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The word on the street was that the Anointed One had been turned to dust. But apparently the guy that was said to had offed him was a Master Vampire who'd then taken the Anointed One's place and had just become the Hellmouth's newest big bad. I'd spent the last three days tracking down all my informants so I could try and find out if there was any validity to the rumors . While everyone agreed the Anointed One was indeed gone, no one had any info on the vamp that'd done the deed. Even the snitch, Willie, left me empty handed.
I was about to give up on my search altogether when I came across a couple of vamps at the butcher shop where I usually went to buy my blood. At first I was surprised when I saw them buying cartons of pig's blood from the shopkeeper instead of just eating him. Once I recovered from my shock, I immediately stopped the two so I could question them. Then, for the second time that night, the pair surprised me. Instead of spilling the beans or trying to fight me like most vampires, the two tucked tail and ran. I let my demon free and took off after them with a roar.
The two had ducked and darted like rabbits, but this hound was smarter than that. I was able to corner them in an alley only a few blocks from the shop.
"No way out now, kiddies. No more running. Now, if you answer all my questions, I'll at least consider knocking off most of the little games I'm planning for you. Give you a nice, fast dusting." A growl from deep in my chest emphasized my threat and the superiority of my demon. This method usually worked on fledglings like these two. Usually they'd submit to me and I could get them to sing any song I wanted. Of course I'd only indulge in this…method…of questioning when Buffy wasn't there to see it.
I hadn't seen the girl for days now. I knew she and her friends were busy with school and patrolling, but she had said that she'd wanted to spend more time with me. I had been thinking about going to the Bronze. So every time I'd met a dead end with my search I was tempted to go and try to find her there. Only I was never certain that it was really a place I should risk seeing her at. The famous night club was always filled with a lot of people. Young, sweaty, nubile people to be exact. It made the demon wild and unsettled. It wanted blood. Fresh blood from the throats of teens who hung out in that place. No matter how badly I wanted to see Buffy, the desire was tempered with the knowledge that I could never let her see the monster that lurked just under my skin. So I stayed away and settled for missing her.
That frustration lent my words an edge, and I expected the vamps in front of me to fold like wet tissue paper. Instead of submission, however, I saw defiance in their eyes. It made me wonder who their sire was, because while these two smelled like minions, they acted like Childers. It was then that I realized that simple intimidation was a lost cause. The two vampires must have been under the influence of a Blood Oath. They'd been given the blood of a superior vampire and had subsequently pledged their allegiance to that vampire and his line. Their ability to resist me also meant that it wasn't just an ordinary Blood Oath to your run of the mill vamp. It had to be a very powerful Master Vampire, one that was most likely even older than me.
With the Blood Oath taking simple intimidation off the table, actual torture might be necessary. My demon was beyond excited at the prospect, even though it was only violence against demons without the possibility of a good meal. I fought to squash that emotion immediately. I couldn't lose control of myself, especially not in this town, where Buffy lived. It'd happened once when I kissed her, and that'd been once too many. Her and her little gang could never know of the struggle I went through from day to day to keep the demon in check.
"Guess we'll get right to the fun stuff then. I should warn you two, I've had a lot of practice." I slipped my human mask back in place. The sly smile I gave the two vampires would have mirrored any that Angelus would have been capable of back in the day.
After I said this, I saw the two share a look before one of them gave his bag of blood to his companion to hold, and attacked me. Initially I'd been taken by surprise but I'd immediately gotten the upper hand and had dusted the vampire. When I turned around to face his companion and saw that the other one was no longer there. Immediately I tried to search for the other vamp, but his scent had become lost in the stink of the sewers.
After everything I'd gone through that night all I had wanted was to go home and have a good long chance to sit and think, think not brood, as most people seem to believe I do.
It was obvious that those two vampires were indeed serving a Master Vampire. An old and powerful one at that, because there is no way that any ordinary vampire could inspire that kind of loyalty from a minion. Most of the time, even under a Blood Oath, vampires weren't selfless enough to sacrifice their own lives. A Master strong enough to defeat the Anointed One and bind minions to him with steel bands would be a formidable opponent. Buffy could get hurt or worse by fighting this vampire.
