Surprise Times Two (4th in Angelic Face Series)

by Philip S.

Summary: For his crimes against their people the Gypsies cursed Angelus with a soul, then forced him to live the rest of his days in the flesh of a woman. Now calling 'herself' Angela she is recruited by the Powers That Be to aid the new Slayer, Buffy Summers. The situation is complicated by the arrival of Spike and Dru, Angelus' children, as well as the very male feelings Angela has for the blonde Slayer.

This story follows the stories "The One with the Angelic Face", "You Do Have a Friend Here", and "In Need of a Sire", which you should have read in order to enjoy this story.

Spoilers: This is a rewrite of the second season, this episode holds general spoilers for the canon episodes "Surprise" and "Innocence". It goes somewhat differently in this world, though.

Rating: R for implied violence and abuse

Disclaimer: All characters from the show Buffy are copyright Joss Whedon and company. The story is mine, no profit will be made from it.

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Part 1

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Buffy walked into the stuffy interior of the Bronze, slow music pulsing heavily across the twilight interior. The fact that she was wearing nothing but her silk pajamas should probably have seemed strange to her, yet she didn't give it a second thought.

Dozens of couples were dancing, arms slung tight around each other, seductively moving to the music. Buffy spotted Xander dancing with Cordelia, his dark chocolate eyes briefly glancing at her, a smirk on his lips. Xander and Cordelia? When had that happened?

Buffy walked on, thinking that there was someone she wanted to meet only she couldn't remember whom or why.

"Honey?" Buffy looked up and saw her mother standing in front of her, holding a plate and a coffee mug in her hand. Joyce looked at her with concern.

"Mom?"

"Why do you always have to be different, Buffy?" Joyce asked her, sighing. The plate slipped from her fingers and shattered on the floor. Seemingly unconcerned, Joyce just turned around and vanished into the crowd.

Buffy shook her head. This wasn't why she had come here. There had to be something else. Looking around the packed interior she spotted another familiar face among the dancing teenagers.

"Angela!" She smiled.

Her dark friend was standing among the teenagers, dressed all in black as always, looking whole and healthy. Buffy remembered that she had been hurt somehow, but apparently that was in the past. Angela smiled back at her, half of her face hidden behind strands of dark hair. The smile sent a tingle through Buffy, causing something deep inside her body to tighten.

"I've been waiting for you to realize." Angela said as Buffy came closer.

"Realize? Realize what?"

Angela opened her mouth to answer, but suddenly a large hand clamped around her throat, cutting her off. A man appeared behind her, out of nowhere, dressed all in black as well. He was a Vampire, demon face ascendant, and twirled a stake in his free hand.

"Watch out, school girl!" He whispered to her in a smooth, surreal voice. "You're in for a surprise."

With that he rammed the stake into Angela's back. The dark-haired Vampire convulsed with the pain, one hand reaching out toward Buffy. She wanted to grab the hand, somehow keep her friend here, but Angela's fingers turned to dust before she could touch them.

"Time for the real thing." The male Vampire smiled at her as the dust settled, licking his lips. Drusilla appeared at his side, their arms going around each other.

"Happy birthday, Buffy."

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Buffy woke with a start, looking at an unfamiliar room as she opened her eyes. Where was she? This wasn't her bedroom.

"Buffy, are you all right?" Angela came in through the door, hair still wet from the shower, wearing nothing but a large shirt. Buffy remembered where she was. Angela's apartment. She had spent most of her free time here these last three weeks, wanting to take care of her injured friend.

Three weeks had gone a long way toward restoring Angela to strength. The wounds had mostly faded, only the bite scars were still visible here and there. Her skin was no longer the color of freshly cleaned white sheets, a steady diet of blood had restored all the color to her cheeks that a Vampire would ever get.

Except for the still-haunted look in her eyes, Angela seemed all right. No falling into dust. A tremendous weight fell from Buffy and before she knew it she was out of the bed she had fallen asleep in (how had that happened anyway?), hugging Angela for all she was worth.

"You're okay!"

Angela was at a loss for the moment. She had been fresh out of the shower when she heard Buffy cry out. The Slayer had fallen asleep in Angela's bed after staying up nearly all night, refusing to abandon her vigil.

Seeing as she had gone without much sleep ever since Angela had been hurt, the dark-haired Vampire hadn't had the heart to wake her, even though she knew Buffy had to go to school soon. When she heard the scream she had feared the worst, taking just enough time to throw on a shirt before storming to the Slayer's aid.

Said Slayer was hugging her still, just two thin sheets of fabric separating their bodies.

"Uh, is everything all right, Buffy?" Angela asked, holding herself completely rigid in Buffy's hug. A traitorous tingle was running through her body and she could but pray that the Slayer didn't notice the effects her closeness was having on her 'friend'.

Having Buffy around nearly 24/7 had not been much of a problem while Angela had still been more dead than alive. Nothing killed hormonal overdrive better than being tortured and raped, Angela thought bitterly. Now, though, she was more or less well again (not that Buffy thought so) and the tension was nearly unbearable (not that Buffy noticed).

"I had a nightmare." Buffy finally let go, seemingly ignorant of the awkwardness Angela was feeling. "There was a Vampire there and he … he killed you."

Angela was surprised by the stark worry Buffy felt over a simple dream, only to remember that Slayer's sometimes dreamed of things yet to come. She shook her head. There was certainly the possibility that she would be killed sometime in the near future, a possibility that had become only too real to her after the events of a few weeks ago, but she didn't want Buffy to worry about it.

"I'm still here, okay?" She said, trying to calm her down. "No one killed me."

"It was so real." Buffy was sitting down on the bed, burying her face in her hands. "I tried to reach you, but I was too late. Drusilla was there as well and she wished me a happy birthday when you died."

Angela sat down beside Buffy and put a hand on the Slayer's shoulders, trying to ignore everything but the other's need for comfort.

"Nothing happened."

"But I had prophetic dreams before. I dreamed that the Master would rise and he did."

"Yes, but that doesn't mean that all your dreams are going to come true. What else did you dream?"

Buffy looked down at her hands. "Well ... I dreamed that Giles and I opened a stationary shop in Los Angeles."

"That's what I mean." Angela smiled at her.

"But it was so real. And if Drusilla is still alive ... if she has someone else aiding her now ..."

Angela nodded. She remembered that Buffy had thought that someone else had helped Spike torture her, someone Spike had only mysteriously referred to as 'He who was quite the sadist'. Angela knew, of course, whom Spike had referred to. Angelus. Her true self. That was not something she was ready to tell Buffy, no matter what.

