As the girl placed the dished down, he quickly reached for the bottle 
of ketchup while lifting the bun off. 

"Ah, excuse me, miss?" 


"This burger...it's practically raw." 

"Well, that's the way we make 'em. Most people around here like their 
meat rare." 
"Rare? The bun's dripping blood. I think it might still have a pulse." 

Chewing her gum even faster, the girl snorted, "That's pretty funny, 
mister. I don't think anyone's ever said that before." 

"Yeah, well anyhow, could you take it back for a couple more minutes. 
Maybe something a little less rare and a little more well done." 

"OK, mister, whatever you say." 

While her partner and the waitress were talking, Scully noticed two 
figures, visible only in silhouette, standing on a catwalk high above 
the flashing strobe lights. By the way their heads and arms were 
moving, they were obviously having an animated discussion. 

"Nice place you've got here, Angel." 

"Thanks. It serves my needs." 

"I can see that," remarked Cash. "Plenty of hot-blooding young things 
down there." 

"It serves my FINANCIAL needs," the elder vampire clarified with a hint 
of annoyance in his voice. "Remember, behave yourself. The Bronze is 
NOT a buffet." 

"Hey, I'm only kidding, Angelus, that's not my style." 

In an exasperated tone, the taller of the two replied, "And that's 
another thing -- I keep telling everyone -- it's just plain Angel now, 
NOT Angelus. 

After initially remarking, "Sasha tells me..." the young Gangrel then 
corrected himself, remembering the current status of his on again off 
again relationship with his lover, "...or at least she used to tell me 
that I'm way too serious. But man, you've really got this tortured 
stuff down pat, don't you?" 

"Yeah, well, I guess that's what happens when you kill -- or try to 
kill -- everyone you've ever loved. I don't recommend the experience." 

"Wait, I'm confused. You ARE Angelus...aren't you? So what's that 
"I AM NOT ANGELUS...that sadistic bastard!" 

"Hey, easy. Don't be so touchy." After a pause, the younger vampire 
asked, "Wanna talk about it?" 


With a sudden chill now permeating their conversation, Cash and Angel 
surveyed the crowd in silence until a familiar face arrived on the 
scene. Wearing boots and a mini skirt, the object of their attention 
headed for a table near the dance floor. 

"Hey, isn't that...?" 


"So what're you waiting for? Get your sorry ass down there." 

"I can't. 

"What do you mean, you can't? More like you won't." 

"This isn't your business, Cash. Buffy and I are trying to work out 
some...issues...I don't want to crowd her." 

"Fine, Angel, you stay here and sulk. But I'm gonna go down and talk to 

As the smaller Kindred rapidly descended a ladder, Angel could only 
hiss, "Cash, get back here!" Receiving no response, he muttered, 

Meanwhile, near the dance floor, Buffy had joined Willow at a table. 

"Oz has his black hair tonight." 

"Yeah, what's up with that? Does he dye it himself?" 

"I don't know...we've never talked about it. But I kinda like 
mysterious men." 

"You mean howling at the moon every month isn't mysterious enough for 

"Well, yes...I guess so...but it's nice to keep things fresh in other 

Taking a sip from the other girl's glass, the Slayer then asked, "So 
any luck helping Giles find out about this major evil lurking around 


"That would be him." 

"No, nothing much yet. But, it's really strange..." 

"What's really strange, Will?" 

"Well, he actually came to the library this afternoon." 

Immediately becoming alert, the Slayer remarked, "This evil angel guy 
invaded the library...and nobody told me? Was anyone hurt?" 

"No. That's the strange thing. He actually seemed polite. It really 
creeped Giles out." 

"Polite? Are we talking about the same guy here -- long blonde hair, 
fangs, black eyes -- looked like a young version of Sting. Kinda hard 
not to notice on the street?" 

"Blonde hair? But the guy Giles and I saw had black hair." 

"Willow, you've got the wrong guy." 

As the girl nervously began to stammer, "But the tattoo..." a figure 
suddenly appeared beside the table." 

"Hi, Willow. Buffy, how are you?" 

Looking up, the Slayer responded with some surprise, "Cash? Hi...we're 
good. So what brings you to our neck of the woods...excuse the pun." 

"Actually, we were ordered to take a vacation. Julian 
suggested...actually, he insisted...that we take it easy this week." 

"We? You mean you and..." 


Quickly turning her head in the other direction, Buffy now saw Angel 
standing on the other side of the table. 

"Hey yourself," she replied. After a prolonged pause, she then asked, 
"So, how have you been...in San Francisco, I mean?" 

As Angel answered flatly, "OK," the band finished a set and took a 
break. With the room now relatively quiet, he flashed an annoyed look 
at Cash, before adding, "At least by Sunnydale standards." Before 
anyone could say anything more, they were joined by the guitarist who 
was eyeing the standing figure with something less than total trust. 



As the teen pulled out a vacant chair next to Willow, he noticed an 
unidentified man standing nearby. 

"Oz, this is Cash," his significant other offered. 

Extending a hand tipped with polished black nails, the teen remarked, 
"Oh yeah, Willow's mentioned you." 

"All lies, I'm sure." 

As they briefly clasped hands, both men couldn't help but detect the 
faint scent of Canis lupus emanating from the other. 

"Willow said that you can change into a wolf...at will," Oz remarked to 
the vampire. "Neat trick." 

"Comes in handy sometimes." 

"That's debatable." 

"Yeah, Angel's mentioned the curse in your family. Guess it's pretty 
tough if you can't control the change." 

"I'd have to agree with you there." 

"OK guys, enough 'Call of the Wild' talk," remarked Buffy. Then, 
turning back to Angel, she asked, "So you're here all week?" 

Glancing again at Cash, he replied, almost in a whisper, "Yeah." 

"Just get in?" 

"Last night." 

"You didn't call."  

"It was pretty late." 


Willow, Oz and Cash followed the conversation between Slayer and 
vampire much like spectators at a tennis match track a volley. After a 
few minutes, however, something else caught Cash's attention. 

"I'll see you all around...later." 

"Remember, behave yourself!" called Angel. 

Meanwhile, the two federal agents seated nearby were finishing dinner. 
As Scully drank her coffee, she heard the name 'Cash' and casually 
gazed across the floor. 

"Mulder, over there...!" 
While attempting to pry a stray sesame seed loose with a toothpick, her 
partner stabbed his tongue. "Ow! Dammit, Scully, don't do that!" 
"Mulder, those two men. I've seen them before." 
"Who? Where?" 
"Over there, the one with those three teenagers and the shorter one 
heading for the bar." 

"OK, you've seen them before. So?" 

"I saw them last night when I was out with Nick Boyle. They were 
meeting in a club when I thought I heard shots fired. In fact, one of 
them...the one by the bar...is a friend of Nick's." 

"You heard shots fired, Scully? Did you report it to the local PD?" 

After some hesitation, she replied, "No," before adding, "I pushed my 
way into the room." 

"You did what? Without back-up? What were you thinking?" 

"I know, Mulder. It may not have been by-the-book procedure." 

In an exasperated tone, he retorted, "Yeah, you can say that." Then, 
after a pause, he asked, "So, when you entered this meeting room, you 
saw what exactly?" 

"Well, that was the strange part, Mulder. Around the table were a group 
of people who seemed almost TOO calm...if you know what I mean. They 
didn't seem at all disturbed that a federal agent had entered the room 
with a drawn weapon. It was almost like they were hiding something." 

With Mulder's mind now in overdrive, he asked almost rhetorically, "And 
you said that one of them knows Boyle?" 

"Yes, the shorter one." Her eyebrow heading skyward, she caught his 
implication, remarking, "What are you saying, Mulder?" 

"Oh, it's probably nothing." 

"Whenever you say 'nothing,' Mulder, you actually mean 'something." 

"OK, look at it from my perspective, Scully. What are the chances that 
you saw these two guys in San Francisco at the start of this case and 
now they're here in Sunnydale. To top it all off, one of them knows 

"It might just be a coincidence." 

"Another coincidence? Do you actually believe that, Scully?" 

"It's possible, Mulder." 

"Fine, it's possible. But can we at least follow them and see where 
they go?" 

"I already made a complete fool of myself last night, Mulder. I don't 
want to make it twice in two days." 

"So, we'll be discreet." 


Sunnydale Police Headquarters 7:50 P.M. 

"Hey, prettyboy, I'm talking to you, get up." 

Receiving no response from the prone form on the floor, the cop 
patrolling the holding cells wrapped the bars with his nightstick. 

"Hey, you alright in there?" 

Still receiving no answer, he nervously started fingering the key ring 
on his belt while imaging the paperwork a death -- or worse, a suicide 
-- would generate. 

"Shit, why when I'm on duty?" 

Quickly unlocking the cell door, he knelt down to check the boy's 
pulse. While doing so, a part of his brain resented that his pending 
promotion to sergeant was being jeopardized by a no-good punk who 
probably overdosed on something before being arrested. Imagine his 
surprise that after failing to find a pulse, Mario Seraphim's eyes 

"What in the name of God?" 

After responding, "Not exactly, but close," the teen grasped both sides 
of the man's head in an iron grip. Making eye contact with the 
struggling cop, he stated, "Sorry, but I need your keys. Now go to 

As the cop went rigid and collapsed to the floor, Mario took the key 
ring, rose and exited the cell. As he did so, the heavy steel door 
swung closed and locked behind him -- seemingly with a will of its own. 

7:57 P.M. 

While scrunched down on the front seat of their sedan, Scully remarked, 
"I feel like a peeper, Mulder. What are we doing?" 

"We're keeping potential suspects under surveillance from a discreet 

"Oh? It looks to me like we're following two kids around town who would 
probably rather be left alone. Look, this is the third park they've 
gone into in the last half-hour. At that age, what would you be doing 
in a park at night with your girlfriend?" 

"Watching the submarine races." 


"Never mind, old joke." After a pause, he then asked, "Hey, Scully, 
correct me if I'm wrong, but it was YOUR idea to follow that guy, 
wasn't it?" 

"I'm beginning to have second thoughts, Mulder. Maybe the two men I saw 
in San Francisco ARE just visiting Sunnydale. We definitely haven't
established any link between them and our case." 

While mulling over her statement, Mulder's cellular phone started 

"Mulder here. WHAT? You've got to be kidding. How? Asleep? Sure he 
wasn't drunk? Well, would it be asking too much for you to put an APB 
out on him? When? Try right now. OK, yeah, fine. Goodbye." 

As her partner flipped the phone closed, Scully asked, "What is it, 

"Seraphim escaped from custody." 


"They think a few minutes ago." 

"They think? They don't know for sure?" 

"No. It seems that he hypnotized the guard AND the desk sergeant, took 
their keys, and then helped himself to one of Sunnydale's two police 

With a note of incredulity, Scully remarked, "Mulder, it takes 
extensive psychiatric training to hypnotize people. A teenager 
definitely shouldn't be able to accomplish it, especially under those 

"Well then, we'll just have to chalk it up to another incredible 
coincidence that both guards just happened to fall asleep on duty, 
while also leaving his cell door unlocked." 

"So now what, Mulder?" 

"They're putting out an APB with the state police. After all, how hard 
should it be to spot a stolen police car?" Then, refocusing his night 
vision equipped binoculars through the windshield, he saw the couple -- 
a tall man dressed mostly in black and a petite girl wearing a leather 
mini skirt -- disappear into the trees. 

"Scully, where exactly are we?" 

Focusing a flashlight on a map, the woman answered, "Right here. On the 
east side of War Memorial Park. The path leads northwest a few hundred 
yards, before finally exiting the park near the local high school." 

Starting the car's engine, Mulder stated, "OK, we'll pick up the 
surveillance on the other side." 

Part Eleven

 War Memorial Park 8:00 P.M. 

On a small patch of grass located in front of the stone obelisk 
dedicated to Sunnydale's Civil War veterans, stood Richie Ryan with 
Xander at his side. 

"Bet this guy won't even show up?" whispered the student to the 

"He'll show." 

"How do you know." 

"They always do." 

Before his words could even dissipate in the cool evening breeze, the 
two Immortals noticed a shadow emerge from between two nearby trees. 

"I warned you about tricks, Harris. You're supposed to be here alone." 

"Hey, I'm ready you bast..." 

Cutting off this outburst, the elder of the two then stepped forward, 
stating, "I'm Richard Ryan. Xander's my student. If you've got a 
problem with him, you've got a problem with me." 

Stepping into the light, Joshua Whelon remarked, "Obviously I was wrong 
in assuming that the mentor would have a better grasp of the 
fundamentals than the student. Funny, but I distinctly remember a rule 
about single combat between a challenger and the challenged. That, for 
the members of our studio audience, would be Harris and myself." 

"You don't even know Xander. Why him? He's just a kid?" 

"Kid!?! Hey, Richie..." 

"Why? Do I need a reason, Ryan?" 

"I think you do. You could have killed him yesterday, but you didn't. 

While rubbing his hand on his chin, Whelon stated, "Now let's 
see...why? Oh, OK, how's this...he has a Quickening that I want. Is 
that good enough for you?" 


"No? Well, how about this...I needed a messenger boy, Ryan -- big deal 
protégé of the legendary Duncan MacLeod." 

With Whelon's true motive now becoming clear, Ryan remarked, "You 
didn't kill Xander because you knew I'd find out about your challenge. 
And then through me you'd have a shot at MacLeod." 

With a sarcastic sneer, he answered, "Christ, it took long enough. You 
boys aren't very swift on the uptake, are you? 

"Holy shit," exclaimed Xander. 

Whelon then continued, stating, "Nowadays, these kids always go running 
back to daddy when they're challenged...disgusting. Glad to see that 
you lived down to my expectations, Harris." 

"Hey, you're the only disgusting one here, Whelon. And for your 
information, Xander didn't tell me about you." 

"No? Then how did you find out?" 

Not wanting to expose the existence of the Watchers, Ryan instead 
borrowed a line from one of his favorite old TV commercials, remarking, 
"Ancient Chinese secret." 

"Ancient Chinese secret, my ass. Actually, Ryan, after I finish with 
you, maybe I'll beat it out of boy wonder over there. From what I've 
heard about MacLeod, he'll go berserk when I knock off his fair haired 
boy ...or is it boys? And then he'll get sloppy." Whelon punctuated 
this statement by withdrawing a saber from his long black overcoat, 
before slipping free of the garment and allowing it to fall to the 

"Richie, let me..." 

"No, Xander. This IS my fight." With some hesitation, the redhead then 
added, "If he kills me, promise me that you won't try to stop him." 


"No buts, Xander! You've got to get outta here and warn MacLeod. He'll 
probably be pretty zoned out after the Quickening. Promise me." 

With obvious reluctance, the teen merely nodded before stepping back a 
few yards. Ryan, meanwhile, had withdrawn his Gothic Bastard broadsword
from his jacket. Twirling it around by the hilt, he quickly 
reacquainted himself with its heft and determined the weapon's natural 
balance point. 

"OK, let's do it." 

After leaving the Bronze, Buffy had taken her first patrol swing of the 
night through several of Sunnydale's noted hot spots. To her surprise, 
Angel had decided to tag along. In the first two parks they visited, 
all was quiet, including their conversation -- or lack thereof. Now as 
they walked slowly through deserted War Memorial Park, the vampire 
decided to break the ice by asking, "So where'd Willow go in such a 

"She's helping Giles research some big-time evil in town. Guy by the 
name of Semolina or something." 

Coming to a dead stop, Angel exclaimed, "Semyaza! Here, in Sunnydale?" 

"Does everybody know this guy?" 

The Slayer could swear that Angel's already pale face was now a couple 
of shades whiter. 

"Semyaza's incredibly dangerous. He was banished from heaven for 
leading a rebellion against God." 

"Yeah, I know. Giles wasn't too happy about him being here either. 
Well, you know what they say...the bigger they are, the harder..." 

"This isn't good, Buffy. Semyaza's also a powerful vampire -- possibly 
the original vampire. After being cast out, he and his followers came 
to earth and started sucking the life out of mortals. Eventually, they 
were confined to a demon dimension." 


"That's one name for it." 

"Well, it seems he got loose somehow." 

