Title: Lisa, Parts 4 - 7
All disclaimers and stuff are in the first section of parts 1 - 3.
I forgot to add that this was the first fic I ever wrote, December, 1999.

PART FOUR - Willow

"So Buffy is staying with Lisa at her house?," asked Giles.

"Until sunset. It's easier that way. Try explaining Lisa to Buffy's mom," answered Willow.

"Yes. Perhaps I should offer to let her stay at my place. It would be quieter."

"Only place quieter than this library," said Xander. "And safer," he added after getting a look from Giles.

"Did you sleep alright, Willow? Or were you too nervous with Lisa there?," asked Giles.

"No, I slept pretty good, especially knowing she wasn't hungry. And the pillow fight tired me out too."

"Pillow fight!?," exclaimed Xander.

"I hope I'm not being rude by inquiring about your girl talk, but did you learn anything new from Lisa? Did she remember anything that might help us?," asked Giles.

"No, not really. Buffy gave her that Friendship charm that she found in the sewer. It was hers. Lisa knows a boy gave it to her, someone that she had strong feelings about, but she can only remember his face, not his name. Kinda sad, no?," asked Willow.

"Yes, it is. Very, I might add. But let's discuss Tucker for the moment. Obviously he listed a false address with the school. Why? And where could he be staying?," asked Giles.

"If you hunted vampires as a hobby, would you want them to know where you lived? We could follow him home," suggested Xander.

"And he'd never suspect a thing?," stated Giles.

"We could wear dark glasses," said Xander.

"Oh, very well. Might as well try."

This answer surprised Xander so much he couldn't respond with a joke. Willow just shrugged and smiled at him.

"Of course, this being Saturday and all, we'll have to wait until Monday to follow him home. Can't really follow him home from school if he's not there," said Xander.

"Of course. Meanwhile, why don't we start some research on the Vikings," said Giles.

"The football team?," asked Xander.

Giles lowered his glasses to the end of his nose and looked over them at Xander.

"Oh, you mean the guys with the funny hats and boats with dragon heads on them. I knew that," said Xander.

"There isn't much on Sven in the histories," continued Giles. "He's had a somewhat quiet and uneventful career as a vampire. One clue worth looking into is that his favorite weapon is a spear and not a hammer."

"Why is that important?," asked Willow.

"The Vikings have a long history. The earlier myths differ from the later legends. For instance, Odin, god of death and battle, had a spear as his favorite weapon. Thor, who became popular as belief in Odin waned, had a hammer as his weapon."

"And from that we conclude...," said Xander.

"That Sven prefers the earlier legends. Since he is supposedly superstitious, we might learn what he is afraid of and use that against him."

"Makes sense. About all I remember about the Vikings is a fat lady singing at the end of an opera and the blonde haired, blue eyed Valkyries. Those northern amazons escorted warriors who had fallen in battle to Valhalla, where they had one heck of a party."

"Very good, Xander. You almost have it right. Except that the fat lady singing is usually at the end of a German opera and the Valkyries you mention are typical of the later legends," corrected Giles.

"And the earlier legends say what about them?," asked Willow.

"The earlier Valkyries were wretched creatures who roamed the carnage of a battlefield, drinking blood and feasting on corpses."

"They were vampires?," asked Willow.

"Perhaps, perhaps not. That's always been my belief, but my views on the subject weren't always taken that seriously at the Council meetings."

"Giles, has Sven ever fought a slayer before? Worse yet, has he ever killed one?," asked Willow, concerned.
"He has fought a slayer on at least two occasions, but Sven isn't renowned for his courage. He ran off both times after most of his followers were killed. Seems he likes to surround himself with warriors in groups of three, with his two most trusted warriors forming the last group of three with him."

"Why groups of three?," asked Xander.

"I believe it represents the Valknut, or three intertwined rings. That represents Odin's power to cause panic, terror or hesitation in his foes during a fight or courage in his men. Odin's bodyguards were called Beserkers. They didn't believe they could be harmed in battle because Odin would protect them. Believing this, they took incredible punishment in battle before being killed."

