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Buffy

the vampire slayer

"HEAVEN COMING DOWN"

by

Joseph B

Disclaimer: --Copy/paste standard disclaimer here-- Poppa Joss created all. I'm just along for the ride, and DAMN the scenery sho' is pretty!

Author's notes: Here, I usually post the timeframe in the series where my stories take place, but it's not that simple with this story. However I'm hoping I provided enough details to not confuse anyone. Let's just say anything before the fourth season finale is fair game.

I started writing this story before the fourth season began so minor things about certain characters may be different with what was revealed about those characters during seasons four and five --in otherwords, I was "Joss-ed", but it's all good. And this is the longest story I've written so far, or at least it will be when I finally finish it. But I'd say it's two-thirds complete right now, and depending on the site, I'll try to make an update about every other day, so hopefully I'll be done with the story by the time I posted all the completed chapters.

Dedication: For Kristen.

Teaser: "Alternate realities are just the results of something --sometimes even the tiniest things-- happening just slightly different than they happened in this reality. For instance . . ." ~Anya

PROLOGUE

How it starts.......

February, 1999

Anyanka opens the door to her room and dumps her books unceremoniously on the floor. She slumps down on her queen size bed and falls back across the mattress. God, how she hated Sunnydale, she thinks, and not for the first time. Nor the hundredth time.

Like all demons, she had felt the lure of the Hellmouth as soon as she set foot on this continent. With a little will power she could have easily resisted its power; one such as her could not exist in this world for over a thousand years without being careful, but it was also her nature to seek out anything emanating such strong mystical forces, and she was unable to resist the temptation to try to tap into that source to increase her own powers.

What a mistake that had been, she tells herself.

Upon arriving in Sunnydale she found an ample supply of scorned women just waiting to wish harmful fates on their former boyfriends within Anyanka's earshot. But there was one young woman who's pain had overshadowed all the rest.

Cordelia Chase.

She had caught her then boyfriend, Xander Harris, cheating on her with his childhood friend, Willow Rosenberg. The little tramp, Anya curses the supposedly shy redhead. She touches the side of her left cheek with her finger tips at the slight swelling the little bitch gave her by punching her out last night.

"If I still had my powers she would never dare strike me," she says to her empty room, which, over the past few months had become a very apt listener to her plight. Little did she know there was a very weak ghost trapped in this very room for penance from a previous life --which is not important to this story-- such was sometimes the consequence of dying on the Hellmouth, but had this ghost been able to it would have told her to shut the hell up long ago.

Of course, if she still had her powers, none of this would have happened.

Rarely had she come across a woman suffering as much pain as this Cordelia Chase, so it was her sacred duty as Anyanka to grant this mortal her wish of vengeance. So, as she normally did, she took on a mortal guise that would allow her the best opportunity to get close to Cordelia. That of a rich senior at Sunnydale High School.

Even though she had not intended to stay in this form for more than a couple of days, a few at the most, she made sure to make her disguise complete. She had used her powers to set herself up in a house befitting one of Cordelia's crowd, with a nice car, and two phantom parents with just enough money that even God wouldn't laugh at. Okay, maybe not God, who cared not of monetary wealth humans strive to acquire, but Zeus definitely wouldn't laugh. And she should know, for Anyanka's heard him laugh a few times. Some of the most devastating earthquakes in history resulted from his chuckles, she reflects.

So, with everything set, she began her mission to grant whatever wish Cordelia would wrath upon her unsuspecting ex. Once meeting Cordelia, it had only taken two days to lure her into telling Anyanka her wish.

"I wish Buffy Summers had never come to Sunnydale!"

Huh? had been Anyanka's first thought. But it was Cordelia's wish so she was more than obligated to grant it.

What had resulted from that simple wish was of a cataclysmic scale second only to an Ascension. And Anyanka should know --well, you get the picture. The only thing she could not lay claim to have witnessed would be the Crucifixion.

As it turns out, this Buffy Summers just so happened to be the Slayer of this generation. Her never coming to Sunnydale allowed The Master --a master vampire with enough testosterone to declare himself THE master of all vampires, what nerve!-- to free himself from his prison in the Hellmouth. As a result Sunnydale had been overrun with his vampire legions, turning practically half the population within a couple of years.

Discovering what kind of world she had created, Cordelia took it upon herself to try to correct things, seeking the help of the school librarian who should have been Buffy Summers' Watcher. The man had the infuriating gull to summon her, Anyanka, with a spell to be used only by women scorned.

And just before Anyanka was about to crush the librarian's neck, rip out his throat, and disembowel him --not necessarily in that order-- he had deprived her of her necklace, the source of her powers, and smashed it!

With a paperweight, of all things!

Needless to say, Cordelia's wish was undone and everything was reset to the exact moment she had made the wish, but this time Anyanka was unable to grant it. No one, not even Cordelia remembered anything that had happened during the time in that alternate reality. Which was probably fortunate for them, she thinks, considering most of them died.

The loss of her powers had left her mortal, stuck in the persona of an eighteen year old senior attending Sunnydale High. And she had lost everything, the mansion, the car, the unreal parents, but, most importantly, the money in their false checking account. But it seems that fate is not without a sense of humor. The short time that false checking account existed, it did manage to accumulate an amount of interest --in real money-- that was all that was left to Anyanka, Anya now. Even though substantial by mortal standards, the money would eventually run out, but it did allow her to acquire a suitable apartment, a used car, and --by the Gods-- grocery and laundry money.

Sighing, she gets up from the bed. But this was only until she could find a way to get her powers back. Her latest attempt had met with failure. Failure in the form of Willow Rosenburg. Two of them. The shy innocent --make me gag-- Willow of this insufferable reality, and the vampire Willow from the reality where her necklace was destroyed. Somehow, while trying to retrieve her necklace from that reality, with human Willow's help, they had freed the vampire Willow instead.