In a characteristic understatement, the vampire remarked, "It happens. 
I'm proof of that." 

"Yeah, well I'll just have to kick his ass back there." 

To this, Angel replied ominously, "If you fight him, he'll kill you." 

"Hey, excuse me, I'm the Slayer, remember? I've been chosen to send 
evil packing...and I'm good at it." The girl then started walking 

Calling from behind her, Angel stated, "You can't do this alone. You'll 
need help." 

Upon hearing this remark, the girl turned and stated, "Yeah, Cash said 
you'd be here all week." 

Now walking toward her, Angel remarked, "Cash talks too much." 

"Excuse me? And what's THAT supposed to mean?" 

"Buffy, we've gone over this...more than once." 

With a pert expression, the girl stated, "Well then, I guess we'll have 
to go over it again." 

If the vampire was actually breathing, he would probably have sighed at 
this point. 

"I'm no good for you. We're no good together." 

"Angel, that's not true!" 

"No? I tortured Giles, tried to kill you and your friends...several 
times, and actually killed Jenny Calendar. Now, in my book, that's 
definitely an unhealthy relationship." 

"But you weren't yourself. The demon..." 

In a resigned tone, Angel responded, "I AM the demon, Buffy. I've 
always tried to deny it, but now I realize that Angelus IS a part of 
me...probably the stronger part." 

"So what are you saying?" 

"If...ah, I mean, after we deal with Semyaza, it might be better if 

However, before he could finish the thought, they heard the sharp sound 
of clashing metal beyond a grove of tall trees. After remarking, "Oh 
no, not again!" Buffy ran toward the ominous sound with Angel following 
close behind. Breaking into a clearing, they were confronted by the 
sight of two men fighting a vicious duel while another stood by 

"Xander, what's going on? Is that Richie out there?" 

"Yeah, he's fighting a freak by the name of Whelon. The asshole 
challenged me to get to him and MacLeod." 

As they watched, Ryan was slashed along the right forearm. However, 
rather than pulling back to protect the injured limb, he lunged 
forward, catching Whelon in the left shoulder. However, the older 
Immortal blocked a follow-up thrust at his chest, and the two started 
circling again. 

Authoritatively stating, "We've got to stop this," the Slayer moved 
toward the combatants, only to be restrained by both Angel and Xander. 

"Whoa...where do you think you're going?" 

"Angel, I'm not going to stand by and watch Richie die." 

"You don't have a choice, Buffy, it's their way." 

"Their way...it's insane?" Turning to Xander, she asked, "Is that how 
you feel too?" 

"I'm not allowed to interfere...it's a rule." 

"Well, it's not my rule. And there damn well isn't going to be a 
decapitation in Sunnydale tonight!" Removing a stake from her boot, the 
girl started across the field. 

As the duel continued, the two Immortals realized they were very 
closely matched. However, while pressing an attack to Whelon's injured 
shoulder and upper arm, Richie was grazed again...this time in the 
right thigh. Immediately moving to exploit the younger man's latest 
injury, Whelon attempted a stabbing lunge that was blocked and quickly 
turned back. Although favoring his uninjured left leg, Ryan then forced 
him to retreat with a flurry of powerful thrusts. All were blocked, 
except one that was merely deflected upward, opening a long gash along 
the left side of Whelon's cheek and jaw. 

"Ahh...baby's got a boo boo." 

Running a hand over his injured face, Whelon sneered, "I'll kill you 
for that, Ryan!" 

"Sure, Whelon, like you wouldn't have anyway. Now, if you're really 
lucky, I'll give you a matching one on the other side...I hear some 
chicks are into scars." 

With a growl, the elder Immortal started slashing again. 

Meanwhile, across from the park, a blue Taurus extinguished its 
headlights after turning onto the street. While easing to a stop at the 
curb, the male driver asked the woman seated next to him, "Can you see 
our two lovebirds yet?" 

Scanning the dark field with Mulder's binoculars, Scully initially 
answered, "No" before amending her response, "wait...there's the girl. 
But now she's with two men." 

"She's with TWO guys now?" asked Mulder rhetorically. "That's my kinda 

Continuing to pan across the clearing, his partner initially remarked, 
"Roll your tongue back into your head, Mulder." Then, spotting 
something that caused her to lower the glasses, she whispered, "I don't 
believe it." 

"What's wrong, Scully?" 

Quickly refocusing the binoculars, she replied, "Either the high school 
fencing team is practicing late, or I think we'd better get over there 


"Two men are having a...a... 

"A what?" 

"A swordfight, Mulder! Right there in the park!" 

"Ha ha, nice joke, Scully." 

Handing over the glasses, she stated, "I'm serious, take a look for 

About three seconds later, Mulder's jaw dropped. "I think we'd better 
get over there." 

Just as he was turning over the ignition, Mulder noticed two Sunnydale 
police cruisers speeding in their direction. The second car, lights 
flashing and siren blaring, was obviously pursuing the first. This fact 
was made all the more obvious when a deputy leaned out the window of 
the second car, shotgun in hand, and opened fire on the first vehicle's 
tires. Missing his mark, the shell instead shattered the car's left 

Telling Scully to buckle up, Mulder quickly pulled in front of the 
onrushing cruisers -- effectively blocking the street. Taking evasive 
action, Mario Seraphim, behind the wheel of the first car, attempted to 
turn -- but not soon enough. After smashing the back fender of the FBI 
car, spinning it around, he hopped the curb, became airborne, and arced 
toward the Civil War memorial like a missile. In the headlights, a 
moment before impact, he noticed five startled people staring at the 
spectacle unfolding before them. 

"Holy shit!" exclaimed both Xander and Buffy, while Ryan and Whelon 
momentarily forgot what they were doing, choosing instead to drop to 
the ground as the car sailed overhead. Angel, meanwhile, calmly 
remarked, "Now there's something you don't see every day." 

Once the car had toppled and then crushed the stone memorial, it 
finally came to rest upside down and burning, its rear wheels still 
spinning. Racing toward the stricken vehicle, Buffy, Angel and Xander 
frantically pulled at the doors in an attempt to free the driver, while 
the two Immortals, both hobbled by injuries, struggled back to their 

"This isn't over, Ryan...not by a long shot!" 

"Hey, any time...any place, buttwipe!" 

Not bothering to conceal his sword, Whelon started back toward the tree 
line. Thinking that their suspect was fleeing, the two Sunnydale cops 
-- never known for their high IQs -- ran after him. 

Meanwhile, back in the Taurus, Mulder tasted blood in his mouth, thanks 
to a split lip. However, glancing at his partner, he immediately knew 
something was seriously wrong. The passenger side window was shattered 
and there was a large blood smear on the dashboard where her head had 
whipsawed from the impact. Because the car was not hit head-on, the air 
bags had not activated to cushion the blow. 


Quickly making his way around to the other side of the vehicle, Mulder 
saw a large angry gash, peppered with shards of shattered glass, 
bisecting his partner's hairline. Still shaky himself, he momentarily 
fumbled with his phone before dialing 911. 

"This is Federal Agent Fox Mulder. My partner's been hurt...I need an 
ambulance...immediately! Where?" Not familiar with the area, he 
provided an easily identifiable landmark, "We're in a park near 
Sunnydale High School. Hurry!" 

About 100 feet away, the fire blazing from the police cruiser was 
intensifying. Buffy, Xander and Angel, now joined by Richie, tried to 
shatter the windows while the driver, hanging upside down, attempted to 
untangle himself from the wreckage. Peering over the top of the car, 
Xander noticed the flames beginning to surround the ruptured fuel tank. 
"Hey guys, we're running out of time!" 

Meantime, inside the car, Mario's fuel soaked clothing began to smoke. 
As the teen's gaze met her own, Buffy felt a chill run down her spine. 


Deciding to try a different approach Richie, still unable to generate 
much power with his injured right arm, tried to gain some leverage by 
using a tire iron from the vehicle's trunk, while Angel attempted to 
peel back the driver's door. Cutting his hands on the twisted metal, 
the vampire let out a growl as his face morphed into it's natural -- 
unnatural? -- appearance. Ripping the door from its hinges, he reached 
inside to pull the boy out. However, instead of finding a compliant 
victim, his hand met a powerful grip surpassing his own. 

"Be gone, demon!" 


Before Angel could utter another word, a flash sent a scorching 
sensation through his body. Howling in pain, he screamed, "Buffy, I 
can't see," before going limp. 

Seeing the flash, and hearing the vampire's moaning, the Slayer grabbed 
his prone form by the legs and dragged him away from the wreck. This 
provided an opening for Xander to squeeze through. Peering inside, he 
saw Mario's unnaturally calm -- considering the circumstances -- face 
staring back. 

"What the hell? Mario...is that you?" 

"Are you in league with that demon?" 

"League...demon? You mean Angel?" 

"Is that the blasphemous name he goes by?" 

The young Immortal, not yet having all the pieces to the puzzle, 
deciding to cut right to the heart of the matter, stating, "Look, 
Angel's a friend...most of the time. But right now, you've got to get 
out of there!" 

Nodding, the teen told Xander to get clear. Once the Immortal was 
outside, there was another flash. This time, all four doors of the car 
were blown off, leaving Richie prying air. 

"What the fu...?" 

A moment later, Mario emerged and calmly walked away from the 
vehicle...leaving his would-be rescuers staring at him in amazement. 
For one thing, he didn't seem at all concerned that his clothes were on 

"Must be in shock," thought Ryan while moving to knock him to the 
ground. However, after yet another flash, all traces of fire, both on 
his clothes and the car, vanished. 

"Nice trick," remarked Xander. 

However, not everyone was impressed. Buffy, kneeling over Angel's still 
writhing form, was shouting, "What did you do to him?" 

"He startled me. I thought he was an enemy. I'm sorry." 

Rising, while fingering a stake, she exclaimed, "You're sorry! What do 
you mean, you're sorry?" 

But before Mario could elaborate, their conversation was interrupted by 
the distinctive sound of a hammer cocking. Turning, they saw a tall man 
wearing a suit, blood trickling down his chin, with a gun pointed at 

"Stay where you are! You're all under arrest!" 

"You don't know what you're doing, Agent Mulder," Mario replied. 

"Just shut your mouth and remain where you are or so help me..." The 
agent then glanced around the weirdest crime scene he'd ever beheld -- 
noting swords, an unidentified blood-soaked man, two other teens, and 
Angel's prone form. Taking a closer look at the face of the latter, he 
noted what appeared to be ridges running along the forehead. [Gonna 
need another ambulance for that one...and fast...he thought.] 

Looking past Mulder, Mario saw the reason for his anger. 

"What's wrong with Agent Scully?" 

"A lot you care, punk! If she dies, I'll make sure they stick a needle 
in your arm!" 

"I can help. Just let me go to her." 

"You've done enough already!" 

Starting to move in Mulder's direction, the teen stated simply, "I can 
save her." 

"Hey, I'm warning you! Stay where you are!" 

Ignoring him, Mario continued toward Scully. Suddenly, two shots rang 
out. In the silence that followed, Mulder actually appeared more 
startled than the teen. First, the agent rarely fired his weapon and 
second, when he did, there was usually some reaction by the target -- 
such as falling down, or in other instances, oozing green slime. In 
either case, they didn't remain standing, such as Mario was now doing, 
with two clearly visible gunshot wounds to the chest emitting beams of 
light. Then, more amazingly, the wounds closed, leaving bloodless holes 
in the T-shirt he was wearing. 
"What the hell are you?" 

Fox Mulder never heard the answer. A moment later, he was on the ground 
unconscious, thanks to a blow delivered by a heavy cane. 

"Joe!" exclaimed Richie. What are you doing here?" 

Looking down at Mulder's crumpled body, he replied, "Committing a 
felony, if I'm not mistaken...and keeping your sorry ass out of jail." 
As Mario continued past Dawson toward Scully, the Watcher beheld the 
teen's face and nearly fell over. 

"You? But it can't be...!" 

Ignoring him, Mario approached the damaged Taurus, with Ryan and Xander 
trailing close behind. They were soon joined by Giles, Willow, Nick and 
Derek who had all exited the school after hearing the car crash. 

"Derek, we've got to get her to a hospital," implored his associate. 

Before the Precept could reply, Mario placed one hand on the side of 
Scully's head and the other on her chest. As the group continued to 
watch, puzzled, the teen's hands began to glow. Even Buffy, still 
kneeling at Angel's side, could see the weirdness from a distance. 

"He must be empathic," remarked Derek, while Giles and Willow silently 
nodded in agreement. 

As the agent's injuries faded, her breathing became stronger. Slowly 
opening her eyes, she weakly asked, "Who are you?" 

Removing his hands, Mario simply replied, "You already know that, Dana. 
Rest now." 

As she peacefully closed her eyes, the boy shakily rose and turned away 
from the group. Without uttering a sound, he staggered a few feet 
before falling face down onto the grass. 

"This is NOT good!" Xander exclaimed. 

With the sound of an approaching ambulance getting louder, Giles 
instantly shifted into full "clean up the incriminating evidence" mode. 
In rapid order, instructions were given to take Angel and Mario into 
the school library, lest medical examinations turn-up anything out of 
the ordinary...WAY out of the ordinary. With Nick and Derek quickly 
taking hold of Mario, and Xander and Richie doing the same with Angel, 
the supernatural beings were gone long before the paramedics arrived. 

Part Twelve

St. Michael's Church Rectory 
8:24 P.M. 

[Ring] [Ring] [Ring] [Ring] 


"Father Philip Callahan?" 

"Yes, this is Philip Callahan. May I help you?" 

"Actually, you can help yourself," a deep, resonating voice replied. "A 
child...a very special child...will be born tomorrow during the winter 

Interrupting, Philip remarked, "I'd be happy to baptize the child after 
it's born..." 

"That is not at issue here, priest," the hauntingly familiar voice 
coldly remarked, before adding ominously, "but its very survival -- as 
well as your own -- is." 

"Who is this?" 

"That is not important, Philip Callahan. What IS important is that you 
stop the dark forces working to destroy the child." 

"I don't understand...what forces?" 

"Refer to the Book of Revelation, and all will be made clear." 

Still not sure whether to take the caller seriously, he decided to ask, 
"So where can I find this special child?" 

Just before a dial tone replaced the caller's voice, the priest 
received a chilling one word reply: "Sunnydale." 

With his heart now racing, Philip reached for the Bible on his desk. 
Hurriedly paging toward the back of the text, he was soon skimming the 
indicated passages. After reading Chapters 13 and 14 in particular, he 
knew there was a serious problem. Grabbing his car keys, he raced for 
the door. 


Moments before, across San Francisco Bay, a clawed hand hung up a 

"It is done, Julian." 

Seated behind a large desk with his back to his fellow Kindred, the 
Prince asked, "The priest is on his way to Sunnydale?" 

"Yes," answered Daedalus. 

Without bothering to turn around, Julian then dismissed him, stating, 
"You may go now." 

Detecting an uncharacteristically cold edge to Julian's demeanor, the 
Nosferatu Primogen hesitated before finally inquiring, "You are uneasy 
with this arrangement?" 

Swiveling around, the Prince spat, "Uneasy? Yes, Daedalus, that's one 
word for it. Hate would be another." 

"But the prophesy is very clear." 

Rising from his desk, he retorted, "Nosferatu prophesies are NEVER 
clear. You know that better than most." 

"Unfortunately, Julian, this one is." 

With a derisive snort, the Kindred answered, "Yes, and it might get two 
of my most valued allies -- and two of my closest friends -- killed." 

"I am also fond of Angelus and Cash." 

Softening somewhat, Julian amended his previous statement by remarking, 
"Of course you are, Daedalus. Please forgive me if I implied 
otherwise." Recomposing his thoughts, the younger of the two explained, 
"I resent having to lie to get them to that forsaken town." 

With his hands held firmly behind his back, Daedalus stated, "The evil 
that threatens to consume this world cannot be stopped through brute 
force alone, Julian." 

"I know, you've said that before." 

"And I will say it again -- guile -- that is the key. And Angelus is 
our best hope." 

"I just hope you're right, Daedalus." 


Sunnydale High School Library 9:32 P.M. 