"Drusilla is dead!" Angela assured her. "And if she's not, we'll deal with it."

Buffy nodded, a little ashamed that she was the one who needed encouragement right now. Angela was the one who had nearly been killed.

"I just don't want anything to happen to you, Angela." She murmured.

Angela stiffened upon hearing that, quickly telling herself that Buffy felt nothing but friendship for her and that she was satisfied with that. The latter was strictly a lie, of course, but if she told herself often enough, maybe she would start to believe it.

"You said there was another Vampire in your dream." She said, trying to distract herself. "Anyone we know?"

"No." Buffy shook her head. "Never saw him before, I'm sure I'd remember a guy like that, though there was something familiar about him. Not sure. He was big, dark brown hair, intense eyes. I think he might have been quite handsome without that ugly demon face." Realizing what she'd just said Buffy gave Angela an apologetic smile. "Sorry."

"Don't worry about it." Angela said. Centuries of practice helped her maintain a neutral face, though she was anything but calm inside. It wasn't possible. Buffy had never seen Angelus, had never seen what she had looked like as a man. Angelus was gone forever, he would never come back. Angela had resigned herself to the fact that she would always be a woman, no matter her feelings, and that was that.

"You have to go to school now, Buffy." She said, standing up from the bed.

"Right!" Buffy said unhappily. "Talk about nightmares. I have one just in time to wake me up for another one."

By the time Buffy got out of the bed Angela had helped herself to a pair of pants, which sufficed to make things a lot less awkward all by itself.

"I'll come by after school." Buffy promised at the door.

"I'm quite all right." Angela assured her. "You don't have to watch me day and night anymore."

"But I want to." Buffy said, smiling.

The Slayer was barely out the door when Angela decided it was time for another shower. A cold one.

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Part 2

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"Sometimes I just can't figure her out." Buffy complained.

"Well," Willow offered, "seeing as she is a 250 year old Vampire that was cursed with a soul, does that surprise you much?"

"Okay, I don't expect her to be a shallow person like, say, someone we know and won't mention right now." Buffy waved as Cordelia and her clique walked past them. "But you'd think that after knowing her for over a year now, I'd be able to figure her out at least part way."

Willow shrugged again. At the beginning she had been really jealous of the connection Buffy seemed to have with Angela. Before Buffy Willow had never had a best friend before, at least not of the girl kind. There had been Xander, of course, and Jesse, but there were certain things a girl could only share with another girl.

It had led to some pretty bad scenes, Willow had to admit, when she had tried to get the dark-haired Vampire away from Buffy. Especially bad because Angela was an easy person to insult, seeing as she carried around a lot of guilt. Willow was just glad that Giles had found the time to straighten her out a bit by pointing out that, without Angela, Buffy would be dead by now. Several times over. Thankfully Angela wasn't the kind to hold a grudge.

"Like today," Buffy continued, oblivious to Willow's thoughts, "when I fell asleep in her bed. I had a nightmare about her dying and, well, when I woke up and saw that she was okay I hugged her. You'd have thought I was trying to stake her, the way she reacted."

"Maybe she just isn't, you know, the cuddly kind."

Buffy shook her head. "It's more than that. I'm really getting all kinds of conflicting signals here, you know? She has helped me so often now, she has been a great friend, but at the same time I get the feeling that she'd like nothing better than to put lots of distance between us. I don't get it."

They sat down on a bench outside the school, enjoying the sunshine. Immediately Buffy had to think about Angela again, how she would never be able to sit in the sun. What was it that the Vampire was on her mind so much?

"I'm still not sure why she's hanging around." Buffy continued. "I mean, sure, she wants to make amends for over a century of being evil, but why here? Why by helping me?"

"Have you tried asking her?" Willow proposed.

"I tried that. Well, I didn't ask her in so many words, but ... okay, hinting at things really doesn't seem to work with her. Not to mention that she doesn't understand most cultural references. She even denies that America has such a thing as a culture. We do! Don't we?"

"I think. But ... what topic were we talking about again?"

Buffy sighed.

"Angela not answering the questions I ... well, the questions I haven't really asked her. When I put it that way it really doesn't seem so strange anymore. Maybe I should just ask her."

"Ask whom what?" Xander came over to sit on the bench with them. "Are there some terrible female secrets I should be aware of?"

"Angela!" Willow just said, causing a dreamy smile to spring up on Xander's face.

"Ah, the raven-haired beauty of the night. What has she been up to?"

Willow made a face. She knew that Xander was attracted to the dark Vampire as well, especially since the very, very short thing between Buffy and him had come crashing down after Spring Fling. So far, though, her friend hadn't gotten much past the staring-and-yet-more-staring point with Angela. It helped that Angela didn't hang around much with anyone that wasn't Buffy.

"We're trying to figure her out." Willow told Xander. "Aren't we?"

"Yeah, that's today topic. What makes a Vampire with a soul tick or why the heck does she behave so strangely around me. Comments from the audience?"

"Why does a Vampire behave strangely?" Xander mused with a fake serious expression on his face. "What could be the answer to this puzzling puzzle?"

"I'm serious!" Buffy slapped him on the shoulder. "Angela is my best friend apart from you guys, but I have no clue as to what she might do the next moment. How she's gonna behave. Every time we are alone in a room she seems to wig on me. Except when she's helping me kill Vampires or when she's half dead, then we're all right."

"She was alone for a century, Buffy." Willow reminded her. "She's not used to being with people, talking to people. Didn't you yourself tell her that she didn't know much about how a friendship is supposed to work?"

Buffy remembered their conversation at the waterfront. That was when Angela had told Buffy the full story of Drusilla. She remembered how the Vampire had withdrawn into herself after finishing, seemingly expecting Buffy to insult or accuse her. When Buffy had done neither Angela had looked very surprised.

"It's like she can't get over the fact that I'm not disgusted by her." Buffy shook her head. "Like she expects me to slap her if she lets her guard down even for a moment. God, I'm almost wishing she was still injured. At least during that time things weren't so tense."

"Angela genuinely cares about you, Buffy." Xander said, serious for a change. "Every idiot could see that. But maybe you're doing things a bit too fast for her taste. Not that fast is bad, but I hear slow and easy is also popular here and there."

Buffy gave him a sidelong glance. "We ARE still talking about friendship, right?"

"Give her time, Buffy. Don't forget what she just went through." Angela had told them nothing about what had happened during the time she had been Spike's prisoner, but seeing the miserable shape she had been in afterwards it didn't take a genius to figure it out. Buffy almost wished that Spike would return to life, so she could kill him again, more slowly this time.