The fanged redhead had wreaked havoc until Buffy, Willow, and the rest of her friends were able to send the toothy dominatrix back to her world, hopefully to meet her doom at the end of something sharp and wooden.

Anya smiles at the thought, but quickly winces from the pain in her cheek. She decides it's time to put more ice on it before it begins to swell anymore. Heading for the door of the bedroom she catches a glimpse of herself in her full length mirror. She stops in front of it and takes a closer look at her cheek.

Her reflection was that of a normal looking young woman. Not the most attractive image she could have given herself, --from past experience, making herself as beautiful as possible often led to more problems, what with her distaste for the male species and their need to get close to attractive females-- but she didn't get these features from the thrift shop either. Her very light brown hair was straight and trimmed neatly to shoulder length, but at least she had finally mastered shampoo and conditioning; already well aware of the techniques of such mortal rituals she just never had the practice. She never had a need to with her powers.

She scowls again at her reflection, at the thought of her lost necklace. The bruise on her cheek, barely concealed by makeup --another ritual still new to her-- fed her anger further.

If only there was some way she could make Willow and all her friends suffer, as she was suffering. Make them all grovel at her feet, as she told them all last night during the spell ritual to send the vampire Willow back to her world.

"I wish I could turn their world inside-out," she tells her reflection.

Right before her eyes, her reflection suddenly transforms. It's skin shrinks against its skeletal frame, veins and tendons popping out under thin, wrinkled flesh. Anya instantly recognizes the form of her true self, revealed only when she is using her powers. She quickly brings her hands up and looks at them. Her reflection is no longer mimicking her moves, and she sees that the flesh of her hands and arms are still normal. She touches her face and feels only smooth skin. She gazes at her demon reflection again and her eyes open even wider when she sees the necklace it's wearing.

Her necklace.

Before she can reach out to the mirror, for her necklace, the demon on the other side of the glass pierces Anya with its eyes.

"Done!"

Then she is swallowed by a bright flash of light.

With a gasp, Anya bolts straight up in bed and finds herself sitting in the exact same spot. Her hand instantly goes to her chest, where her necklace would usually rest, but finds that it's still not there. Human dreams were also new to her as well, but out of all the dreams she's had since becoming mortal, this was by far the most real. She had dreamt of getting her powers back many times; before realizing dreams were not real, she had thought it was some kind of cruel torture sent by the gods to punish her, but this was the first time she had ever dreamt of granting her own wish.

Was it a dream? she asks herself.

It couldn't possibly have been real. For one thing, she did not have her necklace and she knew of no other entities, demon nor god, who could grant wishes. But then again, it was a big etherverse, she sighs.

"Humans would blame this on pepperoni or anchovies, or both," she says to her empty room. Then her stomach growls, reminding her that she was also human.

With a groan she stands up and walks to her door but stops as she glances in her mirror.

"Was it a dream?" she asks it.

Her reflection doesn't answer.

Shrugging, she heads off to the kitchen to satisfy this unusual sensation of hunger.

The ghost, that would remain trapped in this very room for all eternity, perks with interest for the first time since it had mortally died. If it were able to emit sound in the material world, Anya might have heard it say....

"This can get very interesting. Damn! And I'm gonna miss it!"

End of Prologue

FIRST THREAD: Part one

Now it begins......

May, 1998

Buffy entered the cemetery and scanned the area warily, muscles relaxed, but ready to respond to attack. The nearly silent hush of the wind was her only company as her boots crunched softly on the manicured grass.

There was no sign of him.

The vampire he had sent to her, earlier that day, had given her life just to deliver a message on his behalf, before bursting into flames in the sunlight. Surely he wouldn't go to such extreme measures just to lure her out here for nothing? she thought. He definitely had something up his sleeve. A trap maybe? He never ceased to surprise her.

It didn't matter. Giles and the others were back at the library working on the Restoration Spell to recurse him. Give him back the soul he lost when she had . . . when they had . . .

The longer he kept her waiting, the more time he gave Willow to complete the spell. And Kendra was there to look after them, should anything unexpected happen. She had faith in Kendra, as well as her skills as a Slayer. True, the exotic girl had only been a Slayer for one year, but she had been training practically her entire life for the day she may be called upon to fight the demons and vampires. Buffy herself had only been fighting for over two years now.

Kendra could take care of herself, Buffy assured herself, even though she could not shake the uneasiness that had been nagging her ever since leaving the library. Those were the same words Buffy had said when Kendra suggested she should accompany her to the cemetery. Kendra had heeded but not without giving Buffy her favorite stake. Mr. Pointy, she had named it.

The deadly stake was hidden under her blue coat, but she was hoping she would not have to use it. It was her last resort, if the curse did not work she would use the stake to kill him. She knew she was finally ready to kill him. She had been more than willing for the past three months now.

As it turned out, she didn't have to wait long.

"Hello, lover," said the demon, inhabiting Angel's body, as he stepped out from behind a small tomb. He was decked out in his Sunday blacks, from his leather boots to his long duster, that hung nearly to his ankles. Buffy stopped as he smiled at her. A smile that no longer resembled the smile she loved to receive from *her* Angel.

"I wasn't sure you'd come," Angelus said.

Buffy did nothing to keep the scorn out of her voice. "After your immolation-o-gram? C'mon, I had to show." She knew how much he loved to boast. If she could keep him talking a little while longer she could give Willow that much more time for the spell.

"Shouldn't you be out destroying the world right now," she went on. "Pulling the sword out of Al Franken or whatever his name is?"

Angelus shrugged, off-handishly. "There's time enough. I wanted to say good-bye first. You are the one thing in this dimension I will miss."