"Let's see," quipped Nick, "in this room we have three Immortals, two 
Watchers, a vampire slayer, a vampire named Angel, and a real angel. 
Now all we need are three French hens, two turtledoves, and a partridge 
in a pear tree." 

"Hey, what about me?" asked a frowning Willow. 

"Oh, excuse me, AND a witch," the Immortal remarked. 

"Well, OK then. I just hate to be left out." 

Meanwhile, Buffy -- looking grim -- was still holding Angel's cold, 
unmoving hand. To make matters worse, his face also appeared sallow and 
sunken. On a neighboring table, however, Mario started to come to. 
After moaning a single word,  "Marie," his eyes opened. As the group 
looked on in silence, he attempted to stand. 

"Not so fast," remarked Derek, "you were seriously injured less than an 
hour ago." 

"I've got to find Marie. She's in danger...I can sense it." 

Turning to Nick, Richie asked, "Who's Marie?" 

"His wife," was the whispered reply. 

"You're kidding? He's married? He looks like a kid." 

"He's older than he looks, Ryan." 

As Mario continued to stare back at the faces examining him, he quickly 
focused on one that was familiar -- older -- but familiar. 

"Hello, Joseph. It's been a long time." 

Slowly moving forward, Dawson asked, "So it IS you?" Receiving a nod in 
reply, he then stated, "But you look the same as you did 30 years 

"It's a long story, Joseph." 

"He's an angel," offered Derek, who turned toward Mario and asked, 
"Isn't that right?" 

"Is that what the Legacy says that I am, Dr. Derek Rayne?" 

"Yes, as a matter of fact. Specifically, we believe you are the angel 
Marioch mentioned in the Book of Enoch." 

"So what else does your research tell you?" 

The Precept quickly elaborated. "Our information also indicates that 
you're at least 10,000 years old." This last tidbit caused Xander to 
emit a long whistle. 

"And you base this information on...?" 

"The trident on your neck -- angelic script, I believe -- your unique 

Now on his feet, the teen remarked, "Then you must also know that 
angels don't reveal themselves to mortals without good reason." 

"How about to Immortals?" asked Nick. 

"To one such as me, all are mortal, Nicholas Boyle." 

"Touche, Nick," remarked Derek. 

"Then I'll give you good reason," remarked the Slayer, now standing toe 
to toe with Mario, "heal Angel like you healed that woman out there." 

"I can't. I'm sorry." 

"You can't or you won't?" 

"Buffy, please!" implored Giles. "Please excuse her, she's a bit 

"Emotional, my ass! Now you get over there, Tinkerbell, and fix 
whatever you did to him!" 

Looking grim, Mario explained, "I can't heal him because a demon 
exposed to the divine light cannot continue in this reality." 

"Are you saying that Angel's going to die because he tried to save 

"I'm sorry." 

"No, but you will be!" The Slayer then produced a stake, shoving the 
tip under Mario's chin. 

With Giles crying out, "Oh, good Lord! What are you doing, Buffy?" and 
Dawson adding, "Have you lost your mind?" Xander excitedly remarked to 
Richie, "Shit! Threatening an angel CAN'T be a good thing!" In 
response, the other Immortal remarked, "Ah huh, we're all gonna burn 
for this!" 

With everyone looking on nervously, Mario proceeded to grasp the 
offending shaft with lightening speed, crushed it, and let the 
splinters fall to the floor. 

"I realize you're upset, Buffy Summers. Please try to understand that I 
can't help your...friend. My powers are limited to the living." 

"But he's special...his soul..." 

"Is trapped within a long dead shell," Mario finished. "It's probably 
what prevented him from disintegrating immediately." 

Once again composed, Giles started thinking out loud, "Perhaps if we 
could rejuvenate his body, his condition would stabilize." 

"But Rupert, the only known way to rejuvenate a vampire is through 
major transfusions of fresh blood," offered Derek. 

"I know." 

As Mario proceeded toward the door, he stated, "Thank you all for 
coming to my aid. But now I have to go." 

"Why did you come to Sunnydale in the first place?" asked Derek. 

"That's not your concern." 

"Was it to battle Semyaza?" 

Coming to a stop just short of the door, the angel turned back around. 

"Semyaza's here?" 

"Yeah, Einstein, he tried to kill me the other night," remarked Buffy. 

"I've got to go." 

"You keep saying that," Derek persisted, "what's so special about the 

"That's also not your concern." 

"It's because Marie's carrying a very special child...your child, isn't 
it?" The question was posed by a newcomer to the library -- a tall 
figure dressed entirely in black except for a white Roman collar around 
his neck. 

"Philip, what are you doing here?" asked Derek. 

Turning to face the priest, Mario remarked, "You're only partially 
correct Philip Callahan. The child and the girl are special...that's 
true...but the child's not mine. I'm only a surrogate." 

"Well, if not you, then who...?" 

Seeing the distressed expression on Mario's face, the priest then 
answered his own question. "Oh my God!" 

"Exactly. That's why I must protect her. She's carrying the future of 

"Yeah, but you can't just walk around outside," Nick stated. "The cops, 
not to mention the feds, will spot you." 

"The tunnels," Giles then stated. "They run under the school and extend 
throughout Sunnydale. Maybe you can use them to get across town." 

"We have a few billion miles of tunnels around here," remarked Xander, 
"not to mention about a thousand caves, underground rivers, ancient 
tombs, a Hellmouth..." 

"That's enough, Xander! We get the idea," snapped Giles. 

"A Hellmouth?" asked Mario. 

"Yeah, it moves around some. It used to be under the school, then the 
cemetery, then a frat house..." 

"Where's the tunnel entrance?" 

As Giles circled behind the main desk, he flipped a switch causing a 
panel to swing inward, exposing a dark opening. 

"Angel's the expert when it comes to navigating these passages. Buffy, 
maybe you can...?" 

"Giles, you seriously expect me to help this guy?" 

"Yes, Buffy, I do. There seem to be much larger issues involved here." 

"Maybe for you..." 

"No, Buffy, for all of us," remarked Philip from across the room. "I'm 
not exactly sure what's supposed to happen, but it's going to happen 
within the next 24 hours." 

Outnumbered, the Slayer dejectedly stated to her Watcher, "Fine...but 
only under one condition: Giles, you stay here and watch Angel." 

"But Buffy, I..." 

"Hey, Giles, if I'm setting aside my emotions, you'd better do the 
same. Yeah, Angelus tortured you big time last year. But that's ancient 
history and that's not Angelus over there...SO GET OVER IT!" Before the 
librarian could reply, the Slayer then asked Willow to return to the 
Bronze and bring Cash back, stating, "Maybe he'll know something we 
don't." She then disappeared into the tunnel with Mario, Xander and 
Richie following close behind. 

"You'd better go along too, Nick," remarked Derek. "They'll probably 
need all the help they can get." 


Sunnydale General Hospital 10:20 P.M. 

"Mulder? Mulder can you hear me?" 


"Mulder, it's Scully. You're in the hospital." 

Grabbing the back of his head, he moaned, "Ow! What hit me, Scully? It 
feels like there's a goose egg back there." 

"As far as the doctors can tell, it may have been caused by either the 
collision or a blunt object." 

"Yeah, tell me about it." 

"You're lucky not to have a concussion, Mulder." 

"Lucky? That wouldn't be the word I'd use, Scully." Then, remembering 
his partner's condition, he asked, "How are you feeling? You looked 
pretty bad back in the car." 

"What do you mean, Mulder? I feel fine." 

"Scully, the right side of your head went through a car window. You 
were anything but fine." 

Turning the side of her face to him, she remarked, "You must be 
mistaken, Mulder. Granted, I'm a little tired, so it is possible I hit 
my head, but nothing as serious as you describe." 

"But...I was sure. Scully, we've got to get out of here." 

"The doctors want to keep you overnight for observation, Mulder. And 
I'd have to agree with them." 

Reluctantly remaining in bed, something else still troubled him. 

"Scully, is Mario Seraphim dead? I shot him twice in the chest...at 
close range." 

"Are you sure, Mulder? The paramedics only found us in the park. You 
probably got confused in the accident. Shock can..." 

"I didn't imagine shooting him, Scully! Check my gun." 

"It's in the hospital safe." 

"Well, go check it." 

"OK, Mulder, I'll make you a deal. If you rest, I'll check your gun." 

Somewhat mollified, the man laid back on the pillow while Scully went 
in search of the security office. Minutes later, she held a .45 caliber 
automatic in her right hand and a depleted clip of bullets  -- short by 
two rounds -- in her left. From its scent, it was obvious the weapon 
had recently been fired. 


10:35 P.M. 

"I REALLY hate these sewers!" 

"Relax, Xander. What are you afraid of, anyhow?" asked Ryan. 

"Probably the big, bad bogeyman," needled Nick. 

"Hey, quit it you guys," the teen replied. "There are things...bad 
things...down here. Believe me." 

"Yeah, like what? Giant alligators that kids' flushed down the 
toilet," remarked the Legacy member. 

"Can you all just shut up back there?" Buffy asked rhetorically. 

"Boy, somebody got up on the wrong side of the bed today," whispered 
Richie to the other two men. 

"So what else is new? Whenever dead boy's in danger..." 

"Xander, shut up now...or you'll be removing a stake from where the sun 
don't shine!" 

"Cheez, Buff, don't be so touchy." 

"Careful, I think she means it, Xander." 

"Hey, the same goes for you, Richie...and you too, Nick!" 

"Snap!" remarked Xander with a smile on his face. 

Up ahead, Buffy and Mario led the way, walking mostly in silence. 

"So what's it like to be an angel?" 

"Pardon me?" 

"Well, since we're stuck down here together, we might as well get to 
know each other." 

Pondering his answer, Mario eventually replied, "Usually pretty 
routine. Helping out people in trouble...that sort of thing." 

"You mean kinda like those TV shows, you know 'Highway to Heaven' and 
'Touched by an Angel'?" 

"Actually, no. For every person I help, ten others refuse my 
assistance. There's always free will involved." Almost as an 
afterthought, he added, "It actually gets pretty frustrating at 

"Frustrating? You mean you guys actually have human emotions?" 

"Actually, Buffy, angels predate humans. Therefore, it wouldn't be 
inaccurate to say that humans have angelic emotions." 

"What do you mean?" 

While still walking, he remarked, "Angels have the same range of 
emotions as humans...love, compassion, hate, greed. In fact, angels 
were the imperfect prototype for man. That's what caused much of the 

"Strife? What strife?" 

"It's a long story." 

"Hey, I'm not going anywhere." 

With a smile, Mario then started the tale. 

"At the dawn of time, angels were created solely to serve the heavenly 
host while standing in the divine light. For eons, there was peace in 
Heaven with each of the angelic hierarchies serving a specific 
function...at least until the Great Change came." 

"What Great Change?" 

"The creation of man. Although most angels accepted our secondary place 
in the Divine Plan, many others resented what they interpreted as a 
slight for their dedicated service." 

"So they rebelled?" 

"Yes. Led by Lucifer, a renegade group decided to challenge the new 
order, both in Heaven and on Earth." 

"Including Semyaza?" 

"Yes, he's one of Lucifer's lieutenants." 

"Is? Don't you mean, 'was'? The bad guys lost, right?" 

Stopping to look at the girl, Mario replied, "No, the battle continues. 
So far, we have the advantage, but that can change." 


"Imagine every town with a Hellmouth spewing evil." 


At that moment, the two heard something up ahead. Soon, they were 
joined by the three Immortals taking up the rear. In rapid succession, 
the questions began flying, "What gives? Why did we stop? Are we there 

"Shhh...we heard something." 

"Shit, I hate this!" exclaimed Xander. 

"Maybe it was just a rat," suggested Nick. 

"I doubt it," Buffy remarked. 

A few seconds later, the cause of the sound was evident: Six hissing 
vampires had surrounded the group. 

Pulling out his sword, Xander squeaked, "I knew this was going to 

"Great time to be right for a change," sniped Richie while also drawing 
his blade. "Yeah, congratulations, kid," Nick added, while doing the 

As Buffy reached for a stake, she remarked to Mario, "Stand back, this 
shouldn't last too long." Instead of complying, he calmly stated, "Be 
gone, demons." 

His words were instantly followed by a flash that illuminated the dank 
tunnel brighter than the most intense sunlight ever could. A moment 
later, the bloodsuckers had all imploded with an earsplitting screech. 
As darkness returned, Mario continued onward, leaving Buffy and the 
amazed Immortals behind. Whistling, the Slayer simply remarked, "Nice 


"Sure was." 


Part Thirteen

Sunnydale High School Library 10:55 P.M. 

"This had better be important. That girl at the club was HOT," remarked 
Cash while following Willow into the room. 

"I told you before, Angel's been hurt." 

"C'mon, he's a big boy. He can take care..." 

The Gangrel went silent in mid-sentence upon seeing Giles, Derek, 
Philip and Joe alternately sitting and standing around a table with 
concerned expressions on their faces. However, the severity of the 
situation only became clear when Cash actually laid eyes on his fellow 

"Oh, shit! Angelus, can you hear me?" 

Surprisingly, the vampire opened his eyes and stated in a weak voice, 
"I told you before, it's Angel." 

"OK, sorry man, whatever you say." Turning toward the mortals, he 
asked, "What the hell happened? It looks like he went sunbathing!" 

"Actually," replied Giles, "you're not very far off." 


"Angel WAS stuck by a very intense light." 


"No...not exactly," remarked Derek, "it's somewhat more complicated." 

"I'll destroy whoever did this," swore the vampire. 

In a panic, Giles implored, "No...no! That's not why we asked you to 
come here. Angel's injury was accidental..." 

"Accidental? But look at him!" 

"Cash, please try to calm yourself. We need your help." 

Now pacing, the short, leather-clad figure replied, "Fine...I'm 

"We need your help to restore Angel to his previous condition." 

Doing a double take, the vampire remarked, "Ah...excuse me, but there's 
only one way to do that...and it requires LOTS of blood. I thought you 
guys were against that kinda stuff." 

Now speaking for the group, Giles stated, "Well, yes, normally we are. 
However, there may be a way to accomplish the task without causing 
permanent damage to anyone involved." 

"Oh really?" Looking unconvinced, the vampire sarcastically remarked, 
"This should be good...tell me more." 

Stepping closer to the table, the Watcher remarked, "Our research has 
uncovered a ceremony by which a vampire may be restored to health 
through a blood transfusion...from a Slayer." 

Overhearing this statement, Angel started pleading from the table. 
Trying to rise, he cried out, "No...not Buffy! It's too dangerous! I'd 
kill her!" 

Grabbing his friend's arms, Cash pushed him back down while begging him 
to remain calm. Once accomplished, the other Kindred looked at Derek 
and said, "He's right. He'd probably take too much blood and kill her. 
In his weakened condition, he wouldn't be able to help himself." 

"That's very unfortunate," commented Derek. "We don't know what else to 

"Is Angel's sire still alive?" asked Cash. "There are several 

"No," Giles replied grimly. "He killed Darla over two years ago." 

"What about those two Angel sired? What were their names?" 

"Spike and Drusilla," offered Giles. 

"Yeah, that's them. If we can find them..." 

"They left town last year," the Watcher again stated grimly. 

"Damn," the Gangrel exploded, "why is everything always so difficult in 
this shithole town?" 

"Hey, watch it!" called Willow from across the library. 

"Sorry. You know what I mean." 

"Well, OK then. Apology accepted." 

Now pacing like a caged tiger, Cash noticed Angel weakly motioning for 
him to come closer. Once he was standing over him, the injured vampire
whispered, "Call Daedalus." 

"Daedalus? What..." 

"He'll know what to do. Hurry!" 

As Angel passed out once again, Cash turned and asked, "Where's there a 

"In my office," Giles answered. "I'll show you." 


Mancini Residence 11:05 P.M. 

[Buzz] [Buzz] [Buzz] [Buzz] 

While continuing to ring the doorbell, Richie remarked, "Maybe nobody's 

Stating, "Step back," Mario focused his concentration on the obstacle 
in their path. Soon, the wooden door exploded inward, taking the 
surrounding frame with it. As the debris settled, the angel stepped 
inside, leaving the others staring at each other. 

"Marie...are you here? Mrs. Mancini...? 

