A/N: Hey. Back to the old classics.
This chapter will go a completely different direction of the previous 3. For one thing, it will not be centred around Willow and Tara, but actually around Buffy, and to an extent, Giles. For another, Jesse will actually make an appearance. Hopefully all the fans are happy about my portrayal of him.
Also, there will be a lot of hints towards strange parings that'll never come to pass. Just thought I'd clear that up before the 'I'm a closet *so and so*' shipper, I'm so glad to find out I'm not the only one' comments come flowing in.
Lastly, for this chapter, I've decided that I'll finally start with the main season arc, which involves the Master. I hope I do a half-decent job with him.
Now, it's story time!
Spoilers: Obviously, for Season 1, Episode 5 'Never Kill A Boy On The First Date'. Perhaps a couple other spoilers, but nothing that would either give away something big, or that would get you completely lost for the rest of the story.
Disclaimer: I don't think Joss et al. is dumb enough to waste his time on some lowly creature having fun with his world that he so obviously messed up, so I'm not going to say anything to save me from that. However, because I respect the owners of the site, I'd just like to mention that I got a lot of the information for my stories from Thank you guys for your wonderful transcripts, even if the fight descriptions suck! :)
Another additional disclaimer: Willowbabe has once more helped me out with a story. She's becoming my muse. In any case, a couple pieces in this story are her ideas (most notably, the first W/T scene), and I'd also like to thank her on her opinion and approval of Jesse's role in this story. It was my idea, but if it weren't for her, I might never had decided to go with it. Thanks!
Summary: Buffy learns the harsh realities of being a slayer in the dating scene while the plot thickens with the Master when an old prophecy is uncovered. Meanwhile, after weeks of confusion, Willow finally discusses her issues to an unlikely source with surprising results.
Legend: Completely 3rd person once more, so you know the drill.
It was another normal night at the graveyard. Beautiful moon in the sky, strange shadows being cast by trees, a girl fighting with a guy who seemed to have a bumpy face...
Well, okay, not quite normal.
After parrying a couple punches, the girl got bumpy-guy square in the jaw, sending him to the ground.
"We haven't been properly introduced," the girl piped up, somewhat sarcastically. Pausing her speech, she reached into jacket, and pulled out a stake. "I'm Buffy, and you're...History!"
With that, Buffy plunged the stake into the vampire's chest, causing him to fall into a pile of ashes. Admiring her work, Buffy was shocked out of her victory worship by an unwelcome voice.
"Poor technique," Giles said, shaking his head. "Prioritizing, sub-par. Execution was adequate, but a little too bloody for my tastes."
"And, plus, you let him get up. He could have run away, and be biting some poor dog's neck right now," Tara added, popping in behind Giles, startling him a bit. "I say, Buffy, you're getting soft in your old age."
"Don't mention it, guys," Buffy replied, glaring at her sister. "It was my pleasure to make the world safe for humanity again."
Stifling a chuckle, Tara looked a Giles, expecting him to look rather flustered. He didn't disappoint.
"I'm not saying that your methods are without merit," he tried to cover. "It's, uh, y-you're spending too much time and energy. It should simply be: plunge, and move on. Plunge and..."
Trailing off, Giles bent over to pick up something. "Hello."
"Oh, that's great," Buffy said, her voice still dripping with sarcasm. "I kill them, you fence their stuff. What is it?"
"I don't know," Giles replied, holding it up for Tara, who squinted at it in a confused fashion.
"But it bothers you?" Buffy asked.
"Yes!" Giles replied, a little indignantly. "Well, I-I thought this vampire was on a random kill, but it may be something else."
Upon this, Buffy and Tara both stiffened up. This was potentially serious.
"Something big?" Buffy asked, a little tentatively.
"Yes," Giles confirmed. "I'd best consult my books."
The Master wandered around his confines, waiting for his 'minions' to arrive. It had been only a couple hours since nightfall, and they were scheduled to be there that evening.
The Master was an avid believer of 'patience is a virtue', but even he was starting to get impatient. Plus, the longer they were out there, the bigger the chance that the Slayer would get them.
Suddenly, he felt a strange pang of loss in his gut, and he cried out in agony. One of the minions had just been killed, by the Slayer, no doubt.
The Master didn't really care for the minions, but at this time of his un-life, it was getting really hard to recruit more, and they were his only contact with the surface. It would be another difficult loss for him. He'd be able to use it to his advantage, though, when the others got back.
A few minutes later, and he heard footsteps signaling the entrance of his minions. The three that were left entered, and stood obediently together in front of the Master. Looking them over, he was pleased to see they were all in good shape. No scars, which meant they'd been able to stay clear of the Slayer.
Turning around, he walked over to another vampire. She had in her hands a big, musty book, which she shakily handed over to the Master. Walking towards the desk, he heard one of the three minions cough, and turned around.
"Did you say something, or did you just get a piece of someone caught in your throat?" He asked, daring him to say something.
"W-well, I was, um, just wondering, shouldn't we wait for Pat? I mean, he's one of us, too, ya know, and I'm sure he shouldn't, um, be left out," the minion replied nervously.
"He's not coming," the Master replied. With that, he turned back around, and slammed the book angrily onto the table.
Opening it, he began to read.
"'And there will be a time of crisis, of worlds hanging in the balance. And in this time shall come the Anointed, the Master's great warrior. And the Slayer will not know him, will not stop him, and he will lead her into Hell,'" he translated easily. Turning towards his minions, he continued, "As it is written, so shall it be."
Picking up the book, he walked towards the three that were intently listening.
"'Five will die, and from their ashes the Anointed shall rise. The Brethren of Aurelius shall greet him and usher him to his immortal destiny,'" he continued. "As it is written, so shall it be."
Looking back down at the book, he began to read again:
"'And one of the brethren shall go out hunting the night before and get himself killed, because he couldn't wait to finish his job before he ate.' Oh, wait," the Master paused, grabbing the closest vampire by the neck. "That's not written anywhere. The Anointed will be my greatest weapon against the Slayer! If you fail to bring him to me, if you allow that girl to stop you..."
Throwing the vampire towards a closed coffin, he turned back towards the other two.
"Here endeth the lesson," he finished before pointedly closing the book.
The next morning, Buffy and Tara showed up to school early. Giles had wanted to look over the ring they had found the night before, and Tara, never one to pass an opportunity to go to school early, was tagging along.
"I still don't understand," Buffy whined to Tara. "You can go to bed anytime, sleep in late and still be on time for everything. Why don't you?"
"Oh, no reason," Tara replied, secretly. "I just like to be around when stuff happens, ya know?"
"'Ya know?" Buffy repeated, staring at Tara oddly. "You don't say 'ya know'. There's something else, isn't there. Tell me!"
Looking down for a moment, Tara contemplated what Buffy had said. Perhaps there was something else.
Looking back up, Tara stopped. Meanwhile, Buffy continued to walk while talking non-stop.
"Buffy!" Tara called. She didn't get Buffy's attention, though, and cringed.
"I mean, it's pretty obvious that there's..." Buffy's sentence didn't finish as she went nose first into the double-doors of the library. Turning around, she caught the eye of Tara, who was only barely containing the laughter that wanted to escape. "Oww!"
The laughter exploded from Tara's mouth. It took her a few moments to recompose herself, though she still let out the odd laugh as she and Buffy walked into the library.
"Ah, Buffy," Giles said, walking out of his office. He caught the look on Tara's face, and turned curious. "What's going on?"
"Buffy..." Tara stopped herself when she caught Buffy's glare. "Was just telling me a real funny joke. It's, um, American. You wouldn't get it."
Nodding, Giles turned around, before looking up again. Did she just insult him?
"Americans," he muttered. Turning back to the pair, he spoke, a bit louder. "Did you remember the ring, Buffy?"
