Title: Lisa, Parts 1 - 3
Summary: Buffy finds another vampire with a soul. Or does she?
Spoilers: None really. Takes place during season two.
Disclaimers: Joss Whedon owns all characters on BTVS. We just play with his toys.
Feedback: Love to hear it, good or bad.
PART ONE - Lisa
"The Bronze isn't very crowded tonight, is it?," asked Xander.
"No," replied Willow, not turning to look at him.
"Even so, we were lucky to get this table so close to the band," he continued. Willow still didn't turn to face Xander and this time didn't even answer him. Oz's band was playing tonight and she was a little distracted.
"And I understand they have Mexican fire ants on the menu tonight."
"That's good. Oh, I'm sorry Xander," said Willow, finally turning around. "What were you saying?"
"Nothing. So where's Buffy? I thought she was meeting us."
"She'll be here. She just wanted to make a quick sweep down by the cemetery first."
"Dingoes Ate My Baby sound pretty good tonight," he added, trying to make conversation.
"Yeah, they do," replied Willow, once again turning in her seat to face the band.
"I'm going to get something to drink. Do you want anything?," asked Xander, shaking his head. Willow wasn't going to be very talkative with Oz around. Surprisingly, she did turn around to answer him.
"Something diet. Thanks," she smiled.
Willow reached into her pocketbook to get her compact out. She wanted to check her makeup before the band went on break. She looked at herself in the mirror, but something didn't seem right. After a moment she realized what it was. She felt like someone was standing behind her but she couldn't see anyone in the mirror!
Startled, Willow dropped her compact on the table.
"Oh, Angel! Hi. I should have known it was you standing there and me not seeing you in my mirror and I'm talking too much..."
"Sorry, did I scare you? It's a habit, this being quiet thing."
"No. I mean, well, maybe surprised is a better word to use."
"Is Buffy here yet?," asked Angel, smiling.
"Not yet. She said she was going to make a quick pass down by the cemetery first. She shouldn't be long. Why don't you sit down and wait?"
"No, I'll see if I can find her. Just in case she needs help. Or something. If I miss her tell her I'll meet her back her later, okay?"
Angel turned and left. Willow picked up her compact to finish checking on her makeup. And again something didn't feel quite right. She looked over her shoulder. Angel was gone. Everything looked normal. In fact, except for a girl leaning against the wall to the right of the band, Willow didn't notice anything different. Thinking it was time to buy a new compact, she once again looked into her mirror. That's when it hit her. That girl didn't cast a reflection!
Willow quickly put the compact away and glanced at the girl. It seemed that she was looking for someone. She seemed to be about Willow's age, with short red hair not unlike her own. Her arms were crossed over her chest as if she were cold, but it was warm in the Bronze tonight.
"Okay, Willow. Think," she said softly to herself. "Xander is still in line for drinks, Buffy's not here yet. But she'll be here soon. I hope! Gotta stall her until Buffy gets back."
Willow crossed the room and made eye contact with Oz. He smiled back. A little more sure of herself now, she approached the stranger.
"Hi!," said Willow, nervously.
The stranger looked Willow up and down, nodded, then again searched the room, looking for someone.
"I haven't seen you before. Are you looking for someone? 'Cause I come here a lot and maybe I'd know who you were looking for. Well, I don't come here all the time. I mean, I have a life. And homework and stuff. But, well, you know what I mean."
"Yes, maybe you can help me," replied the stranger, looking directly at Willow for the first time.
"Oh, good. I'm Willow," said Willow, extending her hand.
"Lisa," replied the stranger. They shook. Her hand was cold. Very cold.
"Oh, you're cold. And a little pale. Do you feel alright?," asked Willow, a little too nervously.
"It's nothing," she replied, quickly withdrawing her hand. "I'm looking for a girl, about my height. With blonde hair. I don't know her name, but I know she's a student at Sunnydale."
"Well, that narrows it down to about eighty or ninety girls."
"I know. Oh, and she has a boyfriend. I don't know what he looks like, but his name is Angel."
"Angel? Oh, you must mean Buffy! We're friends. In fact, I was waiting for her. Why don't you come and sit with us until she gets here? Okay?"
"Us? Oh, yeah, us. I mean Xander. He's getting some drinks."
They took their seats just as Xander arrived at the table.
"Well, hello! Willow, won't you introduce me to your new friend?," asked Xander, putting two sodas on the table. And a package of twinkies.
"Xander, this is Lisa. Lisa, Xander. She's waiting for Buffy."
"Nice to meet you," said Xander, extending his hand.
"Likewise," answered Lisa.
"Oh, you're cold! Where are my manners? Here, put on my jacket. Are you feeling okay?"
"Actually, no. And I haven't eaten in a while."
"Can I get you something?," asked Xander, not noticing the look on Willow's face. She was a little repulsed by the thought of what Lisa may have eaten last.
"No, I'm fine, thanks."
"A dance might warm you up."
"Thanks. Maybe later."
"So how do you know Buffy?," asked Xander.
"Buffy!," interrupted Willow, rising from her seat. "Speak of the devil. Not that we'd want to do that, of course. But Buffy! Here you are."
"Hi. I think," said Buffy. "Willow, have you been drinking coffee again?"
"Buffy, this is Lisa. She's been looking for you. Her and Angel have a *lot* in common, if you know what I mean."
"Actually, no I don't. Hi," said Buffy extending her hand.
"Hi,' replied Lisa, shaking Buffy's hand.
"I know. Cold and a little pale. I'm not feeling so great."
"I was going to say you're wearing Xander's coat."
"New girlfriend, Xander?," asked Buffy, smiling.
"Not yet. But the night is young," said Xander, hoping for a reaction from Lisa.
"Xander, why don't we dance?,' asked Willow.
"You big kidder. We dance all the time," said Willow, looking at Lisa. "C'mon," she said, yanking Xander out of his chair by the arm.
"Yes, ma'am!," he replied, terror in his voice.
Buffy looked at her two friends. Both were talking at the same time, though she couldn't hear them. Xander pointed to the band, obviously meaning he didn't want Oz to see him dancing with Willow. Willow pointed at Lisa, who had her back to them. Suddenly they both stopped talking, turned and stared wide-eyed at Buffy. Buffy replied by quickly lowering her eyebrows, the international sign for I don't get it.
"So, how do you know Angel?"
"Actually, I don't. I was looking for you and I heard that you had a boyfriend by that name."
Willow was now pointing at her mirror, shaking her head and pointing at Lisa.
"Is there something wrong with my makeup?," asked Buffy, touching her face.
"No, you look great," replied Lisa.
"Oh, thanks. Sorry. You were saying that you were looking for me. Have we met?"
"No. Word on the street is that you are a blonde girl about my height and a student at Sunnydale."
"Word on the street? What are you talking about?"
"Well, you are the slayer, aren't you?"
"Huh? The what?," said Buffy, trying to act surprised.
"It's okay, Buffy. I know. I'm a vampire."
"Huh? Okay. Let's assume for a second that I'm this slayer person and that you are a vampire. Why would a vampire come looking for the slayer?"
"Simple. I want you to kill me," said Lisa very calmly.
Now Willow and Xander were standing closer to Lisa. Both had their upper teeth stuck out and two fingers in front of their mouth.
"Willow, do I have something in my teeth?," asked Buffy. Xander looked at Willow, shaking his head. Willow slapped her forehead with her hand.
"I'm sorry," continued Lisa, "I'm new at this. You see, I can't feed."
"What's up? Break a tooth?"
"No, no. I just can't imagine doing that to someone," said Lisa, her voice quivering. She was fighting back tears. "Oh, I suppose I could catch a rat or something. But then you have to twist its neck and..."
"Okay, I get the picture. We don't have to exchange recipes. So what's the prob? This should be second nature to you. Instinct! Just...you know, I can't believe I'm even having this conversation."
Lisa lowered her head and began sobbing.
"Wait a minute. You're different. It's not that you can't feed. You really don't want to. Oh my god...you still have your soul!"
Lisa shook her head yes. Behind Lisa, Willow had tilted her head back, exposing her neck. Xander was pretending to bite her. This only drew a strange look from a passing girl. Xander and Willow separated, smiling sheepishly.
"Lisa, you said you were new at this. How new?"
"Three days," she replied, collecting herself.
"Oh. I'm sorry. Really."