"Remind me not to piss this guy off," remarked Nick while the others 
silently nodded in agreement. 

Once inside, they all realized something was wrong. For one thing, 
there was the outline of a large scarlet scythe scrawled on the room's 
far wall. 

"Ah...that's not...I mean," Xander choked. 

"Drawn in blood? Yeah, it is," finished Buffy. 

As Mario raced upstairs to the bedrooms, Richie remarked, "That's 
pretty sick. Whose blood?" 

Nick then provided some details from his earlier visit, stating, "Marie 
lives here with her widowed grandmother." 

Heading toward the stairs, the Slayer responded, "This isn't going to 
be pretty." 

Upstairs, the group came upon room after undisturbed room -- at least 
until they entered the large master bedroom. Here, they spied Mario 
silently crouched over a body lying partially obstructed by the bed. He 
was slowly rocking back and forth. 

"Oh, man. This is not good," commented Xander. 

"Mario, are you alright?" asked Buffy while slowly entering the room. 

"He's going to kill Marie and the child during the Winter solstice and 
the prophesy will be complete." 


Nodding, the angel stated, "That's his calling card on the wall 
downstairs. He's very proud of himself." After a pause, he added, "Jean 
Mancini was a good, decent person. She didn't deserve to die like 

"Who does?" asked Nick. 

"Let's get back to the library," stated Buffy. "Maybe Giles and the 
others can help find Marie." 

"You go back. I'll find her." 

"Mario, this isn't the time to go Lone Ranger on us. You don't even 
know where to look." 

"Semyaza will be strongest near the Hellmouth," the angel replied. 

"Yeah, wherever that is?" Xander retorted. "It's never in the same 
place for long, remember?" 

"Look, tomorrow's Saturday," stated Buffy. "School's closed and we have 
all day to hunt down his murderous ass." Receiving only a lukewarm 
reception, she tried to be enthusiastic, remarking, "C'mon, we can do 
this, people!" 

Reluctantly nodding, Mario turned slowly and left the room. After 
waiting for him to head back down the stairs and out of earshot, Richie 
asked the Slayer in a whisper, "Do you really think we can find this 

"I hope so," was her now less than enthusiastic answer. 

"WE HAVE TO!" they heard Mario call back upstairs. 

"Oh, shit!" the two silently mouthed to each other. 


Sunnydale High School Library January 15 2:13 A.M. 

"I don't understand, Giles. What are we waiting for?" 

"Please be patient, Buffy. Cash said this ceremony takes some time to 
prepare. If it's rushed, it may not work and Angel may..." 

"What, Giles? Die? Angel may die?" 

"Actually, I was going to say, 'not recover.' But yes, if we get it 
wrong, Angel may die." 

Peering through the slotted blinds of Giles' office and into the 
library, she noticed that Xander and Willow, now joined by Oz, had 
sacked out on the staircase, while Richie and Nick had pulled two 
chairs into a far corner. Although not sleeping, they appeared quite 
comfortable with their feet up on a table. Cash, meanwhile, was still 
standing near Angel and Derek was again on the phone with Alex. 
Meanwhile, up on the balcony, stood Mario, while Dawson and Philip 
quietly talked, occasionally glancing up at him. 

"You actually met him before, Uncle Joe?" 

"Yeah, back in '69 at the Philadelphia Naval Hospital. He said he was 
an orderly." 

"And he looked the same?" 

"EXACTLY THE SAME...that's the creepy part. Now, don't get me wrong, 
Philip, you get used to people not aging in our line of work. But even 
Immortals change their appearance over the years. Just look at 
Richie...his hair wasn't always that short." 

"Yeah, neither was Nick's." 

After a pause, the older man laughed before adding, "It's funny...at 
the time I thought the kid musta been a hippie or something. For a 
military hospital, he had the longest hair on the ward. Now I know why 
no one made him cut it." 

"So what's he like?" 

"Who, Mario?" 

Nodding, the priest added, "Yeah, you looked pretty spooked when I got 
here. Like you saw a ghost." 

While collecting his thoughts, the Watcher absently ran a hand through 
his beard. Finally, he stated, "That guy probably saved my life. 
Remember, just a few weeks earlier I hit that damn Vietcong mine. I 
didn't have a very positive outlook on life at that point." 

"And then you met him." 

"Yeah, one day he appeared out of nowhere and started mixing it up 
pretty good with the other guys on the floor...playing cards, sneaking 
in beer and magazines, that kinda stuff. But the thing that really got 
me was how he seemed to care for the hopeless cases. He'd sit with them 
for hours at a time. Not even the nurses -- and there were several damn 
fine nurses back there -- did that." 

"From what mom used to say, it sounded like you needed some cheering up 
yourself, Uncle Joe." 

"Oh you can say that again. My sisters tried to visit when I got back 
stateside, but I wouldn't let them see me like that...like this." For 
emphasis, the Watcher swung the cane into the side of his prosthesis, 
creating a hollow knock. "That guy up there talked to me every day for 
months. He was even there when I went through physical therapy." 

"Time heals all wounds." 

"Maybe, Philip, but at the time, my life was in the toilet." Then, 
looking directly at his nephew, he added, "If Mario hadn't showed up 
when he did, I probably would've taken my sidearm and ended it all! 
Truth is, he saved my life." 

Meanwhile, halfway across the room, Angel was straining to speak to his 

"Cash, you asked me what it's like to be Angelus." 

"Not now, Angel. Rest, I spoke to Daedalus. He'll be here soon." 

"I know. That's why I have to say this now." After an extended pause, 
he continued, "Being Angelus feels...wonderful." 

"Wonderful? But I thought you said..." 

With a weak wave of his hand, he indicated the others in the room 
before remarking, "Angelus wouldn't care about any of them. While most 
of us feed to live, he lives to feed. And without a soul, that monster 
enjoys all the pain and suffering he causes. That's why he's so 

"Why are you telling me this now, Angel?" 

Grabbing at the Gangrel's sleeve, he hissed, "Because I want you to 
promise me something, Cash." 

With some hesitation evident in his voice, the other vampire 
nonetheless answered, "Sure, anything." 

"If the attempt to heal me fails and Angelus somehow emerges...I want 
you to destroy me." 

"But Angel..." 

Tugging harder on his jacket, he added, "Angelus must not be allowed to 
kill again! Promise me, Cash!" 

Reluctantly, the reply came, "I promise." 

Leaning back onto the table, Angel whispered, "Thank you," before 
closing his eyes. 

As Cash slowly moved away from Angel, he heard one of the library's 
doors swish open and, turning toward the sound, spied the arrival of a 
slender female figure wearing a formfitting black evening dress. 
Xander, Richie and Nick instantly perked up, quickly joined by Derek, 
Joe and even Philip, who also turned his head. 

"Lillie? What are you doing here? Daedalus..." 

"Sent me instead, Cash," she interrupted. "He also told me of the 
ritual that must be performed." 

"Why didn't he come himself?" 

With a smile, she replied, "Let's just say that he doesn't travel well. 
Nosferatu can be such homebodies." 

"I don't know about this, Lillie...the ritual..." 

"Must be performed by two Primogen before sunrise -- that would be you 
and me, Cash -- or Angelus will be lost...forever." 



"Angel, not Angelus, must be saved. The world is better off without 

"Fine, whatever, Cash. But if we don't do this, it won't matter because 
he'll be a pile of ashes." 

"Oh, great, look what the cat dragged in." 

Turning around to face the Slayer, who had just entered the room with 
Giles, Lillie merely smiled before replying, "It's always such as 
pleasure to see you too, Buffy." 

As Xander whispered to Willow and Oz, "Look out, cat fight!" the 
Watcher remarked, "Hello, again Ms. Langtry. Please excuse, Buffy. 
She's a bit...concerned...about Angel." 

"Why is she here anyway? I thought Daedalus was coming." 

However, before Cash could respond, Lillie stated, "Well, Daedalus sent 
me. If you have a problem with that, maybe I should just leave." 

Stepping forward, Buffy started to retort, "Well, maybe you shou..." 
when Giles suddenly took hold of her shoulder, remarking, "No, no, 
that's fine. We're all glad you're here. Thank you for coming." 

Across the floor, Nick then turned to Richie and remarked, "Not too 
much tension in the room, is there?" 

"Yeah, for a dead guy, Angel sure gets around. Chicks must go for that 
brooding thing he does." 

"Think we should try it?" 

With a nod, the redheaded Immortal replied, "It couldn't hurt." 


Sunnydale Zoological Park and Gardens 4:34 A.M. 

"You didn't have to kill her, she was just an old lady!" 

"You're right. I didn't," Semyaza stated. "I ENJOYED killing her. To 
watch the life drain out of her. There's nothing else in creation quite 
like it." 

"She was my grandmother!" screamed Marie. Then, feeling a twinge of 
pain, she asked, "What kind of monster are you?" 

Slowly approaching the girl, who was strapped to a stolen hospital 
gurney, the fallen ange replied, "Now...now...this isn't personal, my 
dear. We all have a role to play." 

"Role? What are you talking about? This isn't a television show...we're 
not on a stage." 

Stepping around a gaping pit in the floor, Semyaza remarked, "That's 
where you're wrong, Marie. We are on stage. In fact, the script was 
written thousands of years ago. That's how long I've been waiting for 
this opportunity." 

Once again feeling the baby kick, the girl grimaced before stating, 
"Just wait until Mario finds me. He'll hand you your ass." 

"Tsk, tsk, tsk...such course language. I'm disappointed in you, 

"Well that's too damn bad. When Mario gets..." 

"Oh yes, Mario. Did you know that we go back a long way? You could say 
we're from the same neighborhood." 

"I don't believe you," the girl spat. "You're nothing like him." 

"I'm exactly like him, Marie. And what's more, we're here for the same 

To underscore his point, Semyaza slowly reached out and ran a hand 
along Marie's stomach, causing the girl to flinch. 

"Don't touch me!" 

"Such a brave front...quite admirable." Turning away from her, he then 
added, "Well, no matter, it'll all be over very shortly." 

"What are you talking about? Why am I here?" 

"You're here to fulfill the prophesy." 

As a muffled screech emanated from the pit, Marie asked, "Prophesy? 
What prophesy?" 

Again facing her, Semyaza replied, "The one that will raise the Dark 
Lord back to his rightful throne." 


Sunnydale High School Library 5:58 A.M. 

"Move those candelabras over there. And replace those white candles 
with black ones," the Toreador Primogen instructed. 

As Derek and the librarian did as requested, the Legacy member asked, 
"Where did you get all this stuff, Giles?" 

"I borrowed them from St. Matthews." 

"You stole from a church?" 

"BORROWED, Derek...we borrowed them. And if all goes according to plan, 
we'll return them before they're missed." 

Now running a gloved hand over the largest wooden table available in 
the library, Lillie shook her head disapprovingly. "This will not 
do...not at all!" 

Still sweating from rearranging the other furniture in the library, 
Xander, Oz and Richie all looked at her with expressions of disbelief. 

"Excuse you?" Xander finally remarked, his hands on his hips. 

"Absolutely disgusting. I won't touch this filthy thing," cooed Lillie. 
"My dress will be ruined." 

"Hey, I'm betting you've handled even more disgusting things in your 
day," sneered the Slayer from across the room. 

"Buffy, behave yourself!" warned Giles. 

Ignoring this outburst, the female Kindred simply stated, "A softer 
surface would be much more comfortable for all concerned...especially 

Wiping the sweat from his brow, Xander turned to Willow and remarked, 
"Well, now we know what Cordy would be like as a bloodsucker." 

"Sorry, lady, this isn't a furniture store. It's either that table or 
the one Angel's already on," Nick stated flatly. 

At this point, a thought occurred to Giles. "Actually, there may be 
another option. The faculty lounge contains a convertible bed. It's 
quite comfortable."

However, before the Watcher could continue, he was suddenly confronted 
by several incredulous stares. Xander, not surprisingly, was the first 
to ask, "Giles, why does the teacher's lounge have a bed in it?" 

The librarian, now blushing, nervously mumbled, 
"It's...ah...actually...ah...very easy to explain. It's used as a 
sofa...during coffee breaks...nothing more." 

"Oh, right," the teen remarked, "I always knew that freaky-deaky stuff 
went on in there." 

The Brit then huffed, "You Yanks can be so crude," before moving toward 
the hall. "Xander, come along, I believe it's on casters." 

As the two went to retrieve the bed, Lillie slinked toward her fellow 

"Cash, who's that up there?" 


Pointing upstairs, she responded, "Up there. He hasn't moved since I 
got here." 

"Don't mess with him, Lillie. They say he's some kind of big time angel 
or something. Fact is, he's the guy who put the whammy on Angelus...ah, 
I mean, Angel...to begin with." 

"He's kinda cute." 

"Lillie, control yourself," the Gangrel warned through gritted teeth. 
"We don't need that kinda heat right now." 

"Well, a girl can dream, can't she?" 

"Can you at least try to keep your mind on business for a change?" 
asked Cash. 

Now pouting, she remarked, "You're no fun anymore. In fact, you're 
sounding more like Julian every day." 

The two were soon joined by Buffy and Derek, the former asking, "So 
how, EXACTLY, is this ritual thingy supposed to work, lady? You've been 
pretty light on details." 

"Actually, it's all very straightforward, little girl." 

"We'd appreciate if you could provide some information, Ms. Langtry. 
You have been rather vague," the Precept stated. 

However, before she could reply, the library doors burst open and 
Xander and Giles entered pushing a sofa. With a cat-like smile, Lillie 
stated, "You'll all see shortly enough." Again pointing, she instructed 
the men to place the piece of furniture in the center of the room. A 
few moments after that, the bed was unfolded.  "OK, places everyone. 
Now Cash, if you could place Angel on the bed." 

With Richie and Nick assisting, the Gangrel managed to carry the 
stricken vampire about 15 feet from where he had been lying. Opening 
his eyes for the first time in several hours, Angel asked weakly, 
"Cash, what's happening?" 

"You'll be fine. We're going to try something." 

"Is Daedalus here?" 

"No, Lillie came instead." 

"Lillie? Why is she here?" 

Overhearing the discussion, the woman asked, "Don't you trust me, 

Ignoring her, Angel implored, "Remember your promise, Cash." 

"How can I forget it?" the younger vampire muttered. 

"What promise is he talking about?" Buffy asked Giles. 

"I have no idea." 

"Giles, dim the lights. It's much too bright in here." 

Heading toward the row of switches, the librarian whispered to the girl 
beside him, "Lillie does tend to be rather bossy, doesn't she?" 

"Now...now, Giles. As you're always telling me, play nice." 

"Everyone listen closely. Once the ceremony begins, you're all to 
remain outside the sacred circle." Indicating the chalked ring on the 
floor with her high heeled pump, Lillie continued, "Except, of course, 
for Angel, Cash, myself and...her." She slowly raised a long, polished 
nail in the Slayer's direction. 

"Why don't I like the sound of this?" Xander asked Willow. In reply, 
the girl swallowed nervously before remarking, "I just wish I knew what 
spell she's using...maybe I could help." 

"Ah, no, Will. The surgeon general has determined that amateur 
witchcraft can be hazardous to your health." 

"But I've been practicing..." 

"Shhh...I think they're starting." 

Part Fourteen

Sunnydale General Hospital 
6:06 A.M. 

"How are you feeling, Mulder?" 

Opening his eyes, the agent slowly sat up in bed. 

"OK, I guess. What time is it, Scully?" 

"It's a little after six in the morning." 

"Six in the morning? Why such an early start, Scully? Or is it because 
you can't stand to be away from me?" 

Seeing the grim response to his albeit lame joke, the man instantly 
became suspicious, asking, "What's wrong?" 

"There's been another killing, Mulder." 


"Marie Seraphim's grandmother, Jean Mancini. A neighbor saw her front 
door broken open, got concerned and called the police." 

Quickly reaching for his clothes, which were stashed in a laundry bag, 
he stated angrily, "Goddamn it! I knew that punk was a killer!" 

"Not so fast, Mulder. The doctors haven't finished examining your X-
rays yet. You might have a concussion." 