"I did," Buffy replied, triumphantly pulling the ring out.
"I trust you didn't do anything with it?" Giles asked, looking at her closely.
"No!" Buffy replied indignantly. Looking down, she spoke again, a little slower. "Well, I, uh, kind of slept with it on."
Upon the looks from the other two, Buffy became defensive. "Hey, it's very pretty, and besides, harder to steal something without me knowing when you have to take it off my hand!"
"She has a point, strange as it is," Tara conceded.
"Thank you," Buffy answered happily.
"Did you find out anything last night?" Tara asked, turning back to Giles.
"No, um, nothing in my books that I've found yet," Giles replied, as he looked at the ring closely.
"Well," Buffy spoke up, getting their attention. "I've got class in a couple minutes, so I'll be heading there. I'll, um, see you at lunch?"
"Lunch," Giles repeated, nodding.
"I'm glad I have class at that time now," Tara muttered. She continued a little louder. "Bye, Buffy. Try not to sleep too long."
Looking back to Tara, Buffy stuck out her tongue. She forgot to stop walking though, and as she turned back, she went nose first into the doors once more.
"Stupid doors," Buffy muttered as she walked out.
Before the doors closed again, a hand appeared, swinging it open again.
"Hey," Xander said, walking in casually. "What did I miss last night?"
"Yeah," Willow said, walking in behind him. "And what's up with Buffy. She didn't even say hello."
Tara couldn't help but grin as Willow pouted. It was just too cute.
"Well, she's been walking into doors non-stop," she answered, unable to keep a chuckle down.
"Oh," Willow replied, not quite getting it. "Oh! Ouch!"
"Are you guys here for something, or are we just going to make small talk?" Giles asked, a little annoyed.
"Well, I could use a new biology book," Xander confessed.
"He forgot it at Mrs. French's place. He's too wigged to go back," Willow explained. Upon the look from Xander, she tried to cover. "Which is-is totally understandable. I-I'd be wigged, too, if..."
"Willow, please stop," Giles broke in sharply. He didn't like where this was leading. Turning around, he headed into his office again. A few moments later, he reappeared, producing a new book.
"Due to the circumstances surrounding it," Giles started, "I'll forget about the other book, but please do be careful with it this time."
"Of course," Xander replied.
Turning around, he walked out, careful not to run into the door.
As both Tara and Giles turned back, they were surprised to find Willow had disappeared.
"What the...?" Giles asked, looking around. Turning back, he found that Tara had disappeared as well.
"Women," Giles muttered, walking into his office again.
"We heard that!" Came a response from the centre desk, which caused Giles to jump a little. Sighing, he closed the door, and sat down, picking up a book.
Looking back at her own book, Willow read the page pretty quickly. Sure, she'd looked at it the night before, but she liked to be thorough.
As she reached the end, she began to daydream. She'd been doing a lot of that lately, though the star was different in this case.
This time, it was Xander, as Willow recalled a prank he'd pulled on her a few days ago.
"Hey, Willow," He'd said. "Remember when we'd play doctor, and you'd diagnose me? What do you think about this blister on my finger?"
"That's a blister?" Willow responded, looking at it while trying not to laugh. "It looks more like paint!"
Bringing the finger to his face to inspect it, Xander nodded, before proceeding to wipe it on Willow's face, leaving the 'blister' behind.
"Yeah, grade 'A' paint," Xander tried to clarify. "Washes easily, but is very fun."
With that, he pulled out a small palette of paint. Without any more warnings, he quickly began to give Willow's face a paint job.
Willow had known she felt something beyond simple friendship for Xander for quite a while now. She still wasn't sure if it was just another part of getting older or if it was genuine.
Of course, she also noticed the lack of attention Xander gave her. Sure, he looked at her, and talked to her, but he never really did see her.
Then again, who would see a shy computer nerd whose fashion sense was somewhere on Pluto? Especially when there was a Slayer and Witch to mull over?
"Maybe if I wasn't so normal, Xander might notice me," Willow muttered sadly.
"What?" Came a confused response that caused Willow to jump. She'd forgotten completely about Tara, who was sitting quietly, watching her work.
"I, uh...Nothing!" Willow tried to cover, a little too loudly.
"What's wrong with being normal?" Tara asked, a little confused.
"How about everything?" Willow replied. "No one notices me. Xander pays more attention to Buffy than me."
"You've got your own perks," Tara countered. "You-you're very good with hacking, you're smarter than anyone I know, and you're very caring and nice..."
"B-but if that were true, then Xander would notice me more," Willow complained, cutting Tara off.
"How do you know Xander doesn't notice you?" Tara asked. Willow may have been right, but she thought it might be a good question to throw in.
"W-well, he-his eyes, and...and, the way he talks to me," Willow replied.
"The way he talks to you?" Tara repeated, somehow keeping the urge to laugh back. "When he talks to you, I don't think I've known anyone who sounds more caring than him."
"He does?" Willow asked, unsure if she should believe it.
"Yeah," Tara replied, nodding. "Besides, someone like you? I don't think anyone could not notice you."
"Oh," Willow said, not understanding it. Confused, she looked at Tara. "What?"
"W-well," Tara tried to cover. "I just mean, you're not like, um, most people."
"Oh," Willow said again. "You mean I'm strange?"
"A good strange," Tara quickly replied, before giving a small smile.
"Yeah," Willow replied, returning the smile uncertainly.
Willow also had the strange problem with Tara. She'd been spending long hours during the day drifting off, just thinking about her. Her eyes, the way her hair was just right, the way she spoke.
It was much deeper than what she had with Xander, but she still felt like she barely knew Tara. It was getting very confusing, and Willow's head was beginning to hurt.
Turning back to the book she had, she started to read once more. She needed to give her brain something that made sense.
The lunch bell had just rung as Buffy entered the library, careful not to bang her nose against the door again.
"Hey, Giles?" She called, looking around.
"In my office," he replied.
Taking a seat on the centre desk, she began to leaf through the books that were lying around there.
"Uh, this, uh, seems to be rather useless," Giles said, walking up to the stacks to collect a new book. Opening it, he began to look through it, stopping every so often to look closely at a page.
Finally finding something, he made his way down to Buffy.
"That symbol on the ring," he said, pointing to the symbol. "I believe it's the rune for fidelity, but, uh, it doesn't connect with any of the sects that I've studied."
Taking the ring, Buffy scanned it closely, before noticing something she'd seen while she was leafing though the book just a few moments prior.
"What about this?" She asked, pointing as well. "On the inside. It's a sun and 3 stars. Haven't we seen that somewhere?"
"Let me see," Giles said, taking the ring back, and looking at it curiously. "No, I-I don't think this, um, represents any..."
Grabbing up the book she read earlier, Buffy quickly found the page she'd seen it in, and cut Giles off.
"Wait, it's right here," she said, pointing. "Sun and three stars. Yuck, check these guys out. Told you it looked familiar."
"Oh," Giles said, looking at the book. "The Order of Aurelius. Yes, you're right."
"Ooo, two points for the Slayer while the Watcher has yet to score," Buffy gloated, earning a strange look from Giles.
Suddenly, another boy entered the room.
"Oh," Buffy remarked, standing up. "Owen, hi!"
"What do you want?" Giles asked, slightly annoyed.
"A book," Owen answered.
"Oh!" Giles replied, surprised.
"You see," Buffy said, mockingly, "this is a school, and we have students, and they check out books, and then they learn things."
"I was beginning to think that was a myth," Giles replied, a little stunned.
"I lost my Emily," Owen explained. When he realized it wasn't enough, he continued. "Dickinson. It's dumb, but I like having her around. Kind of a security blanked."
