Lions and Lambs: Chapter 10

Author's Note: Well, look at that! I'm not dead! And I hadn't meant to abandon this fic so I apologize to everyone who was hoping I would update. I have a little bit of free time on my hands so I hope to continue on with the story. A big thanks to Rpatz_Wifey, for being my most recent reviewer and for helping remember that I still wanted to finish this. And of course, to everyone else who's left reviews: thanks so much!

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Alice tried not to look at her brother. She had managed to shake him from his reverie, but telling Edward what she had seen was bound to come with a price. He had gone from being a stone-like statue to one increasingly agitated, angry vampire in a matter of moments. Before she knew it, they were speeding down the road towards Forks, with Alice at the wheel.

Alice chose to stay quiet, concentrating on the road. She too, was extremely concerned about Bella's well being. She loved the girl as she would her own sister and also wanted to make sure she was safe. But there was something she hadn't told Edward yet, and the information nagged her. Alice knew that he wouldn't take it well and he was bordering on enraged as it was.

Quickly, she glanced at Edward. He was griping his seat tightly, on the verge of tearing it away. His black eyes were wild, with flashes of rage and grief hidden in their depths.

"Edward, it might be best to stop at some point so you can feed," Alice suggested quietly. Edward turned his glare from the window onto her.

"I'm fine," he snapped.

Alice sighed. "When was the last time you fed? Weeks ago?" she asked.

The question went unanswered as her cell phone rang. Edward growled slightly at the sound of it. "Carlisle," she informed him as she flipped it open.

"Is everything alright?" said the smooth, concerned voice of their adoptive father.

"I wouldn't exactly say that, but you have nothing to worry about," she replied. Alice had told Carlisle what she had seen before going out to speak to Edward. The fact that one of them neither returned to the house had led Carlisle to believe that they were already gone.

"Will you let us when you arrive?" he asked.

"Of course. Once we know something, I'll give you a call," Alice replied. They said their goodbyes and hung up.

She returned her attention to Edward. "I have to tell you something, but I need you to stay calm when I do," she began. Alice immediately thought of stopping the car in order to do this, something that Edward managed to read before she could change her mind.

"Alice, don't you DARE stop this car," Edward snarled at her.

At that, Alice immediately slammed on the breaks. The tires squealed to a halt in the snow, causing them to jerk violently in their seats.

"That is ENOUGH, Edward," she said firmly. "You're not going to like what I'm about to say but that doesn't change anything. I'm going with you to find out what's happening to Bella. I'm worried too, you know."

Edward stayed silent, but gripped the dashboard painfully, his fingers embedded in the plastic. Alice took that as a hesitant sign to continue.

"There's something about my vision that I didn't mention before," she said. "I've always been able to see Bella very clearly but… this vision was fragmented. Something—or someone— very powerful muddled it, making it unreadable. I know there was more to what I saw, but I don't know what."

She finished, waiting for his reaction. Edward closed his eyes, sorrow etched across his features. "Do you… do you think she's still alive?" he rasped.

"I hope so," she said softly. He looked up at her and nodded.

Alice brought the engine back to life with a roar, and they sped off into the night.

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Buffy woke with a start, sitting up slowly. Her head still felt a little fuzzy and her hand, although fully healed, ached slightly. She realized that at some point in the night, Angel had carried her from the couch to her bed.

Angel, she thought as the memories of yesterday quickly came rushing back. She couldn't him sense him nearby. Had he left once she was asleep?

Buffy walked into her living room. There was no sign of him anywhere. Wondering where he could have gone and slightly hurt that he had left, she went to wash her face and put on a fresh pair of clothing. A few minutes later, she heard a knock at her door.

As made her way towards it, she felt that oh so familiar feeling in her stomach return. With that, she wasn't surprised to see Angel standing on the other end, looking nervous with a bag in his hand. She was however, shocked to see him standing outside in the middle of the day.

"Good morning," he said. "I um… I brought you some breakfast. You don't really have a lot of food in your apartment and I know you like doughnuts so…" He trailed off and held up in the bag in his hands. It was then he noticed that Buffy was staring at him in disbelief.

Angel frowned slightly. "Buffy, are you alright?"

Buffy blinked several times at him. "You're… you're here. And it's day time so the sun is out. And you're not a pile of ashes," she said in amazement. Before she could stop herself, she reached up to touch his face.

Angel almost gasped audibly at her touch, shocked by the warm wave that rushed over him. He had to stop himself from closing his eyes and leaning into her hand so that he could savor the feel of it.

Buffy knew she was holding her hand against his cheek for longer than consider normal, but she could almost feel her skin tingling as it made contact with his cool skin.

They stared into each other's eyes for what felt like hours, watching as various emotions flickered in other's gaze. Slowly, Buffy pulled away her hand and cleared her throat.

"So, umm… mind explaining the whole not bursting into flames?" she asked as she turned away from him, allowing him into the apartment.