"If I'd stopped that bastard in the park last night, Scully, the old 
lady would still be alive. He probably went through her to get to his 

Still not sharing her partner's conviction, the woman remarked, "Mario 
Seraphim doesn't seem like the homicidal type, Mulder, even if there 
are some questions about his background." 

"Wake up, Scully. He's leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. How much 
more obvious can it be?" 

"Well, what if there's an unknown assailant who's killing the people 
around him?" 

"An unknown assailant? C'mon, Scully...I'm usually the one coming up 
with wild theories, not you." 

"It's not that implausible, Mulder," she responded defensively. 

While pulling on his suit jacket, he headed for the door, remarking, 
"Sure, Scully. An invisible assailant who's just happens to be an 
accomplished killer...let's go." 


Sunnydale High School Library 6:23 A.M. 

With incense smoke rising toward the ceiling in blue clouds, Lillie 
Langtry was chanting from an apparently ancient leather bound volume. 
The text, with a ram's head and pentagram inscribed on the cover, 
contained hundreds of pages of yellowed parchment. 

"Ahman, radu satanus blaskis." 

"Giles, what's she saying?" 

"This is fascinating, Xander. As far as I can determine, it's Sumarian 
or possibly Babylonian." 

"That's great, Mr. Spock," Xander retorted, "but what's she saying?" 

Standing on his other side, Willow whispered to Oz, "It's Babylonian 
and she's trying to invoke the blood spirit." 

Overhearing this, Xander remarked, "I don't want to know how you know 
that, Will." 

"Canadi verbitu hemolaga Angelus." 

Meanwhile, across the room, Nick was asking his boss, "What's 

Quickly jotting down notes on a pad, Derek answered breathlessly, "This 
is incredible. She's calling forth some kind of spirit in a lost 
Babylonian dialect." 

"That's just great, Derek. Too bad it didn't stay lost a little 

With the smoke beginning to swirl faster and faster, Angel started 
moaning and writhing against the ropes securing him to the steel bed 

"I hate all this supernatural mumbo jumbo. Give me a simple Quickening 
any day," Dawson sniffed to Richie and Philip standing near the stacks. 

"Yeah, I know what you mean," the Immortal stated, "What's up with this 
town, anyway?" 

"Weird place. Nothing like Seacouver," remarked the Watcher. 

"Oh, I don't know," the priest interjected, "we see this kind of stuff 
in San Francisco pretty frequently." 

"Well remind me not to move there either," Richie concluded. 

Suddenly switching to English, Lillie continued, "In sacred circle we 
have made. Release this place from earthly bond. Bring forth what waits 
through doors beyond." 

With gusts of wind now blowing through the sealed library, the 
multitude of candles were extinguished as assorted debris, mixed with 
incense smoke, began swirling in a vortex. Then, while holding a gold 
chalice inscribed with unfamiliar pictograms above her head, the female 
Kindred commanded, "Bring forth the vessel." 

With Cash motioning for her to step forward, Buffy quipped, "I guess 
that would be me." 

Taking her hand, the Gangrel whispered, "Don't worry, you'll be fine." 

Looking down at Angel, the Slayer noticed that he looked worse than 
ever; his normally powerful body emaciated. He also appeared to be in 
great pain. Turning toward Cash, she noticed that a radical change had 
also come over him, namely the addition of fangs and golden wolfen 

"I won't let anything happen to you. I promised him." 

"Ah, thanks...I think." 

Placing the chalice down, Lillie then decreed, "Bleed the vessel." 

Suddenly, before Buffy realized what was happening, she felt a stinging 
numbness on her right wrist. Looking down, she saw Cash's curly brown 
hair near her elbow and felt a warm sucking sensation. As she continued 
to watch, transfixed, she also heard a nearby voice sounding somewhat 

"Hey, what's Eddie Munster think he's doing?" 

Grabbing Xander by the shirt, Giles responded, "Calm down. We must have 
some degree of faith here." 

"Oh, yeah? And why should we trust these two bloodsuckers? Answer me 
that, Giles. And another thing, where is Faith, anyhow?" 

To this, the Watcher merely responded by holding him back a bit more 

Meantime, about 15 feet away, the Legacy Precept was quietly asking his 
colleague, "Did you do as I instructed?" 

"Yeah, Derek, they're stashed behind the desk." 

"Good. You never can be too careful." Lying unseen behind the desk was 
a duffel bag containing two loaded crossbows and vials of holy water. 

With her bleeding wrist held over the rapidly filling chalice, Buffy 
was beginning to feel shaky. And facing Lillie's wicked grin and 
phosphorescent green eyes wasn't helping much either. In fact, she felt 
like the main course at dinner. 

"That's enough, Lillie." 

Ignoring the Gangrel, the woman let the Slayer's blood continue to flow 
into the cup. 

Once again taking hold of Buffy's hand, Cash stated more forcefully, "I 
said that's enough!" He then raised the girl's injured flesh to his 
lips and, running his tongue over the gash, instantly closed the wound. 

"That's a neat trick," Willow observed, thereby causing Xander to snap, 
"No, it's not! That's disgusting! Who knows where his mouth's been!" 

"You're no fun anymore, Cash," the Toreador remarked with a pronounced 

Ignoring his fellow Kindred, the male vampire carefully led Buffy 
toward the perimeter of the chalk circle, "Stay here until it's over." 

Now holding the chalice in both hands, Lillie made her way toward the 
injured vampire. Smelling the contents caused Angel to growl and strain 
more forcefully against the restraints while Cash attempted to keep him 
down. Kneeling on the edge of the mattress, Lillie slowly lowered the 
cup to his parched lips. 

"Drink up, my love." 

"Oh my," Giles remarked. 

"Me thinks this isn't suitable for all audiences," quipped Xander. 

After greedily downing the cup's contents, there was no immediate 
improvement in Angel's condition. In fact, just the opposite seemed to 
be true, as he slumped back limply onto the mattress, eyes closed, a 
dribble of blood on his chin. 

"Angel?" Buffy whispered. 

No longer preoccupied by having to restrain his friend, Cash asked 
Lillie impatiently, "So...what's happening?" 

No longer smug, the Toreador quickly turned the pages of the spell book 
back and forth a few times before finally stating, "Well, it should 
have worked." 

"SHOULD, Lillie?!? What do you mean it should have worked? Why didn't 

"Probably because we didn't use ALL her blood like the spell calls for, 
Cash. But no, with all you do-gooders around here, we could only use a 
pint or two...or three." 

Hands on hips, Buffy angrily barked, "Well, I'm SO sorry to disappoint 

Determined, Lillie climbed onto the bed and, straddling Angel's legs, 
stated, "Well, he's not going to embarrass me by dying!" 

"Lillie, what are you doing?" Cash asked somewhat nervously. 

Ripping open the buttons of Angel's shirt with her clawed hands, she 
replied, "Sometimes the old ways are best." Then, before anyone could 
react, she sank her teeth deeply into his neck. 

"No, Lillie! Don't!" 

The response was instantaneous. Angel's eyes shot open while his fangs 
sought and found the woman's jugular. Just as quickly, his flesh also 
began to expand and flow over his skeletal frame. 

"Is this what's supposed to happen?" Dawson asked nervously. In reply, 
he received a shrug from Richie. 

"I hope so." 

Now struggling with renewed strength against the ropes binding him, 
Angel managed to free his left arm before Cash could get back into 
position. As the smaller Kindred fought to get the situation back under 
control, he heard a growl, followed immediately by the shrieking sound 
of stressed metal. The next thing he knew, a metal bar was heading for 
his head. 

"Oh shit!" Xander screamed as Cash hit the floor, "here we go again!" 
Moving forward, he once again found himself being restrained by Giles. 

"Hey, what gives?" 

"Don't enter the circle!" 

"Yeah, but Buffy..." 

"Can take care of herself! Don't enter the circle!" 

By now, Angel had broken completely free. With one fluid motion, he 
flipped Lillie over and was straddling her, his teeth still embedded in 
her neck. For her part, the Toreador was using her claws to rake his 
back, leaving bloody streaks in their wake. Eventually, as her 
struggling first weakened and then ceased, Angel seemed to lose 
interest. Quickly peering over his shoulder, he sought out a new 

"Hello, lover!" 

"YOU! But it can't be!" exclaimed Buffy. 

Getting up, Angel's alter-ego, Angelus replied, "Oh, but it can. You 
just can't keep a good demon down." 

As the Slayer reached for a stake, the vampire lunged, knocking her to 
the floor and the air from her lungs. Holding her by the throat, 
Angelus was deciding if he should kill her before draining her or BY 
draining her, when he noticed movement behind him. Quickly tossing the 
Slayer back onto the floor, he spun around and grabbed an arm holding a 
stake aimed at his ribcage. 

"That's not very friendly, Cash." 

"Die, you bastard!" 

"After you, Gangrel scum!" 

While punching the Gangrel in the face, Angelus simultaneously brought 
his knee up into the other creature's groin. Then, after retrieving the 
stake, he was attempting to impale Cash when he heard a high-pitched 
whine. Feeling a searing pain, he looked down to see two crossbow bolts 
imbedded in the right side of his chest. He also heard someone remark, 
"Shit...we missed!" followed by an accented voice commanding, "Reload 
quickly, Nick!" 

"Oh, great, just what I need...damn Legacy pricks." 

Looking for an escape path, the vampire saw bodies closing in from all 
directions: in addition to Nick and Derek, there was Giles, Willow and 
Xander -- asshole kid had a sword; a priest holding a large crucifix 
and a small vial of holy water -- great, just great; and finally that 
troublemaking cripple and his lackey, Ryan -- also with a sword. 


"Hey, look who's talking," Xander retorted. 

As Angelus finally attempted to crash through what he believed to be 
the weakest link, namely the aforementioned Immortal teen, his booted 
foot left the chalk circle. Instantly, a bright flash caused him to 
jump backwards. 


Now perched back on the bed, the vampire also found himself facing a 
new threat. Looking up, he saw a form hovering just below the room's 

"Remember me, demon?" 


Mario then swooped down onto the vampire, using one arm to lift Angelus 
off the floor by the neck. His eyes now bulging, the vampire clawed 
futilely at the angel's face. "I'm REALLY getting tired of you," he 

Still holding the struggling creature in an iron grip, Mario then asked 
Philip Callahan, "Can you perform an exorcism?" 


Startled, the priest answered, "Yes, of course." 


"Then do so. The demon's name is Angelus." 


Still not understanding, Philip asked, "But can't you do it?" 

"Yes. But then both the good and the evil will be banished...forever." 

As Buffy regained her senses, she noticed Cash lying motionless nearby. 
Receiving no response from the fallen Gangrel, she then heard an all 
too familiar voice shout, "RELEASE ME!" 

While still holding the increasingly frantic vampire at bay, Mario 
inquired, "Are you ready, Philip?" 

After simply replying, "Yes," the priest continued, "in the name of the 
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit..." 

As he continued to recite prayers, Buffy moved forward, a stake held at 
the ready. 


"It's Angelus, isn't it?" 

In response, Mario replied, "Yes." 

"You're responsible for this! Angel was doing alright and then you came 
along...now look at him!" 


"I know. I'm sorry." 

"You're sorry? Hey, Giles, he says he's sorry...AGAIN! Hey, newsflash, 
buddy...I want my Angel back!" 

"We're trying. Please be patient." 

"Patient? Hello...believe it or not, some of us aren't going to live 

"By the power of God, I command thee to leave this body!" Philip 


Suddenly realizing that a different ritual was now in progress, the 
Slayer asked no one in particular, "What's going on now?" 

"An exorcism," called Giles from several feet away. 

"You mean like in the movies?" 

"Yes, Miss Summers," Derek replied, "just like in the movies." 


"I command you, unclean spirit, to leave this child of God." 

As a bright light filled the room, the vampire's body suddenly went 
limp, allowing Mario to set him back down. As he did so, Lillie started 
moving again. Seeing Angel lying quietly next to her, she asked, "So 
did it work?" 

"The jury's still out on that, Miss Langtry," Giles remarked. 

Rubbing her rapidly healing neck, the female Kindred remarked, "That 
boy always was quite a firecracker in the sack." 

Ignoring her, Buffy helped Cash up. 

"Damn, what hit me?" 


"Oh yeah, right...did I get him?" 

Motioning toward the other vampire's still form, the Slayer stated, 
"No...not quite. But he almost got you." 

Bloody and bruised, Cash remarked, "No shit," before adding, "Angel 
made me promise to kill him if the ritual went wrong." 

"Yeah, I kinda guessed that." 

"So now what?" 

"Now we wait," the Slayer concluded. 

Part Fifteen

Mancini Residence 7:42 A.M. 

As Derek steered the Explorer into a spot across from the house, he 
remarked to Nick, "Remember, you were never here last night." 

"Yeah, I know. Actually, I wish I wasn't. It's not pretty." 

Entering the house, they passed the shattered front door and proceeded 
inside. Mulder was examining the pictogram scrawled on the living room 

"Glad you could join us. We've only been trying to reach you for two 

"Sorry, our cell phones must be acting up," Nick replied. 

Unconvinced, Mulder merely muttered, "Ah hah, right." 

Stepping around the agent, Derek moved toward the bloody wall. 

"And what do we have here?" 

"Near as we can tell, our boy returned here after breaking out of 
custody last night and kidnapped his wife. Unfortunately, Mrs. Mancini 
seems to have gotten in the way." 

"Have you determined the relevance of this symbol, Agent Mulder?" the 
Precept asked while studying the scythe. 

"No, not yet. We're going to send photos of it back to Quantico for 

"That sounds reasonable," remarked the Precept. 

"Where's Dana?" Nick asked. 

"She's with the body." 

As the Legacy member crossed the room heading for the stairs, Mulder 
turned and asked, "Where are you going, Boyle?" 



"I thought you said Dana's examining the body." 

"I did," the agent replied. "But I didn't say it was upstairs. Now how 
would you know that?" 
As Derek's eyebrows shot upward, Nick coolly replied, "I thought it was 
a safe assumption that since Mrs. Mancini wasn't found in her living 
room she would probably be upstairs. Am I right?" 

"Yeah, you're right, Boyle. She's in the master bedroom. Want me to 
show you the way?" 

"No, I'll find it myself." 

"I'm sure you will." 

A few moments later, upon entering the bedroom, Nick found Scully. 


"Hey, yourself. We've been trying to reach you." 

"We or you? Mulder still doesn't seem to trust Derek and me." 

"Yeah, well he can be pigheaded at times." 

"So what happened here?" 

Looking down, the agent replied, "As near as we can tell, she's been 
dead approximately 12 hours. Although we haven't conducted a through 
examination, from the bruising it appears she was strangled and her 
neck broken." Then, after a pause, she added, "There was also this..." 
while exposing two puncture wounds previously concealed by the woman's 

Acting ignorant, Nick asked, "What are those?" 

"I'm not sure. Although I've read about similar ritualistic killings." 

"That's pretty rough. She seemed like a nice lady." 

"Yes, she did," Scully replied. "And what's worse is that the timing of 
the crime makes Mario Seraphim the leading suspect. Mulder put a 
statewide APB out on him." 

"Am I detecting some doubt in your voice, Dana? Don't you think the 
kid's guilty too?" 

Looking directly at him, she answered, "At first, I thought he was 
probably guilty. But now, I'm not so sure. There's something about 
him...it's hard to explain." 

"Tell me about it." 

"I don't know...you'll probably think I'm crazy." 

"Try me." 

"Well, when we were interrogating him yesterday, something strange 

"Strange? Like what?" 

"Well, when he looked at me, I felt this amazing sense of calm. It's 
was one of the oddest things I've ever experienced." 

"And therefore, you don't think he's a killer." 

"I know it's illogical, Nick. And Mulder thinks I'm crazy for a change, 
but I don't think Mario's capable of this kind of brutality." 

"Well, if it makes you feel any better, Derek and I think the kid's 
innocent too." 

"You do? Why?" 

"Let's just call it a hunch." 


8:37 A.M. 

As they headed back to their truck, Derek remarked to Nick, "Agent 
Mulder's convinced that Mario Seraphim's some kind of serial killer." 

"Well, Dana doesn't agree." 


"Yeah. Although she thinks there's something 'odd' about him, she 
thinks he's innocent." 

