Sorry, this took me soooo long. But my computer had a wacky few weeks. Enjoy!

Chapter 4: Why Do Girls Fall In Love?

"Tara?" Cordelia asked incredulous. "Willow's Tara?"

"Willow's Tara. Pffft." Tara sighed loudly. "Seems I was never anything but. As if I'm an attachment or something." She turned to Buffy, "Can we stop talking about Willow now? She's so boring. So good. Although, lately she's been a very bad girl." A smile appeared on her lips, "Maybe we'll be friends after all. But then, been there, done that. So many beautiful women, so little time." She giggled, "Oooops . my bad. I have eternity now. And you .," she shook her head in mock sadness. "But we will have fun together until then." She giggled, "I know a lot games. Willow showed me some of them." Her voice dropped to a purr, "And some are my very own."

"Forget it, bitch," Cordy snarled.

"Ah .," Tara nodded knowingly. "This one has a temper." She walked over to the seer, leaned down and took a long sniff, laughing when Cordelia shivered in

disgust. "I can smell your anger. And your fear," Tara whispered. Trailing her hand down the seer's front, she let it linger between Cordelia's breasts. "Such heat. Do you want me to touch you?"

"Let her go," Buffy ordered, pulling at her chains. Unfortunately they didn't give an inch. Damn.

"They're magically fastened," Tara said mildly, not taking her eyes off Cordy. "Save your strength for the Master."

"Master?" This time it was the Slayer's term to ask in an incredulous voice. Figured. The guy had such an overgrown ego. It was hard to believe that Angel's demon could be someone like Angelus. On the other hand, maybe not. After all the things Buffy'd learned from Giles over the years, it somehow fit. "Did he turn you?"

"No," Drusilla's voice came from the entrance, "I did. Daddy left her to me." She walked over to Tara, slung an arm around the other woman's waist and planted a kiss on Tara's cheek. "And now we're enjoying each other immensely."

"God, this is a nightmare," Cordelia groaned.

"Unfortunately not," Buffy muttered. "Seems a little too real to me. Why are you back?" she turned her head to Dru. "I thought when you left the last time it was for good."

Drusilla shrugged, "Vampires aren't notoriously reliable."

"So true," Cordy said dryly. "Wait a moment, she was here? When?"

"About a year ago." Buffy rolled her eyes, "She came to get Spike back. You

wouldn't believe what happened."

"I believe a lot of things these days," the seer replied. "I get visions, did you know that?"

"Visions?" The Slayer frowned, "Real visions?"

"Hurts like hell. I always think my head's gonna blow off."

"Sounds nasty," Buffy commented.

"Bad girls, grrr," Drusilla interrupted the, snapping her fingers at the Slayer. "Don't talk as if we're not here."

"We could never forget you, even if we tried," Buffy said, feeling for a moment as if she was stuck in a repeat performance, hanging in chains, facing Drusilla. Only Spike was missing, not that she was actually missing him. And talking about the bleached blond, "Angelus killed Spike."

"He did?" The dark-haired vampire merely raised a brow. "Poor toothless Spike. Couldn't bite, couldn't kill. It was so sad." She stepped closer to the Slayer, "His heart stank of you. Naughty boy."

"He made a nice pile of dust," Tara added, then sighed. "I'm sorry his body is gone, though. Lovely cheekbones."

"Oh, please!" Cordelia rolled her eyes, then she blinked, "Wait a minute. I

thought you were a lesbian?"

Tara sighed again, "I am. But that doesn't mean I can't appreciate beauty when it comes along."

"Something's terribly askew with your taste, that's for certain," the seer replied. "Okay, so he might have cheekbones - if you care for such a thing. But he isn't . ah . wasn't the brightest of vampires around." She frowned, then

added, "Seems to be some kind of pattern in Angelus' family, don't you think?"

She looked at Buffy who bit her lips to stop a grin from forming on her face. She had the feeling that Druilla wasn't quite able to follow the discussion, but she didn't like the expression in Tara's eyes. The vampire was getting angrier by the second. Obviously Angelus had instructed them not to harm their captives, but as Drusilla had pointed out before. Vampires weren't notoriously reliable. "So," she looked at the former lover of her best friend. "Where did your Master go?"

"He went to bring us a present," Drusilla said excitedly, a bright smile on her face.

"A present we can play with," Tara added with glee, rubbing her hands.

From the expression in the blond vampire's eyes, Buffy knew it could only mean one thing. Angelus had gone to get her best friend. If he succeeded the last one who could help them in their situation would be gone.

***

"Wesley?"