Angel stepped in quickly, avoiding her gaze. "It was a spell that Giles did," he began. "I was worried that something might happen during the day and I wouldn't be able to help."

She nodded in understanding, still a little stunned by having seen him in the sun. Buffy turned to him and held out her hand. "So what's this you said about doughnuts?"

He offered her a small smile and handed her the pastries. "Jelly-filled, right?"

Buffy couldn't help but grin a little at him. "You remembered," she said as she sat down to eat.

Angel sat across from her, reaching for her laptop and cell phone. "You eat; I'll check and see if Giles has anything new to tell us," he said before she could protest.

He flipped her black cell phone open to be greeted with a blinking envelope. Buffy watched as he listened to the voicemail and slowly stopped chewing as a frown took over his face.

"Angel… what is it?" she asked but somehow, she already knew the answer.

He looked up at her. "We've got company coming."

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Bella couldn't help but worry that Buffy wasn't in school today but after everything that had happened, she couldn't blame the Slayer for taking the day off. A broken hand was one thing to tend to, but a broken heart was quite another.

But to her great surprise, she found Buffy and Angel waiting for her by her truck after school. They stood rather close together and looked somewhat comfortable together, causing Bella to wonder what had happened since the fight in the forest.

"Hey guys," she greeted them with a small smile. "Is everything okay?"

Buffy forced a smile for her friend. "Yeah, Angel and I… have reached an understanding," she said slowly. It almost hurt to say it, no matter how she put it. They were still apart and he would still leave. That's just how their story ended. Angel looked away, unable to make eye contact with either one of them. Bella noticed how sad the vampire looked, but said nothing.

"So, any news?" Bella asked. It wasn't so much that she wanted to if any more danger was heading her way but she had a feeling that it wasn't going to end with Laurent. And by the look on their faces, it looked like it might just be the beginning.

Angel tried to offer her an encouraging smile. "Why don't we take this conversation back to Buffy's?" he suggested. The girls nodded. Buffy handed him the keys to her Jeep. "I'll ride with Bella," she said. He nodded and walked off to her car.

Bella tried to choke back the sudden sensation of worry and panic as she and Buffy got into her truck silently. So much had happened in a matter of days that she couldn't help but wonder what could possibly be worse than the confrontation with Laurent in the forest.

As her truck roared to life, Bella turned to Buffy and blurted out, "There is no way this is good news, is it?"

Buffy shook her head, a grim look on her face. "In my line of work, it usually never is."

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Angel and Buffy watched Bella quietly as the girl sat on Buffy's couch, a look of quiet shock on her face. "So... a lot of new vampires are being created," she said slowly, repeating the information out loud. "Vampires like Angel… and vampires like Edward and his family."

Angel nodded firmly. "The amount of attacks and deaths in the greater Seattle area show that they're growing at a fast rate," he said. "And it looks like they're making their way here."

"The only thing is, we still haven't figured out who's behind this," Buffy continued. "Or why they're doing it, since it usually takes a motive to do something this big."

She averted her gaze before softly adding, "Who knows, maybe they're just coming for me."

Angel started at the comment; there it was again, the attitude of resignation when it came to the idea of death. He locked eyes with Buffy. "You don't know that," he insisted.

Buffy looked away, worried that her eyes would betray her fear. "But it makes sense doesn't it? I dust one vamp and suddenly… everyone's got a bone to pick with the Slayer."

Bella's heart quickly sank into her stomach as she watched the exchange between the two former lovers. It was obvious to her that Buffy was trying to make peace with the possibility of dying while in Forks. It was also obvious that Angel planned to do everything in his power to stop that from happening. As she wondered who would do something like this, she found herself wishing Edward was there with her.

Visible tears began to appear in Bella's eyes before she even realized it. Concerned, Buffy moved to sit next to her friend. "Bella, we're not going to let anything bad happen to you or anyone else in Forks. We'll find a way to fight this."

Bella nodded and smiled weakly. "I know, but… what do we do now?"

Buffy glanced at Angel quickly before answering. "For now, we keep tabs on what's happening. And we patrol, try and keep the vamps under control until we find the source."

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The Slayer and her companions moved slowly through the dark forest surrounding Forks and towards the local cemetery. Bella walked slightly ahead of Buffy and Angel, where they could keep a better an eye on her. She gripped the wooden stake they had handed her tightly and kept glancing down at her pocket, where vials of holy water were safely hidden.

"Do you think it was such a good idea to have her come along?" Angel asked softly. Buffy glanced up at him and nodded. "If any of the super vamps find out about her connection to the Cullens, they might see her as a threat. We can keep her safe if she's with us, even on patrol."

Bella, fortunately unaware of the conversation that was taking place behind her, shuddered as the rows of tombstones came into her line of view. There was something creepy and foreboding about being in a graveyard at night; it didn't help that they were armed to fight vampires in said graveyard.

Unnerved by the silence surrounding her, Bella cleared her throat and turned to face Buffy and Angel. "So… what now?" she asked.