"I have something like that," Buffy said, awkwardly. "Well, it's an actual blanket. Uh, and I don't really carry it around anym-more... So! Emily Dickens, huh? She's great!"
"Dickinson," Owen clarified.
"She's good also," Buffy said, covering.
"Poetry," Giles said to Owen.
"I didn't think I'd find you here," Owen said to Buffy, who followed him up towards the poetry section.
"W-Why not?" Buffy asked, confused.
"I-I didn't mean," Owen said, unsure of how to express his thoughts. "I mean... I think you can read."
"Thanks," Buffy said, a little overly happy.
"But you don't seem bookworm-y," Owen continued, grabbing up a book. "The type of person to lock themselves in a dark room with a lotta musty old books."
Stopping himself, Owen caught the gaze Buffy was giving him. "Oh, and I've offended you."
"No!" Buffy exclaimed. "No, I'm just surprised you gave any thought to what I'm like."
"You shouldn't be," Owen replied.
"Oh, well," Buffy said, following him back down towards the front desk. "I love books. I mean, I really love books."
Noticing the book on the centre table, Owen walked over to it.
"What's this?" He asked, curiously.
"Not this one," Buffy said, nervously.
"This one she doesn't love," Giles covered quickly, picking it up.
Taking Owen's book, Giles carried it over to the front desk, quickly checking it out.
"Oh, Emily Dickinson," he commented.
"We're both fans," Buffy fibbed.
"Yes, uh," Giles said, not quite realizing Buffy's actions. "She's quite a good poet, I mean for a..."
"A girl?" Buffy tried impatiently.
"For an American," Giles corrected, handing the book back to Owen.
"I'll, uh, see you in math," Owen said to Buffy. "If I open my eyes at some point."
"Cool," Buffy let out, watching him leave.
"The Order of Aurelius is a very old and venerated sect," Giles informed Buffy once Owen was out of earshot. "If they're here, it's for a good reason."
"That was Owen," Buffy said dreamily, not catching Giles' words.
"Yes, I remember," Giles replied impatiently.
"Do you have any more copies of Emily Dickinson? I need one," Buffy said, turning quickly towards Giles.
"Buffy," Giles scolded. "While the mere fact of you wanting to check out a book would be grounds for a national holiday, I think we should focus on the problem at hand."
"Right. I'm sorry, you're right. Vampires," Buffy said, trying to get herself back on track. Looking down, she noticed her dress. "Oh. Does this outfit make me look fat?"
"No, it doesn't!" Giles nearly shouted back. "Now can we get back...?"
Upon Buffy's facial expression, Giles gave up.
"Fine," he said. "I'll do the research, you go have lunch. But, I want you back here after."
Grabbing her stuff, Buffy walked out without as much as a glance back.
Walking down the hall, she saw Tara walking along.
"Tara!" She called, a little desperately. Catching up to her, Buffy continued. "Do you happen to have an Emily Dickinson book?"
"Oh, yeah," Tara replied, a little surprised. "Why?"
"Can I borrow it?" Buffy asked. Upon Tara's suspicious look, she tried to explain. "A-a friend has it, and I kind of lied and said I knew her, and I don't, and if I don't read it, I'll look like a fool..."
"Okay, you can have it," Tara cut her off, handing her the book quickly. "Just keep it in one piece, and don't lose it."
"I won't!" Buffy exclaimed, walking down the hall. "Thanks! I love you! You won't regret this!"
Watching Buffy walk into the cafeteria, Tara wondered about that. "Don't be so sure..."
The rest of lunch was filled with a quick fill-in with Xander and Willow on the previous night's events, a date invitation by Owen to Buffy, and some bad news regarding the Master and the ring they'd found the night before.
So now, Tara was sitting in the library alone, reading through all the books for any more information they might provide.
It was proving to be fruitless, and the conversation she'd had with Willow earlier wasn't helping much.
"So she likes Xander," Tara thought aloud. "Guess I should have seen that coming."
Shaking her head, she went back to her reading.
Meanwhile, Willow has having no more success with her searching in class.
She had to be careful not to get caught, and that alone had caused her to lose her train of thought a few times.
Add that to the confusing thoughts she was having, and she wasn't spending a lot of time finding information.
"But Xander!" She said to herself quietly. "With his cute eyes and adorable smile."
Smiling wistfully for a second, Willow quickly shook it off, still confused.
"But Tara," she started again. "So nice and sweet and caring, not to mention that hair..."
Once again, she found herself grinning, drifting off.
"Willow?" Came a voice from beside her, shaking her out of her thoughts.
"W-what?" Willow answered quietly.
"What about this?" Buffy asked curiously, pointing towards her book.
"Y-yeah, that's right," Willow replied distractedly.
"Cool!" Buffy said, turning back towards her book.
"Mmmhmm," Willow agreed, returning to her own studies.
Later that night, Buffy and Giles were waiting by the cemetery.
They'd been there for at least a half-hour by Buffy's count, and it didn't seem like anything was going to happen soon. There hadn't even been an everyday vampire around, which, for Sunnydale, was weird.
Sipping on her empty drink, Buffy looked over at Giles, not very pleased with the evening's proceedings.
Catching the look, Giles turned his head away.
"Perhaps I miscalculated," he said, embarrassed.
"I'm thinking yes," Buffy agreed, taking another sip on her straw.
"Well, you know what they say," Giles continued. "Ninety percent of the vampire slaying game is, is waiting."
"You couldn't have told me that Ninety percent ago?" Buffy asked, annoyed.
"Well," Giles started uncertainly. "We, we've certainly waited here long enough."
"Besides, there aren't any fresh graves," Buffy added. "Who's gonna rise?"
"Apparently no one tonight," Giles replied.
"Then I can bail?" Buffy said, excitedly. "I can go to the Bronze and find Owen?"
"Oh, very well then," Giles answered, somewhat flustered. "Follow your hormones if you want. But I assume I don't have to warn you about the hazards of becoming personally involved with someone who's unaware of your unique condition."
"Yeah, yeah," Buffy agreed impatiently. "I read the back of the box."
"If your identity as the Slayer is revealed it could put you and all those around you in grave danger," Giles warned seriously.
"Well, in that case I won't wear my button that says, 'I'm a Slayer. Ask me how!'" Buffy said sarcastically. Upon Giles' look, she got up. "Good night."
As Buffy walked off, Giles recounted the prophesy.
"'Five shall die, and from their ashes the Anointed shall rise.' I was sure it was tonight."
On the other side of town, a bus was driving down a side road.
Inside, Jesse sat, a little unnerved, looking out the window. Ever since Buffy had come to town, he had a strange feeling that something was going to happen. Something that he didn't think he'd like.
Plus, the other passengers on the bus didn't comfort him much.
"I went on an airplane," A kid sitting across from Jesse said quietly.
"A pale horse emerged with death as its rider," the guy behind Jesse muttered. "You will be judged. You will be judged."
"This is going to be a long ride," Jesse muttered to himself unhappily.
Meanwhile, Buffy walked into the Bronze, looking hopefully for Owen.
Looking towards the group of dancers, she spotted him. He wasn't alone, though. Cordelia was all wrapped up in him, and the pair looked rather content.
Standing shocked, Buffy contemplated approaching the pair. Her stronger sense told her to walk away, though, and so she did.
Back on the bus, Jesse was starting to feel a little nervous. Something big was about to happen, he just knew it.
"That day's gonna bring fire. Fire comin' down! Judgment," the man behind Jesse continued, standing up. Apparently, Jesse wasn't the only one sensing something. "Don't think you're ready, ready to look upon him. If there's sin in there, there's sin all around. It's a liquid. On that day there won't be anybody tellin' us what to do or why we're doin' it. You can't prepare. On that day..."
