Souls Found

None of these characters are mine; all credit goes to the writers of BtVS. If you wish to share, this work with someone be my guest.

Chapter 1

Spike and Drusilla pull into the Hellmouth just as the sun is beginning to rise. Driving under some heavy brush, Spike pulls his dark queen to him and settles for the day. Finally, after being bombarded with dreams compelling them to come to their sire's side - both find a moment of peace as their proximity to Angelus soothes them like nothing else can.

*****************

Buffy is still in the middle of Xander and Willow's bed. Curled into a tight ball, nothing will rouse her. Willow has tried, Angel has tried, and Xander has tried.

Angel has taken to pacing in the main room, while Xander is taking the longest shower in the history of the world. The coping mechanisms of both of these male vampires leaves a little to be desired as far as Willow is concerned. And yes, she reminds herself. She is bound them for all eternity. Can you say dysfunctional?

She quickly comes to the conclusion that for the time being, she is in charge. Mr. Broody is back and from all indications, Mr. Broody, Jr. is following in his Papa's footsteps.

Wishing to be practical, Willow has showered, dressed in the most regular clothes she can find - sweats - black sweats - but sweats none the less. Her hair in a ponytail, she can almost imagine that she is regular Willow. Well, except for the no reflection thing.

Taking a couple of promising texts, she goes to sit on the bed beside of Buffy. She figures that now that she's done with her soul returning assignment, the least the Powers that Be could do is send down some help for Buffy. Not one to wait, she dives into researching a way to summon Giles now - content to wait.

****************

It didn't take long before Xander is pacing right along with Angel. Broody One and Broody Two. The earlier sparks of personality from them both have fizzled under the weight of their worry over Buffy.

Angel as her mate feels her withdrawal the most keenly of all. While he has not spoken to Buffy since her soul has been returned, he is receiving flashes of what is going on in her mind. Shock, grief, hatred - are all bombarding him. But most prevalent is her withdrawal from him. Physically, there is an ache growing ever larger inside of him. The demon inside of him is fighting to go and claim his mate - by force if necessary. He knows that he cannot do so that the rift would only grow worse. He has not shared this burden with his children.

He is somewhat envious of Angelus - of how simple things are without a conscious. This is another impulse to beat down. He would have thought that having his soul restored without curse or clause would be a source of great happiness but it is anything but. To be able to have Buffy - his Buffy - but to feel this retreat, this repulsion is unbearable. It is a thousand times worse than his own recrimination has ever been.

Xander picks up on the feelings of hopelessness emanating from Angel. The sudden need to provide comfort and solace to Dead Boy is alien to him. This impulse along with his memories of Angelus over the past few days - EEEWWWW - to borrow Buffy's expression. He so needs to get a handle on this. His own emotional confusion paired with his growing hunger cause his head to pound.

He paces to the refrigerator and a pint and makes the necessary preparations to make the stuff palatable. He marvels over his ability to accept his actions as common place. He guesses this is the Vamp part of himself. Soul or no soul, he is still Dead Boy's right hand man. He feels the strong familial connections to Willow, to Buffy and yes, to Angel. If he closes his eyes and looks within himself, he finds no question or conflict. The connection is simply there.

The microwave beeps and Xander pulls out two large mugs taking one over to Angel.

Angel is taken aback by the small kindness. Since he came back into himself hours ago, he hasn't given any thought to this other male. Before, he tolerated Xander for Buffy's sake but after the turning - well, he had not been close to another male like that since William.

At the thought of William, a face flashes through Angel's mind. He's here. The knowledge that his Childe, this Childe is near - puts fear in his heart. It must have been Angelus. It would be just like Angelus to pull on the century old ties. If William is near then so is Dru. Oh God, Poor Dru, the most concrete evidence of Angelus' evil. It only makes sense that Angelus would have wanted his 'pecial girl.

"Hey, you OK?" Xander asks. He voice has lost a good portion of its former sarcasm but it has grown deep and mature with the change. The tone pulls Angel out of himself and he feels compelled to answer.

This young one is strong, is still strong even after facing his soul. If William and Dru are indeed here, he realizes that he will need Alexander to help him protect the women.

Angel responds with respect to this 'Alexander' accepting him as his Childe and his peer. He stands to face him. "We have a problem."

Taking a sip of his drink, Xander responds. "I thought we had several."

"I don't doubt that but this one is worse. There's a lot you don't know about me, about Angelus." Angel starts.

Some of the old Xander surfaces for a second. "Gee, I think I've gotten to know Angelus about as up close and personal as I want to - no offense- but hey, I've never really envisioned myself playing for the other team."

Angel rolls his eyes at the comment and continues, "Alexander, this is serious. This is life or death. AND don't make the 'Yeah, I'm already dead' joke because this is not a joking matter. This is about our family and protecting it."

The gravity of the situation finally seems to reach Xander or maybe, it's how Angel is suddenly coming to him for help but he becomes serious. "OK, shoot."

"Have a seat." Angel commands and commences with a tale that would stand Ann Rice's hair on end.

*******************

An hour later, Xander is exhausted. He feels as if he has lived through all of the horror and intensity that was that first family. Opening his eyes, he looks squarely at his Sire, "So, what now?"

Before Angel can answer, Willow coughs discreetly from the doorway. "Umm, guys, you better come quick, she's awake - sort of".

*******************

Buffy is sitting up on her knees in the middle of the bed. Her face is white and drawn in a way that makes her almost unrecognizable. Her body is swaying back and forth, as she sings a tune under her breathe, her eyes unseeing.

"Lavender Blue, Dilly Dilly. Lavender Green, Dilly Dilly. When you are king, Dilly Dilly, I will be Queen."

At the sound of the old, familiar melody, Angel's blood runs cold. "Buffy?" He calls out somewhat harshly as he rushes forward to grab at her arms and shake her.

Buffy's milky eyes latch on to his. She tilts her head to the side and gives him an unearthly smile and a British accent. "Why Daddy, you're home!" She announces with a giggle. "Oh how I've missed you, Daddy".

Angel repeatedly calls her name and shakes her harder and harder. She only laughs more wickedly in response as blood red tears stream down Angel's face.

TBC. FEEDBACK? Pretty Please with Sugar on it!