Buffy smiled, holding back a chuckle. Bella seemed so tense and uneasy walking around the cemetery and who could really blame her. To Buffy, the tombstones were all too familiar sights. "We keep an eye out, scan the area," Buffy replied. "I can kinda sense when vamps are nearby so…"

She stopped and frowned deeply. "Speak of the devil," she muttered. Bella franctically looked around before finally spotting a shadow slowly moving towards them. To her dismay, she managed to see not one but two pair of glowing yellow eyes. That detail also caught Buffy's attention. "Well, make that devils," she quipped, drawing out her stake.

Angel gently grabbed Bella by the arm. "Try and stay behind me, Bella," he instructed. The teenager only nodded quietly, her heart pounding in her ears. They both seemed so calm and collected in the face of their enemies. Memories of their recent fight with Laurent flooded her mind's eye and she desperately pushed away the images.

The vampires seemed to be in no rush to start a confrontation and stopped 10 feet away from where they stood. Angel quietly moved to stand next to her when one of the vampires, a young man in his late 20s, suddenly spoke.

"Well, well… if it isn't Angelus," he chuckled. "Last I heard, you were hanging out in Sunnydale with the Slayer. What brings you to Washington state?"

Buffy frowned but stayed quiet. She didn't like that this vampire seemed to know Angel; when his past made an appearance, it was usually to haunt him in the worst way possible. Angel however, didn't seem fazed.

"Probably the same reason you're out here, Thomas," he replied. Angel sounded calm enough, but the quiet threat was still in his voice.

Thomas sneered at the vampire. "Gotta say, that soul makes you a lot less scarier than you used to be," he mocked. He turned his gaze on Buffy and grinned, showing her his teeth. "And this must be the Slayer herself. Not at all what I was expecting."

Buffy rolled her eyes at that. "Yeah, yeah, I get that a lot," she sighed. "I could say looks can be deceiving, but I'd much rather show you." She smirked and blatantly flicked her wrist, tossing her stake and catching it with ease.

Thomas snarled and almost moved as if to lunge at her, but his companion, a young girl with long, dark hair growled and quickly held him back. "This isn't a suicide mission, you moron," she snapped at him. She turned her attention back to the Slayer. "We're just here for the girl. Hand her over and we'll go."

Bella froze at the vampire's words and gripped her stake to her chest as fear began to overtake her. What would they want with me?, she wondered to herself. As if to reassure her of her safety, Angel moved to stand in front of her, blocking her from their sight. "That's not gonna happen," he said.

Buffy glanced at her friend and gave her a reassuring nod before adding, "Besides, I hate missing out on the part where you two explode into big piles of dust."

Breaking the female vampire's grasp, Thomas ran at Buffy, just as she hoped he would. She was prepared and stunned the vampire with a roundhouse kick to the jaw, effectively knocking him back. With that, she jumped into the fray.

The female vampire snarled, turning her sights on Angel. Bella watched with wide eyes as his face changed from that of a friendly, handsome man to that of a dangerous demon. He charged at the vampire at incredible speed, easily tackling her to the ground.

Bella glanced over at Buffy, who had already wrestled Thomas to the ground and prepared for the final blow. "Sorry Tom, looks like you lose this round," she said, readying her stake. Although immobilized, the vampire snarled at Buffy. "You have no idea what you're getting into, Slayer. She's coming and she won't stop she gets what she want."

Buffy frowned at his words but didn't hesitate in striking him in the chest with her stake. She stood up quickly and turned just in time to watch Angel stake Thomas's friend as well. "Bella, are you okay?" she asked, turning her attention to her friend, who seemed to be shaking.

Bella, wide-eyed and breathless, shook her head. She had heard the vampire's parting words to Buffy and almost immediately knew who he was talking about.

"V-victoria," she stammered. "That vampire, Thomas… he was talking about Victoria."

Angel frowned, remembering that the vampire Laurent had also said that name in passing before his battle with Buffy. "Who's Victoria? Why would she be after you?"

Bella looked at him, and also jumped at the sight of his demonic face still in place. "She… I… E-edward killed her mate, James, to save me. And now she wants me dead. That's why they were here tonight. That's why these new vampires are being created. It's my fault, it's all my fault…" Her voice cracked at that, a sob caught in her throat.

Buffy frowned and moved to her side. "Bella, we'll find this Victoria and we'll stop her and anyone she sends our way, I promise."

Angel nodded in agreement. "You can count on us to keep you sa—"

He wasn't able to finish his sentence before being tackled into a tree several feet away by an unseen force. Bella watched in horror as Buffy shouted out. "ANGEL!"

The mere sight of the cause behind the sudden attack sent Bella into a deep shock. She felt her entire body freeze, her sorrow rising up and gripping her painfully. But that didn't stop her from screaming, "EDWARD, STOP!"

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Yes, I know. I come back and leave you guys with a cliffhanger. I'm lame. But it'll be worth it, I promise! Read and review, as always. Thanks everyone!