The risk of her not knowing she had a new foe and running into him unaware had proven to be more fatal in my head than her potentially making a rash choice to go after him guns blazing. I decided that even though I wasn't sure who this vampire was it was worth warning Buffy about him. It'd give her a chance to prepare for him.
I had to wait to tomorrow when I would know where to find her.
The next morning, I ventured out during the day to the school library that was the site of most of Buffy's little gang's meetings. They were already there, chatting and researching, when I arrived. I stayed behind a stack of old books and waited for the perfect moment to show myself. After all, style was everything and I always have had a bit of a penchant for drama and women seem to like that.
As I was waiting, I overheard the group discussing the Night of St. Vigeous which was this Saturday. I internally cursed myself for not remembering about it. I also realized the implications for a new, powerful, Master Vampire having arrived in Sunnydale just in time for the event. He was a big enough threat without the boost in strength from the ritual. Buffy could be in serious danger. I needed to think of a way to protect her in order to fulfil the duty that the PTB had entrusted me with.
"Giles, can't training wait until tomorrow when I don't have to be worried about getting expelled?" Buffy's voice shook me out of my musing.
"I'm afraid not, Buffy. If the Night of St. Vigeous is the event that Jenny says it is, then the only way to keep you alive is to properly prepare you by sharpening your skills," the Watcher told her.
"You're right. But it all won't matter anyway if Mom kills me after tonight. Seriously Giles, I just need a break."
"She's right G-man. Buffy's been working nonstop for days now. Not to mention the fact that Sheila has practically gone AWOL on her since yesterday. She's had to do the final decorating alone. She just needs rest," Harris, one of Buffy's friends, came to her defense.
"Don't worry Mr. Giles, me and Miss Calendar have been working on creating some spells that could possibly be useful in dusting a large number of vamps all in one blow," I heard the timid Willow say. This made me slightly uncomfortable, considering I could also get hit and killed by such a spell.
"Really? Does that mean I'll be having it easy during patrols from now on?" Buffy said a bit too hopefully for my taste.
I never could understand why the girl wanted to find ways get out of her duties as the Slayer. It was her job. Why did she always want to escape it? I always thought that being a Slayer is the one of the greatest honor one could ever receive. It was why Slayers always took their job seriously. I mean, these girls are given a purpose, a drive, a reason for greatness. But Buffy thought of it as a hindrance. Having a calling, or a purpose, was among the things I had wanted when I was alive. It was something I searched for, but never found. True, I often went looking for it in the bottom of a glass of ale or in the comforts of a willing woman, but it hadn't always been like that.
When I was a wee lad, my grandpa had told me that when I grew up I was destined for great things. I never knew why he said it, just that he'd said it often enough for me to believe him. I would imagine myself as some great warrior or hero, fighting evil men and rescuing some damsels. It was what got me up every day despite my pa's abusive and drunken ways. It gave me hope that I would amount into something better than a slowly impoverishing gentleman's son. So I waited for that day to come. As I gradually got older I lost my hope when my life didn't turn into what I had dreamed. I'd became what I had hated most: someone like my father. Drinking and fornication became my daily bread and butter, and my duty to my family became less and less important. Eventually my pa disowned me. I hadn't cared, and why would I? It wasn't like he'd ever cared for or about me. An heir had been a necessary evil and he acted like I should have worshiped him for being allowed to follow in his footsteps. I continued that life, stumbling from one tavern or ale house to the next, until I met HER.
I could still remember everything that'd happened that night. How enchanting her beauty had been. I'd wondered why she, a woman of means, had chosen to speak to a drunken lout like me. It was embarrassing now, but at the time I'd had some very perverse thoughts about what I'd like to do with her and I'd just come right out and told her most of them. Only she hadn't slapped me and stormed away. In fact, she'd sounded willing and had played along with me. Of course it'd only been a means for getting me alone in the street. Once alone she'd promised me that she'd show me the world. It was an adventure I just couldn't resist. It was a chance to change the course my life. She had offered and I'd accepted without a moment of hesitation. My life was indeed changed that night. Whether that'd been a good or bad thing was yet to be decided.