Anger bubbled up inside Buffy and she suddenly didn't feel like talking to him anymore. This demon who had all of Angel's memories to use against her, to seek out her vulnerabilities the way only a lover could.

"This is a beautiful moment we're having. Can we please fight?"

He gave her a troubled look. "I didn't come here to fight."

"No?"

"Gosh, I was hoping we could get back together," he said, with mock seriousness. "What do you think? Do we have a shot?" If the look Buffy gave him could kill, he would have been ashes by now and she could have called it a night. He smirked at her. "All right. We'll fight."

His duster flowing like a cape, he rushed her with the speed only a vampire was capable of. Fortunately, it was also the speed only a Slayer could hope to match and she ducked his attack.

He whirled as she came up behind him and she successfully blocked all his strikes, biding her time; actually, biding time for Willow. She just needed to keep him from . . . well, from killing her. But that didn't mean she couldn't make the demon suffer a little.

Okay, maybe a little alot, she thought. She landed a one-two combination with satisfying impacts on his face that staggered him slightly. Retaining his human face, he growled and pressed his attack. As she dodged and blocked, that sliver tickling the back of her neck was still there, subtly screaming at her that something was not right here. And it served to distract her just a little. But it was enough for Angelus to finally get through her defenses, ducking one of her swings, he countered with a punch across her face that took her off guard. He followed through with a second blow that caused her to lose her balance. Before she could recover, he grabbed the back of her coat and flung her to the ground.

Buffy managed to shoulder roll with the landing and looked up as he strode calmly towards her. "Come on, Willow," she whispered, then got back to her feet.

As she met his next attack, she tried to reach out with her senses, try to determine if there were any of his goons in hiding, ready to pounce on her at any moment. Angelus must have noticed her distraction for she heard him chuckle, just before slamming another fist into her face.

As her head snapped back she suddenly realized.....

He *was* here alone.

A hard fist was buried into her stomach and she doubled over.

There was no trap here for her.

The top of his leather boot hit her in the face sending her reeling backwards.

But there was a trap. Just not here!

Her back slammed against the wall of the tomb, stopping her, and she composed herself with renewed purpose. She waited until the last instant before she side-stepped his next punch, hooking her arm around his, and swung him into the stone wall, his face smacking the surface with a loud crack. She spun him around, still holding onto his coat, and pulled him in close to raise a knee into his stomach. She repeated the move three more times before switching legs and smashed her other knee into his face.

Angelus fell to the ground, but Buffy was already running as fast as she could away from him. The vampire shook his head to clear it, and saw the Slayer heading for the front wall of the cemetery.

"Where are you going, Buffy? We're not finished here! I guess I'll just go home and destroy the world!" he shouted, trying to goad her. Seeing that she was no longer paying him any attention, he growled. "Damn it!"

Buffy did not look back, but he was now chasing her, which just confirmed what she already knew. He did lure her out here to attack the others. He must have found out about the curse, she thought.

Not taking the time to deviate her course to the front gate, she ran straight for the twelve foot high stone wall. If the situation was less dire, Buffy might have been surprised when she cleared the wall, without slowing down, by almost a foot. She just needed to get over the wall as quickly as possible, so she did. She stumbled a little when she landed on the other side but did not fall, so kept moving forward. When she regained her balance she increased her speed again.

By the sounds Angelus made behind her, she knew he had used his arms and legs to help himself over the wall, but he was still in pursuit. She just needed to make it to the library before he did.

The rest of the race was a blur. Her arms pumping at her sides, her heels pounding the pavement, sidewalk, and grass. Only when the high school was in sight did her eyes finally focus. She had lost track of Angelus behind her, but she could not worry about that now. The only thing she was aware of was that she needed to reach the others, no matter what.

She ran straight for the side entrance closest to her, practically ripping the door off its hinges and plunged down the hall. As she rounded the corner to the last stretch of corridor leading to the library, the large window in the student lounge to her left exploded inward. Forcing herself not to look in that direction, she knew it was Angelus still after her.

Nothing mattered, except reaching her friends.

Oblivious of his heavy footfalls behind her, she burst through the double doors and charged into the library. What she saw made her falter slightly.

The library had become a battlefield. Buffy was instantly taken back to the second day of the school year when a group of vampires had made a similar raid. But that time she had been too late to stop them. The difference this time was that they were still here.

Drusilla and Kendra were standing, facing one another, looking into each other's eyes. But the Slayer was doing absolutely nothing to defend herself as she leaned against the check-out counter. Arms at her sides, Buffy saw the heavy eyelid-dazed expression on her face. Drusilla's eyes were wide with an unseen power that had Kendra in a trance. The mad vampire took a step back, reeling a hand back, uncurling her fingers with long sharp fingernails and prepared to strike at the helpless Slayer.

Buffy processed all this in an instant and was still running forward. But as soon as she had entered the library, the other vampires with Drusilla moved in to intercept the blonde Slayer.

Drusilla didn't seem aware of this as the first vampire ran past her back, charging Buffy, her eyes remaining locked on Kendra's. Buffy had pulled Kendra's stake out of her coat and was heading straight for Drusilla. But the vampire got in her path, blocking her. She jumped just before the vamp reached her and hurled the stake as she was tackled at the waist. As the vampire carried her back, Buffy saw Mr. Pointy bury itself into Drusilla's shoulder and the female vampire screamed in pain as the impact threw her off balance. As soon as she lost eye contact with the other Slayer, Kendra slumped against the counter as if the strings that were holding her up had suddenly been cut, and she began to shake off the effects of the trance.

Then Buffy lost sight of her as she started to fall back with the vampire still holding her. Behind her, the double doors opened and she was slammed into Angelus who was unable to stop in time to avoid the collision. The three of them landed on the floor with Buffy sandwiched between them.

