The Scooby Gang was gathered around a table at the library. Giles nervously cleaned his glasses, as Willow explained what had just transpired in the hallway. "Angel...us said he lost his soul. That his demon had been watching me." She shuddered, "gave me the major wiggins".
"I'm just going to ignore the fact that you've been reading the Watcher Diaries without consulting with me", the Watcher responded replacing his glasses. "But they don't mention anything about him being cursed with a soul. Considering Buffy's rather close... relationship with the vampire I thought it best to do research on him-"
Xander interrupted him concern laced in his voice. "What are we gonna do?"
Grimly the librarian responded, "I'm leaning towards blind panic myself". Jenny who leaned against the bookshelves shot him a reproachful glance. "I'm sorry. It's just that things are bad enough with the Judge here. Angel crossing over to the other side... I-I- wasn't prepared for that."
Jenny who had remained silent finally spoke up. "I was sent here to watch over Angel to ensure he never experienced a moment of true happiness, which would break the curse and cause him to lose his soul."
Tears welled in Buffy's eyes as she recalled the night before his one moment of true happiness.
Willow reached out and took her hand. "Are you ok, Buffy?"
Gripping Willow's hand tightly she shook her head no.
"You were sent here I don't understand..." Giles expression was one of hurt and confusion.
Jenny moved across the room to lay a comforting hand on the Watcher's arm. "I'm sorry Rupert. Angel was supposed to pay for what he did to my people."
Shrugging off her touch he joined the teens sitting at the table. "We have bigger issues than your dishonesty to deal with."
"I have a plan", Xander eagerly piped up. "We're gonna need Cordelia's help and wheels."
Willow still holding the Slayer's hand was quick to respond, "I can ask Oz he has a van".
"Care to let me in on the plan I'm a part of?" Cordelia loudly inquired pushing a lock of her dark hair behind one ear.
"No", Xander quickly replied.
Standing the cheerleader put her hands on her hips. "Why not?"
"Because if I tell, then you won't do it. Just meet me at Willow's house in half an hour. And wear something trashy..." He gave her a once over before adding. "...er"
Buffy walked Willow home to wait with her until the others arrived the threat of Angelus loomed in the back of her mind. Her indiscretion with the vampire was haunting not only her but those she loved as well. Willow was innocent and whatever plans Angelus had for her could not be of the good. The arrival of the others pulled the Slayer from her thoughts.
"Who's up for sneaking into a military base and stealing a few weapons?" Xander gleefully inquired his dark brown eyes dancing with mirth.
"You're not serious. Oh god you're serious." Buffy climbed in the back of van with Xander and Cordelia shaking her head.
Meanwhile back at the factory Drusilla sat on Spike's wheelchair bound lap while Angelus recalled the night's events.
"You should've seen her face it was priceless." The Master Vampire hopped up on a conveyor platform and sat. "I'll never forget it."
Stroking Drusilla's hair Spike tried to keep his temper in check. "So you didn't kill her then?"
"Of course not", he muttered as he lit a cigarette.
"Now I know you haven't been in the game for a while mate, but we do still kill people. Sort of our raison d'etre, you know."
"You don't want to kill her, do you?" Drusilla gouged at Miss Edith's eyes. "You want her." She smiled up at him. "Just like you wanted me."
"Nobody knows me like you do, Dru", Angelus replied smirking.
Rolling closer to the elder vampire Spike studied him closely. "She'd better not get in our way."
"Don't worry about it she's just a novice witch no threat to the family."
Xander cut through the fence around the military base with bolt cutters, and slipped inside motioning for Cordelia to follow him. "Buffy when the window to the armory opens I'll pass you the package."
Nodding her head in conformation the Slayer watched as the two made their way onto the base. Swearing as they were stopped by a patrolling soldier. After a quick exchange they were allowed to pass Buffy let out the breath she had been holding.
Back in the van Willow nervously waited with Oz. "I wish they'd hurry."
"So, do you guys steal weapons from the Army a lot?" The tension in the van lessened with his words.
"Well, we don't have cable, so we have to make our own fun-" The door to the van opened and Buffy loaded a large crate inside, as Xander and Cordelia hurriedly made their way through the fence. Thanks to the Halloween costume mishap he still remembered military training and regulations, so on the way to the factory he showed the Slayer how to work the rocket launcher they had just stolen.
Angelus had already left with Drusilla and Big Blue, so when Spike heard the sound of approaching foot steps he wheeled himself out of sight. Luckily for the wheelchair bound vampire the Slayer only did a quick once over leaving as soon as she realized the Judge was not present.
The teens regrouped in the van determined to discover where Angelus and the others could be. "I don't know where they could be, uh... Somewhere crowded I guess. The Judge needs bodies, right?"
"Buffy's right. The Bronze maybe." Willow quickly countered.
Xander shaking his head responded, "it's closed tonight".
The doors to the Sunnydale Mall open and the Judge, Angelus and Drusilla enter flanked by minions. The Judge reaches out touching a man. The man stops in his tracks a look of shock on his face, and he begins to combust before disappearing in a puff smoke. A gleeful Angelus crowed, "lock the exits, boys". His minions rushed to do his bidding. The vampire turned to the Judge ."It's all yours."
Elevator doors opened and Buffy walks out followed by the rest of the gang. "Everybody keep back. Damage control only. Take out any lesser vamps if you can. I'll handle the Smurf."
Then the blue demon extended his arm his energy arced out and through the crowd of humans. Everyone is immobilized freezing where they stand. Drusilla bounces with glee claping,"oh goody".
Angelus distracted by the sight of Willow missed Buffy shooting an arrow into the chest of the Judge.
The break in his concentration caused the arcs of energy to disappear. "You're a fool. No weapon forged can stop me."
Buffy lowers the bow. "That was then." Xander passes her the rocket launcher, and she raised it to her shoulder. "This is now." She powers it on and sets her sights the rest of the team take cover behind the snack stand.
Angelus and Drusilla begin to run for cover leaping over the stair railing. The rocket hit the Judge square in the chest sending him flying in flaming pieces. People begin to flee Angelus and Drusilla took advantage of the panicked crowed to blend into as they ran.
Buffy ran after Angelus, as the smoke reached the automatic sprinklers causing them to kick on. Willow and the others began picking up pieces of the Judge careful to keep them separate.
The sprinklers rain down on Buffy soaking her. She doesn't see Angelus anywhere. Suddenly he comes at her from behind hitting her by surprise. The slayer falls backward.
"You just don't handle break ups well. Do you, Slayer?"
"Stay way from Willow." Buffy kicks him in the face, but her next swing was blocked. He punches first in the face then gut. He kicks her in the face and she falls to the floor.
"I know it hard first time and all, but you'll learned some affairs of the heart are temporary. You were temporary..."
She leaps up kicking him in the face sending him flying into display case, as he straightened up Buffy readied a stake.
"You can't do it. You can't kill me." He mocked viciously.
Lowering the stake the blonde kicked the vampire hard in the groin. "Not yet."
Authors Note: Next chapter will be full of Angelus and Willow goodness.