"Thanks. I believe you. Now can we have your friends join us before they embarrass themselves any further?," said Lisa, wiping her eyes.
"Good idea." Buffy waved to them for them to join her.
"Lisa, you sure I can't get you anything from the snack bar? Maybe a Bloody Mary. Or better yet, how about a stake?," asked Xander.
"Xander, sit down. Lisa told me she was a vampire," said Buffy.
"Bloody Mary?," asked Buffy.
"Okay, so it's not my A material. But can't you take a hint? I'd hate to be your partner in a game of charades."
"Question," said Willow. "Why does a vampire seek out the slayer? Isn't it usually the other way around?"
"I want Buffy to kill me," replied Lisa, very calmly.
"Oh, of course," said Willow, confused.
"Well, why don't you just greet Mr. Sun tomorrow morning?," suggested Xander.
"I thought of that, of course. But it's a little drawn out, no? I mean, I was hoping the stake routine would be a lot quicker and...well, not quite as painful," said Lisa, looking at Buffy.
"Back up! No one is staking anyone. Lisa needs our help. She and Angel have something in common."
"And Buffy, that would be what? Besides the obvious, I mean," said Willow.
"I think Lisa still has her soul."
"Angel still has his soul!?," said Lisa, a little too loudly. A couple of people looked over in their direction.
"Yes, Angel has soul alright!. You should see him dance," said Xander, loudly. The curious looked away. "How did that happen?," he continued, softer now. "I know the circus is in town but I don't remember seeing bands of roving gypsies."
"Lisa, what do you remember? About becoming a vampire, I mean," asked Buffy.
"Well, it was dark. Then again, I guess it would have to be, right? Anyway, I was in a tunnel or sewer. I remember hearing dripping water. I was feeding on the neck of a vampire. He was lying on his side, unconscious, but I could see his face. Either I became aware of what I was doing or what was happening to me. There was blood everywhere. I turned and ran. And that's about all I can remember."
"What about the attack? When you were killed?," pressed Buffy.
"No. No, I mean that's *all* I can remember. I have no memory of anything before that, not who I was or where I came from. Is that common when you become...what I am?"
"No, not at all. You die, a demon takes possession of your body and your memories, but your soul is gone. How do you know your name?," asked Buffy.
"Two nights ago I stole these clothes. My old ones were blood-stained and muddy. I was in an alley when a vampire found me. He called to me. He said, 'Lisa, how are you?' I asked him why he called me that. He answered, 'You don't remember yet, do you? In time, you'll learn all you need to know.' He then warned me to stay away from the slayer and described her to me. Then he ran away. Tried to find him, but I couldn't."
"So your name might not even be Lisa," said Willow.
"No, I guess not."
"Was it the same vampire that you fed off?," asked Buffy.
"No. That one was taller, with dark hair. This one was shorter, with long, red, almost orange hair. And a German accent."
"Well, that may be something. It's a start. We have to get you to Giles," said Buffy.
"He's my Watcher. He helps do the research thing. Okay, listen up. Wait here for Angel. When he gets here, meet us back at the library. And fill him in on everything. Lisa's going to need blood soon. He'll know what to do."
"But...," objected Lisa.
"Lisa, you can't starve yourself. Eventually you'll lose control and attack someone," said Buffy.
"Oh. I was wondering about that. They don't give you an owner's manual when you join the club, you know. It's sorta learn as you go."
The band had ended their song and Oz walked over to their table.
"Hi, Oz," said Willow, smiling.
"Hey," he replied.
"Oz, this is Lisa. Lisa, Oz. She's a vampire. But don't worry. She's a good one. We think."
"Cool," said Oz, giving Willow a strange look.
"Buffy, does everyone here know who you are?," asked Lisa.
"Not yet. Willow, fill Oz in. We're going."
"Thanks for letting me borrow your jacket, Xander," said Lisa, standing and handing the coat to him. "Maybe next time we can have that dance. A slow one. Cheek to cheek," she finished, smiling.
Buffy and Willow had to turn away to hide their laughter. Xander was momentarily speechless.
"Buffy, you know, she could be leading you into a trap. Can you trust her?," asked Xander.
"He's right. You have no reason to trust me," replied Lisa. "Do you want someone else to come with?"
"No. I can handle. We stick to plan A."
"Not one word," said Xander as soon as he knew the girls couldn't hear him. "I don't want to hear another joke about my taste in women."
Willow turned towards Xander and was about to speak.
"Don't say it," he added, pointing a finger at Willow.
Willow shrugged her shoulders and smiled.
Outside the Bronze, Buffy and Lisa walked side by side. The street was empty and they were alone.
"Should I walk a little ahead of you, Buffy? I mean, I want you to trust me, but I know you can't."
"This is fine," Buffy replied, shaking her head.
"Lisa, you don't have to tell me where, but do you have somewhere safe to stay during the day?"
"Not really. I kinda move around. Sewers mostly."
"That's not good. Maybe you can stay with Angel for awhile."
Lisa didn't respond to this.
"Buffy, what's Giles like?"
"He's alright, as far as grownups go. He's British. But don't hold that against him."
Again Lisa didn't answer.
"I'm kidding. Lisa, I know you're scared, but we'll work it out. Okay?"
"Do you love Angel?"
"Do you love Angel?"
"Yes, I do."
"And if Giles hasn't been able to help him, someone who is very important to his slayer, what can he do for me?"
This time Buffy had no answer.
Suddenly a big dog came out of a side street. Spotting the girls, he growled and moved slowly towards them.
"You see. No one appreciates what I have to put up with when I patrol alone. There's more troublesome things than vampires to deal with at night."
"Allow me," said Lisa. She took two steps towards the dog, put her hands on her hips and very quietly said, "Boo."
The dog immediately turned and ran away whimpering, its tail between its legs.
"I think it's one of the first tricks you learn as a vampire," said Lisa, smiling for the first time since Buffy had met her.
They began walking again.
"Buffy, this may sound vain, but..."
"How do I look? I mean, it's not like I can look into a mirror and comb my hair or fix my makeup, you know. First impressions? Giles?"
Buffy turned to face Lisa, reached out and touched her.
"You look great. Really."
Buffy smiled and Lisa returned the smile.
"Thanks. I needed to hear that."
Suddenly Lisa looked concerned. She tilted her head to one side as if listening for something.
"Buffy, someone's coming."
"I don't hear anything."
"That's because they're not human."
Both girls moved closer to the building they were in front of, trying to stay in the shadows. Buffy didn't like being this close to a street light and slowly moved forward. Leaning out, she stared into the dark. Then she relaxed.
"It's okay, Lisa. It's only Angel." Buffy turned and was shocked to see a look of terror on Lisa's face, one hand covering her mouth.
"Lisa! What's wrong?"
"Oh, Buffy. He's the one. The one who turned me! The vampire I fed off of!"
Lisa pivoted and ran. Buffy was too stunned to move.
Hearing Buffy's voice, Angel came running.
"Buffy, what's up? Something wrong?"
He reached out to touch her but she quickly stepped away from him.
"Angel, did you see that girl? Did you recognize her?"
"No, I didn't get a good look. It was dark. Why?"
"Walk with me. We have to talk."
The Scooby gang was assembled in the library. Oz would join them after his last set.
"We're sure that Lisa is a vampire?," asked Giles to no one in particular.
"Well, she does this neat trick with a mirror," said Willow. "Nothing original, but it's effective."
"And she scared off junkyard dog with no more than a look," added Buffy.
"Right. I just didn't want to rule out the possibility that she is a demon. Or something. Or perhaps that she is only pretending to have a soul," said Giles.
"I guess it's possible, Giles. But she was in a lot of pain and I don't mean physically. I could hear it in her voice. If it was an act I bought into it," said Buffy.
"Angel, do you remember where you were three nights ago?," asked Giles.
"Yeah. As I already told Buffy, I had heard rumors that a few vampires, new to town, were hanging out in the sewers in a bad part of town. I went there to check things out. These tunnels are in bad shape even for old Sunnydale sewers. Anyway, I came across two vamps. The big, strong but stupid and slow type. It was a messy fight. More so than usual."
At hearing this Buffy gave Angel a concerned look.
"Teeth, claws. These guys could take some punishment."
Angel looked at Buffy. "I didn't tell you because I didn't want you to worry."
Buffy gave Angel half a smile and a nod.