The vampire on top of her was trying to get a secure hold on her, to straddle her, but with Angelus squirming underneath them, it was difficult. She heard Angelus growling above her left shoulder and reeled a hard elbow at the sound, cutting the noise off and hopefully knocking his fangs down his throat, Buffy thought. She raised a knee and found the other vamp's groin and a hard fist to its face sent him tumbling off her.

Buffy sat up on Angelus's lap and saw Kendra still recovering. So the other Slayer wasn't aware of the other two vampires closing in on her. Drusilla was on the floor sitting against the book cage preparing to pull the stake from her shoulder.

"Kendra!" Buffy shouted. "Snap out of it!"

Angelus was trying to sit up as well. Disappointed, she saw he still had his fangs. Another elbow to the face sent him to the floor again.

Buffy got to her feet, grounding the heel of her boot into Angelus' crotch in the process, and moved as fast as her feet would let her. The closest vampire noticed her just an instant before she slammed into him, and Buffy managed to send them both tumbling into the other vampire as well, knocking them away from Kendra. The three of them hit the floor and Buffy scanned her surroundings for anything wooden she could use as a weapon. Well, there was the wooden table surrounded by all those lovely wooden chairs, she thought, and she also saw Kendra's duffel bag under the table, which would have weapons. But they were several feet beyond her reach. She would have to let these two vamps go if she were to try for them.

Looking underneath the table, she saw Giles lying unmoving on the other side and she felt her heart stop. From here she could not tell whether he was still alive, and, with dread, she suddenly wondered where Willow, Xander, and Cordelia were. But that moment of distraction gave the vampire right under her the opportunity to hit her in the chin with an uppercut and she tumbled off them.

She rolled on the floor and sprang back to her feet and came at the closest vamp with a kick to the gut before it could get to its feet. Then she laid into the other vampire with a hard right hook, sending it spinning off the floor. With those two vamps momentarily dazed, she checked on Kendra, who was finally focusing in on her surroundings. By the double doors, Buffy saw that Angelus was getting back to his feet, as well as the first vampire.

"Kendra, look out!" she shouted.

Buffy screamed as something slammed into her thigh and she dropped to her knees. Looking down, she saw the blood-coated tip of Mr. Pointy sticking out the front of her thigh from where Drusilla had shoved it in the back of her leg.

"Buffy!" Kendra shouted and was moving towards her.

But Angelus grabbed her from behind and Kendra whirled on him with a swinging fist. Angelus ducked the punch and returned with a backhand across her face as the first vampire also closed in on her.

Buffy tried to rise to her feet, but her wounded leg was suddenly useless.

"Poor Buffy," a voice said behind her. She looked over her shoulder and saw Drusilla standing over her. Blood covered her entire shoulder but the mad vampire acted as if she no longer noticed it. "Poor little Slayer."

Before she could respond, Drusilla grabbed a handful of her hair and jerked the blonde to her feet. Buffy lashed out with a punch to the vampress's face that caused her to release her, but Drusilla growled and retaliated with a backhand slap that sent Buffy to the floor. The stake was driven deeper into her thigh as the back of her leg hit the floor and she couldn't contain her scream of pain.

The second and third vampires had regrouped by this time and were approaching their mistress. Dru didn't even look at them, never taking her eyes off Buffy, as she nodded her head to the prone Watcher. "Let's get what we came for, dears."

Buffy felt a rush of relief that Giles was still alive. Then another rush swept through her as she realized something else. Angelus hadn't known about the curse after all. They were after Giles. And if they needed her Watcher that would mean only one thing, they did not know how to awaken Acathla!

She must not let them take Giles, she thought, and not just to stop them from awakening Acathla. Drusilla was closing in on her again. The vampire was obstructing most of her view behind her, so she wasn't able to see how Kendra was doing. But, by the sound of it, she was in the middle of a big fight with Angelus and the first vampire.

"Come to Mummy," Drusilla said, reaching down for her.

Buffy tried to lash out with a kick to her kneecap with her good leg, but the pain from her other leg slowed her actions down and Dru was able to kick her strike aside. She responded by stomping her stiletto heel onto Buffy's wounded thigh and the Slayer screamed out again. She could not defend herself as Dru reached down and pulled her up by the lapels of her coat. Her feet dangling off the floor, blood flowing down her leg, her face was now just inches away from the vampire's and Buffy was looking directly into her big dark eyes.

"Look into my eyes, dearie," purred Drusilla.

Buffy knew she shouldn't look but she could feel those eyes sucking her in. This is what she had been doing to Kendra. It was very similar to when the Master had her under his trance, but he had no need to look into her eyes, his power just reached out and grabbed her. But after he drank some of her blood, and killed her, she was able to resist him. Giles was still unable to explain it.

"Be in my eyes," droned Drusilla.

The world surrounding those luminous eyes started to unfocus and they began to fill her entire being and Buffy's hands loosened their hold on the female vamp's wrists and fell to her sides. The raven haired vampire smiled at her.

"Yes, my sweet. The pain is going away. Mummy will make everything feel all better."

Buffy was nodding and silently screamed at herself to stop. "No," she managed to say through her constricted throat.

"Oh, yes." Drusilla practically beamed at her attempt at resistance. Her face taking on its demon visage, she drew the small Slayer closer and buried her face against her neck.

A scream caught in Buffy's throat as white hot pain stabbed her in the side of her neck. She felt her blood being pulled from her body by Drusilla's hunger and darkness began to dim her vision. But after only a few seconds, which felt like an eternity to Buffy, Dru pulled away, her fangs red with blood. Buffy's blood.