"And if Sven controls his followers by hypnosis, and they believe what you just said, then the longer we wait, the more followers he will have," said Xander.

"And the greater the danger to Buffy!," said Willow, finishing Xander's thoughts.

"Yes. We should tell Buffy," agreed Giles. "But let's do a little research first."

Just then the phone rang.

"Willow, would you get that please? There's a couple of volumes I'd like to get before we get started," said Giles.

"Sure."

"Hello?...Yes, this is Willow. Who's this?...Hello? Hello?"

Willow put down the phone slowly.

"Willow, what's wrong?," asked Xander. This got Giles attention.

"Yes, Willow, who was that?"

"I don't know. Must've been a wrong number."

"That's odd. I had a similar call earlier today. Perhaps we should have the service checked," said Giles.

"Wrong number and he knew your name?," asked Xander.

"Oh, I'm not sure he said my name. It was a bad connection. Let's do the reading thing, okay?"

*****

"Yep, this sure beats reading," said Xander, watching the band play.

"Did you learn anything?," asked Buffy, raising her voice so she could be heard.

"Other than all work and no play makes Xander a dull boy? Nada. There's just not much in the books on Sven."

"I believe that's a duller boy," whispered Buffy to Willow. Surprisingly, Willow didn't laugh or defend Xander. She seemed distracted, absently watching the band.

"What's that?," asked Xander.

"Nothing. Will, when's Oz getting back from last night's gig?," asked Buffy.

"Don't know. Maybe he'll meet us here later," replied Willow, flatly.

"Hey, are you okay? Something bothering you?," asked Buffy. "You don't seem yourself tonight."

"Same old me," replied Willow, not convincing Buffy.

"Lisa, how's your memory? Anything coming back?," asked Xander.

"Not really," shrugged Lisa. "Little things. Nothing...important."

The band started playing a slow song. Xander looked at Buffy, then stood up.

"Would you like to dance?," asked Xander.

"I think I'm going to get a soda," answered Buffy.

"Actually, I was talking to Lisa. I believe I owe her a dance, if my memory...I mean...Lisa?," asked Xander, extending his hand. Lisa smiled and took his hand.

"Oh," said Buffy, embarrassed.

"Sorry, Buffy, but I haven't quite gotten over the last time you and I danced."

"I'm never going to live that down, am I?"

"It will be in my memory as long as I can draw breath," smiled Xander.

"Uh, Xander? Sometimes even after that you can remember things," said Lisa.

"Okay...let's dance!," said Xander, not knowing how to respond to that.

Xander found an open spot on the dance floor and looked at Lisa, then nervously pulled her close. Lisa hesitated at first, but put her head on Xander's shoulder.

"You're wearing Buffy's sweater. Are you still cold or have you not had time to go shopping yet?"

"Yes, I'm still cold. I can't seem to get warm. It's not so bad after..."

"After you eat. It's okay Lisa. I shouldn't have..."

"Shhh. Xander, just hold me. Please?" Xander nodded and they danced.

"Sometimes people surprise you, Will," said Buffy. "Even when you think you know them. Who would've thought that Xander would let her rest her head so close to his neck?"

"Are you worried she might..."

"No. Not at all," answered Buffy, not taking her eyes off the couple. "But I think the sitch bears watching, no?"

"Oh yeah," replied Willow, absently touching the cross that hung from her neck.

The song ended. Xander stepped apart from Lisa but still held her. She was crying.

"Lisa, what's wrong? Did I do something to upset you?"

"No, it's not you," said Lisa, wiping her eyes. "I lied before. I am remembering more. Every day. It's...it's just that I'd forgotten how nice it was to have someone hold me. Thank you, Xander. This really meant a lot to me."

"Your welcome," said Xander, smiling and wiping a tear from her cheek.

"My female instinct is telling me to run to the ladies room to fix my makeup. But it's not like I can look in the mirror, right? I mean, Buffy helped me with it before. And what if there were other girls in there? They might get a little upset at not seeing my reflection."

"Lisa, you look great. Okay?"