I know, with every fiber of my being, that I should hate Darla for her deceit that night. I should be angry with her for killing me and damning my soul to hell. Only I couldn't. I didn't even want to. She had transformed me that night. True, she had made me into a monster, but even my soul could agree that my life as Angelus, though filled with death, blood, and lust had had more purpose, beauty and finesse than my life as a human had ever had. As Angelus, I'd been able to do anything and everything that I had wanted without being hindered by the will of others or worrying about the judgement of my betters. Being a vampire had made me superior to everyone. I'd loved every moment of having that power within me.
When I'd been cursed with my soul all the enjoyment had flown. The guilt that came with it was a hell in its own right. I could see everything that I had done: each and every kill I made, every torture I had performed, every man, woman and child I had hurt, molested and defiled. It all came back to me. It was agony. Even worse was the realization that instead of becoming the great man that my grandfather had predicted I would be, I had become a monster. It was just too much for me to deal with. It'd been so overwhelming that I had lost my mind and practically left everything, including my vampire family, behind.
Two years I'd spent wallowing in self-pity. Two years I was alone with the pain, misery and guilt. Two years until I finally got up the courage to return to my Sire. I'd hoped that she would help me. I even went as far as to convince myself that I could ignore my soul's guilt and do anything to please Darla just so she would accept me. Of course, I had made a mistake in thinking too highly of the soulless vampiress. Instead of aiding me, her Childe, she had cast me aside in disgust.
With no family, no purpose and a heart filled with guilt and regret, I wandered the world alone. I had kept to myself and watched on the sidelines as the world changed while I remained the same. For over a century I didn't do anything remotely bad for the fear of adding to my guilty conscience. And I didn't do any good either, because I thought I was not worthy to try to do such things. I had slowly withered, all the while thinking that I was punishing myself for all the evil things I had done. I would have kept spiraling downwards for all eternity if hadn't been for that smelly messenger from the PTB coming to me and telling me about Buffy.
Buffy, The Vampire Slayer.
Being the wise vamp that I was, I avoided Slayers because of the simple knowledge that they are the killers of my kind. But when the Powers told me that my job was to assist the Slayer with her duties, I nearly exploded from joy. Finally, I had a purpose. A reason to continue this worthless undead existence that was my lot. The deciding factor in my accepting the offer had been Buffy herself. She was sweet, innocent, and still so full of life. She was the entire opposite of me, and it was my destiny to help her. It had made me feel important, wanted, and again hopeful that perhaps this was what my grandfather had meant when he said I had been destined for greatness. Perhaps this beautiful girl was what he had seen.
I'd left everything I'd known in LA and went traipsing off to the small Southern Californian town that was situated on top of a Hellmouth, just so I could help the Slayer.
There are some days though, when life starts to slow down on me, that I would wonder if Buffy was truly my destiny. Don't get me wrong, I have known her long enough to make me care for her, to make me love her even, but she and I were so different that it hurt sometimes when I was with her. She was always perky, and so young. She expected a lot from me. Sometimes she'd expect me to be happy doing things like hanging out with her human friends, going to the mall, or talking about the latest celebrity gossip. She alwayd wanted me to act like a "normal guy" and take her on dates or accompany her to the movie. But I'm not like that. It then would make me think that I didn't really fit into her world.
I was born in the 1700s and the term boyfriend was not even invented then, not to mention the only long term relationship I had was with a vampiress who occasionally cheated on me, and abandoned me to die when I got my soul. I didn't know the first thing about being in a relationship in this day and age, but she still expected me to. I often caught her disappointed look when I didn't do what she thought I should, and that hurt me even more. Above all, the thing that made me doubt about whether Buffy was my destiny was the fact that I had to hide what I was around her. She didn't want the demon, only the man.
I am a monster. My soul could never change the fact that I killed a lot of people, had done a lot of evil, and was still is capable of doing evil. I knew for a fact that if I did lose this soul, I'd immediately revert back to the murderer that I had once been. I had my doubts that Buffy would be able to destroy the creature that would replace me.