"Now, have a taste of Mummy," she said, in a heavy voice.

She was holding the Slayer with one hand, and curled the other behind the back of Buffy's head, and pulled her in close to her blood covered shoulder. She tried to resist but the vampire was too strong, and at the last instant Buffy turned her head away and her cheek landed against the cold blood.

Drusilla made a disapproving sound and yanked her head back by her hair.

"Naughty, naughty, Buffy. You need to feed if you want to become part of our family."

Buffy could not answer and looked over Drusilla's shoulder. Kendra was now facing only Angelus; she must have dusted the first vampire, but her former boyfriend had the young Slayer down on the floor and was kicking her repeatedly in the midsection. The other two vampires were now dragging the unconscious Giles towards the door, around the fight.

In an adrenaline rush brought on by urgency, Buffy swung her fists up and clapped Drusilla's temples as hard as she could. The female vamp was more surprised by the attack than hurt, but she did release Buffy and the blonde fell to the floor. And immediately collapsed under her crippled leg.

Damn it, she cursed herself. Reaching behind her leg, she wrapped her hand around the blunt end of the stake and, with all her strength, jerked it out of her thigh. As she screamed at the pain, she was fully aware of the amount of blood that was released without the stake there to obstruct the flow. She was losing too much blood, probably already lost too much, but she couldn't stop right now. She needed to save her friends.

That was when she was suddenly grabbed again and Drusilla hauled her back up.

"Where were we, dearie," Drusilla said, bringing Buffy close.

She must not have seen the stake in her hand for Dru did not react until Buffy had slammed it deep into her chest. She just had enough time to looked down at her chest in shock, then raise her eyes to Buffy. Then she exploded into ashes, taking Mr. Pointy with her to oblivion.

With no one holding her, Buffy fell forward, through Dru's still falling ashes and landed hard on the floor.

"DRU!"

Buffy looked up at the sound of Angelus' voice and saw him staring in shock where his sired child was nothing but a scatter of ashes around the blonde Slayer. He instantly forgot about Kendra and the other Slayer was struggling to her knees. Then he focused on Buffy and his vampire eyes flashed an angry yellow as he stalked forward.

Buffy tried to push herself off the floor, but now she was really without strength and couldn't avoid his boot as he kicked her in the face. She flew back and slid several feet across the floor until her back hit the bottom steps to the upper level.

"I'm gonna kill you, bitch!" he snarled.

Buffy was powerless and could still feel herself slipping much faster now. She saw Kendra finally on her feet and she was running towards them.

The double doors suddenly swung open and a couple of voices shouted, "FREEZE!"

The vampires who had been holding Giles had been unsure of what to do when Drusilla was killed, so they were taken off guard when the first two police officers, a man and a woman, burst into the library with guns drawn.

They dropped the Watcher and growled at the cops, which, added with their vampiric faces, was more than enough to convince the officers to start shooting.

Kendra dove to the floor as the shooting started, sliding underneath the table. From where she was, Buffy was out of the line of fire. Angelus turned away from her to see what was happening. Then the police officers started to scream as the vampires reached them. As they died, they continued to shoot until their guns were empty.

Angelus was turning his attention back to Buffy when Kendra emerged from under the table with a sword, she had pulled out of her duffel bag, and swung it at his neck. He barely ducked away just in time to keep his head on his shoulders, but Kendra was already following through, spinning 360 degrees, and laid open Angelus' side with another swipe.

Clutching his side, trying to keep his undead guts from spilling from the wound, he climbed up on top of the check out counter and jumped off avoiding Kendra's next strike at his legs. He hurried to the other two vampires, who had just finished killing the police officers and leaned against the closest.

"Let's get out of here, boys," he ordered.

"What about him?" one of the vamps asked, indicating Giles.

"Leave him, for now. We'll get him later."

The vamps helped their leader as they pushed their way out the library doors. There was another commotion out in the hall and more shots echoed, obviously from more cops entering the school.

Kendra hurried to Buffy's side and put the sword down.

"Buffy," she said, taking in the smaller Slayer's battered appearance. The blonde was looking up at her with painfilled green eyes that were only halfway opened.

Kendra pulled off her jacket and pushed it under Buffy's wounded leg, then wrapped the sleeves around the top of her thigh and tied them as tight as she could.

"Oww," Buffy said, in a weak voice.

The shooting out in the hall stopped.

"Where's Angel?" she asked.

"He got away," Kendra answered looking at the bite on Buffy's neck.

"And Giles?"

"He's ah'right, I tink. Just unconscious." She put a hand on Buffy's blood smeared cheek. "D'ye feed off Drusilla?"

"No."

"Good."

Kendra pulled out a clean rag from the pocket of her cargo pants and pressed it against Buffy's neck. Her expression didn't change as she tended to her fellow Slayer.

"Ye've lost a lot of blood," she observed.

"Yeah," Buffy said. "I'm dying. Been there, done that. No big."

Kendra looked into her eyes. "Ye're not goin' to die!"

"Truthfully, I don't want to, but I don't really have a choice." Buffy's expression turned to one of alarm. "Oh, God. Where're Xander and Willow and Cordy?"

"Xander is up dere," she nodded to the upper level. "I tink he's unconscious as well. I don't see de others. Dey must've run away."

"Check on him," Buffy told her.

"I c'not leave you. Ye're still losing blood."

"I'm sure the ambulances are on the way because of all the shooting. Please, just see if he's all right."

Kendra's expression still didn't change as she looked into Buffy's eyes. "Okay," she said, and climbed the short stairs. When she was on the upper level she saw a toppled book shelf and immediately lifted it to one side.

"What is it?" From her vantage point, Buffy couldn't see what was there.

"'Tis ye're friend, Willow. She's been knocked out. Could be a concussion."