"I dusted the first one and just as I was about to stake the other, he hit me with a pipe. I was probably out for fifteen or twenty minutes. So it is possible that Lisa could've fed on me. I had been bitten on the neck during the fight. And I was weak later, but I thought that was from blood loss and being tired."
"You did kill the second vampire, though," said Giles.
"Yes. He was fading as I passed out."
"But another vampire must've followed you or known you were there," said Buffy. "I mean, think about it. Not much time could have passed from when Lisa was bitten to the time she had to drink, otherwise she simply would've died. You didn't bite her, so another vampire did. And not long before, or maybe even during, your fight."
"There are two side passages near there. Lisa could've been in one of those tunnels with another vampire," said Angel.
"A practical joke," said Xander.
"What?," asked Giles and Buffy at the same time.
"A practical joke, played on Angel by another vampire. Think about it. Maybe there were three vampires down there and they were about to feed on their victim. The first one is off in another tunnel for snack time when Angel comes along. This vampire returns to find his friends are dust bunnies and decides to take revenge on Angel. It's not impossible that he recognized you and among your circle of friends it's not unknown that you don't like to do the human anymore."
The room was very quiet.
"Wow," said Buffy.
"Not bad, eh?," asked Xander.
"Not bad, but wow, you had a logical thought. A process even!," answered Buffy.
"Well, thank you for a Cordelian compliment. And I have to rest now. No more thinking for tonight."
"Xander is right about one thing, anyway. Another vampire must've been involved. Lisa wouldn't have known to feed on Angel in her weakened state," said Giles.
"My turn for wow," said Xander. "Giles said I was right about something!"
"If Lisa did in fact feed off of Angel at all!," said Buffy.
"Are you having a thought now?," asked Xander.
"Well, there could be another explanation. How about...hypnosis? Yes. Maybe Lisa was hypnotized into not only thinking that she fed on Angel, but that she has a soul, too."
Buffy looked around the room hoping someone might agree with her.
"And that raises another question," stated Willow. "If Angel did make someone into a vampire, would that vampire retain his or her soul just because Angel has a soul?"
The room was very quiet again.
"I don't know," said Angel. "It's strange, but I never really thought about that. I haven't attacked a human in so long that I never considered the next step. It would fit in nicely with my curse, to have that on my conscience." Angel looked at Buffy, then quickly looked away when their eyes met.
"Any precedent for this, Giles?," asked Buffy.
"No, I'm afraid not. Oh, I'll do some research, but there is so little extant material on the subject."
"I still like the hypnosis idea," said Buffy.
"It's possible," agreed Giles. "But to what purpose? Seems that a good deal of work and planning would be involved just to make Angel think he had turned someone. Unless, and I cringe at saying this, Xander is correct about what happened."
"Well, I didn't say I had it all figured out yet. I slay, you read. Remember?"
"Right. Lisa did say something about a German accent. That's something to go on, at least," said Giles.
"Good. A game plan. Willow, why don't you search the net for missing persons, especially recently. And remember, Lisa might not be her name. Angel and I will go back to that sewer; maybe there's a clue there. Xander, help Giles with that German accent thing. Or maybe vampires that like to use hypnosis."
"Buffy, aren't game plans my job?," asked Giles. "You slay, I read?"
"Oh, right. Sorry."
"Yes, well...let's get started then," concluded Giles. "Any questions?"
"Just one," said Willow, raising her hand. "On a similar theme, if a werewolf bit a vampire, would the vampire be a werevamp during the full moon?"
"Uh...I think the werewolf's bite only affects the living. But let's leave that one for another day, shall we?," said Giles.
Just then Cordelia walked into the library.
"I knew it. If you're not at the Bronze, you people are here in the library. Don't you vary your routine at all? Ever hear of Starbuck's?"
"And a good evening to you, too," said Xander.
"It was a quiet night, so we decided to stay in," said Buffy.
"Quiet? Well, quiet for Sunnydale, I guess. I mean there's only one body out there tonight and when you compare us to other towns..."
"One body? What do you mean, one body?," said Buffy.
"They found a boy outside the Bronze. Dead. Two puncture marks on his throat, you know, round up the usual suspects. Oh, no offense, Angel."
Angel smiled and nodded.
"Lisa," said Buffy.
"Lisa? That was his name? I don't know, that's kinda feminine, even for this guy," said Cordelia.
"No," said Buffy, rolling her eyes. "That's the name of the vampire we think did this."
"Oh," said Cordelia, still looking somewhat confused.
"Xander will fill you in. Angel and I will try to see the body before we check out the sewers," said Buffy, turning towards Giles. He nodded his agreement.
Even though the police had already arrived, Buffy was able to glimpse the body. The boy had been killed by a vampire. Buffy was confident that if Lisa had been the one to kill him, she hadn't turned him. Once her hunger had been satiated, the thought of what she had done had hopefully made her run away. And Buffy didn't want to think of the consequences if Lisa had turned the boy. Would he, too, have a soul?
"Well, we're here," said Buffy, her flashlight sweeping across the sewer in wide arcs. "Nice place. Why don't you show me where the fight took place?," she said to Angel.
"Over here," he replied, walking ahead of her.
"Angel, what's wrong? You were awfully quiet on the way over."
"Nothing. Let's look around."
"Hey, maybe someone else wouldn't notice, but I would. You know that. Is it Lisa?"
"Okay, maybe she is on my mind a little. I mean, look at it from my point of view. No, I didn't kill her. But I could be responsible for what she's become. You can't imagine..."
"No, I can't. No one can. So let's see if we can find something to help her," said Buffy, hugging Angel.
"You're right. Thanks."
There wasn't much to look at. Among the debris, leaves and rusty pipes there wasn't even much evidence of a fight. Just some stains that could have been blood, dirt or rust. Buffy was about to suggest they search the side tunnel they had passed when her flashlight reflected something shiny in the shallow water by her feet.
"What's this?," she said, reaching down and picking up the silver object. It was a pendant, a half circle with serrated middle, attached to a silver chain.
"I wonder if this belongs to Lisa?," asked Buffy.
"What is it?," asked Angel.
"It's a friendship symbol. Usually a boy will give this to a girl when they're in the semi-serious stage of a relationship. Each carries one half of the symbol. Put together and you can read the inscription which, if I remember right, says 'May God watch over us while we are apart'. This one also has two letters inscribed on the back. The letter W above the letter J. Probably the first letter of their last names. The other half would have the first letter of each first name."
"Good. A clue," said Angel.
Buffy slipped the chain into her pocket and smiled at Angel.
"What?," he asked.
"Just thinking about our rings. Our symbols of us," she said, holding up her hand. Angel smiled and hugged her. And by holding her, Buffy couldn't see the sad expression on his face.
End of PART ONE
PART TWO - TUCKER
"Once again we have an example of herd mentality," complained Willow.
"Actually, a herd groups together for safety. This is a pack," corrected Xander. "The pack groups together to pick off the weak or slow of the herd."
Willow, Xander and Buffy were standing across from the gym doors. About ten or twelve large, athletic types were in front of the gym, threatening freshmen or whistling at girls.
"Jocks," said Buffy, as if the word had a bad taste. "Who are they trying to impress?"
"Themselves, of course," answered Xander. "Actually, I believe it involves establishing a pecking order within the pack."
"I'd like to have a say in that pecking order," said Buffy.
"And blow your secret identity? You're only supposed to be a girly-girl, remember?," stated Willow.
"Sure, spoil my fun," replied Buffy sarcastically.
Just then a boy walked by. One of the jocks jumped out and knocked his books onto the floor, drawing laughter from his buddies. The boy was tall but still was several inches shorter than his antagonizer and quite a few pounds lighter. He did not even look at his books, but turned and stared at the jock.
"Pick them up," he said, calmly.
"Excuse me? What did you say?," asked the jock, surprised. No one had ever talked back to him before.
"Are you deaf as well as stupid? I'm only going to say this one more time. Pick them up."
The jock looked at his buddies for support, but only received low moans and a few taunts.
"You going to take that, Kevin?," yelled one out at him.
His face getting red, Kevin took two steps towards the boy, extending his hands to grab him. The boy met him with a left jab to the stomach, winding him. As Kevin's head fell forward, the boy drove his right elbow into his nose, drawing blood. Then, with his right heel, the boy kicked down hard on Kevin's right foot and finished with a chop to the back of his neck. Kevin fell to the floor.
The pack grew silent. This had never happened before.