The former watcher stopped in the process of searching for the light switch, and looked in the general direction of the voice, "Yes?"

"I still can't believe Angel killed Charles." A sob followed the statement and Wesley's heart constricted. He felt for the young woman who had been through so much these past months, hell, the past five years. Transported to Pylea, damned to serve the native demons, she was now back on earth. A planet, a life, that was completely foreign to her. And now the one constant, the one person, she'd trusted without reservation, had turned against her.

No, it wasn't true, Wesley reminded himself firmly. Angel had not turned against them. Angel wasn't here. It was the demon in his body, and he'd better keep that in mind. It wouldn't help mixing the two of them up. Continuing his search, he replied, "Angel didn't kill Gunn, Fred. It was Angelus. They're not the same."

"I . I know," she said, her voice hoarse. "B-but he looked like Angel. Where is Angel?"

"His soul," Wesley answered, "is .," he sighed. "I wish I knew. Somewhere in the ether I assume. But we can't say for sure. We also don't know if we can return it to his body." This was one of his greatest fears. That there would be no way to restore Angel's soul. True, Willow had done it before, and as far as the former watcher knew, the reason for losing it was Angel's contact with his son, but that didn't mean that restoring it would be as easy as it had been the first time. And then there was the problem of a new loss. The baby - if he was still alive, and Wesley prayed he was, because he had no idea how Angel would deal with the knowledge that he killed his own son - would be a constant in the vampire's life, and therefore a permanent risk to Angel's soul.

"Why didn't he kill us?"

"I don't know," Wesley replied honestly. Why hadn't Angelus killed them, he

wondered. It would've been so easy. But he'd only thrown them into the basement and locked the door. Why? Was it some kind of sick game? Or were they here for a reason? Had the now soulless vampire plans that included a watcher and the frightened young woman with him? Not very likely. And certainly not if Wesley could help it. "But we shouldn't question it, Fred. We should be glad we're still alive. And if I'm ever going to find that bloody light - ah!"

His fingers suddenly touching the object of desire, he flipped it over and blinked rapidly against the uncommon brightness surrounding him now. He saw Fred sitting in a corner, huddled against the wall, her knees drawn to her body, which was shivering even though the basement wasn't exactly cold. "Fred," he said

softly, "can you stand up and come over here?"

Slowly lifting her head from her upraised knees, she looked at him for a long moment before she nodded, "S-sure." She came to her feet cautiously as if she were expecting the worst, then quickly walked to his side, gazing at him expectantly.

"We should try to open the door."

Her eyes widened with fear, "W-what if .," she whispered, "he's still out there?"

"I don't think so." Wesley forced a smile on his face, "I think they're long gone."

"You think?" Fred asked. "What's he going to do?"

"I'm not sure," he told her, reaching for her hand and squeezing it. "But I would bet the hotel that whatever his plans are, Sunnydale and a certain blond Slayer are part of it." He gave Fred another encouraging look, "We need to get the door opened. And we need a phone. If we can warn them, they might stand a chance. If not ." He trailed off, not able to finish aloud what his mind could hardly process.

"If not?" Fred stared at him with big eyes.

"If not," he sighed. "Then only a miracle can help us."

***

"Hey," Jonathon exclaimed as Warren pushed him roughly away from the surveillance equipment that was connected to the camera they'd installed in front of Buffy Summers' house. "It was my turn to watch them," he complained in a whiny voice. "You're not fair."

"Warren is the best. He's the leader. He doesn't have to be fair," Andrew said, and beamed when his words were rewarded with an approving look from his idol. Warren was just so cool. Smart and strong. All the tings Andrew had never been.

"What's going on?" Warren wanted to know, not looking at any of his companions.

"Nothing," Jonathon replied, clearly annoyed with the other man's behaviour. Okay, so Warren had been the one with the ideas lately, but did that make him the leader? And why did they need a leader in the first place? And if they needed one, who said it had to be Warren? "Someone came. A man. Looked kind of familiar." He frowned. He had seen the dark, tall stranger before. But where?

"And why wasn't I informed?" Warren's voice dropped to a dangerous whisper.

Jonathon barely kept himself from sticking out his tongue at the other man.

"Because it was nothing special. They talked, then he went in. End of story."

"End of story, huh?" Warren moved away from the surveillance equipment and stretched. "Do you have him on tape?"

"Sure," Jonathan pointed at the tape in the corner.

"We need to find out who he is. We can't have a player in town who could mess with our plans," Warren said and shoved the tape into the VCR, then watched as the images flickered on the screen. When the stranger came into view he smiled.