"Oh, God," Buffy whispered with worry.

"Buffy?" she heard a groggy voice say.

She saw Xander, pushing himself to a sitting position and he winced in pain and cradled his right arm against his body.

"Xander," she breathed in relief. "Thank God. Are you all right?"

"My arm's broken. Willow!" He started to crawl towards them.

"She's alive," Kendra told him. "We shouldn't move her until help arrives."

"What happened?" he asked. "Buffy. Buffy? Where are you?"

"Down here," she called in a faint voice.

Xander finally got to his feet and saw Buffy at the bottom of the stairs. "No," he whispered and hurried down to her side. He gently eased his good arm under her and cradled her against his body. "You're gonna be okay, Buff, do you hear?"

"I'm sorry," she said. "I wish I could do that for you, Xand, but my body has other plans."

Sirens came into earshot and steadily grew louder.

"See," Xander said, as tears started sliding down his cheeks. "They're coming. You're gonna be fine. Did Angel do this?"

"It was Drusilla."

"She is so dead meat," he said, angrily.

"Actually, she's right there." Buffy nodded, barely able to move her head now. Xander saw the scattered ashes.

"What about Angel?"

"He got away," Kendra said from the top of the stairs. She couldn't go down without having to step over them so she stayed right there.

"But Kendra nearly cut him in half," she said, with a smile.

"He must have found out about the curse," Xander said.

"No." It was taking Buffy all her strength just to continue talking. "He didn't know about the curse. He doesn't know how to awaken Acathla. They were after Giles. They didn't get him."

"That's good news. Now try not to talk," Xander urged her. "Save your strength."

"Kendra," Buffy called. "You have to find Angel. He's no match for you right now. Stop him before he can try again."

Kendra nodded.

"But we don't know where they're holed up," said Xander.

"Angel will show us de way," Kendra said. "His blood will." She indicated the blood on the counter.

"Better than a trail of bread crumbs," Buffy said. Then she hissed in pain and Xander held her closer.

"Just a little longer, Buffy," he pleaded.

She just looked up into his eyes. "I love all of you." Her voice and breathing were slowing down. "Tell the others, Xander. Tell Giles to . . . talk to my mom."

"I will. Buffy, please."

She tried to smile at him but she was too weak and her eyes closed, releasing a single tear drop. Then another tear drop landed on her cheek, this one from Xander. He hugged her against his chest.

"I love you," he whispered.

He started to make out several voices out in the hall and they were getting closer to the library. He looked up and saw Kendra still standing at the top of the stairs. She was looking down at Buffy, but there was no expression on her face he could read. She didn't even look sad. She looked . . .

Like Kendra.

"Well, what are you waiting for!" he snapped. "Go find Angel!"

The Slayer just glanced at him, then made her way down the steps around them. She retrieved her sword and looked up when the voices were right outside the double doors.

"Go out through the back," Xander told her. "And don't let the cops see you."

She nodded and bounded back up the stairs and disappeared through the doors leading into the Stacks.

Xander turned his attention back to Buffy and finally let himself break down and his body shuddered as the sobs assaulted him as he continued to hold his friend close.

And he held onto her until the paramedics pulled him away from her.

End of Part One

FIRST THREAD: Part Two

"Where is Drusilla!?" demanded Spike.

The two vampires helped Angelus to the couch and he dropped weakly onto it, immediately getting blood on the cushions. He managed to get his coat off without losing any of his insides.

"Where is she!!?" Spike shouted, as he rolled his wheelchair a few feet closer to the couch.

"She's dead," Angelus hissed.

One of the vampires returned to the main room of the large mansion and handed him a roll of bandages and tape and Angelus quickly started to wrap his wound.

Spike just sat there for a shocked moment. "What? Dru's dead?"

"That bitch killed her." Anger filled Angelus' voice. He used his teeth to rip a strip of tape and growled in pain as he tightened the layer of bandage over his wound.

"You let Buffy kill Dru?" Spike accused. "She wasn't even supposed to be there! You said you were gonna lure her away!"

"Don't worry about Buffy," Angelus finally shot him a look. "If what Dru did to her doesn't kill her, I will."

"So," Spike was practically trembling with rage. He glanced at the large stone statue which sat in the center of the room. The slumbering demon Acathla, as far as he was concerned, the cause of this madness. Then he returned his gaze to Drusilla's sire, the cause of *all* of Spike's troubles. "Not only did your plan to dupe your ex-pet away from her friends fail, nor did you succeed in taking her Watcher, but you let her kill Drusilla! And you left her alive!!!"

"I told you," Angelus retorted. He was still taping up his shoddy wound dressing. His bloody hands were trembling with the effort in his weakened condition. "Dru practically killed her. She's no threat to us right now. But the other Slayer was there. That foreign bitch."

"Kendra?"

"She's still running around. But she's no threat. She's not half the Slayer Buffy is."

"Well, you're not even half a vampire right now, Angel," Spike told him. The blonde vampire closed his eyes, trying to calm himself down. But all he saw was the face of his beloved Drusilla and how that was to be the only way he would be able to see her from now on. She was gone.

He opened his eyes. "All right, we're gonna vacate this place, now."

"We're not done here," Angelus growled.

Spike seethed. "Oh, I think we are quite done here." He looked over his shoulder to a tall vampire with lanky bangs standing behind him. "Lucius, go start up the car. If we leave now we can be miles away from this hellhole before the sun comes up."

"The car isn't here," Angelus told him.

Spike looked at him. "Where. Is. The. Car?"

"It's still at the cemetery. And I said we're not leaving."

"Dru is dead. Buffy may or may not be. You don't have the foggiest how to wake up Sleeping Beauty, there," He nodded his head toward Acathla. "And you left a trail back to the mansion that any half-slayer can follow.