"Okay, I guess." Buffy murmured, unsure.

"Then on to a happier topic!" Xander said, breaking into a big smile. "You're birthday is coming up, Buffster. Any big plans? Any particular birthday wishes I could fulfill?"

"How about some quiet time without disasters?" Buffy looked at him hopefully.

"I'll talk to God about that next time I see him." Xander replied.

They laughed. "Seriously. I bet you guys have some sort of surprise party planned, right?"

"Su-Surprise party?" Willow stuttered. "What makes you think that?"

"Will, you and Giles have one thing in common. You are terrible at hiding things. Especially at lying."

"Blast! All our careful scheming out the window." Xander complained. "At least pretend to be surprised when we not-surprise you, okay?"

"Promise!"

"So, any date you might want to bring to the surprise party you won't be surprised about?"

Xander asked the question with a smile on his face, but Buffy still felt some remnants of the uneasiness between them. It had been a mistake to go to Spring Fling with Xander. She didn't see him as anything but a friend, she shouldn't have gotten his hopes up.

"No one in particular. You know me, the dateless wonder."

Willow edged closer and put her arm around Buffy. "Don't worry, Buffy. Sooner or later you will meet the right guy. I'm sure of it."

"And until that happens, why don't you bring Angela along to the party." Xander proposed. "I doubt she has a date."

"Yeah, that's a good idea." Willow jumped on the wagon, despite her suspicions that Xander had ulterior motives for that suggestion. "It'll cheer her up as well."

Buffy wasn't so sure about that, seeing as Angela wasn't exactly comfortable with many people around, but at least it would distract her. And maybe the presence of others would help them talk with each other better, who knew?

"Okay, I'll ask Angela to be my date to the party I know nothing about." Buffy resolved.

"Great!" Xander smirked at her. "But be sure to behave, girls! I don't want to see this turn into a doomed love affair."

"What?" Buffy looked up at him sharply.

"Hey, just joking!" Xander said. "You know, Vampire and Slayer, doomed love. Me making a joke."

Buffy looked down, suddenly deep in thought. Angela was always behaving so strangely around her. Buffy had thrown around all kinds of possible explanations for that, but there was one she had never considered.

Could it be that Angela ... nah! Couldn't be.

Could it?

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Part 3

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Spike clenched and unclenched his fists, his entire body trembling with pent-up fury that had no outlet. For the thousandth time he stared down at his legs, neatly tucked into the metal contraption that he needed to move around.

Everything below his waist was paralyzed. No feeling, no movement, nothing.

All because of the Slayer.

"How are you feeling, my Spike?" Drusilla glided across the room toward him, a serene look on her face. She was restored, back to her full strength, his black goddess once more. That was the only consolation Spike had at the moment.

"How do you expect I feel?" He asked sourly, resulting in a chuckle from Dru.

"Do not worry, you will get strong again real soon. I have dreamed of it."

Spike was not in the mood for Drusilla's dreams and ramblings, no matter how much he loved her. He looked over to the far side of the factory, where Drusilla had their minions clean up the room and rearrange the furniture.

"You still want to throw that party, luv?" Spike asked. "With the Slayer and Angelus the girl-wonder after us ..."

"They will not be a problem." Dru sang, her head swaying back and forth. "My parties are famous and I don't want to disappoint all my friends."

Spike sighed. "You still haven't told me what you want as a present, luv."

Drusilla smiled a dreamy smile. "My present is already on the way. It will be a big surprise. But no telling!" She put a finger to her lips, giggling deep in her throat.

Spike shook his head. He knew it was futile to argue with her. In the best case she would just forget whatever he had been saying a minute before and the discussion would go around in circles. If Drusilla wanted to do this party her way, then so be it.

He closed his eyes, remembering the night he had been crippled. How great it had felt to get back to Angelus like he did. He would be dreaming about that for a long time to come, that was for sure. Afterwards, though ...

The Slayer would get hers. He would get strong again and then she would get everything he had given to 'Angela'. With interest.

He was looking forward to it.

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Drusilla smiled, seeing the clouds of violence and wicked thoughts that gathered around Spike's head. He was so beautiful when he was angry. Not as beautiful as her daddy, but still ...

Angelus. After a hundred years he would finally come back to her. Her Angel.

Gliding across the room she spotted her special guest. Sadly he would not stay for the party, but with his help it would be so much sweeter. She gave him a dreamy smile, forgetting for a moment why she was so happy, then remembering her reasons once more.

Daddy was going to come home.

"You have it?" She asked her guest, looking up at him with sweet puppy dog eyes. "You have my special treat for my party?"

The creature called Toth smiled.

"I would not disappoint you." He told Drusilla. "Here is everything you need."

Drusilla took the intricately carved rod from the demon's hand and gazed at it with wonder in her dark eyes.

"Yes!" She whispered. How pretty it was. How much power it held. This was the perfect gift.

Or rather, she giggled, the perfect way to receive her perfect gift.

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Jenny Calendar packed up her things after computer class ended. She knew it hadn't been one of her best classes, not even close. She was always distracted as of late. Always thinking of things that had nothing to do with computers or teaching.

I hope you find it all worth it, Gypsy. I really hope you do.

She kept hearing Angela's words over and over again. Kept hearing how the Vampire, though hurt and broken, had summed up Jenny's life in a few harsh words and showed her just how little she had made of it.

Vengeance. She had been raised to see it as something that spanned generations, something that filled the lives of people across the centuries. She had studied the ways of her people, had immersed herself in their traditions and ways. Her love for computers was the only thing she had ever really come up with on her own.

Here she was, spending her days pretending to be a teacher, keeping an eye on someone who was supposed to suffer for all eternity, long after Jenny herself was dust.

Someone who, Jenny was starting to believe, did not deserve to be so punished.

"Jenny Calendar?" A voice behind her caused her to jump.

"I didn't hear you come in." She told the man she recognized immediately.

"You look well." He told her, looking around the classroom. "Has life treated you good?"

She was about to give a quick, and false, answer, then thought better of it.

"Not really. What do you want here, uncle?"

Surprised by her directness the old Gypsy turned toward her again. "To the point then. It seems you have not fulfilled your duties. The elder woman has read the signs."

"The curse still holds." Jenny told him coldly. "Angelus suffers as our ancestors intended. Nothing has changed."

Her uncle's eyes narrowed as he looked at her. "Some things seem to have changed. Are you having second thoughts about your mission, Shanna?"