"One last time. Pick them up. Now."
Kevin rose to his feet and, like a bull charging, came at the boy.
"You're going to..."
Kevin never finished his sentence. Just as he crashed into the boy, his opponent fell backwards and, using both legs, used the jock's own momentum to hurl Kevin over him and into the wall behind them. The boy sprung to his feet. Kevin did not get up. The boy glanced at the other jocks and they stepped away from him.
"Okay," said the boy, "I'll get them this time. I hope there won't be a next time."
Kevin only moaned as the boy picked up his books and calmly walked away.
"Whoa! Buffy, are you sure there aren't any male slayers?," asked Xander. "I mean, that was pretty quick."
"And efficient. But no, last time I checked, and rules are rules, only us womenfolk are slayers," answered Buffy.
"He was wearing a cross around his neck," continued Xander.
"That only means he's not Jewish, Xander," said Willow.
"But who is he?," asked Buffy.
"His name is Tucker. Tucker Jenkins. I have him in fifth period English," said Willow. "He's a transfer student from L.A. Up until now I thought of him as the quiet, shy, keep to himself type."
"Well, good for him. Maybe the pack will be a little gun-shy next time," said Buffy. "So, what did you find out last night? Willow?"
Willow handed Buffy a sheet of paper that she had kept hidden in a book.
"Actually, I feel guilty. It only took about ten minutes searching after I looked outside of Sunnydale. The photo on that missing persons report matches Lisa. Only her name's not Lisa, it's Julie. Julie Weber."
"I'm not Lisa, my name is Julie? Flashback to a really bad country song. And when I mean bad, I don't mean bad in the good sense," said Xander.
"Xander, you and your country music!," teased Buffy.
"Hey, don't be knocking the music of pain. It serves a purpose. I know," countered Xander.
"It says here that her high school in L.A. reported her missing three weeks ago," continued Buffy. "Why would her school report her missing?"
"Oh, if you read on you'll see that she didn't have any parents," said Willow. "Lived alone. Her dad divorced years ago and is out of the picture completely and her mom..."
"Was found dead in an alley six months ago," interrupted Buffy. "Because of the location of the body the coroner determined cause of death to be from loss of blood due to an attack from a wild dog. She had bite marks on her neck. I think we all know Julie's mom didn't die from a wild dog. And what was she doing in an alley in the first place?"
"She was an alcoholic and probably passed out there," answered Willow.
"All that is in a missing persons report?," asked Xander.
"No, I combined the police reports into this," said Willow.
"Good job, Willow," complimented Buffy.
"Thanks," smiled Willow.
"But if Julie has been missing for three weeks, where was she? She only turned into a vampire four nights ago," said Buffy.
"Maybe she was a runaway. Doesn't sound like she had much to stay in L.A. for," said Xander.
"And she ran away to Sunnydale? Don't most people run away from this town? Oh, forget I said that," said Buffy, referring to the time she had run away. "Willow, how about school records? Did Julie..."
Willow handed Buffy another sheet of paper.
"She was smart, but her grades were slipping lately. Which is understandable, of course."
"But why did that vampire she met call her Lisa?," asked Xander.
"Good question. Did you and Giles find out anything?"
"Well, most of the night was spent on the question of whether Angel's offspring would retain their soul. There's very little to go on and when we got into the philosophical aspects of it, I nodded off. Bottom line is that we just don't know. Tonight we're going to tackle that German accent thing. See if any well known vamps talk like Count Dracula."
"And the hypnosis angle. You're going to research that too, aren't you?," asked Buffy.
"Buffy, Giles didn't consider that as being a likely explanation. I promise I'll do some reading on it, but you may have to admit to yourself that, even if it was against his will, Angel may be responsible for Lisa. Or do we call her Julie?," said Xander.
"I know. But I can tell Angel is really wigged about this. I was just hoping that it wasn't true," said Buffy, sadly.
On her way to the library Buffy passed the gym. It was quiet. Too quiet. Even though school was over there was always something going on in there. Buffy remembered that Cordelia and the rest of the cheerleaders should be practicing now. She pushed the door open and entered the gym.
The cheerleaders were there, over by the locker room door. But they were just standing around, talking and watching a boy using the rings on the other side of the floor. It was Tucker. He was holding himself very still in a sitting position. Slowly he moved into a standing position and then he smoothly lowered himself until his arms were extended out from his sides at a ninety degree angle. And held the position.
Cordelia saw Buffy and surprisingly walked over to her.
"Impressive, huh?," said Cordellia.
"Yeah, he's good," answered Buffy.
"And he's been at it for a while now. The same routine, over and over. Watch what he does next."
As she spoke, Tucker dismounted, rolled on his back, jumped up and kicked a large, hanging punching bag. Then, alternating his attacks by using his hands, legs, feet or elbows, he pummeled the bag for over a full minute. Finally he stopped, took a step back and bowed to the bag as if it were a human opponent. His shirt stuck to him with sweat. Tucker reached down and wiped his forehead with a towel, draped the towel over his neck and drank deeply from a water bottle.
"Isn't he cute?," asked Cordelia, but not expecting Buffy to answer. "Do you know his name? I'd like to be introduced."
"No, I don't," lied Buffy. "But I'm going to find out," she said, walking away from a surprised Cordelia.
"Hi," said Buffy.
"Hi," answered Tucker, looking up.
"That's some workout you put yourself through."
"Yeah, I like to stay in shape."
"Aren't you tired yet?," asked Buffy, trying to think of things to talk about.
"Yeah, but I take pride in how long I can last. I mean...let me rephrase that," stuttered Tucker.
"That's okay, I know what you meant," laughed Buffy.
"Let's start over. Hi, I'm Tucker Jenkins."
"Hi, Tucker. I'm Buffy Summers," said Buffy, extending her hand. Tucker quickly wiped his sweaty palm in the towel and then they shook hands.
"Actually, I think we have a mutual friend. Willow Rosenberg? The redhead in your fifth period English class?"
"Oh, sure. Willow. Nice person. Cute, too."
Buffy smiled, thinking that Willow was going to love to hear the compliment Tucker just gave her.
"What exactly are you practicing? It's not karate, it's not quite judo."
"No, actually it's a combination of Tae Kwando, Judo, Hapkido, kick boxing and a few other disciplines thrown in for good measure. Sorta made it up or blended them together on my own."
"I have a confession to make," said Buffy, coyly.
"Oh?," said Tucker, interested.
"I'm pretty good at the martial arts myself. But I've learned all I can from my instructor and my workouts just aren't challenging enough anymore."
"I know exactly what you mean! My old instructor didn't like that I was combining several disciplines and techniques into one style. He wanted me to concentrate on just one and master that, but I found it too boring."
"That's odd. I was encouraged to embrace as many different techniques as possible. Maybe we could spar sometime?," asked Buffy.
"Wow, that would be great! It's more fun to work out with someone else. That bag isn't much for conversation. How about tomorrow after school?. I'll even clear it with the gym teacher."
"Sounds great! Tomorrow after school then," agreed Buffy, who really was glad to have someone to work out with. Tucker took the towel from around his neck and threw it on the floor. Buffy saw the cross she had noticed before. Tucker also wore a longer chain that disappeared down into his shirt. But what caught Buffy's attention was an ugly scar on the left side of Tucker's neck.
"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to stare," said Buffy, noticing Tucker looking at her. "It's just that...I mean, that scar. How did you..."
"Oh, that," interrupted Tucker quickly. "My father was a carpenter. One day I was helping him remove siding off a house. I tried to pry a board free and it snapped. The end with two nails in it hit me in the neck."
"Ouch. That must've hurt."
"Actually, it wasn't as bad as it looks."
"You said your father was a carpenter. What does he do now?" Even as Buffy finished her question she regretted having said it. Tucker's expression became serious.
"No. I meant that he passed away. He died in a car accident with my mother two years ago."
Buffy closed her eyes for a second.
"Tucker, I'm so sorry. I'm not usually this rude. That was awful of me to ask something like that."
"Hey, it's okay. I'm dealing with it and you had no idea."
"Still, I'm going to go now, before I put my other foot in my mouth. And that would mean that I'd fall on my...I'm going. See ya tomorrow."
"Bye, Buffy," laughed Tucker.
Buffy walked towards the door and was intercepted by Cordelia.
"Well, weren't you little Miss Chatty. So what's his name?"