"Don't forget who runs this show, Spike," Angelus said, in a warning tone. "We're not finished here. If Buffy's still alive, we kill her. If she's dead, we kill all her friends. Then we get the information out of the Watcher if we have to cut him into little bitty pieces in the process. Then we send the rest of the world to hell."

Spike met Angelus' eyes and glared at him with barely contained fury. Neither one of them broke eye contact for a long moment, refusing to back down. Finally, Spike lowered his eyes. Angelus, feeling he won the confrontation, relaxed and inspected the bandages around his body.

In a steady voice that masked the anger he was feeling, Spike said, "Lucius, take the boys outside with you and walk the perimeter. I suspect we'll be having a Slayer come a calling before too long." He met Angelus' eyes again and his sire did nothing to countermand his orders as the tall vamp left with the others.

"And find something out there for me to eat," Angelus told him as they left. "I don't care if it's alive or not, just don't taste it."

The vamps left the mansion leaving Angelus alone with Spike. Neither one of them spoke for a long time. Spike leaned back in his chair and rested his hands on the wheels. He began to wheel himself slowly backwards.

"You really have lost it, haven't you, Angel?"

Angelus scoffed at the crippled vampire. "Don't worry Spike, I won't let anything happen to you," he said with mock sincerity. "You're still more amusing than you are a pain in the ass, but I know you want revenge for Dru's death as much as I do."

"I can't imagine that being true, mate." Spike was now close to the wall and he reached for a wooden chair against it. He swung it in one hand and shattered the chair against the stone wall.

"Throwing a hissy fit really doesn't become you, Spike. Though being in that chair all this time may have brought you closer to your more feminine side."

"Well, then allow me to up the testosterone." Making sure Angelus was watching him, Spike planted his boots on the floor and, pushing off the armrests, slowly stood up out of the wheelchair. He couldn't help but smile at the expression that came over his sire's face and he kicked his wheelchair back hard.

"Manly enough for you, Angel?" he asked. Straightening his own leather duster, which showed signs of wrinkles from him sitting in the chair all these months, he strolled over to the pile of wood he created from the broken chair and selected a long nasty looking splinter.

"Spike," Angelus said in a threatening tone, doing his best to keep the worry out of it. "What are you doing?"

The blonde vampire started walking towards the couch. "I'm getting my revenge. I just wish I had more time to do it proper."

*****

Lucius walked down the stone stairs to the atrium. He was dragging a struggling, dirty looking, old man he had found on the streets. Before he reached the side entrance to the mansion Spike stepped out. The tall vampire was taken aback at seeing the blonde walking on his own two feet.

Spike didn't break stride as he approached Lucius. "C'mon. Let's gather the boys and go get the car. We're heading out."

Finally recovered, Lucius said, "What about Angel?"

"He lost his appetite." Spike didn't even look back as he started up the stairs. "Among other things."

"What do you want me to do with this guy?" he asked.

Spike still didn't look back and continued on. "Eat him or toss him. Makes no difference to me."

Lucius looked at the frightened human for a few seconds then shoved him away in disgust. The old man slumped against the stone wall as the vampire wiped his hands off and followed Spike.

End of part two

FIRST THREAD: Part Three

May 21, 1998

Last night, my Slayer, Buffy Summers, was killed. She died while sav--

**RIP--CRUMPLE**

May 21, 1998

Last night, the vampires attacked us in an attempt to abduct me. Apparently Angel did not know the correct ritual to awaken the demon Acathla. Had he succeeded in acquiring this information he would have used the demon to deliver the world to the demon dimension. Fortunately, with the Slayers working together, they were able to stop his efforts.

Regrettably, one of the Slayers did not survive the attack. My Slayer, Buffy--

**RIP--CRUMPLE**

May 21, 1998

The vampires tried to send the world to hell. The Slayers stopped them--

**RIP--CRUMPLE--SLAM**

*****

May 23, 1998

Three days ago, my Slayer, Buffy Summers was killed. She died saving the world. Her death is a great loss to us all. Although the world still has Kendra, another Slayer will soon be called, possibly already contacted, I know there will never be a Slayer as dedicated and--

**RIP--CRUMPLE**

May 23, 1998

Buffy is gone. I failed her.

--the diary of Rupert Giles

****

May 25, 1998

Buffy was buried today. It was a remarkably bright sunny day, considering the dark clouds had been threatening rain for the past week. It was the first time I saw Xander, Willow, and Cordelia for a length of time. They left as soon as it was over so I wasn't given the opportunity to speak with them. I haven't spoken to them since . . . that night and they hadn't been in the library ever since.

The library has become a lonely, ominous place. Without the children's regular presence, I am finding the time I must spend there dreadful. I find myself looking forward to the summer break.

*****

May 26, 1998

Buffy's mother came to me demanding answers. The day after Buffy's death I spoke to her, but at the time I was unable to bring myself to explain her daughter's true role as the Slayer. I ultimately told her that Buffy saved us from what the police had determined was a raid by a gang under the influence of drugs. Joyce was inclined to believe the story. But apparently, she discovered some of Buffy's weapons and slaying equipment. I proceeded to tell her the truth and how her daughter really died. With a little assistance from Kendra, she believed what was told to her.

--added note: 6-15-98: --This was to be the last time I would see Joyce Summers.

*****

May 27, 1998

Kendra returned home today. After finding the deserted mansion that had been the vampires' hideout, she had kept watch over the place on the chance they might return. She had discovered scattered ashes where the trail of Angel's blood ended. Spike's wheelchair was also there, abandoned. I could only surmise what may have happened.

But after a week with no hint of Spike's presence and with Acathla securely binded, the Slayer was recalled by her Watcher.