Hearing him call her by her real name caused her to flinch. She had lived under the name of Jenny Calendar for so long, she had almost forgotten that it was but a lie.

"Does it matter?" She asked him, turning away.

"It matters if it causes you to falter, Shanna. The elder woman has said that the demon's suffering has lessened. You know this must not be!"

And why not, she thought, though didn't dare speak out loud. Hasn't this poor creature suffered enough?

"Have you forgotten what he has done?" Her uncle asked her. "Have you forgotten what he has taken from us?"

"I know what Angelus has done!" She told him. "You have preached it to me all my life, remember?"

"Then you know that his suffering must continue for all eternity."

She nodded, but inside she was anything but sure. Yes, Angelus had to suffer for the things he had done, that was true. She just wondered whether their curse was truly hurting the demon that had once ravaged their people.

Or maybe someone else entirely.

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Part 4

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"So everything is set for Buffy's surprise party?" Giles asked Xander as they passed in the corridor.

"Yeah, everything's ready." Xander said. "You ready to get down you party animal?"

Giles gave him a strange look and Xander shook his head. Some days it just wasn't fun to needle the old Englishman.

"What about that dream Buffy had?" Willow asked. "I mean, the one where Angela is in danger. Don't you think ...?"

"No!" Giles interrupted her. "Buffy and Angela might well be in danger. As they were before and no doubt will be again. Buffy is turning seventeen just this once, though, so we'll have a party."

"Besides, Will, Angela is going to come to the party as Buffy's date."

"Buffy's date?" Giles asked.

"I'm sure it's just platonic between these two." Xander said jokingly. "The point is, with Angela there Buffy can protect her."

"And have cake!" Willow quipped happily.

Giles nodded, though Xander's words had unnerved him a little. He had done his own research into Angela, her extended family, and her reasons for being here. The dark-haired Vampire had earned their trust many times over now, that much was for sure, but there was still a lot they didn't know about her.

For instance he hadn't found a single shred of written proof that she was a member of the same Vampire family that Spike, Drusilla, and Darla had belonged to. None of the books mentioned her in any way. He remembered Buffy telling him that Darla had been quite intimate with Angela and, since the ritual to restore Drusilla, there could be little doubt that Angela was in fact the mad Vampiress' sire, yet the complete absence of any kind of record still unnerved him.

What also unnerved him was the fact that at least one member of that family was still unaccounted for. He had read a lot about Angelus these past few weeks, ever since Buffy had suspected that someone else might have helped Spike torture Angela. Angelus was described as a monster, a sadist, maybe the worst of his kind ever. Only there was nothing on him since the turn of the last century. Most records agreed that he must have been destroyed sometime around 1900.

There was no proof, though. Giles was a man who needed proof.

Going back to his original thought, he wondered if Xander's joke about Angela and Buffy was really so much of a joke. Despite what these children might be thinking of him, Giles was a man with a lot of experience when it came to relationships, even those of the more abnormal kind. He had also seen the way Angela often looked at Buffy when she felt that no one was watching her.

He had thought it to be a kind of fierce protectiveness that, though unexplainable on his part, was nothing he should be worried about. What better protector for a Slayer than a Vampire that meant her no harm?

What if it was something else, though? Giles knew enough about Vampires to realize that gender was far less important to them than it was to the human animal. He didn't know how much that had changed in Angela with the return of her soul.

Was it possible that Angela had amorous feelings for his Slayer? He would have to look into that. Soon.

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"You want to ask her out again?" Willow asked, disbelieving.

"I just said I was thinking about it." Xander calmed her down. "I mean, yeah, our so-called date at Spring Fling was pretty much a disaster, I admit that. But it's not like she's been seeing anyone else, has she? Ever since that Owen jerk she's been pretty much alone."

Willow shook her head. It looked like Xander was determined to see every female around him except her. First Buffy, then Angela, she even thought that something might have gone on between him and Cordelia. Why was he ignoring her, though?

Maybe she should do as Buffy said and just go out with Oz. Maybe then Xander would get a clue.

"I thought you and Buffy agreed to be just friends." Willow continued despite her earlier thought. "Besides, what happened to your fixation on Angela?"

"Ah, I don't have a fixation on her. Okay, she is really cool and quite beautiful, I give you that, but ... I don't know. It doesn't help that she seems to do her best to stay out of the way of everyone except the Buffster."

Xander sighed. He really wasn't having that much luck with girls, was he? When Buffy had agreed to go to Spring Fling with him it had been a dream come true. He had been too ecstatic to notice what was really going on. Buffy hadn't been going with him because she loved him, only because she wanted to go and there wasn't anyone else to go with.

Their friendship almost hadn't survived that night. Of course there had been the whole thing with the Master and the near end of the world, which certainly hadn't given the evening much in the way of romantic atmosphere.

Was he really ready to jeopardize their friendship again for the off chance that her feelings had changed since that day?

He didn't know. The only thing he did know was that he loved her, he wanted her.

Maybe it was worth the shot.

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Angela tossed and turned on her bed, safely hidden from the daylight, but not from her inner demons. Every time she closed her eyes she all the faces of the people she had killed, so many of them during those many decades of darkness. They were always there, waiting for her, ready to torment her just like she had done to them.

Tonight, though, they weren't alone.

"Hi, precious!" Angelus grinned.

"You are dead!" Angela said, inching away from him. "The curse has destroyed you! I'm not you! I'll never be you again!"

"Is that right?" He asked, still grinning. "And what have you become instead of me then? Apart from a woman, that is, for which I would see some possibilities, if you know what I mean?"

He walked closer, pressing her against the wall.

"You are a weakling. A sniveling lap dog to the greatest enemy of our kind. You are worse than Liam was."

Angela shook her head. "I don't care! I'm not you!"

"You'd like to think that, wouldn't you?" Angelus laughed. "But you know it's not true, deary. Inside that beautifully deceptive female flesh, what do you feel in there? I will tell you! You feel me! You feel the things I feel. When you look at that beautiful young Slayer, don't you feel my hunger? My passion?"

"You won't get her!" Angela cried out. "I won't allow her to be hurt!"

"Because you desire her! Because you want her! The curse might trick others into thinking you a toothless, goody-goody Vampire, but you can't fool me. You can't fool yourself. You and I, we are one. We will always be one. And one day soon you won't be able to resist your own wants anymore, my dear! You will take the Slayer, either with your teeth or with your flesh, and you will know that it's me who's taking her."