***

Willow looked at Angel the moment she closed the door behind her. "It's been a while," she said, smiling slightly. "That we met, I mean," she added.

"Yes," Angelus agreed, returning her smile. "Not since," he let his voice drop to an anguished whisper, "Buffy." He'd heard that kind of voice often enough from the ensouled version to know how it sounded. God, this was fun. He'd always tried to tell the ones he'd made, that part of the kill was the fun, the art of playing with humans. Only a very few had understood. It was a pity.

"Yes," she replied, reaching out and touching his arm. "But fortunately it's all better now."

He nodded, "Yes, she told me you brought her back." At her surprised look, he explained, "When we met."

"Yes, yes, of course." Looking at him for a moment, she finally asked, "So, why did you come? You said it was because of Buffy."

"Yes, Buffy," he said, turning towards the window, gazing into the night. Humans were often afraid of the darkness. He bit back a smile. They had reason to.

Seeing a piece of lingerie lying on the bed, he walked over and picked it up. "Yours?" he asked without turning.

"N-no," Willow's voice showed her confusion. He could also her hear her heart-rate picking up speed. Fear. Soon he would be able to smell it, too. It was the sweetest deodorant.

He turned and found her frowning. "Nice. Your girlfriend's then."

The redhead nodded, her frown intensifying. Angelus snickered inwardly. Oh, how he loved the game. He'd developed it to an art, and he was its master. "Tara," he let the name roll from his tongue, savouring it. God, the girl had been sweet. And so terrified. He could still smell her fear, could still see the horror in her eyes, knowing that she was not just going to die, but that she would arise. Catching himself, he added, "Buffy said her name was Tara."

"Yes," Willow's voice was stronger now. "And it would prefer if you put that down. Angel?" She tilted her head, "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," he told her, throwing the bra on the bed. "In fact," he gave her his best, brightest smile, "I've never been better." It was time to drop the act. Playing was nice, but he had better things to do. And he could hardly wait to watch Willow meeting her lover again. It would be a reunion to savour.

"A-angel?" She took a step back, hitting the door, her fingers reaching for the knob.

"Nope," he said casually, and was at her side in an instant. His mouth close to her ear, he whispered, "Fooled you, didn't I?"

Her face crunching with fear and horror, Willow stared at him. "Oh God."

"Does it feel familiar?" He asked, referring to the one time at Sunnydale High when he'd held her like this, her neck at his mercy. He should've killed her then. But he hadn't, and as a result she had restored his soul. Well, she would pay for it. He would make sure, and then she would help him to achieve what he'd come for.

Suddenly he saw her eyes darkening, and warned, "Don't. I heard your magic improved. You brought Buffy back after all. But don't even try it. Or your girlfriend won't see the sun rise."

Instantly her eyes were back to normal, and darting around wildly, "Tara? Oh God, what have you done to her?"

"Nothing. Well, not exactly nothing, but she's still .," he paused, then went on, "talking and walking. It could be over soon, though, if you refuse to help me."

Terrified for her lover's safety, she nodded, "I- I'll help you. I promise. But please don't kill her."

"I won't," he promised, and with amusement realized that he didn't even need to lie. He wouldn't kill Tara. Didn't need to. Not anymore. He grinned, enjoying himself tremendously, "I promise." he whispered in her ear.

She clearly didn't believe him, but seemed to surrender - for the sake of her lover. It really paid to plan ahead, to have a strategy. Unfortunately he'd never been able to make Spike see the necessity. The blond vampire had always just barged in, relying on his strength. The pile of dust in the old house was proof enough which way was the most successful.

"Where are we going?" she asked.

"Through the window," he replied, then pulled her with him.

"I . I can't climb down. I'm not a Slayer." Her voice quivered slightly, but she looked him straight in the eye. She had guts, he'd have to give her that. Unfortunately for her, he did give a damn.

"You don't have to," he said, picking her up and holding her out of the window. "Catch!" he ordered, and Willow found herself flying through the air, then caught by a pair of strong arms. When she turned her head, prolonged teeth were smiling at her while amber eyes gleamed in the moonlight.

Like an overgrown cat, Angelus landed noiselessly beside them, and the two vampires started walking, the one who had caught her still carrying her effortlessly in his arms. "Hi," she said, feeling stupid. But it was still better than thinking of Tara and what might have happened to her. Maybe the vampire was up for a little conversation. "I'm Willow."

The vampire grinned at her, his bottomless eyes amused, "Hi," he replied. "I'm Charles. Charles Gunn. Nice to meet you."

. to be continued