"You know, I forgot to ask! Gotta run," said Buffy, not giving Cordelia any time to react.
Cordelia stood there with her hands on her hips, speechless.
Outside the gym Buffy almost literally ran into Willow.
"Buffy! What were you doing in there? I thought we were meeting at the library."
"Yes, we are, so let's keep walking. I saw Tucker working out with a punching bag and I stopped in to say hi. Well, now he knows my name and now he knows that I can be as tactless as Cordelia."
"Oh no! What did you say? You didn't ask about his blue shoelaces that, while they don't match anything that he's wearing, they do match the blue of his eyes nicely and you have no idea what I'm talking about so it's your turn. What did you say?"
"I noticed a strange scar on his neck," said Buffy, giving Willow an equally strange look. "When I asked him about it he said that his father was a carpenter and when he was prying free a nailed board it snapped and hit him in the neck. It's a lame excuse and one he's obviously used more than once. I don't know, he just came out with it too fast. It was too rehearsed."
"So you think he was attacked by a vampire?"
"I'm sure of it. Anyway, I didn't pick up on the past tense. You know, his father was a carpenter. So I asked him what his father did for a living now."
"Yeah. His parents were killed in a car accident two years ago."
"Oh, Buffy. You couldn't have known."
"Still, I'll apologize again to him tomorrow."
"Tomorrow? You have a date type thing tomorrow?"
"No, of course not! We're just going to work out together. Do a little sparring. He looks like he's pretty good. And another thing. He thinks your cute."
"What?," said Willow, who had to stop walking. "What were you guys talking about?"
"Nothing! I just said that we had a mutual friend in his English class. He said that you were a nice person. And that you were cute."
"Oh my! That's good, right? I mean, it's a compliment and everything, but I like Oz. And...and...yeah, I guess that is a good thing."
Buffy smiled at her friend who, although she was happy, still looked a little confused.
It had not only been a slow night but a waste of time. Buffy hadn't even seen a vampire, let alone staked one. What bothered her the most, though, was that she had not found Lisa. To cover a larger area of Sunnydale Angel had patrolled on his own. Hoping that he had been luckier, Buffy admitted to herself that it was time to call it a night.
She decided against going to the Bronze. Instead, she'd stop by the library, hoping that Giles had discovered anything that might help in one of his books. Taking the longer way back would mean passing by the cemetery, a place Buffy could usually count on for producing a vampire or two. It would be her third visit there tonight.
"Third time's a charm," said Buffy out loud.
Buffy had reached the corner wall of the cemetery when she heard someone whistling ahead of her. She took a few steps back and peered around the wall. A boy, about her age, was walking towards her with a very noticeable limp. He had brown hair, was wearing a leather jacket and...it was Tucker! Buffy wondered if he had hurt himself in the gym and what he was doing out here now.
Just as she was going to step out from around the corner, a vampire jumped down from the cemetery wall and landed behind Tucker. He turned to see what the noise was and ducked as the creature reached out to grab him. Tucker squatted and spun, using his legs to knock the vampire off his feet. Using his momentum, he jumped onto the fallen vampire. It turned to dust beneath him. Buffy hadn't even seen Tucker produce the stake, but there it was now in his right hand.
Buffy slipped back around the corner, not believing what she had seen. Not only had Tucker killed a vampire, he had lured it out of hiding, provoking it with a fake limp! Buffy looked around the corner again. The street was empty. Tucker was gone!
"Hi, I saw the light on. I was hoping someone would still be here."
"Buffy! You're back early. Slow night?," asked Giles.
Oz looked up from reading a book and nodded. Seated next to him at a computer, Willow waved without looking up. Buffy smiled in return.
"Slow makes it sound more exciting than it was. Not a hint of Lisa. Guess she's really spooked. Only saw one vampire all night and I didn't kill him."
Xander entered the library, carrying four cans of soda.
"You mean he got away?," asked Giles, surprised.
"No. Tucker killed him."
With this announcement Willow and Oz stopped what they were doing and looked up at Buffy.
"Tucker?," said Willow. "He did what?"
"Tucker. Is he the boy that Willow told me you were going to spar with tomorrow?," asked Giles.
"Yes, that's him. I was walking past the cemetery when I heard someone whistling. Hey, whistling past the graveyard! Why didn't I think of that before? Oh, so anyway, I look around the corner and here comes Tucker. And he was limping. I almost called out to him, thinking he had hurt himself working out in the gym. Just then a vampire jumped down behind him from the cemetery wall. I didn't even have time to warn him. Didn't matter. He had that vampire staked and dusted in under four seconds."
"Did Tucker see you?," asked Giles.
"No, I don't think so. I jumped back behind the wall and when I looked again, he was gone."
"I said it before and I'll say it again; we might be bending the rules, but I think we have a male slayer in town. Diet, Buffy? I got an extra thinking you might stop in," said Xander.
"Thanks," said Buffy, accepting the soda.
"There are no male slayers, Xander. But it is obvious Tucker was trying to lure a vampire to him with the fake limp and whistling," said Giles.
"Sounds like a new search is in order," added Willow, turning back to her computer monitor. "Why don't we start with his school records?"
"Good idea, Will," said Buffy.
"Giles, I think I've found something," said Oz.
"You mean a vampire with a German accent?," replied Giles, walking over to look at the book Oz was studying. "I'm sure there's more than one."
"Yeah, but there's more to it than that. Here, read this," said Oz, handing the book to Giles.
"Hmm. Yes, I see what you mean," said Giles.
"Want to fill us in?,' asked Buffy.
"Oh, yes. Of course. There is mention of a Sven Gustavson, a rather superstitious and confused vampire."
"Okay, superstitious makes sense. What vampire wants to break a mirror for bad luck, right?," asked Xander. "But confused?"
"Sven, which is probably not his real name, was a German who had a strong interest in the Vikings, their way of life and history before he was killed and made into a vampire. And now he thinks he is a Viking."
"Okay, but why do we think he's our boy?," asked Buffy. "Just because of a bad accent?"
"No. There's more. His wife was killed by a vampire before he was. Her name was Lisa. And she had red hair," said Giles.
"Oh. Still, it could be just a coincidence. Right?, asked Buffy.
"Better read the last part to her, Giles," said Oz.
"Yes, I should. Lisa was a vampire as well. She was killed by a slayer. Sven swore to kill the slayer as revenge. It doesn't say whether he succeeded or not. But the book does mention the fact that Sven uses hypnosis to make other vampires follow him, making them believe they are also Viking warriors like himself."
"See, I told you about the hypnosis thing, didn't I? And no one believed me!," said Buffy.
"Yes, but we still need more proof. We don't know if this Sven is even here in Sunnydale or what his motives are," answered Giles.
"If he is here, isn't it obvious why?," asked Xander. "Seems to me like he has some slayer issues to deal with."
"It could explain why he called Julie Lisa. His wife's name, the red hair...maybe he was attracted to her in the first place by her red hair. Oh!," said Willow, touching her own hair. "I hope he doesn't like all redheads. I mean, maybe Julie looked like Lisa too. At least I hope so."
"But why would he hypnotize Julie into thinking her name was Lisa or that she has a soul?," asked Giles.
"To have Lisa, I mean Julie, lead him to the slayer," suggested Willow.
"It's possible," agreed Giles. "And to have her believe she has a soul would make Buffy relate to her more, if not befriend her."
"Unless that was an unintended side affect from feeding on Angel. Maybe he didn't make her believe she has a soul. Maybe she really does. Having Julie bite Angel would just have been another tactic to draw the slayer in," finished Oz. No one answered at first, both because it was a good suggestion and the fact that Oz usually never spoke in such long sentences.
"It could be possible. That she has a soul, I mean," said Buffy.
"Yes, one would have accept that possibility," replied Giles.
"Buffy, I have Tucker's records if you'd like to take a look," said Willow.
Buffy walked over to stand behind Willow. Xander joined her after finally putting the soda cans down on the table.
"Well, we shouldn't be surprised. An honor student, member of the gymnastics team and captain of the cross country team. In fact, he holds the school record for the 5k in cross country," read Buffy.
"Their motto was 'embrace the pain, become one with it.' Cool," said Willow.
"Yeah, it has a nice ring to it. Honest," said Oz.
"Right after his parents died, though, his grades dropped off and he quit all sports," continued Willow.
"Understandable," said Xander.