"NO!" Angela screamed, waking up. For a long moment she just sat in her bed, staring straight ahead, panting. Just a dream. Nothing but a dream. Angelus was gone, he would never return. She was that monster no longer. She didn't know who or what she was, but she wasn't him.

"I will never hurt her!" Angela whispered, hugging herself. "I will never hurt her!"

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Part 5

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"SURPRISE!"

Buffy gave a rather good impression of being completely surprised when half a dozen people jumped out from behind tables and chairs inside the otherwise abandoned Bronze. Giles had told her to meet at the library, but once there Ms. Calendar had told Buffy that Giles wanted to meet somewhere else. A short drive to the Bronze later and Buffy was pretty sure that she was about to be surprised.

"Happy birthday, Buff!" Xander came forward with a big present in his hand. "What a surprise, eh?" He winked at her.

"All of this for me?" Buffy asked, honestly a bit surprised at the amount of presents and the size of the cake. Even more surprising was the fact that she saw Willow and Oz stand side by side in front of the cake. It looked like her friend had finally made a move.

Angela was standing behind the others, halfway in the shadows.

The next hour passed in a blur, filled with opening presents, eating cake, and joking with her friends. Even Cordelia seemed loosened up a bit, not in her usual I-don't-really-want-to-be-here mood. Giles and Jenny were looking at each other a lot, flashing smiles and sometimes sharing a few loving touches. Willow was joking with Oz, the two of them seemingly getting along very well.

The only one who seemed out of place was Angela. So when a bit of a lull fell over the party Buffy took the opportunity to join her friend off to the side.

"Glad you could make it." Buffy smiled at the Vampire.

"Wouldn't want to miss it." She smiled back, though hesitantly. "I have to admit I was a bit surprised that you invited me to your own surprise party even before Willow could."

"What can I say?" Buffy shrugged. "A good Slayer is hard to take by surprise."

"Yes." An uncomfortable silence fell over them until Buffy finally gathered enough courage to go ahead.

"I wanted to ask you a few things." She told her friend. "And just to inform you ahead of time, I don't want any cryptic answers out of you."

"What things?" Angela asked in a very guarded tone.

"Well," Where to start, Buffy thought, "why not begin with why you are behaving so strangely all the time."

"I'm a Vampire."

"Well, duh! I know that. I mean, why are you behaving so strangely around me? Half the time I think you are my best friend, the other half I think you're a total stranger who I just happened to come across. You're always staying around to help me, but at the same time you seem to be doing your best to push me away."

Angela looked away, almost visibly inching back into the shadows. Buffy wouldn't have it this time, though.

"You're my friend, Angela!" She reminded the Vampire. "You can tell me everything! Remember the night at the docks when you told me about Drusilla? You know I don't blame you for your past. So please, just tell me what is going on here!"

Her eyes downcast, her arms wrapped around herself, Angela had never looked more closed off than she did right now.

"What do you want to hear, Buffy?" She asked wearily.

"I want to know what's going on inside of you!" Buffy said, not caring that pretty much everyone was listening to her now. "I want to know why you are here, why you are helping me. If you want to do some kind of redemption thing there have to be a thousand other places all over the world you could do it in. Why do it by helping me when my presence is obviously freaking you out so much?"

"Uh, maybe we should ..." Willow motioned toward the exit.

"What? Oh, yes." Giles stuttered. "I ... think we should, yes."

Buffy didn't notice her friends slowly withdrawing from the scene, her eyes were riveted to Angela.

"So?" She challenged her.

"I ... I just want to help you, Buffy." Angela said.

"Why me? Why not someone else who is doing good? Why not fight the big baddies on your own? Why are you so intent on helping me when I wig you like that?"

Buffy reached out to touch Angela's shoulder and could practically feel the Vampire flinch upon contact.

"Buffy, I ..." Angela began, only to fall silent again. Buffy could see the tension running through her body, the almost visible battle taking place inside of her. What was going here? Why was Angela freaking like this?

Buffy refused to back down now.

"I had a really funny thought." She said instead, not letting go of Angela. "Xander made some kind of joking comment while I was in the middle of wondering about you, again, and it got me thinking."

Okay, this was the moment of truth, Buffy thought. If she was wrong about Angela she would thoroughly embarrass herself with this next comment. She was out of ideas, though. She remembered the comments Darla had made about Angela roughly a year ago, remembered all the awkwardness her Vampire friend always seemed to experience around her.

It all led to one question she had to ask, no matter the risk of embarrassment.

"Angela, are you ... are you in love with me?"

Angela's head shot up, her eyes widening. She went pale, even more than she generally was, and stumbled back a step.

"In ... in love? What are you ...?" She stuttered. Buffy had never heard her stutter before.

"It would, well, explain a few things." Buffy said, trying to appear calm despite her own turmoil. She had voiced the question, she had actually done it. What if it was just some kind of stupid weirdo idea? What if Angela was disgusted with her now for even entertaining the idea that she could ...?

"So?" Buffy asked, her voice growing smaller as her courage vanished rapidly.

"Buffy, I ..." Angela began, clearly confused, "I don't know ... how do you ...?"

Buffy heard the door opening behind her and sighed deeply. She had finally noticed that the rest of the gang had left them alone to have it out. Why did they have to come back now?

"Now is not a good time, gang!" She said without turning away from Angela.

"Too bad!" An unfamiliar voice hissed at her. "Shall we come back to kill you later on?"

Both Buffy and Angela turned toward the door, looking at the half dozen Vampires filing into the Bronze. Their leader, a big guy who seemed to have been a biker in life, leered at them.

"Happy birthday, Slayer! Drusilla sends her regards."

-----------------

Part 6

-----------------

"Soooo," Xander began, looking at the others, "what do you think she meant by that?"

They were standing in the alley outside the Bronze, leaving the interior to Buffy and Angela, who quite obviously had some things they needed to talk about in private.

"Meant by what?" Willow asked.

"You know ... that ... thing, that thing where she asked Angela ... you know, whether she is in ... in love with her."

It was the last thing they had heard before they closed the door, so they didn't know what answer, if any, Angela might have given to that rather pointed question.

"Hey, pee for brain!" Cordelia snorted. "Slow on the uptake much? If someone asks another person "Are you in love with me?' I would say that she means ... 'Hey, are you in love with me?'"

"Yeah, but ... I mean ... isn't that normally a piece of conversation that should take place between ... you know ..."

"As a matter of fact, Xander," Giles interrupted him, "there are rumors running around that some people of the same gender might actually hold some attraction toward each other."