"Smart woman." 

"Yeah, I think so too." 

As the two got into the vehicle and drove off, Mulder stepped out from 
behind the living room drapes while Scully was coming down the stairs. 
Pulling off her latex gloves, she asked, "See anything interesting out 
there, Mulder?" 

"I still don't trust them, Scully." 

"Oh please, Mulder, not this again." 

"I think Boyle was in this house before." 

"Well, Mulder, that might be because he came with us yesterday to 
interview the deceased." 

"Dammit, Scully, I know that! What I mean is that he probably got here 
before us and found the body." After pausing, he added ominously, 
"Maybe he even did more than that." 

"Are you serious, Mulder? Do you really think Nick and Derek are 
somehow involved in this murder?" 

"Boyle knew the body was upstairs before I told him." 

"Fine, Mulder. But since most domestic murder victims are found in 
their bedrooms, is that such an amazing leap?" 

"Say what you want, Scully. But I still think there's more to those 
guys than meets the eye." 


Sunnydale High School Library 12:24 P.M. 

With Derek and Nick out; Xander, Willow, Oz and Richie zonked out in 
Giles' office; Philip and Dawson put up in a motel; and Cash and Lillie 
hiding wherever the undead hid during the day, only Buffy and her 
Watcher remained with Angel. As she had for the previous hour, the 
Slayer was pacing. 

"Will you please sit down, Buffy. You're making me nervous." 

"Sit down and what, Giles? I think we're doing way too much sitting and 
not enough acting as it is." 

"Try to remain focused," the Watcher implored. 

"Oh, I'm focused. Angel's over there playing dead, we have a 
supernatural being straight from Hell loose on the street, a girl's 
been kidnapped, and the bodies are piling up. Did I forget anything?" 

Removing his glasses, the man replied dejectedly, "No...no...that seems 
to be about all." 

"So what are we gonna do about it then?" 

"Well, let's think about this, Buffy. We've got to find Semyaza before 
he sacrifices Marie Demerest during the Winter solstice. Unfortunately, 
that only leaves us about 11 hours." 

"Yeah. And we have no idea where to find them, unless..." 

"Unless what, Buffy?" 

"I have to go, Giles. I'll be back later." 

"Where are you going?" 

"For some information...I'll be back. Watch Angel." 

"I'm coming with you." The statement came from above. 

Looking up, she saw Mario perched on the balcony railing. 

"Oh no, you're not! Now don't get me wrong, I'm grateful you helped us 
last night and all..." 

Floating down, the angel landed soundlessly in front of her before 
repeating, "I'm coming with you." 

"I work alone." 

After replying, "Not today, you don't," Mario nodded toward Angel and 
asked, "You love him, don't you?" 

"Yes," she answered in a whisper. 

"And I love Marie. Now do you understand?" 

Reluctantly, Buffy answered, "OK. Just don't get in the way." 

While heading out of the library, they were unexpectedly confronted by 
a short, balding man wearing a cheap suit. 

"Principal Snyder? What are you doing here...on Saturday?" 

"Be quiet...I'll ask the questions here, missy." 

Storming past them, the administrator saw an unknown man lying immobile 
across a table. He also noticed several others sleeping in the office. 
Spotting Giles, he stated accusingly, "What's going on here. . .some 
kind of drunken orgy?" Wagging his finger, Snyder added ominously, "Now 
I've got you, mister! They'll throw you in jail for corrupting 

"Now see here, you don't understand..." 

"Oh I understand perfectly. It's all making sense now...all those 
strange gatherings in here at all hours of the day and night. You're 
some kind of pornographer, aren't you?" 

"PORNOGRAPHER!?! Are you completely mad?" 

Spinning on his heal, Snyder started back to his office when he once 
again found himself facing Buffy and Mario. 

"Miss Summers...I should have known. And you -- whatever your name is 
-- in trouble again. First detention and now this. Get out of my way, 
both of you!" 

"We can't do that," Buffy remarked. 

"No? Why not?" 

"Because if we did, I couldn't do this..." 



As the principal crumbled to the floor like a sack of potatoes, Giles 
became apoplectic. 

"My God, Buffy! What have you done?" 

Shaking her hand, the teen kept repeating, "Ow...ow...ow!" before 
adding, "damn, he's got a hard head!" 

"Was that really necessary?" asked Mario. 

"Yeah, that troll's had it coming...for a long time." 


Willie's Bar and Grill 1:16 P.M. 

As they were about to enter the sleazy bar, Mario asked the Slayer, "So 
why are we here?" 

"Willie the Snitch is the bartender. Nothing happens in Sunnydale that 
he doesn't know about...or is involved in." 


"Yeah, he's helped us out from time to time. Sometimes though, he needs 
some . . . persuasion . . . before he does the right thing." 

Pulling open the door, the two instantly noticed several shadowy 
figures retreating into a dark back room. In fact, everyone in the 
place quickly scurried for cover. Only the bartender remained. 

"Hey, howya doing, young lady? It's...ah...good to see you again." 

"You don't sound so sure about that, Willie. Now why would that be?" 

"Um, ah...now why would you go and say that? It's always good to see 
the Slayer and her...ah..." 

"Friend," Mario finished. 

"Yeah, right...the Slayer and her friend." 

Continuing to run a dirty dishrag over the bar, Willie then asked, "So 
how's Angel doing?" 

Impatiently, she replied, "He's been better," before stating, "We're 
here for some info, Willie.  There's a new bad guy in town...goes by 
the name of Semyaza." 

"Oh, no! I don't need that kinda heat. I'm just trying to make a living 

Grabbing him by the collar, the girl pushed her face into his, 
remarking, "Well then you'd better cooperate because I'll turn the heat 
up right here and now." 

"You don't know what you're asking...this guy's bad...really bad. 
Nothing you can do compares to what he'll do to me." 

Stepping forward, Mario remarked, "Don't be so sure. Some things are 
more important than your mortal existence." 

"Yeah, right...sure. Like what?" 

Replying, "Your immortal soul," the angel stepped forward and grabbed 
both sides of the man's head. As a flood of images flowed into him, he 
fell back against the bar. 

"Oh man! You're like him, aren't you?" 


"OK...OK...whatever. He's in a cave under the zoo." 

In response, Buffy asked, "How do you know?" 

"According to my...sources...several animals were slaughtered there 
over the past few days. Then they found a zoo keeper dead last night." 

"I know a girl got killed there the other night. But I never heard 
about the keeper," remarked Buffy. 

"No? So tell it to city hall." 


Sunnydale High School Library 9:13 P.M. 

With practically the entire group from the previous evening assembled 
(except for Lillie -- returned to San Francisco and Oz -- lunar 
complications), a serious strategy session continued. On a bulletin 
board was a map of Sunnydale Zoo decorated with colored lines and 

"Now let's recap," Giles stated while standing with a pointer at the 

"Jeez, Giles, we've been through this five times already," Xander 
complained. "Let's just go over there and kick this guy's butt." Richie 
and Nick, sitting near him, nodded in agreement. 

"I'm afraid to admit this," Buffy remarked, "but Xander's right. We've 
done stuff like this before. Why the Rambo routine this time?" 

"It's different this time, Buffy," the Watcher stated, "Semyaza cannot 
be underestimated. He's quite powerful." 

"Giles is right," Derek chimed in. "According to the information Alex 
provided this afternoon, Semyaza is a Domination. Is that correct, 


"Whoa...whoa...now that sounds kinda kinky," Xander remarked. Then, 
noticing disapproving expressions on many faces, he asked, "So what's a

"A Domination," the Precept corrected, "is an angel like Mario here." 

"Quite a powerful one -- very powerful -- actually," Giles added. 

No longer raring to go, Xander turned to Mario and asked, "Yeah, but 
you can take him, right...right?" 

"I'll try." 

"YOU'LL TRY! Oh man, this is not good!" 

"Which makes it that much more important that we all know what we're 
doing tonight," Giles stated while once again picking up his pointer. 
"Now, where were we? Oh yes...according to the map, three passages lead 
to Semyaza's underground cavern. At precisely 11 o'clock, Mario will 
move in with Buffy, Cash, and myself from the north, while Derek, Nick 
and Philip approach from the south. Xander and Richie, meanwhile, will 
cut off his escape from the tunnel to the east." 

Suddenly smacking the paper with the pointer, the librarian continued. 
"Now...Joe, you'll be in Derek's truck, positioned on this small hill 
here, while Willow remains in the library coordinating the overall 
effort. Remember, if any group falls behind schedule, or runs into 
unexpected difficulty, you're to immediately call either Joe or Willow 
and they'll relay your message to the other groups. Are there any 

"Yeah, General Montgomery, what's that brown circle represent?" asked 

Sheepishly, the Watcher answered, "This afternoon's tea...it spilled. 
Now, are there any other questions?" 

"What are we going to do with him?" asked Willow, nodding toward 
Snyder's bound, gagged and blindfolded body trussed up in the corner. 

"Assuming we're successful, we'll release him later. If not, we'll let 
the students find him." 

"But Giles," the girl remarked, "except for us, no students use the 

"Yes, quite" the Brit agreed, a wry smile on his lips. "Now, is there 
anything else?" 

"Where do you need me?" The shaky voice came from behind the group, 
causing all heads to turn. 

"Angel, you're up!" a surprised Buffy exclaimed. 

"Yeah, I'm feeling...better." 

"How much better?" asked Xander, not totally convinced. 

"I'm alright. Angelus has been weakened...I can feel it." Then, looking 
at Mario, the vampire added softly, "Thank you." 

"Maybe it would be better if you went home...and rested," Giles 

"No, I want to help." 

"He's coming," Buffy stated decisively. 

"But, he's..." 

"I said he's coming, Giles! And I'll be responsible for him. Do you 
have a problem with that?" 

Placing the pointer down, the Watcher replied, "I just hope you know 
what you're doing, Buffy." 

"No, Giles, if I knew what I was doing, I would've moved away from here 
a long time ago." 


Across from Sunnydale High School 10:40 P.M. 

"We've been here all night," remarked Scully while sitting in a rented 
replacement car. "What exactly do you expect us to see, Mulder?" 

"I'm not sure, Scully. Except that Boyle and Rayne went in there three 
hours ago and haven't come out yet." 

"Fine, Mulder. I realize it's odd that they went into that building at 
night, but I still don't like spying on people." 

"I prefer to call it surveillance, Scully, not spying." 

"You can call it whatever you want, Mulder. I don't like it." 

"Look out...here they come!" 

As the agents continued to watch, a sizable group quickly exited the 
school, crossed the lawn, and headed toward several vehicles sitting in 
the parking lot. Within a minute, two motorcycles, two sport utility 
vehicles, and a small beat up foreign car roared -- or in the case of 
the latter, putted -- off into the darkness. 

"Did you see who was with them, Scully? I knew it." 

Reluctantly, the woman admitted, "You've been right all along, Mulder. 
They've been playing us for fools." 

Starting the car's ignition, Mulder hesitantly remarked, "Sorry, 
Scully, I know that you . . . liked . . . Boyle." 

 He didn't receive a response. 

Part Sixteen

Sunnydale Zoological Park and Gardens 
10:54 P.M. 

"Now remember. Semyaza isn't an ordinary angel." 

"Since when are ANY angel's ordinary, Giles?" 

"You know what I mean, Buffy." 

Cautiously continuing through the tunnel, the girl then asked, "So what 
exactly is supposed to go down tonight? If this guy manages to open the
Hellmouth, then what?" 

"You don't want to know," Angel remarked gravely. 

"Yeah, Angel, I think I do. I don't like surprises." 

Instead of responding, the vampire glanced at Cash, who glanced at 
Giles, who glanced at Mario. "HELLO? What am I missing here? What 
EXACTLY is supposed to happen tonight?" 

"If Semyaza succeeds in opening the gateway, a dragon will emerge," 
Mario finally answered. 


"No, I'm afraid he's not, Buffy," remarked Giles. 

"And what about Marie? What is she, a sacrifice or something?" 

While nervously eyeing Mario, the Watcher again replied, "No...not 

Now stopping dead in her tracks, the girl spun around and confronted 
her four companions. 

"OK...that's it. What's going on here. First, we have to stop this evil 
angel/vampire prick -- that's bad enough -- then we have to rescue your 

"Wife," Mario corrected. 

"Sorry...wife. And now we have to slay a dragon. Is THAT it?" 

As Angel and Cash stared down at their feet, the Watcher stuttered, 
"Well, ah, I mean..." 


"Oh, very well then -- we must also stop Semyaza from sacrificing 
Marie's baby to the dragon." 

After a prolonged silence, Buffy attempted to speak but words eluded 
her. Finally, she managed to ask, "And just when were any of you going 
to mention this?"  But before anyone could respond, a high-pitched wail 
came from deep within the tunnel. While stepping over a dead rat, the 
frustrated Slayer remarked, "I REALLY hate this job." 

Meanwhile, back on the surface, Joe Dawson was atop a small hill 
overlooking the zoo. A cellular phone was on the seat beside him and a 
pair of binoculars were in his hands. 

"C'mon, where are you guys?" 

Having first lost sight of Buffy's group, Dawson watched Derek, Nick 
and Philip also disappear into a tunnel. Sharpening his focus eastward, 
he could at least take some satisfaction in keeping an eye on Richie 
and Xander posted at the mouth of a third underground passage. However, 
while continuing to watch the two men, he thought he saw something move 

"What the hell?" 

As he continued to watch, a man wielding a sword stepped out from 
behind a building near the two Immortals. 


Reaching for the phone, the Watcher heard a click near his left ear. 

"Put it down and hand me the keys, sir." 

Through the reflection in the truck's side view mirror, Joe saw a woman 
wearing a trenchcoat. 

"Calm down, young lady. I'm just here star gazing." 

"I said hand me the keys, sir." 

As he reluctantly did so, Dawson couldn't help wonder how he would 
explain an arrest to his superiors. 


10:57 P.M. 

Back underground, things were also not going according to plan. As 
Buffy, her Watcher, the two vampires, and Mario cautiously entered a 
large candlelit cavern, they were immediately confronted by the sight 
of Marie strapped to the gurney sitting at the edge of a pit. But 
Semyaza was nowhere to be seen. 

"Hurry, Buffy, free the girl. Angel, take Cash and go with her," 
instructed Giles. 

While peering through the gloom, Mario sagely whispered, "This is too 

"Don't look a gift horse in the mouth," replied the Brit. 

Still peering around cautiously, the angel spotted a nearly 
imperceptible movement from high above. Shouting, "LOOK OUT!" he pushed 
the Watcher out of the way a split second before a fireball exploded 
from the darkness, caught him in the chest, and slammed him against a 
stone wall. 

"Hello, Marioch. It's been a long time." The statement seemed to come 
from all around. 

With his shirt now scorched, Mario had struggled back to his feet when 
a second blast again pinned him to the wall. 

"Not long enough, you sadist!" he spat in reply. 

Floating out of the darkness, Semyaza laughed before remarking, "Now, 
now...is that any way to talk to your brother?" 

Glancing around, he quickly focused on Buffy, Angel and Cash who were 
attempting to untie Marie. 

"Don't go so soon. The show hasn't even started yet." With another ball 
of plasma materializing in the palm of his hand, the fallen angel 
tossed it in their direction. 

"GET DOWN!" shouted Angel while knocking Buffy to the ground as the 
fiery projectile exploded nearby, blasting the vampire about ten feet 
across the cavern. The explosion also knocked Marie's gurney onto its 

As the Slayer crawled over to Angel, she heard both Marie's sobbing and 
a new unidentifiable sound emanating from behind her. Upon reaching the
soot-stained vampire, she started shaking him. 

"Angel...Angel, answer me!" 

Slowly opening his yellow tinged eyes, he first muttered, "That guy 
packs quite a punch," before focusing on a point beyond the girl's 
shoulder and recoiling. Seeing the vampire's eyes widen, Buffy also 
detected something in him that she rarely saw -- terror. 

"Angel what's wrong?" 

As a shadow descended upon her, the girl heard another high-pitched 
shriek. Turning, she started to remark, "What the...?" when she caught 
sight of seven scale-covered necks topped by immense horned heads 
springing from the mouth of the pit. 