"More than that. It explains why he keeps to himself and why he hasn't joined any teams here," said Buffy as Willow began another search. "Probably why he left Los Angeles. Too many bad memories."
"Perhaps," commented Giles. He didn't want to discourage them but he didn't like to draw conclusions without more facts.
"Hey, that's odd," said Willow.
"What?," asked Buffy.
"I pulled up the newspaper on the day after Tucker's parents were killed in the accident. There was a fire and an explosion in the crash. Not much left of the car, but they didn't find any bodies. Giles, there should've been something left, right? I mean, a car fire just isn't that hot, is it?," asked Willow.
"No, not hot enough for a complete cremation," he replied.
"Okay, I was going to get a snack from the vending machine," said Xander. "Could we research something else now?"
"Why don't we call it a night? It is getting late," suggested Giles. No one disagreed.
End of PART TWO
PART THREE - Julie
"Sorry we're late," said Willow.
"Research," said Oz.
"So, how's she doing?," asked Willow as they sat down next to Xander. Her question was answered with a loud thud.
"Actually, she's employing a very clever strategy to wear down her opponent," replied Xander. Another loud thud made Willow and Oz wince.
"Good thing they have mats on the floor," said Willow.
"This strategy. It involves tiring out her opponent by letting him throw her around like a deflated basketball?," asked Oz.
"She's playing mind games with him. Just toying with him," said Xander unconvincingly.
"Oh. look! She landed a punch," said Willow. Another loud thud evoked more winces.
Buffy looked up and blew a stray hair from her eyes. She looked directly into Tucker's eyes and smiled.
"Well, I'm warmed up. How about you?," she asked. Only for a moment did Tucker's face show surprise or concern. Buffy attacked.
Tucker was quick. Until now he had not tried to block Buffy's punches and kicks but deflected them or dodged them. By doing this he conserved his energy. Now Buffy came directly at him and for the first time put some of her strength behind her blows. Tucker had no choice but to try blocking and took more punishment. Buffy faked a knee to his groin, causing Tucker to instinctively lean back.
Grabbing his arm, she twisted and threw Tucker over her shoulder. Knowing that he would just use his momentum to roll once he hit the mat, Buffy held onto his arm instead of letting go and drove him down onto his back. She sprung back into a defensive position but Tucker did not get up.
He didn't answer and didn't move. Buffy knelt down at his side.
"Okay, Tucker. You just had the wind knocked out of you. Remember to breathe. You know, in, out, in, out. Hey, you alright?," she asked, concerned. He nodded but couldn't speak. Buffy glanced up at her friends but they were just staring at them, not knowing what to do.
"I'm okay," said Tucker, raising himself up on his elbows. "That was an interesting move," he commented.
"Oh, sorry about that. I guess it was a cheap shot."
"No, not at all. It would only have been cheap if you connected." Tucker laughed.
"Why are you laughing?," asked Buffy, trying not to smile.
"I've finally found someone who can challenge me. This is great!"
Even Buffy laughed. "Yeah, that was a good workout. Do you want to keep at it?"
"Actually, we'd better call it quits for today. I think I have to look for my spine. It must be here somewhere!"
"Oh, come on," said Buffy, helping him up. "You gave better than you took."
"Thanks. And I meant what I said. That was great. Let's do it again soon."
"Sure. I'd love to," agreed Buffy. She picked up a towel, wiped off her face and walked over to her friends.
"Okay, slugger, when the bell rings for round two, come out swinging. Hands up, jab and move, jab and move. No more of this clinching stuff. Clean breaks and head to your corner after a knockdown. I think you've got him now," said Xander.
"Xander, there is no round two," said Buffy, giving Xander a strange look.
"Well, I guess he's not limping today," said Willow.
"No, he's not. And Willow, when you were checking out his school records, did you happen to notice the words 'black belt' anywhere near his name?," asked Buffy.
"No," replied Willow, looking at the floor.
"Hey, I'm only kidding. But he is good. Every time I would shift my weight from one foot to the other, he would pick up on it and close on me to that side. By doing that I couldn't lunge at him or get anything behind my punch. I ended up fighting flat-footed."
"So you weren't just toying with him, letting him think he was better?," asked Xander.
"I stopped toying with him about seven minutes ago. Still don't like the idea of him hunting vampires, but I'm a little less worried about him than I was."
"Oz and I looked up his address. Thought we'd walk by on our way home," said Willow.
"That's a good idea. See you at the Bronze tonight?," asked Buffy.
"Wouldn't miss it," answered Xander, with Willow nodding in agreement.
"Should we move against her tonight, Sven?"
"No, Olaf. It is not time yet. And there are not enough of us."
"We have six now. Even the slayer cannot stand up to that many at once."
"One does not defeat the slayer with numbers, Olaf, otherwise she would have fallen by now. First we must weaken her mind. We must let the events unfold as I have planned. Still, tonight you will recruit for us again. Take Erik with you. Another three, possibly six, but always in threes. Remember that."
"Yes, Sven. I understand."
"I don't get this," said Willow.
"You mean why they named this street Hill Street when it's as flat as the soda they serve in the school cafeteria?," asked Oz.
"No, but I thought of that. There doesn't seem to be 36 Hill Street. You know, where Tucker is supposed to live?"
"Yeah, all the numbers on this side are 10, 20, 30 and so on and on the other side are 5, 15, 25 and so on," agreed Oz. "Time to ask a higher power."
"Mailman," pointed Oz.
"Oh, yeah. Good idea."
"Excuse me sir, but we're looking for a friend's house. Tucker Jenkins. He just moved here and I thought his address was 36 Hill street," said Oz.
"Sorry, no such number. And I've never seen any mail for that name before. I'd remember. I've been on this route for fourteen years."
Just then a dog walked up to the mailman with his tail wagging. He handed him a dog biscuit.
"Oh, that's nice. You feed your dogs!," said Willow.
"Beats being bitten by them. I know every pet's name on my route. After a while you sorta become part of the fabric of the neighborhood."
"Ever been bit yet?," asked Oz, petting the dog.
"Not by a dog."
"By what, then?," asked Willow.
"Well, there was this goose."
"A goose?," giggled Willow.
"Hey, it was a big goose. They don't make good pets. Kinda territorial. And don't even ask about the wild turkeys."
"Wild turkeys? Around here?," asked Oz.
"No, I'm from back east. Transferred out here years ago. Anyway, one day around Thanksgiving there was just a little snow on the ground and I noticed some strange looking tracks. I'm looking down at them, following them and when I look up, I'm surrounded by about fifteen turkeys, right there on somebody's front lawn! At the time I thought it might be funny to yell like a turkey. They didn't find it very amusing. Things are a little fuzzy after that, but I do remember there were a lot of feathers."
"You know, thanks for your time, but we have to get going now," said Oz.
"Right. What he said," agreed Willow.
"Sure. Glad I could help. Oh, by the way, we don't like to called mailmen anymore."
"Oh?," said Willow.
"No. Nowadays everything is so politically correct. You don't call a sanitation engineer a garbageman anymore, do you?"
"Hadn't really thought about it," said Oz, looking at his watch.
"So, what do we call you then? In the future, if I ever approach a postal worker again, I mean," said Willow.
"A communications engineer. I like to think I work for the federal government in the communications field."
"And you're on the road a lot," added Oz.
"Right, that's the idea. Well, have a nice day."
"You know," said Oz as the mailman walked away, "I think I'm more nervous now than I was before about postal workers."
"Just keep moving slowly and try not to make eye contact," whispered Willow.
Buffy walked very slowly through the cemetery. Clouds obscured the moon and there was no breeze, making it darker and quieter than most nights. Something just ahead seemed out of place and she stopped. Was that someone sitting on the ground in front of a large headstone? Buffy drew a stake from the sleeve of her jacket.
"Lisa?," called out Buffy, softly. She took three more steps forward and slipped the stake back into her jacket. Lisa was sitting with her knees pulled up to her chest, her arms wrapped around her legs and her chin resting on her knees.
"Lisa! I've been so worried about you. Angel and I have been looking everywhere for you!," said Buffy, kneeling down beside Lisa.
"I know," replied Lisa, not looking at Buffy. "I thought you might hunt here tonight. And I was hoping that you'd be alone."
"Lisa, I have to ask you...there was a boy outside the Bronze after you left me."
Lisa closed her eyes and started crying.
"It was you?," asked Buffy.
Lisa nodded yes.