Xander seemed oblivious to the sarcasm dripping from Giles' words. The Watcher was not exactly taking this revelation, if it wasn't just some kind of delusion of Buffy's, in stride. He would be damned if he showed it before the children, though. Especially because he had seen the way Angela looked at his Slayer and had the suspicion that she was, in fact, right in thinking what she did.

"People not Buffy, right?" Xander looked at him with a panicked air. "People who are definitely and undeniably not Buffy, right? And ... and Angela! Not Angela, either! I mean, those two ... they can't be ..."

"Vampires are known to have far less concerns about the genders of the people they fancy than humans do." Giles was not in the mood to pamper Xander.

"And ... and it would explain a few things." Willow said, though very much uncomfortable with the topic. "I mean, Angela is always around, protecting Buffy, worrying about her ..."

"That doesn't mean anything!" Xander said very quickly. Not now, he added, not when he had finally worked up the courage to maybe ask Buffy out again.

"Wake up and smell the coffee, Xander!" Cordelia sighed. "Your little honey will never fall for you, gay or not."

Xander turned to glare at her, praying that a witty comeback would spontaneously materialize in the next few seconds. Instead he was treated to a shower of broken glass when one of the Bronze's windows suddenly blew outward.

"What the ...?" Everyone scattered.

The figure that had gone crashing through the window struggled back to its feet, demon face clearly visible in the streetlight. Giles was the first to react and quickly drew a stake from his jacket, finishing off the Vampire before it could regain its composure.

"What is going on in there?" The sounds of fighting could now be heard from inside.

"Party crashers!" Xander rushed back in through the door, quickly followed by Giles and the others. They were treated to Buffy and Angela fighting against no less than four very muscular Vampires. There was dust on the floor, so the first casualties had already taken place without them.

"Your timing really stinks!" Buffy accentuated every word with a punch to the face of the Vampire in front of her, carrying a very pissed look on her face. Angela, meanwhile, seemed almost relieved to do something as uncomplicated as fighting for her life.

Remembering their conversation earlier, that wasn't really surprising to Giles.

The fight didn't take all that long. Despite looking strong and mean, the Vampires quickly found themselves outdone by the two people they had come to attack. Buffy finished off the Vampire she had been using as a punching back and Angela lifted one of her opponents over her head, sending him crashing into the remaining two, tumbling them like bowling pins.

The strain caused her to hiss with pain as her barely mended ribs protested the move.

"Are you all right?" Buffy was by her side immediately, worry spreading over her face, the question from earlier forgotten for the moment.

"Nothing to it." Angela calmed her. "Let's take care of the leftovers."

The three remaining Vampires didn't look very confident anymore, especially seeing as the odds had turned heavily against them with the arrival of the others. Giles was busy loading a crossbow (he had been a Watcher for too long to go anywhere without the tools of his trade near at hand) and Willow, Xander, and Cordelia were busy waving stakes in front of them with more enthusiasm than actual skill.

Oz stood at the side, completely clueless as to what was going on here.

The three Vampires made a run for it, though their timing was a bit off. By the time they reached the door Giles had managed to load the crossbow and expertly buried a shaft in one of them. Buffy, not to be outdone by her Watcher, threw her stake and the second of the three crumbled into dust.

The third made it out into the night.

"Are you both okay?" Giles quickly moved toward Buffy and Angela.

"A little winded." Angela admitted, leaning against the wall. The short fight had shown her that she was still out of shape from her ordeal.

"Giles, they mentioned Drusilla." Buffy told her Watcher. "If she is still alive ..."

"I know."

"We should follow that loser, don't you think?" Xander said. "Maybe he'll lead us straight to her."

"I'll follow him, not you!" Buffy declared. "It's much too dangerous."

"I'm going with you." Angela straightened.

"No go, you're nowhere near full strength yet."

"And you can't follow a Vampire's trail like I can. The longer we spend on discussion, the greater his lead."

Buffy looked sullen, but Angela didn't relent.

"Okay, you can come. But hang back, okay? I don't want you hurt again!"

The Slayer and the Vampire went after the fleeing attacker, leaving the Scooby Gang behind to explain things to a very confused Oz.

-----------------

"You never answered my question." Buffy said as they walked side by side.

"Do you really think now is a good time for that?"

Angela was busy following the scent of the fleeing Vampire. He was clearly family blood, though diluted in a way that screamed 'minion'. It seemed Drusilla had been busy making new followers for herself. Angela reprimanded herself for not realizing that her childe was still alive. She was her Sire, she should have known.

She also knew that she wouldn't be able to evade Buffy's question forever. The Slayer was too stubborn for that.

"We're close!" Angela said, hoping to postpone things a little at the least.

"Okay, I'll let you get away with it this time, but don't think I'll forget about it."

"I should be so lucky." Angela mumbled under her breath.

They were nearing an abandoned-looking factory building on the outskirts of Sunnydale. There were lights on inside. The faint sound of music.

"Sounds like another party going on in there." Buffy whispered.

"Drusilla always liked to throw parties," Angela whispered back, "they usually ended in bloody massacres."

"I prefer cake."

They found an opening away from the main entrance, sneaking in as quietly as they could. They could hear voices now, quite a few of them. Angela picked up numerous scents, none of them human.

"We might be a bit outnumbered here."

"Let's just check! If there are too many we'll sneak back out and bring the gang for backup."

Angela nodded and they moved closer to the sounds of the party. The ground floor of the factory was filled with at least two dozen Vampires, all of them dressed up. There were tables with drinks on them, uniformly red. Roses adorned most of the walls, lights were hung on the far-off ceiling.

It looked like a mixture between a wake and a four-year-old's birthday party.

"There she is!" Angela pointed. Drusilla was moving among her guests, dressed in dark red, giving a kiss on the cheek here, trading a laugh with others. The moment Angela looked at her Drusilla tensed.

"We should get out!" Angela started to pull Buffy back toward their entrance.

"Good idea. We'll bring the others, some more weapons, and ..."

Buffy's voice trailed off when they suddenly found themselves surrounded by no less than a dozen Vampires, none of them looking very surprised at their presence.

"Oh shit!"

"I see the guests of honor have arrived." Drusilla's dreamy voice came toward them. "I'm so glad you could come."

The Vampires forced them out of hiding and toward the waiting hostess, who smiled broadly.

"My Angel!" Her hand moved to caress Angela's cheek. "Tonight I will have you back at my side."

-----------------

Part 7

-----------------

"I received a special present from a good friend." Drusilla told Buffy and Angela, smiling all the time. A dozen Vampires surrounded them, holding them tight. Angela surveyed the room. If one added the party guests to the count, demons all, the odds were about twenty to one against them.