This reaction was shared by Nick Boyle who arrived with Derek and 
Philip through the southern tunnel. Drawing his sword, the Immortal 
asked, "Just how are we supposed to stop that thing, Derek?" Not 
receiving a response, he looked over to see both the Precept and priest 
staring downward, their mouths agape. 

"Hey, guys! Don't zone out on me now!" 

Quickly regaining his composure, Derek remarked academically, "It looks 
like the prophesy is true." 

"That's just great, Derek," replied Nick sarcastically before asking, 
"Now what are we gonna do about it?" 


Surveying the situation, the priest noticed that the dragon was focused 
on the still bound Marie. 

"It's waiting to devour the child when it's born. We must free the girl 

"Oh, yeah? And how do you propose we do that?" asked the Immortal. 

"Well, you do have that pig-sticker," suggested the priest. 

"You're nuts! What's Plan B?" 

"We have to rescue her before she delivers, Nick." 

"Oh right! So what am I supposed to do? Waltz up and chop off a 
head...or two...or three?" 

"Well, you've done it before, haven't you?" 

"No, Derek, I haven't! Christ...other Immortals, no problem; demons and 
an occasional succubus, fine; vampires, got them covered too. BUT NEVER 
A DRAGON! Just look at that thing! Its neck...no, make that necks...are 
as thick as a telephone pole." 

"We'll try to distract it so you can get close." 

"You'll try? Gee, thanks." 

At that moment, the men were momentarily blinded by an intense flash 
from above. Looking up, they found the source. Mario and Semyaza, now 
both airborne and emitting an unearthly glow, were exchanging blows. 

"Now there's something you don't see every day," remarked Derek. 

Starting to cautiously climb downward, Nick retorted, "Yeah, and I 
didn't need to see it today either. C'mon, let's get this over with." 


11:04 P.M. 

Richie Ryan sensed Joshua Whelon's approach first. Turning, he caught 
sight of the headhunter stepping out from behind a nearby building. 

"This guy has a knack for great timing, I've got to say that." 

Still not realizing what had the attention of his teacher, Xander 
started to ask, "Who...?" when the sensation also hit him. 

"Ah oh, this is bad...VERY BAD." 

Drawing his blade, the older Immortal remarked, "You can say that 
again," before adding, "Stay back, Xander." 

"Maybe I can take this guy, Richie." 

"Don't argue with me. Go help Buffy and the others. I'll stay here and 
deal with him." 

"I've come for the boy, Ryan," shouted Whelon from across the lawn. 

"Well, isn't that just tough." 

As Xander reluctantly headed for the mouth of the tunnel, two shots 
rang out. Turning back around, he saw Riche fall to his knees before 
flopping face down in the grass. 

"Now that's much better." 

"You shot him, you bastard!" 

With a smile on his face, Whelon placed the gun back in his jacket 
pocket before raising the sword held in his other hand. Then, taking a 
few steps toward Ryan's body he asked, "Now, are you going to accept my 
challenge or do I play golf with your teacher's head?" 

Drawing his own weapon, Xander took a few tentative swipes. 

"They say you never forget your first time, Harris...assuming you're 
still alive, that is." 

Now annoyed, the teen replied, "Hey, buddy...less mouth and more 

Replying, "Fine. Have it your way, boy," Whelon sprung forward. 


11:07 P.M. 

Back down in the cavern, Buffy had crawled behind a outcropping of rock 
about ten feet from Marie. Nearby, her two undead acquaintances had 
also taken cover. With seven snapping heads whipping around near ground 
level, the reason for their caution was obvious. 

"Any suggestions, guys?" 

"Don't get eaten," replied Angel dryly. 

"No shit," answered the Slayer. "Any other thoughts?" 

Just at that moment, one of the serpentine appendages expelled a stream 
of fire in their direction. 

"Yeah. And don't get fried," remarked Cash, crouching lower. 

"That's just great, and I didn't wear my asbestos panties today," Buffy 

Meanwhile, back up on the ledge, Derek and Philip had linked up with 

"We have to distract that thing so Nick and the others can rescue the 

Flinching from a sudden screech from below and a violent rumble from 
the clashing angels above, Giles inquired, "And just how would you 
suggest we accomplish that, Derek?" 

Looking around, the Precept noticed that several large boulders had 
worked themselves loose from the ceiling and walls and were sitting 
precariously near the edge of the precipice. 

"We'll finish what nature has already started." 

Realizing what the Legacy member was suggesting, the Watcher remarked 
incredulously , "You're not serious. We'll cause a cave-in." 

Starting toward the rock pile with the priest close behind, the 
Frenchman replied, "That's what I'm hoping for." 

As another flash cast shadows wildly about the cavern, Giles again 
glanced upward at Mario and Semyaza. Silhouetted against the walls, he 
could also make out wildly thrashing wings that were otherwise 
invisible. Wicked looking weapons had also mysteriously appeared in 
their hands. 

"Join the Watchers and see the world...bloody hell!" 


11:09 P.M. 

"You can't win, Marioch. The prophesy will be fulfilled and He will 

Semyaza underscored this statement by slashing at his opponent with a 
scythe topped with a three-foot curved blade. Catching it between two 
points of his trident, Mario forced his opponent's weapon downward. 

"You and your master will be sent back to Hell where you belong!" the 
other angel roared back as fireballs boiled up from below, setting his 
clothes on fire. 

"You're outnumbered here, Marioch. As you can see, I brought a 

While once again blocking another swipe from the scythe, Mario seemed 
oblivious to the fact that his clothes were being consumed by the 
flames. Glancing down at the beast, he calmly remarked, "In case you 
haven't noticed, Semyaza, I brought some friends too," before grabbing 
the other angel by the throat and forcing him toward the nearest wall. 


11:13 P.M. 

Not as fluid as his opponent, Xander was holding his own until Whelon 
blocked a thrust and slugged him in the gut. Retreating toward the 
hyena house, the teen shielded his stomach and struggled to catch his 

"Looking a little green around the gills there, Harris." 

Now regretting the four chili dogs he had downed earlier in the 
evening, the young Immortal, fresh out of witty remarks, replied, "Just 
shut the hell up, you prick." 

"Who are you calling a hick, city boy?" 

With the cackling of hyenas ringing in his ears, Xander cautiously 
moved away from their enclosure. 

"I said prick, not hick...oh, screw it!" 

As the duel continued, Whelon pressed the attack to the teen's still 
sensitive midsection. Eventually grazing him on the right forearm, he 
immediately moved to capitalize on Xander's wound by trying a stabbing 
motion that was turned back. Now backed against a brick wall, Xander 
forced Whelon back with a series of determined thrusts. To his credit, 
the older Immortal blocked them all, except one that dug deeply into 
his right thigh. 

Screaming, he instantly reacted by connecting with a left hook to 
Xander's jaw. With the young Immortal momentarily stunned, Whelon took 
the opportunity to limp away. Meanwhile, trying to shake off the blow, 
Xander tasted blood from where his teeth had cut the inside of his lip. 

"Come back here, you scumbag!" 

Sensing an opening, Xander thought he could end it entirely. Following 
close on the heels of the now limping Whelon, he tried to again stab 
him in the leg when the man spun around, nearly knocking the sword out 
of his hand with a savage slash. Then, pulling a previously hidden 
knife from his coat, he stabbed Xander in the left shoulder. 

While still holding on to the hilt of the short blade, Whelon started 
twisting it for emphasis, causing Xander to fall to his knees. 

"Now it ends, Yankee boy!" 

With tears rolling down his cheeks, the teen thought he would pass out 
when he heard a man's voice command, "Federal agent...drop your 
weapons!" Momentarily distracted, Whelon cast a sideways glance at the 
newcomer, squinting into the intense beam of a flashlight. However, the 
interruption provided just enough time for Xander to reflexively bring 
up his sword in a baseball-style swing. 

"Hey, kid, that means you too," Mulder added. 

Realizing he had made a serious tactical mistake -- namely taking his 
eyes off his opponent -- Whelon instantly whipped back around to face 
Xander. Instead, all he saw was an object, glinting in the moonlight, 
heading for his head. 

As Whelon's body collapsed to the ground, the teen heard himself 
screaming, "DIE ASSHOLE!" 

Rushing up, Mulder saw what had just happened and trained his weapon on 
the teen. 

"Stay right there. You're under arrest." 

After dropping his sword, Xander reached for the knife still protruding 
from his chest. With his teeth clenched, he pulled the blade out with 
an animalistic scream that sent the nearby hyenas into a frenzy. 

"Yeah, guys...I know how you feel." 

Reaching for his cell phone, Mulder started dialing 911 when he noticed 
a white mist materializing around Whelon's body. He also heard the teen 
remark, "I'd move back if I were you, mister." 

"I said you're under arrest. Stay where you are." 

"Fine...but don't say I didn't warn you." 

Feeling a static electric discharge from his gun, Mulder glanced down 
and noticed the hairs standing on his hands and arms. Before he could 
react further, a lightning bolt came crashing down. 



"Can't you untie her faster?" 

"Hey, we're doing the best we can," replied Buffy. 

Slashing away at the dragon, Nick shot back, "Then do better!" 

"What is that thing?" Marie managed to ask between contractions as 
Angel, Buffy and Cash worked to free her. 

"Don't ask," replied the Slayer, struggling with the straps and ropes 
holding her legs and wrists. 

"Look out!" yelled Cash as a spiked tail slammed down next to the 

"That's it," stated Angel, "forget about untying the girl. We'll take 
the whole damn thing out of here with her on it. Buffy, you and Cash 
grab that end." 

As they started rolling the gurney toward the tunnel opening, they 
heard a loud screech. Turning, Buffy saw one of the dragon's heads, now 
severed, wiggling around on the floor. Meanwhile, Derek, Giles and 
Philip were preparing to drop the boom on the remaining six. 

"NICK, LOOK OUT!" Derek shouted from above. 

Looking up, the Immortal saw what the three men were attempting. As a 
fireball roared past his head, singeing his hair, he attempted to roll 
out of the way as a rain of rocks came cascading down with an 
earsplitting roar. When the dust finally settled, the monster was under 
tons of rock, sealed once again within the pit. However, Nick was 
immobile on the floor, a large blood-stained stone near his skull. 
Seeing what had transpired, Angel told Buffy to help Cash get the girl 
to safety while he went to aid the injured Immortal. 

Semyaza, meantime, was not a happy camper. After managing to free 
himself from Mario's grasp, he looked down to see his beast buried and 
his sacrifice being spirited away. 

"You can't have the girl!" 

Swooping down toward Buffy and the others, the angel momentarily paused 
as a hail of bullets rippled through his body. Searching for the 
culprits, Semyaza quickly spotted Derek and Giles holding a pistol and 
a revolver, respectively, pointed in his direction. Raising the scythe 
menacingly, he asked "You mortals think you can stop me?" 

"No, but I can." 

Turning, Semyaza saw Mario heading straight for him, his trident aimed 
like a spear. Catching him in the neck, they plummeted down toward the 
pile of rocks covering the now dormant Hellmouth. Upon hitting the 
ground, their weapons were knocked from their grasp with the scythe 
skidding across the cave and stopping at Angel's feet. 

While the two creatures continued to struggle, with Mario straddling 
the prone Semyaza, the vampire picked up the massive weapon and started 
moving toward them. From his back, Semyaza spotted Angel approaching 
and, fixing his gaze upon him, attempted to cloud his mind. Hearing a 
commanding voice in his head, the vampire began to stumble forward like 
a puppet on a string. 

Looking back from the tunnel portal, Buffy saw what was happening. 
Releasing the gurney, she ran back into the cave as Cash called after 
her, "Hey, where are you going?" 

With dark blood oozing from numerous punctures, gashes and outright 
stab wounds, Mario and Semyaza nonetheless continued to alternately 
choke, bash and shred each other with talon-like fingernails. In 
addition, Mario was burned courtesy of numerous fireballs directed at 
him by both the more powerful angel and the now buried hydra-headed 

"Join me, Marioch. We'll rule this world together." 

Continuing to strangle the Domination into submission, Mario replied, 
"It's not your world to rule." 

With the vampire now standing over the two angels, and Buffy still 
about 30 feet away, Semyaza saw his opportunity. With his fangs 
flashing in the unnatural glow, he commanded, "DESTROY HIM! DO IT 

Feeling a hand grasp his shoulder, Mario's head started to turn just as 
he was pulled clear of the still struggling Semyaza. In another second, 
he had rolled onto his back just as Angel raised the immense blade over 
his head. 

Now with both divine beings laying at his feet and Buffy leaping in a 
last ditch effort to stop him, Angel saw Semyaza's eyes widen and heard 
him scream, "NO! I'M YOUR MASTER!" 

Bringing the blade down in a wide arc, the vampire felt practically no 
resistance as the scythe sliced cleanly through everything in its path. 
A moment later, as an energy surge rocketed around the cavern before 
disappearing through the overhanging rocks, Angel had allowed the 
weapon to drop when a booted foot suddenly caught him in the chest, 
sending him sprawling. Momentarily stunned, he slowly shook his head 
from side to side. Then, taking in the extremely gory mess before him, 
he asked, "What...what happened?" 

Rising, Mario remarked, "Semyaza forgot about your soul." Then, 
glancing down at the disassociated limbs, he added, "He'll never do 
that again." 

While helping Buffy to her feet, the vampire asked, "You were actually 
controlling me instead of him, weren't you?" 

With a grin, Mario replied, "I couldn't force you to do anything you 
didn't want to do, Angel. Free will, remember?" 

Just then, they heard an accented voice ask from the ledge above, 
"Buffy, are you alright?" 

Looking around, the Slayer noticed the immobile Immortal still laying 

"Giles, tell Derek and Philip that Nick's been hurt." 

As the men slowly descended from above, Angel took hold of her hand and 
whispered, "Let's get the hell out of here." 

Part Seventeen

11:17 P.M. 

As lightning continued to lance around the zoo, Fox Mulder took cover 
to avoid being struck. Looking toward Xander, he saw the teen violently 
convulsing as electrical bolts surrounded and occasionally entered his 
body, causing him to scream. He was entranced by the events unfolding 
before him when he unexpectedly heard a woman shout, "What's happening, 
Mulder?" Turning, he caught sight of his partner, about 15 feet away, 
who was holding onto the trunk of a tree to avoid being swept away by 
the gale force wind. 

"Damned if I know, Scully! It just came out of nowhere!" 

As he said this, the maelstrom rapidly subsided, leaving Xander on his 
knees, a glazed expression on his face, panting for air. As the two 
agents cautiously approached him, guns drawn, Mulder spoke first. 

"Get your hands up...whatever you are!" 

Scully, meanwhile, quickly determined that Whelon was dead -- his head 
lying about two feet from the rest of his body was the major tip off -- 
before kneeling over Richie unmoving form. 

"There's another one over here, Mulder. It looks like he was shot in 
the chest."  


Straightening up, she answered, "Yes," before heading back to where 
Mulder was holding Xander at gunpoint. 

"What happened here, Mulder? It looks ritualistic." 

Searching his photographic memory, he stated, "There are cases like 
this on file back in the office, Scully. From what I remember, the 
bureau believes that people go around chopping each others heads off in 
the belief that they will achieve immortality...much as the Aztecs 
believed that devouring the hearts of their enemies would increase 
their prowess in battle." Then, while looking down at Xander, he asked, 
"Am I close?" 

Still shaky from the Quickening, Xander managed to feebly state, "You 
wouldn't believe me if I told  you." 

Still not ready to accept a supernatural explanation, Scully snapped, 
"That's enough, Mulder. It sounds like you're suggesting a psychiatric 
defense." However, her attitude quickly changed when she heard moans 
coming from behind her. 

"I thought you said he was dead too, Scully?" 

Rushing back to Richie, she got there just as he started to sit up. 
Grasping his shirt with both hands, she expertly ripped the buttons 
open to expose his bare chest. 

"Hey, lady, I usually like dinner and a movie first." 

Ignoring Ryan's wisecrack, the doctor instead stared as two bullet 
holes, occasionally crisscrossed with small electrical arcs, continued 
to shrink and fade before her eyes. 