"I'm so sorry. I couldn't stop myself. I couldn't stop. God, you must think I'm so pathetic!"
"No, Lisa, not at all! It's not your fault. That wasn't you who had control then. It was the demon."
Buffy moved closer to Lisa to give her a hug. Lisa gasped and stumbled away from her, staring at her neck.
"Oh, the cross! I'm sorry," said Buffy. "Here, I'll take it off."
"No! No, don't! Please. You can't trust me. I can't trust myself," said Lisa, looking at Buffy for the first time.
"Okay. Let's just talk for a while." Buffy took Lisa's hand and they stood up.
"You don't understand, Buffy. The hunger. It never goes away. Ever. Don't ever trust any one of us."
Buffy looked away.
"Yes, that means Angel, too. Maybe he's different. Maybe because he's so much older he has more will power or control. But the hunger is still there. How can I explain it? It's addictive, like a drug. Even though I was repulsed and horrified at what was happening, the physical pleasure was overwhelming. Erotic. I can't describe it."
Buffy looked at Lisa. Angel had never talked to her about this. They both had avoided the subject.
"And afterwards, the guilt and remorse suffocate you. Your body trembles, you feel like vomiting but you can't."
"Lisa, I don't know what to say. I can't know what you're going through."
"You know, Buffy, I think you can understand. That's why I came looking for you. I'm so lonely, I'm so alone. I'm not human anymore but I'm not one of them. I have no one. You have friends, but they don't understand. They can't know what you've given up to do what you do. What you have to do. I understand how alone you are. Am I making any sense?"
"Yes," answered Buffy sadly. "I know what you're trying to say. Maybe that's why I feel the way I do about Angel. He understands. And he's so like you, Lisa. Remember, he has a soul, too. You have to talk to him. He can help."
"Buffy, I just want to die. I need you to kill me. I'm not strong enough to do it myself."
"No. Not without you at least talking to Angel first. You may have fed on him but he doesn't remember a thing. He was unconscious. And if it helps, he's totally wigged about what happened to you. That he may have been responsible. You've been this way for a few days. Image feeling like this for a hundred years. He can't believe someone shares this curse with him."
"Angel didn't bite me."
"What? You remember now?"
"No. Not everything. Just bits and pieces. But I know Angel didn't kill me. Something's happened to me ever since I fed. I see faces and places that seem familiar to me but yet I can't name. It's more than just my memory coming back to me. I don't know how to describe it. It's like I see myself walking towards me, but as the image gets closer, it fades and I can't touch it."
Buffy shook her head, not understanding.
"There's more. I'm changing. And it scares me. You see, the thought of eating a rat no longer disgusts me. My mind must be accepting what I've become. The will to survive is emerging."
"Does the name Julie mean anything to you. Julie..."
"Weber," finished Lisa. "I know the name. I want to say it's me, but I can't make the connection."
"Here," said Buffy, handing her a copy of the police report that Willow had found. Lisa stared at the photo of Julie Weber.
"That's my face, but it doesn't mean anything to me. Not yet. Maybe in time, if my memory keeps coming back, but somehow it's just not as important as I thought it would be. Buffy, I don't want you to call me Julie. Even if that's me, Julie is dead. I'm Lisa. And it's time I accept that."
"Okay, if that's what you want. But there is another reason for you to live."
"Revenge. Help me find the vampire that did this to you. I swear I'll kill him and then, if it's still what you want, I give you my word that I will help you find peace."
"Don't sugar coat it. You'll drive a wooden stake through my heart."
"Yeah, I guess that sums it up. And I know I'll dread that moment because there's so much human left in you. But I promise to help you."
Suddenly Lisa put her hand up, motioning Buffy to be quiet. She turned her head and sniffed at the air like an animal.
"Buffy, you're in danger. There's five of...of us, coming this way. Run. I'll try to stall them."
"No, Lisa! You're coming with me!"
"What can they do to me? Go! I'll slow them down. Now!"
"It's too late. Company's here."
The five figures came to a sudden stop, as if they were surprised to find the slayer and weren't looking for her. Two of the vampires held back as if to watch. The other three spread out to attack them from different directions.
"Lisa, take this," said Buffy, handing Lisa a wooden stake. "I have another one. Get behind me. If we fight back to back we'll have a better chance."
The three vampires hesitated but began circling the two girls. Buffy heard a low growl emanate from behind her and knew that Lisa had changed into full vamp face. Then, as if ordered by some command only they could hear, the vampires attacked. Buffy was glad to see that two were coming at her, both because she didn't know how well Lisa could fight and that these two would probably get in each other's way.
What Buffy hadn't anticipated was that Lisa would be knocked down into her. Everyone fell to the ground. Buffy glanced at Lisa, who had been pinned under her attacker but was able to stake him by reaching around to his back. Buffy's legs were caught under one of the vampires and the other punched her in the face. She took two more punches before Lisa tackled him.
With the other vampire gone, Buffy was able to kick the third one off of her. Springing to her feet and getting mad, she knocked him down with only a few kicks and punches. Lying on his back, he was nearly helpless and was quickly staked. Buffy looked for Lisa and was shocked at what she saw.
Lisa was behind the other vampire and he was trying to flip her over his shoulder. Instead, Lisa savagely bit into his neck, ripping it open. The vampire grabbed at his wound and Lisa lifted him up and brought him spine down onto a headstone. There was a horrible snapping noise. She killed him by driving the stake into his chest so hard it pierced the ground below him. In a second he was dust.
"Well done, Lisa. Angelus would be proud. Feed often. Soon your memory will return and then the slayer will not trust you, but fear you," said one of the two remaining vampires. Both carried large axes in their hands. They simply turned and walked slowly away.
"Let them go," said Buffy, grabbing Lisa's arm. "They're armed. Let's pick our fights. I'm sure we haven't seen the last of those two."
"How do they know my name?," asked Lisa.
"I'm not sure."
Buffy looked at Lisa and couldn't avoid staring at her mouth. Lisa raised a hand to her lips and looked at it. It was bloody. She quickly turned away from Buffy.
"I'm sorry you had to see me that way," said Lisa, wiping her arm across her mouth.
"Lisa, look at me. Look at me!," said Buffy, turning Lisa around. "I look at my lover's face and only see him," she said, touching Lisa's cheek. "That's all. And I only see you. Understand?"
"Thanks," nodded Lisa. Her face changed back to human.
"Let's get back to the Bronze," said Buffy. "My friends are probably wondering where I am."
"Sorry about the knockdown. I think you're going to have to teach me some new fighting techniques," said Lisa.
"I wasn't going to mention it, but since you brought it up, that might not be a bad idea. And another thing. When you wanted to find me, the first place you think of is a cemetery?"
"Actually, I was looking for where the buried Casper the Friendly Boy when I said to myself, hey, maybe Buffy hangs around here."
"I only meant that the Bronze might have been a more obvious choice," replied Buffy.
"Yes, but the last time I was there the food didn't agree with me."
"Speaking of that, what do you think that vampire meant about feeding often? That the more blood I ingest the quicker my memory will come back?," suggested Lisa.
"That's what my watcher is for. I fight, he reads."
"What do you think they're talking about?," whispered Willow. Angel and Giles were on the other side of the library, talking with Lisa.
"I don't know," answered Xander. "Telling jokes? You know, there once was a vampire from Nantucket..."
"Xander!," interrupted Buffy. "Besides, that's not a joke, that's a limerick."
"Sorry. Just trying to lighten the mood," said Xander. "To be honest, I don't know what to say or how to act with Lisa around."
"Just be yourself," replied Buffy. "Right now she needs us. Put yourself in her place. Can you imagine? I almost wish she didn't have a soul. It would be easier."
"You mean, to kill her?," asked Willow.
Buffy looked at Willow and considered her question.
"No. I mean yes, then I could kill her with no remorse. But what I meant was that it would be easier for her not to have to deal with this. Right now what she needs is a friend."
"I'd say more than one," said Willow, making Buffy smile.
"Maybe it's better that she can't remember who she was. Maybe it's less painful that way," said Xander.
"I doubt it," replied Buffy, looking across the room. "Still, remember to call her Lisa, not Julie."
"Buffy, can I ask you something? Something personal?"
"Sure, Xander. What's up?," said Buffy, cautiously.
"What happened to Julie...is that something you think about when you're out on patrol, alone? Are you afraid it might happen to you?"