"Hey, you gotta sit down. Okay?" The driver remarked, looking through the front mirror.
"Are you willing to stand with the righteous?" The man retorted, eerily.
Before the driver could respond, someone walked into the buses path. Panicking, the driver slammed on the breaks. However, he was too late, and the bus slammed into the person. With the driver unable to control the bus, it swerved off the road, taking out a sign before finally coming to a stop on a pole.
After gaining his bearings, the driver turned back towards the others. "Is everyone okay?"
As the 6 nodded hesitantly, the driver got up, heading out to assist the person he hit.
Jesse had a sudden feeling that the driver had just made a mistake by doing that, but he shook it off.
"He should be allowed to go help..." Jesse didn't get a chance to finish, as the window's busted.
"Oh, great. Not again," Jesse commented, scared stiff.
A vampire grabbed the man who was standing through the window, and immediately bit him. As he did, a couple other vampires walked through the doorway.
It took only a matter of moments before there was just Jesse and the boy.
"There was only supposed to be one child!" One of them exclaimed, confused.
"Well, take 'em both then!" The other shouted.
Before Jesse could protest, he was knocked unconscious.
The next morning, Buffy and Tara walked into school early once more. However, this time they were not greeted in the library by Giles, but rather, Willow and Xander.
"Hey, guys, what brings you two here so bright and early," Buffy asked cheerfully. However, catching their downcast faces, she frowned. "Or, at least early."
"Jesse's missing," Willow said sadly. "He was supposed to be coming home late last night. Rumor has it that he'd gone to his grandparents for the past couple weeks because he was going all wakko from everything that happened in the past months."
"Oh," Buffy replied, uncertainly. "Bu-but, he's been here the past week. Hasn't he?"
Upon Xander's head shake, Buffy got a sinking feeling.
"We didn't even notice he was gone," Tara stated regretfully. "W-we got so caught up in everything, we didn't even notice Jesse was gone."
"W-well, I contacted the airport," Giles said, startling the group slightly as he walked out of his office. "And I'm regretful to tell you that they said that Jesse was on the plane last night."
"B-but maybe, that's just a trick," Willow started, her mind racing a mile a minute. "Maybe he just wants us to think he's come home, and instead is sitting happily in a rocking chair with his grandparents in...well, wherever his grandparents live, not worrying if his friends are noticing him or not..."
"I wouldn't count on it," Giles said, sadly. "However, he might be somewhere else, hiding. It would appear that he was followed by a group of 'odd-looking fellows' after he left the airport. He might have noticed them, and, well, hid."
"Well, then," Buffy said determinedly, "let's find him."
The others instantly nodded their agreement. Just as they all sat down, the bell rang.
"Oh, do we have to go to class?" Buffy whined, looking at Giles.
"If you want to give an appearance of a normal student," Giles told her, "you must be in class."
"But every normal student skips at least a couple classes," Buffy pouted. Upon the looks from Giles, and pretty much everyone else, minus Xander, she gave in. "Okay, okay, but at lunch, I'd better find you guys have found something."
Before Xander had a chance to open his mouth, Willow pointed a finger towards the door, and shook her head. Resignedly, he headed towards the door.
After they had left, Giles returned to his office to make another phone call, while Willow and Tara headed towards the computer to begin their online search.
"Anything?" Buffy asked, walking into the library as the lunch period began.
"Buffy?" Willow asked, looking at Buffy, confused. "But it's only..."
Looking at her watch, Willow almost jumped when she saw it read almost 12 O'clock.
"H-how'd that happen?" She asked, beginning to panic. "I-I can't miss class. M-missing class is a bad thing..."
"Relax," Tara told her, unconsciously putting her hand on Willow's shoulder. "You were just concerned about Jesse. And besides, I don't think missing one class will be much of a problem with your record."
As Willow attempted to protest, Tara put her hand up, stopping any further self-deprecating comments from her.
"No more. You and Buffy should get something to eat, and then continue with the searching," Tara said, getting up. "I-I've got class now."
As Tara walked out, Buffy watched her, a little confused. "Since when does she wear the 'boss' hat in the family?"
"I don't know, but I find it..." Willow stopped herself before she said something she would probably regret. "Uh, very cool."
Looking at Willow, Buffy grinned. "Very cool, eh, Will?"
"Yeah, uh, how about lunch?" Willow continued, evasively.
"Sounds good," Buffy agreed, letting the comment fall away.
As Buffy and Willow sat down, they stared at their food, not extremely hungry. The cafeteria food didn't help their appetites much, either.
"So, anything?" Buffy asked Willow hopefully.
"Nothing," Willow replied sadly. "Giles even called his grandparents. He said they sounded 'very convincing' when they told him Jesse wasn't there."
"Oh," Buffy let out. "Well, you never know, they could still be hiding him. It wouldn't be too strange."
"I guess not," Willow answered, not sounding convinced.
"Well, I think I might have some news that could cheer you up," Buffy said, hoping to change the subject.
"What?" Willow asked, curiously.
"Owen and I have a date again tonight! Isn't that just, so cool?" Buffy commented, giddily. "Plus, I can keep an eye out for Jesse at the Bronze, too. Perhaps I might see him."
"That's great!" Willow exclaimed, excitedly. "Do you need help picking out a dress? I could so help you there. Oh, uh..."
Looking at her wardrobe, Willow smiled embarrassedly at Buffy. "Well, maybe I couldn't..."
"Sure," Buffy said, cutting Willow off. "I could use the help, and besides, Tara has a tendency to give me a long lecture when we do it. I would like the change. But, you mustn't tell her."
"Right," Willow agreed, not quite processing everything. "Wait, but how do you plan to not tell your own sister who's in your house that you have a date?"
"That's where Xander comes in," Buffy replied, wickedly. "But I'm going to need your help convincing him to do it."
"I'm in," Willow said. It would be a good chance to get back at him for his paint work from a few days earlier.
After her lunch, Buffy headed back to the library, heading straight for Giles' office.
"Hey, how's it going?" Buffy asked hurriedly after entering.
"Uh, alright," Giles replied, uncertainly, putting down his cup of tea.
"That's great!" Buffy replied, not quite letting him finish. "I see we're now working on that Anointed One problem, that'll probably take you a few days, right? I mean, that's one obscure prophecy..."
"Well, yes, there are a few interpretations..." Giles started.
"So tonight's looking slow, right?" She asked, before continuing without giving Giles the chance to answer. "Probably best to relax and regroup, no big disasters coming? That is so good, I will see you tomorrow then! Bye!"
Watching Buffy leave, Giles grabbed up his cup, taking a slow sip.
"She is the strangest girl," he commented.
That evening, Buffy and Willow sat in Buffy's room, trying to pick out a dress for Buffy to wear.
"Okay, so, what were you saying you were going for tonight?" Willow asked, a little uncomfortable.
"I don't know," Buffy replied, thinking. "I was thinking a shy look, but that's just not me. But an unrestrained, aggressive look? Not sure how Owen would take that."
"How about this?" Willow asked, holding up a dress.
"Yeah, that might work," Buffy replied, looking at it curiously.
Grabbing it, Buffy put it on quickly.
"So, where is he taking you?" Willow asked.
"Oh, I don't know," Buffy replied blissfully. "Where do you suppose young kids go on dates these days?"
"Well," Willow replied, somewhat playfully. "I read somewhere once that sometimes they go to movies."
"Movies," Buffy repeated. "Interesting!"
"And I saw on TV once," Willow continued, "a bunch of people our age went to a party."
"Wow," Buffy exclaimed. "I never knew being a teenager was so full of possibilities!"
Hearing the front door open, the two looked at each other.
"What is mandrake root anyway?" They heard Xander ask, a little too perky for his own good.