This didn't look good at all.

"I see we have more guests." Angela froze upon hearing the new voice. Her head turned toward its source, inch by inch, as if in slow motion, while a chill crept up her cold skin. He couldn't be here. He was dead. Buffy had promised her that he was dead.

Spike rolled toward them, sitting in a wheelchair, his eyes clouded with rage. Was he crippled? Angela dimly remembered Buffy striking him down with something, causing him to crash into a church's organ. A church that had collapsed soon afterwards. He should be dead. He shouldn't be here. So close to her.

He came to a stop at a distance that was all too near and Angela felt her mouth go dry. What Spike had done to her, the things she had been forced to endure at his hands ...

The human inside of her cringed with fear, a fear that went right down to the bone and left her shivering. Better than anything else these last hundred years Spike's deeds had pushed home how much suffering Angelus had wrought in his day. Spike had done nothing to her that she, before the curse, hadn't done to a hundred, a thousand other women. The human inside Angela cried with fear and guilt, curling in on herself in a desperate attempt to shut herself off from everything around her.

Which left the demon. The demon part of her, the part that had been Angelus, was blind with rage, had been ever since that day his childe had dared to assault his Sire the way he had. It was a rage that could set a world ablaze, boiling deep inside the dark recesses of Angela's being with no place to go.

Until now.

Before anyone knew what was happening Spike was tackled from his chair, flying halfway across the room with another body riding him. A snarling, growling Angela was all over him before her supposed guardians, lulled by their own strength in numbers, even started moving.

"I'll have your head for this, boy!" Angela growled, talon-like fingers slashing deep into Spike's flesh as he desperately tried to defend himself without the use of his lower body. Spike screamed as he felt her rend his flesh with a fury he hadn't seen since Angelus had threatened to stake him unless he got his act together, more than a century ago.

Buffy didn't waste the opportunity and started striking at her own captors, who were distracted by the spectacle of one elder Vampire tearing another into pieces. Two of them went down almost instantly, giving Buffy the chance to grab her lost stake back from one of them.

One stake against over thirty Vampires all together.

"Angela!" She yelled at her enraged friend. "We have to get out of here!"

Angela didn't even hear her. Three Vampires tried to pull her off Spike, but that proved to be quite a task. Angela had driven her clawed fingers deep into Spike, holding on to his insides as her enemies tried to tear her away.

"You'll pay for doing this to your betters!" Angela growled, more demon than she had been in over a century. "I'll make you suffer, boy, like you never even imagined it!"

"Get her off me!" Spike yelled, finding himself quite incapable of getting out from underneath Angela without help. "Hit her, you idiots!"

Buffy disposed of a third Vampire, but was rapidly finding herself outnumbered. Angela was finally thrown of Spike's bleeding body after taking a dozen blows to her side, breaking at least three or four ribs. She landed on her feet, though, like a cat, growling with animal hatred blazing in her eyes. Her hands were drenched with the blood of her childe, her face completely inhuman.

"Angela!" Buffy tried again. "We have to get out!"

For another long moment the Vampire didn't seem to hear her, but then visibly pulled herself together. The human returned, called back by Buffy's desperate call. Shaking off the animal rage that had taken possession of her, she noticed that pretty much every Vampire present was busy converging on them. Only their own numbers were holding them back for a second or two.

"Let's move!" Angela yelled at Buffy and together they made a straight line for the nearest exit.

"Stop them!" Spike could be heard yelling, a dozen Vampires springing into action on his command.

Not Drusilla. A moment ago she had been ecstatic, seeing Angela behave so much like her long-lost daddy would. Her joy hadn't lasted long, though. Now she was pouting, seeing her party fall apart as the guests of honor departed much too early.

"I haven't even shown you my present yet." She whined, picking up the staff given to her by the creature called Toth. "You can't leave before I showed you."

Instinct made Angela look back over her should just in time to see Drusilla raise the staff. The hairs on the back of her neck stood up as the air filled with magical energy, Drusilla murmuring some kind of incantation that made one end of the staff glow with power.

"Duck!" She tried to push Buffy aside.

A glaring blast of light sprang from the staff, slicing across the factory. Vampires turned away, blinded as if by daylight. Buffy fought for balance, caught off-guard by her friend's unexpected push, and recovered just in time to see the blast of magic hit Angela right in the back.

"NO!"

The Vampire stumbled, energy crackling around her form, but didn't fall. Buffy was by her side in an instant, draping one of her arms around her shoulder, taking nearly all of her weight.

"You okay?"

Sweat was streaking down Angela's face, mingling with the blood of her childe. She was panting, unnecessary breath drawn in by force of habit, her body feeling even colder than Buffy remembered it.

"I ... I feel strange." She mumbled.

"Let's get out!"

The Vampires had stopped following them upon Drusilla's magical display, trying to blink away the spots they saw in front of their eyes. The stink of magic was heavy in the air, making them reluctant. Spike bellowed at them once again, but by the time they started to move Buffy and Angela were already out into the night.

The dark clouds that had hung over Sunnydale all night had finally developed into a full-blown thunderstorm. It was raining buckets. By the time the two made it around the nearest street corner they were drenched to the bones. Angela was stumbling with every second step, feeling detached and strange after being hit by the magic.

"Your apartment is the closest." Buffy said, dragging her along as fast as she could. "We'll take shelter there."

Angela nodded, barely aware of what Buffy had just said. Something was happening to her, she could feel it. Something to do with the magic Drusilla had unleashed.

She didn't know what, though. Which worried her much more than the twenty or so Vampires she could still sense following them.

-----------------

Part 8

-----------------

Buffy shut the door to Angela's apartment behind them, feeling extremely thankful just to be out of the pouring rain. She was soaked through and through, shivering. It didn't help that Angela obviously didn't waste much money on heating her place. Probably didn't need it herself.

Angela was shivering as well, but not from the cold.

"A-are you o-okay?" Buffy asked through chattering teeth. "W-what did Dru-drusilla hit you with?"

"I don't know." Angela whispered, her arms wrapped around herself, staring off into the distance.

Buffy shook her head. Her friend seemed rather out of it at the moment, so she simply led Angela to her bed and sat her down, deciding to get out of her own wet clothes for a start. She wouldn't be able to help anyone if she died from cold.

Rummaging through Angela's closet, she found a pair of black pants that were only marginally too large for her, as well as a silk shirt. Angela was half a head taller than Buffy and of stronger build (better endowed, too, Buffy thought with envy), so her clothes hung loosely on the Slayer. It was still better than freezing in her own soaked stuff.