Lisa smiled and nodded.

"You know, when we started dancing I thought for sure that you would tell me to relax, that you don't bite," said Xander, trying to make her laugh. It worked.

"Actually, it crossed my mind. I just couldn't say it. Hey, isn't that Angel talking to Buffy?"

"Yes, it is. Something's up. We'd better head back," said Xander.

"I hate to break up the party, but Angel's got some news," said Buffy to Lisa and Xander.

"I paid a visit to Willy the snitch. He was eager to talk; I didn't even have to beat him up. Seems that there's fewer patrons in his bar lately. Quite a few have been invited to join up with Sven. Willy hasn't seen Sven himself, but he thinks we might find him at the old Morgan warehouse down by the railroad tracks."

"Good old Willy. Motivated by his dearest friend, money. What's the plan?," asked Xander.

"I think Angel, Lisa and I should go pay Sven a visit. First we'll stop by the library, bring Giles up to speed and pick up some supplies. You and Willow can wait there. It's too dangerous for you to come along," added Buffy.

"Danger? Library sounds good to me. You with me, Willow?," asked Xander.

"I'll catch up. I want to hang for awhile, see if Oz shows up."

"Lisa, I shouldn't assume that you'd want to come," said Buffy.

"Assume away. What are we waiting for?"

"Meet you back at the homestead, Will," said Buffy.

Willow waved goodbye. Since the band was on break, she'd thought she call Oz to see if he was at home. Just before she got to the payphone, it rang. Not seeing anyone around who was waiting for a call, she picked it up.

"Hello?...Giles, is that you?...No, Buffy already left...Meet you where?...Isn't that kinda dangerous?...Yes, I'm wearing my cross...You know Buffy's stopping at the library first? I mean, we might beat her there. Can you pick me up here at the Bronze?...Your car is in the shop. Okay, I'll wait for you out in front of the warehouse. Bye."

Willow thought about calling Oz before she left but didn't want to explain everything. She'd call as soon as she got back.

*****

"Oh, yeah, this was a great idea. Not dangerous at all," said Willow to herself as she walked down the dark street. "This one inch cross I'm wearing will protect me. Not from a mugger, or a dog, or, or...oh, yeah. Great idea. Of course, do I say no? Do I ever say no?"

Willow turned the corner and there it was. She could just make out the name Morgan across the door to the old warehouse. It was dark and Giles wasn't here yet. She walked very slowly towards the door to what was probably once an office. It was open.

"Willow." The voice came from inside the office.

"Giles? Is that you?"

Willow took one more step towards the door and realized that it wasn't Giles.

*****

"The Morgan warehouse. Quaint, and not without its charms," said Angel.

"Lisa, do you sense another vampire close by?," asked Buffy.

"No."

"Alright then, here's the plan. Angel, look around the main floor. Lisa and I will go upstairs and we'll leave the basement for last. Okay?"

"Sounds good. Be careful," said Angel.

"You too. Lisa, why don't you walk ahead of me. I don't want to turn this flashlight on yet and you can see a lot better in the dark than I can."

The main floor was mostly empty and it didn't take long for Angel to search it. There was no clue that anyone had been there recently. Even the dust was undisturbed. That meant that not even the homeless had taken shelter here, a clue that, Angel knew, could mean there were vampires in the area. The homeless, like rats, seemed to avoid areas where vampires called home.

At the far end of the warehouse was another staircase leading to the basement. There was a light on down there. Not wanting to wait for Buffy, Angel slowly, cautiously descended the stairs. Illuminated by the light of a single, naked bulb, he saw Willow, sitting in a chair. Her mouth was taped over and her hands were tied behind her back with rope.

Willow's eyes grew wide when she saw Angel. He put a finger to his lips, letting her know to stay quiet. About ten feet in front of her stood a vampire, luckily with his back to the stairs. His arms were crossed and in his left hand was a small ax. Angel couldn't see anyone else in the room, although there were many wooden boxes lying about.