"I-I'm not entirely sure," Tara replied a little awkwardly. "Bu-but it works, so I guess it doesn't really matter much, does it?"
Looking towards the closed door in Buffy's room, both Buffy and Willow couldn't help but grin a little.
"What did you tell Xander to get him to go?" Buffy asked, a little awed.
"I told him there might be a fuzzy top-hat in the magic shop," Willow replied innocently. Upon Buffy's disbelieving look, she added, "don't ask."
"Perhaps we should save him?" Buffy asked, a little concerned.
"Maybe wait a couple more minutes," Willow answered. Xander wasn't about to get off the hook that easily.
After a couple moments, the pair got up simultaneously.
Walking down the stairs, they saw Tara, who Xander had somehow managed to pull into the living room, doing a small spell.
"Hey, guys," Buffy announced her presence, getting the attention of Xander and Tara. "What are you up to?"
"Well," Tara began, looking back at the materials on the ground. "I'm just showing Xander something. He said he wanted to see what mandrake root could do, besides smelling terribly."
Getting up, Xander walked over to the pair. "So, y-you guys doing anything special tonight?" He asked, pointedly.
Looking up, Tara looked at Buffy closely, noting the dress. "Yeah, where are you going, Buffy?"
"Oh, umm," Buffy stalled, trying to find an excuse. "I-I was going to go to the Bronze and look around for Jesse. We decided that might be a-a good place to start."
"Okay," Tara replied, a little confused. "Why w-wasn't I informed of this?"
"Well, I thought I'd just go with Willow," Buffy said, ad-libbing. "I-I thought it would be a good chance to give you a night off. You know, from everything."
"Well, okay," Tara relented. "But if Mom asks about anything when you get back, I'm not going to be throwing out some white lies for you."
Before Buffy could reply, the doorbell rang. Looking a little unsurely at Willow, she snuck a glance at Tara, noting her confused look, and went to answer the door, opening it tentatively.
"That's Giles," Buffy said, confused by his presence.
"We need to talk," Giles said quickly.
"Buffy's not home," Buffy tried, turning while closing the door.
Forcing the door back open, Giles walked in, standing in front of Buffy.
"My calculations may not have been as far off as I thought," Giles said, matter-of-factly, pulling out a newspaper.
"'Five die in van accident?'" Buffy read from the headline.
"'Out of the ashes of five shall rise the one,'" Giles recited, excitedly. "That's the prophecy. Five people have died!"
"In a car crash?" Buffy asked, disbelieving.
"I know it doesn't quite follow," Giles tried to clarify. "But, but it's worth investigating. Look! Among the dead was Andrew Borba, whom the police sought for questioning in a double murder. Now, he may be the Anointed. The, the bodies have been taken to, to Sunnydale Funeral Home, w-we can..."
"Giles, why do you want to hurt me?" Buffy cut him off, annoyed.
"I beg your pardon?" Giles replied, confused.
"Hey!" Came a voice from the open doorway. Looking over, Buffy and Giles both saw Owen standing there. "Uh, hi."
"You have a date?" Giles and Tara asked, simultaneously.
"Yes, but I will return those overdue books by tomorrow," Buffy covered, ignoring Tara.
"Wait, you're not getting off that easy," Giles answered, stopping Buffy.
"Man, you really care about your work," Owen said, a little shocked. Picking up on this, Willow quickly moved over, pulling Owen aside.
"Yeah, uh, Owen?" She started, looking desperately at Xander for some help.
Stepping forward, Xander tried to keep his attention as long as possible. As Xander interrogated Owen, Tara walked up beside Willow.
"There was a date?" She asked, confused.
"Yeah, um," Willow began to explain. "Well, she said you lecture her a lot, and she wanted help picking clothes. And past tense rule. There is a date."
Looking at Buffy, Tara pouted. "I don't lecture."
Meanwhile, Giles was continuing to rant to Buffy.
"Another date?" Giles asked tentatively. "Don't you ever do anything else?"
"This is the first date!" Buffy answered. "There's never been a date, okay? This is my maiden voyage! Besides, we don't even know if this is anything."
"No, we don't," Giles agreed, reluctantly.
"And I haven't had a day off in a while," Buffy added.
"True..." Giles once again reluctantly agreed.
"And a cranky Slayer is a careless Slayer!" Buffy continued to argue.
"Buffy," Giles scolded. "Maintaining a normal social life as a Slayer...i-i-is problematic at best."
"This is the 90's," Buffy argued. "The 1990's, in point of fact, and I can do both. Clark Kent has a job. I just wanna go on a date."
"Well, I, I suppose it was a fairly slim lead," Giles relented.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you!" Buffy said happily. "And look, I won't go far, okay? If the apocalypse comes, beep me. Plus, I can keep an eye out for Jesse, too."
"Who's Jesse?" Owen asked, walking back over.
"Uh, just another student with an overdue book," Giles covered. "And, uh, Buffy, you'll face a pretty hefty fine in the morning."
"Is everything cool?" Owen asked, content with the explanation.
"All set," Buffy nodded, leading them off.
"Is something going on?" Willow asked after they were gone, looking up at Giles.
"Oh, uh, probably not, no," Giles replied, unconvincingly. "I, uh, I suppose I'll just, uh, go to the funeral home in case, just see if anything comes up."
As Giles walked off, Xander and Tara moved in behind Willow.
"This is bad," Willow said, concerned.
"It's bad?" Tara asked, curiously. "I think he seems pretty good for a guy. I mean, I'd be more concerned about Buffy. I mean, that dress is a little small, don't you think?"
"I mean Giles," Willow replied, a little annoyed. "And besides, I picked out that dress. I think it looks nice."
"Oh, w-well, I-I think Giles will be okay," Tara said, a little embarrassed.
"Yeah," Xander agreed quickly. "I mean, he's like super librarian, y'know? Everyone forgets, Willow, that knowledge is the ultimate weapon."
Upon the looks from Willow and Tara, Xander began to walk in the direction that Giles went. "Well, let's just follow the guy already!"
"I-I'm gonna stay here, guys," Tara said, hesitantly. "Jesse may show up, and I don't think anything's going to happen to Giles."
Looking back at Tara for a moment, Willow nodded. "We'll be careful."
Nodding in response, Tara closed the door as Willow left. After watching their retreating figures, she went back, grabbed up her coat, and quietly walked out, carefully following the path left by Buffy.
It had been a wonderful night for Buffy. She'd spent a lot of time on the dance floor, and also a bit of time just chatting with Owen.
She'd also, unhappily, spent a good amount of time looking at her beeper, just in case Giles ran into something. There was nothing so far, and Owen was taking her little bit of preoccupation in stride, much to Buffy's relief.
Plus, watching Cordelia losing out was too good to pass up.
Meanwhile, Tara was keeping just out of view, trying not to appear too stealthy. So far, neither had really done anything she'd found bad, but she wasn't about to stop. She knew she was being overprotective. Buffy was the slayer, after all. But Tara couldn't help her instinct as the older sister to watch the two.
Ever since Tara had learned her first spell when she was nine years old, she made a pact with herself that's she'd always protect Buffy, and even after Buffy's destiny was revealed, Tara never failed when Buffy was in trouble. And if she had her way, she never would.
Turning back towards Buffy and Owen, Tara watched the pair finish dancing, and walk over towards a sofa. As she watched them converse, she couldn't help but think back towards the activities of the previous day.
"Willow likes Xander, I like Willow. Xander likes...Well, who knows who Xander likes," Tara thought aloud, though not quite loud enough to get stares from the people around her. "Ugh, this is so confusing!"
Walking over to the bar, she ordered a cream soda, which she drank pretty quickly. Walking back to her hiding spot, she continued to watch Buffy and Owen, who had just gotten up, and were heading back to the dance floor.