She loved with all her heart. I knew this for certain. I also knew that she was growing to love me, but did she really loved me for me or the perfect version of me that I let her see? I knew I should stop the farce because she's young and I knew she didn't know any better, but, like I said, I have started to care for her. I wanted to protect her, even if meant hiding who I was. But was it enough? Was this what I was supposed to be doing for the rest of my existence? Was this my destiny? To spend my time changing my nature for a girl who is not even one tenth my age? Perhaps... I sighed. I didn't really know.
"We need to prepare," Giles voice said loudly, reverting my attention back to the group. "We can never be too sure about anything."
"Rupert is right kids. We can never be too sure about anything. Our enemies have numbers and not to mention the possibility that the Anointed One could rally all of them and lead the vamps to attack us. We have a lot of disadvantages, we need-" the Computer Teacher was telling the group, but I had stopped listening, instead opting to finally reveal myself to the group.
"-All help we can get, because the Anointed One is the least of our problems." I finished the teacher's words as I stepped out of the shadows.
"Angel," I heard Buffy whisper my name, making me look at her.
"Buffy," I whispered back.
Our eyes met briefly, but for some reason there was something different in the way she looked at me. Gone was that love-struck look she always sent me, in its place was a confused and analytical gaze that made me worry that something bad must've happened to her in the three days that I'd been away.
We must've been staring at each other a long time because a fake cough came from Harris' lips to interrupt us. I needed to get my attention back on the matter at hand.
"You were saying, Angel?" Giles asked me to continue, ignoring the elephant in the room as usual.
"What I'm trying to say is that the Anointed One won't be a problem. He's dust." I told them, my eyes never leaving Buffy. I still got the feeling that something was wrong with her and that she wasn't willing to tell me. Yet.
"So the kiddie vamp is now living in Dustville, huh? That's like the best news all day! Does this mean we don't have to worry about the St. Vicious thing this Saturday? Because I vote we go Bronzing!" Harris enthused, earning a glare from me.
"It's called St. Vigeous, Xander. And I did not say that the whole event was cancelled because the Anointed One is gone. In fact, we have bigger problems than the Anointed One," I told them with a grim tone. "A new Master Vampire is in town. I don't know who he is, but I do know he is powerful and old. Older than me even. He is familiar with vampire customs and I believe he can garner extreme loyalty to his minions, almost as well as The Master." Upon my mentioning The Master, everyone visibly flinched. I can see that my information has impacted everyone in the room.
"What makes you say this Angel?" Giles, ever the Watcher and ever cautious of me, asked.
I gave a detailed account of what I'd found, how I'd found it, and only omitted the parts I knew Buffy wouldn't like; the parts that presented me as a demon. I told them everything up to the part where I found the two vamps last night buying blood.
"Buying pig's blood? Why would they be buying pig's blood? Is it some sort of vampire ritual thing?" Buffy asked.
"If it is, it's not one I know of," I told her.
"Okay, let's do a recap. First there's a new master vamp in town that's much older than Angel, then there is this Night of Saint Vigeous deal, where all vamps gets a major power up, then there is the possibility that the said new master vamp is gonna lead super powered up vamps to attack us in full force. I'm not missing anything aren't I?" No one disagreed with the boy. "Um, shouldn't we be thinkin': vacation?"
"We can't run, that would be wrong. Could we hide?" Willow suggested, "I mean if this new vamp is powerful enough to give Angel the wiggins, and he's leading the attack…" Willow visibly shuddered. "I'm sorry, was that audible?"
"I'm sure he's no worse than any of the other creature you've faced," Giles told Buffy, trying to sound optimistic while his face said otherwise.
"I'm sure we can take care of it. We can all work on it together. But first as I said I'd prefer to focus on the now, like the Parent-Teacher Assembly tonight. Giles, we'll think on how to deal with this new threat the whole day tomorrow. Just let me get through tonight." Her words were so filled with finality that it gave even the Watcher no room for dispute. Reluctantly he nodded. "Everyone, let's meet up again tomorrow. Willow, Ms. Calendar do you think you guys can complete that spell by then? It would be mighty useful when we fight against those vamps."
"We'll do our best," Willow said.
I watched her designate tasks to her Watcher and friends, and I couldn't help but admire her as she did it. It was moments like these where I couldn't help but remember that she was indeed the Slayer. It made me lose all my doubts about my destiny, and I believed that I would find my redemption if I just stuck with her.