I resigned my position as Watcher to the Council. I'll be returning to England before too long.

--last entry. Rupert Giles

*****

*****

June 10, 1998

Oddly enough I'm still in Sunnydale. I had everything I would need to return home to England, leaving most of my things behind. I even had the flight reservations set. But on the day it was time to leave, I could not bring myself to go to the airport. I sat in my apartment, which I can no longer deny is my home, watching the clock. Watched as the hour of my flight came and went. I didn't try to reason with myself why I could not leave for I knew --had known all along-- I could never leave.

Here is where she was. She gave her life here. No less should be asked of myself.

*****

June 19, 1998

I've taken up patrolling. Chances are this will be a very short career choice on my part, but I just cannot sit by any longer. The Hellmouth is still a large draw for the demons and there is no one to stop them. I don't even know why I'm keeping with this diary. Buffy would have said--

*****

June 25, 1998

I received quite a shock last night. I was almost killed by a vampire, but that wasn't the shock. I was saved. Xander, Willow, and Oz saw that I was in danger and rescued me. They were on patrol! They wanted to know what I was doing out there just as much as I wanted to know why they were out there. Seems like none of us could ignore the creatures of the night without trying to do something about it.

We were about to go our separate ways, calling it a night, when, on impulse, I asked them if they would like to come over to my place for something to eat perhaps. They surprised me by saying yes. They ended up staying almost the entire night. It was the first time we were all together since "that" night. We never said anything about that night. I think we all understood that we weren't ready to talk about it just then. We just talked about anything. How they had started going out on patrol together just a couple of weeks ago. That Cordelia had gone away for the summer.

Xander had said, "In Sunnydale what else is there to do besides save the world?" Even though the humor came much harder for him, it was reassuring that he was still capable of it. He may have feelings for Cordelia now, but Buffy, I believe, was his first serious crush. And he was the only one of us there for her . . . at the end.

It turns out they've actually slain three vampires so far, and ran into a squat four-eyed creature two nights ago, that got away. I told them I would research it for them to determine its origins. They didn't decline the offer as I had feared.

*****

June 28, 1998

We succeeded in taking down the four-eyed demon. A Monttelous, actually. While small in size it can be a particularly vicious creature. Upon discovering what kind of demon it was, I was very grateful that none of the children had been harmed during the first encounter. The demon's talons secrete a rather unpleasant venom when unsheathed. If the victim goes untreated for over an hour, the person would literally go mad and go into a destructive rampage. A death I would not wish on a hated enemy.

*****

July 5, 1998

We all went to visit Buffy today. It was a beautiful day. I can't say if this being the day after this country's Independence Day has any significance for us all being there together. There was much weeping for all --I believe this was the first time I've actually seen tears in Oz's eyes and I'm sure it wasn't solely because of the grief Willow was feeling. Buffy may not have been as close to the young man as to the others but during that short time she did have quite an impact on him. As she had on all of us.

It was also a time of letting go. Not of their memories of Buffy, those would never die, but of their guilt. I suspected that the others blamed themselves, however unwarrantedly, for Buffy's death. At that moment they accepted the fact that there was nothing they could have done to save her.

Maybe one day I'll be able to forgive myself.

*****

August 17, 1998

The beginning of the school year is just a few weeks away now. Soon we'll once again be able to have our meetings in the library. Of course, it will not be like old times. It can never be. I don't really know how the others will respond to that. Returning to the library. Over the summer I have gone to the library to retrieve volumes we would need to research a particular demon or monster, but none of the others ever accompanied me, nor did I ever pose the offer.

*****

*****

August 20, 1998

I was contacted by the Watcher's Council today. Sam Zabuto, Kendra's Watcher, is dead. He was killed about a week ago. I wasn't given any of the details but Kendra is currently without a Watcher and there is no one presently available to assign to her. The last Watcher had barely completed her training when Buffy--

**RIP--CRUMPLE**

*****

August 20, 1998

I was contacted by the Watcher's Council today. Sam Zabuto, Kendra's Watcher, is dead. He was killed about a week ago. I wasn't given any of the details but Kendra is currently without a Watcher and there is no one presently available to assign to her. The last Watcher had barely completed her training when the next Slayer was activated. Turns out this new girl had somehow slipped past the Council's detection. All other active Watchers are currently assigned to Slayer candidates all over the world, so the new Watcher was rushed off to make contact with this new Slayer. Somewhere in Boston, I believe.

Since it's no longer possible to make this a short entry . . . basically, the Council has reinstated my Watcher status. They want me to be Kendra's Watcher. They said I was the only one with the training and the experience I already have dealing with a Slayer makes me more than qualified for the job. The next Watcher, even with accelerated training, will not be ready for field duty for another year. Although Kendra is a remarkable young woman, I told the Council I no longer have any interest in being a Watcher. They in turned informed me that Kendra's flight left several hours ago and when to expect her.

Damned them.

*****

*****

August 25, 1998

Kendra is adapting to her new surroundings rather quickly. True it is not the first time she has been in Sunnydale, this time she will not be returning home. And since Kendra has been prepared for her role as a Slayer nearly her entire life, it shouldn't be surprising to me how easily she's adjusting. She even went out on patrol her first night here. I hadn't the chance to tell the others about Kendra, what with the short notice I received myself. I can't describe the surprise on their faces when they ran into her during their patrol.

I know they were uncomfortable with her presence at first, Kendra being such a strong reminder of what happened the night we lost Buffy, but that quickly passed. While having "civilians" accompany the Slayer, even ally themselves in battle with her, went against everything she was taught, Kendra had learned from Buffy that not everything was as clear cut as we Watchers like to make it seem.

--the 2nd diary of Rupert Giles. First entry.

End of part Three.