"Don't those two ever get tired?" Tara asked to no one in particular, as she continued her secret mission.
At the same time, Giles was arriving at the local funeral home, prepared for practically everything except nothing. 'Nothing' was just out of the question.
Stopping his old car, one that he didn't remember when he'd bought, he grabbed up his bag of 'tools', and set out towards the building he was parked in front of.
"Hopefully no bloody policemen out tonight," Giles muttered to himself, looking at the ground nervously. Hearing something behind him, he paused, before stealing a glance over his shoulder.
There was no mistaking him. It was a vampire.
"Damn!" Giles exclaimed.
Turning back towards the door, Giles found his way blocked by another vampire. Reaching into his bag quickly, he easily found a cross, which he pulled out. This caused the two to back off a little, giving him his chance to escape.
Running into the building, he desperately wandered around, trying to find an open door, but finding them all mysteriously locked so far.
Finally, he found a door that was unlocked. Opening it, he looked around, and inwardly groaned. It was the Morgue. Not letting his bad luck disrupt him, he closed the door, quickly barricading it with whatever he could move.
Feeling that, at least for the moment, he was okay, he turned around, looking for a possible escape. Hearing something hit the door from the other side, he began to panic. Looking around desperately, the only thing he found was a barred window. Walking over, he grabbed the bars, checking how strong they were.
Suddenly, Willow and Xander appeared, shocking Giles almost completely out of his shoes.
"Giles, it's us," Willow said, getting Giles attention.
"What are you doing here?" He asked after gaining his bearings again.
"We saw two guys going in after you," Xander replied, nervously. "Are they..."
"They are!" Giles cut him off, looking at the door. "Uh, listen, you should get to safety."
"Can you get out this window?" Willow asked, hopefully.
"I'm afraid not," Giles said, despairingly.
"Look, I hate to state the obvious," Xander said quickly. "But this looks like a job for Buffy?"
"Uh, she has her, her..." Giles paused trying to remember what Buffy had referred to. "Beeping thing! Um, no phone, of course."
"Look, we'll get her," Xander said, confidently, getting up. "Just, uh, hang in there."
The two closed the window, running off.
"Do hurry," Giles muttered, looking back at the door.
Back at the Bronze, Tara had lost track of Buffy, and was looking around, carefully.
Suddenly, Owen walked past, alone. Noticing him, Tara just barely got herself hidden again in time. Making sure she hadn't been noticed, she turned back to where he'd come from. Just a few meters away was Buffy. She was standing near a flight of stairs, watching Owen dreamily.
Turning back to Owen, she watched him get a couple of drinks from the bar, paying for it quickly.
Satisfied, she turned back to Buffy again. She was surprised when she saw she was no longer alone.
"Angel was it?" Tara asked herself, watching the two carefully. Noticing Buffy attempting to walk away, and Angel stopping her, Tara tensed.
Suddenly, she remembered Owen, and went over to warn Buffy.
"Buff!" Tara called running over.
"Tara?" Buffy said, confused. Was everyone going to be on her about this today?
Giving Buffy a slight glare, she tilted her head towards an approaching Owen, hoping Buffy would take the hint.
Before Buffy could reply, though, Owen walked up, not quite noticing the company that had suddenly appeared.
"Here you go," Owen said, presenting the items he'd purchased. Pulling his arm back, he noticed Angel. Giving him a look, Owen turned back to Buffy, confused.
"Oh. Um, Owen, this is Angel," Buffy said awkwardly. "Angel, this is Owen, who is my date."
"Hey," Angel said with a hint of malice.
"Hey," Owen said, enthusiastically. "So. Where do you know Buffy from?"
"Work," Angel managed to spit out.
"You work?" Owen asked, a little confused.
Before Buffy could answer, Willow and Xander ran up, out of breath.
"Buffy!" Willow managed to say between breaths. Looking up, she noticed Tara. "And Tara. Wait, aren't you supposed to be at home?"
"Look at this!" Owen said, looking at Willow and Xander, before glancing back at Tara, giving her a confused glance. "You all show up everywhere. Interesting."
"You don't know the half of it," Xander shot back. Looking at Angel, he looked him up and down. "What's he doing here?"
"I guess it's the same thing you're doin' here," Angel retorted, giving the two a bit of a look.
"Uh, excuse me," Buffy said, annoyed. "What are any of you doing here?"
"Look, we gotta get to, uh," Xander started, before receiving a swift kick in the shin from Willow. "Uhhhh. We thought it'd be fun if, uh, we made this a double date!"
Playing into Xander's plan, Willow threw her arms around him a little awkwardly.
"I didn't know you guys were seeing each other," Buffy said, confused. Perhaps she was wrong about Willow?
"Oh, yeah, well," Willow said, a little less than convincingly. "We knew it would happen eventually, so we figured, hey! Why fight it?"
Taking a glance up at Tara, Willow saw the somewhat unhappy look she saw, and felt a pang of guilt. It was weird, she'd been hoping Xander would do something like this for a while, but now that he had, she wasn't sure why anymore.
"And you guys are thinking double?" Owen spoke up, drawing Willow out of her small trance.
"'Cause of..." Xander started awkwardly, giving a slight chuckle, "the fun!"
"And you're here because of work?" Owen asked Angel, a little disbelieving.
"Hey, maybe we should all go somewhere together," Xander said, a little over-suggestively.
"Gee, that's so nice of you to ask," Buffy said, still annoyed. "But Owen and I were, well, sort of... Owen and I."
"You know what'd be cool?" Xander continued, ignoring Buffy. "The Sunnydale Funeral Home!"
"I've always wanted to go there!" Willow agreed, throwing a meaningful look at Buffy.
"The funeral home?" Buffy replied, not getting it.
"Actually," Owen interrupted. "That sounds kinda cool! Do you think we could all sneak in?"
"We saw some guys in there before," Xander said, a little sarcastically. "They seemed to be having fun!"
"Bite me!" Buffy muttered under her breath. Looking up at Angel, she noticed his pointed look, and gave in.
"Um, Owen," Buffy said, unhappily. "I gotta go."
"I thought we were going to the funeral home," Owen replied, a little confused.
"No, you can't," Buffy replied, a little too quickly. Upon his look, she tried again. "I'll tell you what. I'll be back in a little while."
"Buffy? What's the deal?" Owen asked, pulling Buffy aside. "Do you wanna bail on me?"
""No! No. No...uh," Buffy replied quickly, unsure how to get around this. "You remember when you said I was like two different people? Well, one of them has to go. But the other one is having a really, really good time, and will come back. I promise."
Turning away, Buffy began to walk off, but quickly turned back, planting a kiss on Owen.
Turning back around, she saw Tara, Angel and Xander all giving her disappointing looks. Willow was a little too preoccupied to add her own glare.
"She's the strangest girl!" Was all Owen said.
Walking off with Tara, Willow and Xander in toe, Buffy headed for the door.
"How many?" She asked.
"Uh, two, I think," Xander replied, a little awkwardly.
"Great, I can do two," Buffy replied, opening the door.
"Uh, Buffy?" Willow said, stopping her. "Do you mind if I, well, stay back? I-It might be good to keep an eye out of Owen, and I don't think I'd be much help in there."
Giving a quick look at Willow, Buffy nodded. "Good thinking. Last thing I need is him following us into danger-land."
"Thanks!" Willow said quickly, before back-peddling. "I-I mean, I'll keep a close eye on him. If he goes anywhere, babbling Willow is here to stop him!"
As Willow quickly walked back into the Bronze, Xander started to lead Buffy and Tara towards the Morgue.
"Do you think he'll follow them?" Angel asked Willow, not taking his eye off Owen.
"I don't know," Willow answered, abstractedly. "I-I mean, he's Owen. He's solo-guy. Bu-but, he seems to be one to go into danger without knowing it."