"Maybe we shouldn't be talking about this," said Willow, even though she wanted to know the answer too.
"No. It's okay. If I can't talk to you two, who can I confide in? I don't think about it when I'm on patrol. I can't be distracted. And then I'm in the moment, you know? But later, when I'm home, alone in bed...yeah, I think about it. I just can't give in to it."
Willow frowned at Xander. He was going to defend himself but instead looked down at his shoes.
"Thanks for asking, Xander," said Buffy. And she meant it. Xander nodded. Giles, Angel and Lisa walked over to join the others.
"Well, I think it would be wise if Lisa stayed at Angel's place for the time being," said Giles.
"Is that safe? Sven's creeps might be watching Angel and it's not like they have to invited in over there," suggested Buffy.
"Jealous much?," said Xander.
"No! Of course not. I just think..."
"Buffy's right," agreed Angel. "What's plan B?"
"How about my house tonight? You know, a sleepover thing," said Willow. This surprised everyone so much no one spoke.
"No, really, I mean it. Slumber party. Sounds good. Right?," asked Willow.
"Willow, I appreciate the offer. Really. But you don't have to do that," said Lisa.
"No, that's a good idea. But let's do it at my house. Less questions and all," said Buffy. "And how 'bout filling us in with the details of your Malta Conference."
"That's the Yalta Conference," corrected Giles.
"We discussed the possibility that Sven has hypnotized Julie...excuse me, Lisa. But for what purpose we can only guess at. His wife's name, of course, was Lisa, so he may be preparing her to be his bride, although he should need some contact with Lisa to reinforce these suggestions," stated Giles.
"What concerns me is that he may have planted a suggestion to harm or attack Buffy. Maybe this action would be activated by some key word or command she'd hear later," said Angel, looking at Buffy.
"I agree," said Giles. "Especially with the warning that vampire gave you. And Lisa may have a soul, but the possibility exists that she was hypnotized into believing she does."
"Why?," asked Buffy.
"To get you to befriend me," said Lisa. "Trust me. What better way to earn your trust than to have something in common with Angel."
"Nice theory, but I believe that you have a soul. And if you do, I know you couldn't harm me," said Buffy.
"If," said Xander. "Sorry. It had to be said."
"Well, if my two cents is worth anything, I say Lisa has a soul," said Angel. "Just a feeling, but I trust my instincts."
Both Buffy and Willow smiled at this.
"Giles, could there be a connection between how often Lisa feeds and her memory returning?," asked Buffy.
"Yes, it's possible, considering what she is."
"In that case, don't forget this," said Angel, handing Lisa a brown paper bag.
"Right," agreed Lisa, somewhat embarrassed.
"Don't be uncomfortable, Lisa. I've gone to the butcher lots of times for Angel," said Buffy.
"Oh, that's what's in the bag," said Willow.
"C'mon. I'll walk you home," said Angel.
"Don't stop walking. Just act relaxed. We're being watched," said Lisa. The group hadn't even gotten out of sight of the library yet.
"Angel?," said Buffy, not looking at him. Angel listened but shrugged his shoulders.
"One thing I've learned is that there's no sneaking Sally through the alley past Lisa. She seems to possess a keen awareness of other vampires."
"Which direction?," asked Angel.
"Across the street, on the roof of that brick building," said Lisa.
"Okay, I'll double back and check things out. I'll see you later," he said, giving Buffy a quick kiss on the lips. Willow looked away and smiled. Xander just looked away.
"Thanks," said Buffy. "Xander, do you want me to walk you home before we stop by Will's?"
"I'll ignore the affront to my manhood and simply say no. I have a cross and, as you know, I can run like the wind if need be. Guess that means I'm not invited to the slumber party?"
"It's a girl thing," said Willow.
"Yeah, you probably want to have pillow fights in your underwear or something," said Xander sadly.
"You know, I'm not going to burst that interesting, adolescent bubble of yours. Just take that happy thought home with you," said Buffy.
"Sweet dreams," teased Willow.
"Goodnight," replied Xander.
"Bye," added Lisa.
"Do you really have pillow fights or are you just teasing poor Xander?," asked Lisa after Xander was out of earshot. Buffy wasn't sure if she was serious.
"We like to gossip. But maybe we could squeeze in a pillow fight. What do you think, Will?"
"Oh, sure! I'm going to take on the slayer and a vampire in a pillow fight. I don't think so."
"Spoil sport," said Buffy, disappointed.
"How do those fit?," asked Buffy.
"Great! Besides peejays, we should share clothes, girlfriend," said Lisa.
"Make yourself at home much?"
"Lisa, sorry about that door thing again. I thought you knew," said Willow.
"I was going to invite you in, you know," said Buffy. "I turned around and..."
"I only bumped my head. Call it a learning experience," said Lisa.
"Just don't want you to think I was being rude," continued Buffy.
"Why would I think that when we wear the same size?"
"Great! The sister I never had!"
"Buffy, it was nice of your mother to make those cookies for us," said Willow. "Warm chocolate chip and milk!"
"Slice and bake but still, nothing beats it," agreed Buffy.
"Oh, I don't know," said Lisa, looking into her brown paper bag. She glanced at Buffy and Willow.
"Something wrong?," asked Buffy.
"No. It's just that with this much blood...I'm still new at this and sometimes I...can't control my face."
"Lisa, it doesn't matter. You're with friends, so relax. So what if you get all grrr," said Willow.
"Thanks," said Lisa, holding back tears.
"Well, if this isn't a Kodak moment. I propose a toast. To friendship and midnight snacking," said Buffy, holding up her glass of milk. Lisa and Willow raised their glasses and drank.
"Uh oh," said Lisa.
"What?," asked Buffy, not knowing what could be wrong.
"Well, if you and Willow both have milk mustaches, then I must have..."
"Yep. Wouldn't this make a great commercial!," said Willow, laughing and licking clean her upper lip. So did Buffy and Lisa.
"Buffy, are you going to tell your mother about me?," asked Lisa.
"No. Not unless it's necessary. I don't like bringing my work home from the office. Not that you're work, I mean. But I would like to know what you and Angel talked about. You had some time alone before Giles came over."
"He was nice. Don't get jealous or anything, but we really connected. The soul thing, you know? Anyway, you were right. It helped talking to him. As lame as it sounds, I just need to take one day, or is that night, at a time. It might not get any easier, but I can survive."
"Oh, come on! Where's the juicy details?," asked Buffy.
"Hmm, let's see. Details. He reassured me that he didn't willfully turn me and that he doesn't know if he would be the reason I would have a soul. Told me some icky tips on non-human feeding such as the local butcher, warned me about certain urges and feelings I might get and how to resist them. Told me if I needed anything to come to him. And he told me, above all, to trust you with my life. Then Giles came along and quizzed me about Sven. Couldn't help him much."
"I didn't mean to pry," said Buffy, sheepishly.
"Thought. Urges? So Angel gave you that...that snack to help you fight urges?," asked Willow. "You don't sleep walk, do you?"
"No, Willow, I don't. I want you to relax around me, to be comfortable, so why don't you wear a cross tonight. For both of us."
Willow made a sad face a pulled on a chain around her neck. At the end of it was a silver cross.
"Sorry. Boy, if my dad could see me wearing this. Whew! Oh, I'm Jewish, if that helps to explain my rambling."
"You don't have to explain. I want you to wear that. To explain about myself further, yes, the blood helps. Obviously I'm not hungry and so then I'm more in control. And I'm not so cold. I always seem cold, but less so after drinking this. That's one thing Angel couldn't explain. He doesn't feel cold like I do."
"We'll have to ask Giles about that," said Buffy. "He's good at doing the book thing."
"Willow, tell me about Xander. He's got a sense of humor. What's he like?," asked Lisa.
"I told you, Sven. Those three had not yet been taught our ways. When we found the slayer, I couldn't control them. It was still instinct that made them attack."
"Excuses! Bist du verrucht? You should have been more careful and avoided the slayer! It is not time yet for her to know yet!"
"I understand. We will find three more to replace them. Perhaps they weren't worthy of the calling."
"Perhaps," said Sven, somewhat appeased.
"I bring good news as well, Sven."
"You told me of your desire to find a new girl. A red haired maiden, I believe were your words."
"Go on, Olaf. You intrigue me."
"I've found one. And better yet, she is a friend of the slayer."
End of PART THREE