"That's impossible." 

["Oh brother, MacLeod's gonna kill me this time,"] the Immortal thought 
to himself. 

Just then, as Mulder and Scully were already reeling, Cash rolled Marie 
out of the nearby tunnel. They were followed in short order by Buffy 
and Angel, who were supporting each other; Derek and Philip, who were 
carrying a mortally wounded Nick; and finally Giles and Mario. 

Not knowing which way to aim their guns, as they were rapidly being 
surrounded by murder suspects, Mulder attempted to reach his cell 

"Buffy, they're cops!" yelled Xander. 

Within a couple of seconds, Mulder heard a whoosh, followed by a growl, 
and then felt a hand squeezing his own. 

"Drop the gun!" 

Startled, the agent was staring at the guy who looked like his face was 
mangled in the car crash the night before. 

"I saw you in the park last night." 

"Lucky you...now drop the phone too." 

As the Nokia hit the grass, Scully spotted the immobile Nick Boyle 
lying across a bench. Looking at Derek, she asked, "What happened to 

"He was injured rescuing the girl." 

"Maybe I can help him." 

As Philip moved to block her path, Derek stammered, "No...no...that 
quite alright, Agent Scully. Nick's got a remarkably strong..." 

"Constitution," offered Philip. 

"Yes, constitution," agreed the Precept. "He'll be fine." 

As if on cue, the Immortal began to stir. Reaching for his head, he 
asked, "I hate dying. What the hell fell on my head...Mount Rushmore?" 

"Oh he's quite the joker," remarked Derek nervously, "isn't that right, 

Turning his head, Boyle spotted Scully for the first time. 

"OH SHIT! Hi Dana...how long have you been there?" 

"Long enough to see that you're all hiding something. What's going on 
here? Who are you people?" 

As the assorted Immortals, vampires and Legacy members, not to mention 
an angel, a Slayer and a Watcher, stared mutely at each other, the 
silence was finally broken by a bloodcurdling wail. Marie had chosen 
this moment to go into labor. 


Going to her aid, Mario breezed past Scully, asking "You're a doctor, 

"Yes, but I'm not an obstetrician." 

"You are now!" 


January 16 Midnight 

"Congratulations, it's a healthy baby boy," Scully stated to Marie 
while bundling him up in Mulder's suit jacket. 

As Dana placed the child in Marie's outstretched arms, she noticed that 
the girl was practically beaming in the dim moonlight. 

"Thank you, Agent Scully," she heard a male voice whisper. Looking up, 
she saw Mario standing beside Marie, holding her hand as he had during 
the entire delivery. 

About 20 feet away from the gurney, Fox Mulder was not as relaxed as 
his partner. Part of the reason for his concern may have been the gag 
in his mouth. Also not reassuring was the way that Angel and Cash were 
pointing at him, while heatedly discussing something. For all Mulder 
knew, he was surrounded by the Manson family. 

"This is a very bad idea!" stated Cash flatly. 

"So what do you suggest?" 

"Angel, you know what WE can do." 

"No, we're going to give Giles' plan a try. And anyhow...it doesn't 
always work on everyone." 

With an annoyed glance at the two vampires, Giles said, "We're not 
going to hurt you, Mr. Mulder. From what Derek tells me, you seem like 
a reasonably open-minded man." 

"Open-minded, my ass," the Watcher heard Nick whisper. 

"Now if we remove the gag, will you promise not to scream again?" 

His eyes wide, Mulder nodded. 

"Very well then," remarked the Brit while slipping the cloth over 
Mulder's head. "Now, since we can't allow you to arrest young Mr. 
Harris over there, we're going to attempt something that we usually 
avoid at all costs." 

"What's that?" asked the still tense agent. 

"We're going to tell you the truth." 


12:15 A.M. 

"Hold it. Now let me get this straight. You're a vampire killer..." 

"Actually, 'Slayer' is the preferred term," corrected Buffy. 

"And you're a vampire," Mulder added, turning to face Angel. 

"Uh huh...notice the fangs." 

"No shit. So why hasn't she slayed you?" 

"A question I've asked many times," remarked Xander from several feet 

Ignoring him, Buffy replied, "It's a kinda long story...that would 
probably bore you." 

Now addressing Giles, he asked, "And you said that you're her...?" 


"Which means what exactly?" 

"I serve as Buffy's guide and counsel. I also assist in her training." 

Looking the girl first up and then down, Mulder remarked, "Sounds like 
a real tough job...for an old guy." 

"I beg your pardon?" 

"Hold it, I'm confused," stated Scully. "If this evil portal...what did 
you call it?" 

"Hellmouth," several voices offered. 

"Fine...if this Hellmouth is in Sunnydale, then why is the Legacy in 
San Francisco?" 

"Allow me to answer that," Derek explained, "although the Hellmouth 
does tend to focus paranormal activity here, there are many incidents 
around the globe that warrant our attention." 

Turning to Nick, Scully asked, "Why didn't you tell me? Mulder thought 
you were running some kind of smuggling operation." 

"I didn't tell you, Dana, because we're sworn to secrecy. We only 
reveal the Legacy's existence under extraordinary circumstances." 

"Such as this?" 


"And what's your story?" Mulder asked Xander and Richie. 

After glancing at each other, Xander remarked to the redhead, "Go ahead 

Exhaling, Ryan stated simply, "We're Immortals." 

"Immortals...as in living forever?" 


"You're telling me that you'll never die." 

"Actually it's not that simple." 

"I'm listening," prompted Mulder. 

"You remember that lightning storm you saw before?" 


"Well, that was the result of one of us dying...by decapitation." 
Pointing at Whelon's body, Richie stated, "That guy was evil. It was 
either Xander or him...self defense." 

"I don't know if the courts will see it that way," Mulder stated 

"OK, who's left?" Indicating Mario, Marie and the newborn, Scully asked 
Giles, "What's their story?" 

"He's an angel." 

"I thought you said he's Angel?" 

"Wait, stop...you're confused. That guy over there is AN angel." 

"You're not serious." 

"Mulder, they've told us about vampires, demons, Watchers and Slayers. 
What's so hard to believe about an angel?" 

With the two agents, joined by the others, now focusing on the new 
family, the light radiating from the supernova in the sky above 
suddenly intensified, casting a glow over the field. Then, in a 
blinding flash, the three were gone. 

"You would think the guy would have at least said thank you," snipped 

"I don't believe it," stated Mulder. 

"I do," remarked Scully. 

"Just wait till I write this up. Skinner won't believe it either." 

Overhearing this remark, Giles stated, "No, Mr. Mulder, you must never 
record what we've disclosed to you. It would be 
extremely...unfortunate...for all parties concerned." 

"Sorry, but I can't do that, Mr. Giles. You've given us the opportunity 
to close dozens of unsolved cases. Scully and I have been working years 
for this opportunity." 

"I knew it, the guy's a prick!" exclaimed Nick. 

"Please, Agent Mulder...be reasonable. Without anonymity, we'd be 
ineffective in our mission," implored Derek. "In fact, we could all be 

"Mulder, maybe they're right," remarked Scully. "We should probably 
think about this." 

While replying, "I think you're overreacting, Dr. Rayne," Mulder turned 
and found himself staring into a pair of golden eyes belonging to 
Angel. He instantly froze in place. 

A few feet away, Scully was similarly transfixed by Cash. 

"Sorry, Giles. We can't risk their exposing the Masquerade...or 
anything else." 


Outskirts of Sunnydale, California 7:02 A.M. 

As the sun rose majestically over southern California, its first rays 
began to warm the sleeping occupants of the car sitting on the side of 
the road. The woman woke first. 

"Mulder? Mulder...wake up." 

"I don't wanna go to school, mom." 

Now shaking her partner, Scully repeated, "Wake up, Mulder!" 

With a start, he opened his eyes, squinting at the light streaming 
through the windshield. 

"Where are we, Scully?" 

Rubbing her forehead, the woman hesitated before replying, "I'm not 
sure, Mulder. I remember we landed, checked in with the San Francisco 
office and then...I just can't seem to remember." 

Looking around, the man concurred, remarking, "Yeah, that's right. 
Skinner sent us out here to investigate the murders at that motel. But 
I...damn...it's all a blank. Where are we, anyhow?" 

Looking down the road, Scully noticed a colorful sign. 

[You Are Now Leaving Sunnydale. Come Back Soon.] 

"Some place called Sunnydale, Mulder. Wherever that is." 

With a look of disdain, Mulder asked, "What the hell's in Sunnydale?" 


Sunnydale City Hall 9:00 A.M. 

"Mr. Mayor, that girl, Buffy Summers, assaulted me in my own school. 
She must be expelled!" 

Seated behind his desk, the mayor -- holding a racquet and clad in 
white shorts and a Polo shirt -- merely asked, "Do you play tennis, Mr. 

"Tennis? What does...?" 

"Tennis is so relaxing. It takes your mind off life's petty 

Now sputtering, the principal replied, "Petty! She tried to kill me! 
Look at my jaw!" 

"You really must learn to unwind, Mr. Snyder. Stress is a killer." 

"Now see here, Mr. Mayor. Buffy Summers is a dangerous delinquent. She 
HAS to be expelled!" 

While taking phantom backhand swings, the mayor answered, "No, she 
doesn't. Now if you'll excuse me..." 

Having now lost the little patience he had, the principal cut him off, 
stating, "Well, if you don't do something, I will. Buffy Summers is 
gone and so is that troublemaking librarian!" 

"You'll do nothing of the sort, Mr. Snyder." 

Surprised, he turned and spotted a middle aged man, dressed in a 
rumpled suit, seated in a chair on the other side of the room. 

"And who the hell are you?" 

The unidentified individual took a long drag from a cigarette before 
replying, "A friend, Mr. Snyder...a friend." 

"Well, I don't need any friends, whoever you are." 

Now surrounded by a cloud of smoke, the man remarked, "We all need 
friends, Mr. Snyder. And as your friend, I'm telling you to leave Miss 
Summers and the librarian alone. We have other plans for them." 

"And what if I don't?" 

Savagely snuffing out the cigarette in an ashtray, the man answered, 
"If you don't, Mr. Snyder, I'll just have to find myself another 
friend. Isn't that right, Mr. Mayor?" 

Taking another phantom swipe, he replied, "I couldn't agree more, 

Hearing this, Principal Snyder gasped. 


The Bronze 9:31 P.M. 

Once again, disaster has been averted atop the Hellmouth. With the 
music of "Dingoes Ate My Baby," blaring, Willow eyed the stage 
longingly before turning to her companion. 

"What do you think Principal Snyder's going to do tomorrow, Buffy?" 

"Probably try to expel me...again." 

"Have you told your mom." 

"Nah. I don't think she'd understand assault and battery too well, 
especially after she got me back in school last time. I guess I'll just 
have to face the music, Will." Then, glancing toward the stage, she 
remarked, "Hey, Oz is really up tonight." 

"Yeah," answered Willow, "he's always that way after a full moon. We 
think it's a hormone thing." 

"Really? I wonder if anything else is up?" asked the Slayer. 

Blushing, the girl started to respond when Xander and Cordelia returned 
from the dance floor. 

"Hey, just what are you two wild and crazy gals talking about?" 

"Oh...nothing...nothing at all, Xander," the teen witch responded a bit 
too quickly. 

"It must be about Oz," noted Cordelia before sitting down. "I'm 
thirsty, Xander. Get me a Coke." 

"Hey, what am I, a waiter?" 

With a stare that could've killed, Cordy instantly conveyed her 
opinion. Seeing this, the boy's head slumped between his shoulders. 

"Do you want regular or diet?" he asked, defeated. 

"Make it diet decaffeinated. I've got to watch my weight." 

As Xander slinked out of earshot, Buffy asked the cheerleader, "Did 
Xander mention what happened last night?" 

"Well, he said that he fought some other guy with a sword." 

"Did he say anything else?" 

"Yeah, that he won. Like duh, I mean if he lost, he wouldn't be there 
to tell me about it, would he?" 

"No, no, that's not what we mean," Willow clarified, "did he say 
anything about that lightning stuff?" 

"It's strange," remarked Cordelia. "He didn't want to talk about it. I 
wonder why?" 

"Guess, it's kinda personal," Buffy concluded. 

Meanwhile, at the bar, Xander hooked up with Angel and Cash while 
waiting for Cordy's drink. 

"So where's Ryan and Dawson," asked the elder vampire. 

"They went back to Seacouver. Richie had to pick up MacLeod at the 
airport and Dawson had some kind of Watcher meeting tonight." 

"What about Nick and Derek?" 

"I'm not really sure. Nick had a bad headache and Derek said something 
about a strange package being delivered to the Legacy house today. They 
left in a pretty big hurry." 

"So have you talked to anyone about last night?" inquired Angel. 


"Why not?" 

"I don't know...it just feels kinda weird. I didn't sleep too well last 

"Guess not," stated Cash. 

"Well if you want to talk about it, you know the address," remarked 

Replying, "Thanks," the teen then noticed Cordelia angrily motioning to 

"Oh, shit! Queen C wants her drink...like yesterday!" Xander quickly 
snatched the glass up from the bar and rushed back to the table. 

Peering across the club, Cash remarked, "She's got that boy whipped." 

"Yeah, Cordy's a real piece of work." 

"I wasn't taking about Cordelia." 

"What? You mean Buffy?" 

"Ah huh." 

"Hey, I'm not whipped!" Angel remarked defensively. 

"Yeah, right, whatever you say," responded the Gangrel. 

"No, I'm serious. Our relationship is based on mutual trust and 

"Sure it is." 

Now getting angry, the older vampire remarked, "Oh and look who's 
talking...Mr. I Lost My One True Love and Now I'm a Lone Wolf." 

"Am not," replied Cash. 

"No? So prove it." 

"Fine, I will. It just so happens that I met a great girl here the 
other night. She's really into bikes and I think we'll have some fun 

"She's human?" 

"Of course, she's human. What kinda question is that?" 

"So when do you plan on telling her about your little...condition?" 
asked Angel. 

"I don't know. I haven't decided yet. How did Buffy find out about 

"When I vamped out in her bedroom." 

"Oh...that wasn't very slick." 

"No, Cash, it was...awkward...to say the least." 

Glancing over Angel's shoulder, the Gangrel excitedly remarked, "Hey, 
here she comes! Now remember, don't embarrass me." 

As a leather-clad girl stepped into view, Cash began the introductions. 

"Angel, I'd like you to meet..." 

"Faith," the vampire finished the statement. 

"You!" the Slayer hissed. 

His smile quickly fading, the younger vampire asked, "Hey, you guys 
know each other?" 

As one relationship was hitting the rocks, about 20 feet away another 
was just beginning. With the band having finished a set, Oz quickly 
placed his instrument down. Spotting Willow and Buffy, he started 
walking toward them when his path was suddenly blocked by a man dressed 
mostly in black leather. 

"Hey, those were some pretty good sounds you were making up there." 

"Thanks," replied the teen. 

"Would you be interested in making some extra bucks on the side? I'm 
the unofficial talent scout for a club up north." 

"Sure," remarked Oz. "Assuming it's legit and all." 

"Oh yeah, it's legit," remarked the long-haired stranger. "But you'll 
need your own wheels to get there." 

"How far north are we talking?" 

"Port Columbia. Is that a problem?" 

Shaking his head from side to side, Oz quickly answered, "Nah, we've 
gone farther than that." 

Handing him a business card, the man remarked, "Good. I'll see you 

After glancing down to examine the piece of cardboard, the teen looked 
back up only to realize that the stranger had disappeared. 
Shrugging, Oz continued over to the table occupied by his friends. 

"Who was that, Wolfy?" 

"Some guy from a club. He wants us to play there." 

"That's great, Oz. Congratulations," stated Buffy. 

"Yeah, when you're rich and famous, remember us poor folk," quipped 

"Speak for yourself, middle class boy," snapped Cordelia. 

Excited, Willow then asked, "Who was he?" 

Looking back down at the card, the teen noted the word "Blackout" 
inscribed in large red stylized letters above a telephone number. 
Flipping the card over, he read a name aloud, "Eric Draven." 

"Huh...now why does that name sound familiar?" Oz asked aloud.