Turning back to Willow, Angel noticed the strange look on her face. "Is something wrong?"
"What?" Willow asked, not quite hearing Angel. "Oh, uh, well, now that you mention it..."
"J-just so you know, I'm not a man of opinions," Angel said, smiling at Willow. "But I have a long history of just listening to people talk."
"Yeah?" Willow said, nervously. "W-well, I-I'm not m-much for talking, but I could give it a shot."
Taking one last glance at Owen, who was still glued to his chair, Angel pointed towards a place to sit, muttering to himself, "Very long history."
Sitting down, Willow looked at Angel once more, a little nervously.
"D-do you want something to drink, or something?" Willow asked, partially standing up. When Angel put his hand up to stop her, adding in a head shake, she sat back down, taking a deep breath.
"W-well, this is going to sound weird, and a little disturbing..." Willow began.
"Trust me," Angel quickly cut off. "I've seen my share of disturbing. It doesn't really bother me much anymore."
"Oh, w-well," Willow said once more, taking a deep breath. "I-I've been having these feeling for Xander the past year or so...Oh, uh, Xander, that's the guy that I came here with. Anyway, there's been something happening between us recently, but then Tara shows up, and now...Well, everything's different now. Oh, uh, Tara is..."
"Buffy's sister, I know," Angel replied, giving Willow a pointed look. "Does Tara like Xander too?"
"No!" Willow replied, a little too forcefully. "Well, at least, I don't think so..."
"I doubt it, too," Angel agreed, grinning.
"But it's so confusing," Willow complained. "I mean, I always thought Xander was cute. His eyes, his ears, his mouth. B-but there's something about Tara, something beyond what I feel for Xander. I-I mean, don't get me wrong, she's good looking, almost beaut...Anyway; it's something more with Tara. Something strange. And I barely know her, too."
"Well, believe me," Angel replied, taking it all in. "You don't need to know much about someone to love them."
"I n-never said...and, she's a girl!" Willow said, annoyed.
"Oh, so that's..." Angel thought aloud, before understanding. "Well, this is what I think. And don't brush me off as a poet. I left that stuff for Spike..."
"Spike?" Willow asked, curiously.
"Old friend, you wouldn't want to meet him," Angel replied, distractedly.
"Oh, well," Willow started. "What was the advice you had?"
"Oh," Angel said, thinking for a moment. "Uh, well, mostly, I think the heart knows no bounds. If it happens that your kindred spirit is a girl, then that's not a problem. If you two love each other, then that's all that matters."
Giving Angel a look, Willow flashed a quick smile. "You weren't kidding about the poet thing, were you?"
"Not really, no," Angel confessed. "Though, I did steal some of that from old Spikey. He was much better than I."
"Right," Willow said. "W-well, thanks. It's good to get that off my chest, even if it's to someone that doesn't even..."
"Willow," Angel replied, shocking Willow a tad. "I do pay more attention than you think."
"You do," Willow replied, a little confused. To her knowledge, Angel never had the chance to catch her name.
Looking away, Willow noticed that Owen was gone.
"Oh, no," Willow said, standing up and getting Angel's attention. "Where's Owen?"
Meanwhile, Buffy, Tara and Xander had run just through the front door of the funeral home.
Stopping just inside, Buffy looked down the two halls in front of them.
"Which way?" She asked Xander.
"I don't know," Xander replied, thinking. "It was somewhere out back."
Taking a left, the three ran quickly, before making another left.
"Damn it," Buffy cursed as she saw it lead to a dead end.
"This is so cool!" Came a voice, causing Buffy to spin around defensively.
"Uh, Owen," Buffy said, surprised. "You can't be here!"
"Oh, and I suppose you guys are allowed?" Owen retorted, looking around. "What are we doin' here? Are we gonna see a dead body?"
"Possibly several," Buffy replied seriously. "Guys, watch him."
Walking past Owen, Buffy quickly made her way back to where they came in.
"Is she mad?" Owen asked, confused.
"No, uh," Xander replied, unsure of what to say. "You didn't happen to run into Willow on your way here, did you?"
"Willow?" Owen replied, staring at Xander oddly. "No. I thought she was with you guys. I-Is she alright?"
"Y-yeah, she's fine," Xander replied, before muttering; "For now."
As this was going on, Buffy blindly continued her search for Giles. Walking around a corner once more, she heard something very faint from one of the rooms.
"Giles?" She called out, walking into the morgue.
Taking in the room that was basically in shatters, Buffy noticed a few of Giles' things around.
Suddenly, one of the storage drawers in front of her opened.
"Giles!" Buffy screeched as Giles looked up.
"It is you," Giles replied, relieved. "Oh, good."
"What happened?" Buffy asked, looking around the room.
"Uh, two more of the brethren came in here," Giles replied, also taking in the room's state. "They came after me. But I was more than a match for them."
"Meaning...?" Buffy asked, wanting a bit more information.
"I hid," Giles replied, much to Buffy's disappointment. "Uh, this, uh, chap was good enough to bunk with me 'til they went away."
"Well, w-were they here after you, or w-was it that prophecy thing?" Buffy questioned.
"Ah, well, that's what we have to find out," Giles replied, unsure. "I don't know what these brethren mean to do exactly. Find the Anointed, or, or, or, or give him something perhaps, uh, it's all, all very vague. And the Anointed may be long gone!"
"But he may not be," Buffy pointed out.
"We must find out," Giles replied.
"Okay," Buffy nodded, thinking of a plan. "I just need to get Owen and the others out of harm's way first."
"Owen?" Giles asked, bemused. "You brought a date?"
"I didn't bring him," Buffy defended herself. "He came."
"Buffy," Giles began to scold. "When I said you could slay vampires and have a social life, I didn't mean at the same time."
"I know," Buffy said, annoyed. "I'll get rid of him."
"Y-you can't make him go out there alone," Giles countered, stopping Buffy. "We don't know where the brethren are. I-I'll just..."
"No! No, Giles, he sees you, he's gonna have more questions than he already does right now," Buffy replied, disapprovingly. "I'll take care of it."
Walking back into the hallway, Buffy began to look around for the others.
Suddenly, they came around a corner, causing Buffy to sigh with relief.
"Is everything okay?" Tara asked, looking at Buffy worriedly.
"It is," Buffy reassured them.
"And we'll be leaving?" Xander asked, pointedly.
"We're not done looking around yet," Owen protested.
"No, he's right," Buffy agreed, to Tara and Xander's surprise. "So let's find a nice, safe, fun room to look around in."
Leading the group down the hall, Buffy found a door that looked to be in a safe area.
"We tried the office here," Owen informed the group. "But it's locked."
Grabbing the handle, Buffy turned it forcefully, breaking the lock.
"No it's not," Buffy said, opening the door.
"Well, I don't think we'll find much in here," Owen pointed out, taking a quick look around.
"That's the plan," Buffy muttered.
"Okay," Owen replied, hearing her. "What?"
"I have to go now," Buffy answered, ignoring Owen. Upon his look, she quickly covered. "Um, to the bathroom, I have to go to the bathroom. If you hear anything, like a security guard or something, just be really quiet."
Walking out, she turned to Xander and Tara, giving them pointed looks. "And barricade the door."
Closing the door behind her, Xander began to put things in front of the door, while Tara went to find a couple of candles.
"Uh, what are you guys doing?" Owen asked, confused.
"Uh, just a precaution," Tara replied, lighting a candle, and muttering a quick spell.
Giving Tara a strange look, Owen turned around, continuing to check the room out. Seeing a curtain closed at the back, he moved back to open it.
"Oh, my!" Owen said to himself, quietly, getting Tara and Xander's attention.