Returning to the bedroom she found Angela almost in the exact same position she had left her in.

"Angela?" Buffy walked closer, slowly.

The Vampire looked up at her, looking confused to see her there for a moment. She seemed wrapped up in a world of her own, only marginally aware of what was happening. Not even a remark about Buffy's ill-fitting clothing.

"I should call Giles," Buffy told Angela, "maybe he can figure out what kind of mojo Drusilla conjured up back there."

"Something is happening to me." Angela said without warning, startling Buffy.

"What? What is happening to you?" Buffy sat on the bed beside her, realizing that Angela was still soaking wet and didn't seem the least bit bothered by it.

Inside Angela things were churning. Ever since she had come here to Sunnydale, ever since meeting Buffy, Angela had felt more and more torn up inside. She was Angela, she was Angelus, two people that were one and the same. She had the demon's memories, she remembered everything she/he had done, remembered how she/he had enjoyed it.

Yet somehow she felt as if those two were drifting further and further apart. The return of her human self (not Liam, Liam had died in that alley) hadn't driven out the demon and they were warring against each other. Earlier tonight the human had retreated, giving the demon free reign, only to be called back by Buffy's sweet voice. She heard Angelus whisper to her in her sleep, telling her what he would do to the beautiful Slayer once he got free.

Was she still Angelus? She didn't know who she was anymore, her sense of identity was almost completely gone. She wasn't Liam, she wasn't Angelus, but she didn't know who she was now. What had the Gypsy curse turned her into? What was it about Buffy that had brought those past selves of her so close to the surface?

What was left of Liam wanted her for her body, Angelus wanted her for her blood, Angela wanted her ... she didn't know why, but she wanted her. Wanted to feel her, wanted to love her, and knew this could never, ever happen. She convulsed as she felt something inside her shift, change, pain lancing through her. What was happening to her?

"Angela?" Buffy reached out for her, fearing for her friend.

"Don't touch me!" Angela growled, jumping to her feet. The demon slipped over her face as she felt Angelus rise inside her. "Don't you dare touch me!"

Buffy rose as well, her face full of worry.

"Get away from me!" Angela screamed and fell to her knees, her head full of confusing images. She saw herself as Angelus, as Liam, as this unknown third person she had become. The demon face faded and returned, her face morphing back and forth as something tore her up inside, something that was rending her soul in two.

Buffy's warm hand touched her shoulder.

"Angela, let me help you! I ..."

Without thinking Angela struck out, landing a blow that took Buffy off her feet and threw her on the bed, dazed. Before she had time to recover Angela was upon her, straddling her, pushing her wrists down with her hands. The demon snarled at her and Buffy froze.

"You want to help me?" Angela growled. "You are my friend? You understand me? You know nothing, little girl! You don't know me! You don't know who I am!"

Buffy stared up at the monster hovering over her and, for the first time since the night she had found out about Angela's true nature, she found herself afraid of her friend. She tried to struggle, but Angela held her down expertly, her fangs but inches away from Buffy's throat, where her pulse was beating so rapidly that it threatened to burst her skin.

"You asked me if I love you?" Angela growled, her human face returning for an instant, only to be lost again. "What do you know about love, little virgin? What do you know about need? Night after night you torture me with your presence, your closeness, your warmth. You think just because I have a soul that I don't have needs anymore?"

Angela shivered, Angelus looking out of her eyes, delighting in this young, struggling thing he/she had pinned beneath him/her. Angela wanted to pull away, wanted to stop the words from spilling out of her mouth, but everything inside of her was chaos. She could feel Drusilla's magic working inside her, her own confusion, everything falling apart in the face of a need that she could no longer deny herself.

"I need you!" Angela whispered, trailing her tongue along the side of Buffy's throat, across the hammering pulse that was so inviting, so very tempting. "I needed you ever since I first saw you."

This wasn't happening, Buffy kept repeating in her mind. This couldn't be Angela. It had to be the magic, something was making her do this. She shivered as Angela's tongue touched her skin, so cold, yet sending showers of warmth through her body at the same time. She tried to free herself again, but found no strength in her arms.

There was the barest brush of razor-sharp fangs against her throat.

"Angela, please ...!" She began, tears forming in her eyes.

Angelus! Angela! Hunger! Love! Need! Passion! It boiled through her/him in a thunderstorm of emotions she couldn't hope to control, he didn't want to control. He/she felt the Slayer underneath him/her, helpless, that wonderful flesh so close, that boiling blood just a thin layer of skin away. She/he could take it, could satisfy all her/his needs.

Tears were trailing down Buffy's cheeks.

"Noooooooo!" Angela threw herself off the bed, pounding her fists into the floor until it cracked, until her hands bled. What was happening to her? Why was she doing this?

"WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME?" She threw her head back and howled.

Buffy slowly got up, the weight pinning her gone, and saw Angela huddling on the ground, her hands bleeding, screaming in pain. She saw her rake clawlike hands across her own skin, drawing more blood.

"Angela ..." Buffy started to get off the bed, confused as to what she was feeling, not knowing what she could do. Should she try to help? Should she try and flee while she still could? Was Angela still her friend or something else? Angela's touching her had aroused emotions the likes of which Buffy had never felt before. What was happening to her? To the both of them?

"Stay away from me!" Angela surged back to her feet as Buffy came closer, pressing against the wall like a cornered animal. "Don't come closer!"

Buffy opened her mouth to say something, anything.

Angela bolted out the door, almost tearing it off its hinges as she ran out into the rain, screaming. Buffy was only half a step behind her, but the Vampire quickly disappeared in the inferno of rain, thunder, and lightning. Swallowed by the shadows, her screams cutting off, Angela was gone.

For a long minute Buffy stood outside Angela's door, the rain soaking her all over again, trying to find any trace of her friend. Her heart screamed for her to go look for her, to go running through the dark until she found her, but her mind put a stop to that.

Something was happening to Angela. Something connected with that magic Drusilla had worked on her. She needed to find out what it was, what it was doing to her friend.

Tearing herself away from the night that had swallowed her friend, Buffy went back inside to call Giles.

A few alleys away, far away from the street lamps, Angela collapsed to the ground, no longer able to walk. Something was happening inside her, pain lanced through every fiber of her being. Someone was laughing, someone was crying, and in the distance she thought she heard someone singing to her. A voice she knew.

Angela screamed one final time, then fell silent.

TO BE CONTINUED