"We were at the Bronze last night. I thought you would show, but I guess you've been busy." She addressed me directly this time, surprising me out of my musing.
I stared at her for a moment, hoping to see that love-struck look she always gave me, but this time I saw indifference in her eyes. It made me worried that I might've done something to her for her to act this way towards me.
"I was. And I'm sorry," I told her, putting my best apologetic look, complete with puppy-dog eyes, that seemed to get her every time.
"I know," she said, her gaze softening. "Thank you for going out your way in finding this information for us, Angel. I know it couldn't have been easy." She smiled at me for the first time since I arrived, making me think that finally everything was alright.
I returned her smile with a smaller one of my own and replied. "Your welcome, Buffy. I'm always happy to help."
We stood there staring at each other, smiling, losing our thoughts in the moment. Of course it had to ended badly as Harris supplied a comment I couldn't help but pay attention to.
"And there they go again, lost in each other's worlds. Just when I was beginning to think that the Buffster had finally decided to take interest in the living variety of people," the boy muttered.
"What?" I asked glaring at him, before reverting my gaze back to Buffy. She was suddenly looking at everything but me. "What does he mean?" I asked her.
"Nothing important. Right Xander?" she shot a look at the boy that made him nod vigorously at me.
"I see." I said, not sounding convinced.
Buffy turned away from me before I could question her any further. I immediately knew that the discussion was over and she didn't want to talk about. So I respected her wish and let it go for now.
"By the way, guys, I need help for the Parent-Teacher Night too, if that's not too much to ask," she said, addressing her friends.
"Sure Buff, what do you need?" Willow asked, also avoiding looking at me. It made me think that everyone in this little band of youngsters knew what was going on with Buffy except me.
"Nothing of importance really, besides help in keeping my mom away from Principal Snyder tonight."
They discussed it more, but I had already had enough of listening to them prattle while knowing that the group was not willing to tell me what was really up. Slinking back into the shadows, I blended into the background until I was back behind the stack of books where I had waited earlier.
"That's it, I'm putting a collar with a little bell on that guy," Harris' voice echoed through the library, putting a smile on my face. I'd like to see him try.
A/N: Hi sorry for the late update. You know when I said I had trouble doing Spike's POV, it was nothing compared to the suffering I endured writing on Angel's POV. First, I could not decide how to write him because one, I'm a bit bias of his character and I tend to use Spike's view of him when I think of him. Of course I know that Angel is more than just a Poof with excessive hair gel. He is a champion chosen by the Powers that Be. And I had to make sure that I incorporated that in the story or at least show that he cared for that role. And two I can't seem to disassociate him from Angelus. Unlike Spike, Darla and Dru, Angel in this story and even in the original series tries to differentiate himself from his demon. So I had to write him like that, I had to take out the rough part of his character and portray him as though he is this man with a demon that he keeps under lock and key because he is afraid of being seen as unworthy for redemption. I also tried to incorporate some of Angelus' attributes to him, like his arrogant nature, and his Buffy obsession, but I tweaked it so that it would still be seen as Angel. Oh, and if you noticed that I wrote that Angel isn't deadly in love with Buffy in this fic, it is because for me he really wasn't. I know they had that Romeo and Juliet kind of romance in the TV series but I thought these two were not really in love with each other. Cared deeply for each other, yes. But love? I mean Buffy is nothing but a child when she met Angel. And Angel had never been shown what love is until he met Buffy. They were attracted to each other, but I think that's all there was. They were each other's first love and I don't see first loves as true loves, especially if they happened when they were young. I tried to show that in this chapter. I also tried to show that though Angel didn't love Buffy that much, he still cares enough to feel threatened when there is someone else in her life, but he still asks noble and respects Buffy enough to wait until she tells him about it. I did my best in this chapter, and hope I did enough to do Angel justice. If not please tell me. I would appreciate reviews be they be negative or positive. Just let me know. Also I want to insert my thanks to all who fav and follow this fic, if not for you, I'd think I suck as a writer. So thank you all. Oh before I forget some of the dialogues in this chapter were from BTVS episode "School Hard" S2Ep3. Again thank you and see you next time!