Back at the morgue, Buffy had just returned.
"Now, let's get to work," she told Giles. "What do we do?"
"Well, uh, the best place to start would be to go through the body's that are here," Giles replied, moving towards the storage drawers.
"Oh, well, you can do that yourself, can't you?" Buffy asked, walking off. "I-I mean, you don't need me to help, do you?"
"Buffy, there could be a vampire here," Giles replied sternly, if not a little obviously. "One that could be the key to this 'Master' character's release."
"Yes, but he's dead," Buffy replied, causing Giles to cease his movements. "I mean, you can kill a dead vampire, can't you?"
Turning his head towards Buffy, Giles gave her a disbelieving look.
"Buffy, all vampires are 'dead'," Giles replied, impatiently.
"Oh," Buffy replied, a little surprised. "Right, but, uh, this one would be sleeping, right?"
"For all we know he's out walking to the Master right now," Giles replied a little angrily.
"Okay!" Buffy exclaimed, defeated. "I'll look. But if he's not here..."
"Then he's probably already with the Master," Giles cut off.
"True enough," Buffy nodded, walking towards the first drawer.
Opening it up, she found nothing, to her relief.
"Only 5 to go," Buffy muttered.
4 more doors later, including one that had some rather disgusting contents, and Buffy and Giles looked at each other, then walked towards the one that remained.
Opening it, and pulling open the drawer, Buffy and Giles were shocked to find nothing in it.
"Nothing," Buffy stated simply.
"The Anointed must be gone," Giles added, certainly.
"I guess," Buffy agreed. "I mean, this is where they keep all the dead bodies, right?"
Giles only nodded.
Suddenly, there was a sound of a window being smashed.
"Oh, no," Buffy muttered, horrified. Grabbing up her cross, she ran out.
At the same time, Xander, Owen and Tara hurried over to move the barrier blocking the exit.
"I have been judged!" The person-turned-vampire Andrew Borba said, standing up.
Taking a few cautious steps, he looked at the group trying to open the door.
"He is risen in me!" Andrew chanted. "He fills my head with song!"
As Xander and Owen continued to clear the front of the door, Tara realized her spell was still in place. Thinking quickly, she muttered a spell, hoping it would work.
"Pork and beans. Pork and beans!" Andrew continued to mutter, walking towards them. "I can smell you."
Moving the last bit from the front of the door, they all hurried out, to the relief of Tara.
Running towards the morgue, they almost literally ran into Buffy rounding a corner.
"He's in there," Xander said immediately, pointing back in the general direction that they came from.
"Uh, go," Buffy replied, commandingly. As she ran off, she shouted back. "Get out!"
Nodding, Xander and Tara began to hurry off again, before realizing that Owen hadn't budged.
"She'll be okay," Xander assured, getting his attention. "C'mon!"
As they rushed towards the front doors, they ran into another group of vampires, forcing them to turn back.
In the distance, they could hear Andrew singing faintly. It was getting closer, though.
"I think he's coming this way," Tara said, pointedly.
As they hurried off again, they found themselves at a dead end again.
"Oh, God, this is too much," Owen muttered, petrified.
Back in the morgue, Buffy ran in.
"What've you got?" She asked a surprised Giles.
"What?" Giles asked back, confused.
"What do you have?" Buffy clarified. "Do you have a stake?"
"Oh, uh," Giles replied nervously, quickly pulling out a stake.
"Thank you," Buffy called, walking back out.
"W-what should I do?" Giles asked, causing Buffy to turn back around.
"Um, go outside and make sure the others are okay," Buffy replied. However, before she could spin around again, Andrew came up, knocking her down from behind.
"Buffy!" Giles shouted, rushing over to her.
Meanwhile, in the hallways, Xander, Owen and Tara heard Giles' shout.
"Somebody's gotta help Buffy!" Owen said, running off in the general direction of the sound.
"Owen!" Tara called out, to no avail.
As the group reached the morgue, they found Giles being held up by Andrew.
Throwing Giles, he went head first into the crematory switch, turning it on as he fell unconscious.
As that was happening, Andrew had reached for Buffy, lifting her up once more.
"Buffy!" Owen yelled, shocked. "No!"
Grabbing the first object he could find, Owen threw it at Andrew, knocking him off-balance, and causing him to release Buffy.
Angrily, Andrew turned towards Owen, moving over towards him. Grabbing his neck, he attempted to bite. Before he could do so, though, Owen grabbed up a strange looking object, hitting Andrew on the head with it.
Pretty satisfied that Andrew wasn't going to be a bother, Owen moved over to Buffy, who was just coming to.
"Did you see that?" Owen asked her, disbelievingly. "He tried to bite me! What a sissy!
Behind them, Andrew got back up. Quickly, he grabbed Owen and swung one of the open doors into the back of his head.
"No!" Buffy shouted, horrified.
"Dead!" Andrew taunted, dropping Owen. "He was found wanting."
Angrily, Buffy got up and began pummeling Andrew.
In the middle of the fight, Willow rushed in, clearly out of breath.
"You killed my date!" Was the first thing she heard, as Buffy continued her assault on Andrew.
Looking over at Owen, Willow noticed him coming to, and looked back at Buffy.
"Buffy, Owen's..." she began, before Xander cut her off.
"J-just give her a sec," he told her.
"You killed my date!" Buffy repeated after hitting Andrew in the gut and shoving him into the back counter.
Standing upright, Andrew looked defiantly at Buffy. "Your turn!"
Charging at Buffy, he had no time to react as Buffy stepped aside, causing Andrew to slide into the crematorium on a gurney.
After satisfied that he was gone, Buffy turned around to find Owen trying to sit up.
"Does anyone have an aspirin?" He asked, still dazed. "Or sixty?"
"Owen!" Buffy remarked, kneeing beside him.
"What happened to that guy?" Owen asked, looking around curiously.
"Oh," Buffy stalled, looking for a good excuse. "We scared him away."
"Oh, good," Owen replied, nodding. "'Cause, y'know, I would've..."
"I know," Buffy cut him off. "Here...I'm sure this isn't exactly what you had in mind for our first date."
"Yeah," Owen agreed. "I was hoping maybe we'd finish at Ben & Jerry's."
"We still could," Buffy replied, hopefully.
"No, I, I, I think I'll just walk home," Owen replied, getting up. "Uh, which way's home?"
"I'll get you there," Buffy offered, walking over.
"No, I'll, I'll go it alone," Owen insisted.
"We'll make sure he gets home safely," Xander said, helping Owen out the door.
"Buffy, if I might, uh," Giles began, walking behind Buffy.
"Don't!" Buffy cut him off, following the others out.
After dropping Owen off at home, Xander and Willow walked home mostly in silence.
As they neared their final destination, Xander finally broke the silence.
"Man, that was something," he said, casually.
"Yeah," Willow replied, not quite sure of what else to say.
"I mean, Buffy was just wailing on that guy," Xander continued. "And Tara, well, she's got some serious mojo working there. Like, wow, she was amazing!"
"She is," Willow replied, unfazed as she continued walking.
However, Xander stopped, giving Willow's back a hard look, before running up.
Down in the Master's cave, he was reading the book once more, double checking ever little piece of information.
"'And in this time will come the Anointed,'" he read aloud. "'And the Slayer will not know him. She will not stop him, and he will lead her into hell.'"
Looking over at Jesse, and a little boy, he smiled.
"Well, I always knew prophesies were silly creatures," he said. "Welcome, my friends."
A/N: Whew! It's done!
Just to note, the Owen/Buffy thing ends the same as it does in the real episode. There will not be another appearance at least for a while by him.
I'm a little torn on what to do next. It might be a while though before whatever it is comes out. I just hope everyone is patient enough.
So, until next time, happy reading!