Angel reached the bottom of the stairs. Finding a rusty nail on the floor, he picked it up and threw it across the room. It was an old trick, but it worked. The vampire looked in that direction. And as he did, Angel tackled him, driving his shoulder into his ribs. The ax fell to the floor as they crashed into a box, breaking it.

The vampire was strong and flung Angel off him, but Angel was quicker and tackled him again before he could stand. Angel took an elbow to the side of his head and his face changed. Now he was mad. He rolled off the vampire and stood, letting his opponent charge him. The vampire never saw Angel draw the stake from his sleeve and impaled himself, turning to dust instantly.

"Hold still, Willow. I'm going to cut the rope," said Angel, reaching for the ax near Willow's feet. His first swing didn't completely sever the cord. Angel raised the ax a little higher this time, trying to get more force behind the blow. But before he could swing the ax, he was knocked to the floor by a kick to his head. The ax slid out of reach.

He hadn't heard his assailant approach and now took another hard kick, this time to the ribs. Angel rolled and lashed out with his foot, tripping his opponent and giving him time to scramble to his feet. But the man who attacked him was already on his feet as well and running towards him.

Willow couldn't believe what she saw. The man who was fighting Angel was Tucker! Was he involved with these vampires, fighting for them? She tried to yell something but her voice was muffled by the tape. Angel and Tucker were fighting hard now, each only able to block some of the others' blows. Tucker seemed to be landing more hits than he was taking.

Willow pulled at the rope around her wrists. She could feel that it was frayed. Holding her breath and squeezing hard, the rope ripped and she was free!

"Willow, run!," yelled Angel, seeing her stand up. Not knowing what else to do, Willow ran, making her way to the stairs.

Tucker jumped back and drew a cross from his pocket.

"You think that'll stop me? I'm not going to let you hurt her!," barked Angel.

"Me hurt her!? What the hell are you talking about? You're the one who was about to hit her with that ax!," answered Tucker.

"Fool! I was cutting the rope that held her!"

"What kind of bull is this? You're a vampire! Since when do the dead help anyone?"

"I'm different. And Willow's my friend."

Tucker hesitated, still not believing Angel.

"What do you mean by different?," demanded Tucker.

Before Angel could reply they were both distracted by a box being kicked over behind Tucker. Tucker glanced behind him, then looked back at Angel. Three vampires were running at them.

"You're going to have to trust me. I'm one of the good guys. They aren't."

There was no time to decide. Drawing a stake from his sleeve, Tucker turned and charged the first vampire, leaping into the air and kicking him down with a blow to the chest.

*****

Willow had almost made it across the warehouse floor when someone jumped out in front of her. Buffy was barely able to stop herself from staking her friend. Willow hadn't even taken the time to remove the tape from her mouth.

"Ouch!," yelled Willow, ripping the duct tape off.

"Willow! What are you doing here?," exclaimed Buffy.

"No time!," said Willow, gasping for breath. "It's Angel!"

"Angel? What's wrong?," said Buffy, grabbing Willow by the arm.

"Tucker and him are fighting! Tucker saw him in full vamp face and he thought Angel was trying to hurt me. Buffy, he doesn't know about Angel. He's trying to kill him!"

"Where?," said Buffy, trying to remain calm.

"Down the stairs, in the basement," said Willow, pointing behind her.

"You stay here with Lisa. I'm going back this way, it's quicker."

At the bottom of the stairs was a door. It was locked but it was made of wood. Buffy gave it a good kick. It splintered vertically and Buffy burst into the room. Not ten feet in front of her was Angel, lying on his back on the floor. Tucker was leaning over him with a stake in his hand! He looked up at Buffy, very much surprised at her entrance.

On her third stride Buffy kicked the weapon out of Tucker's hand and connected with a right punch to the side of his face as he was standing. Thrown back against the wall, Tucker raised his arms to defend himself. Mistakenly thinking he was about to attack, Buffy rushed him. In close quarters Tucker couldn't easily deflect her blows and had to block her jabs and kicks.

Tired from the previous fight, Tucker couldn't hold up against Buffy's strength. She didn't realize he was only defending and not attacking. Buffy got a vicious jab into his left side and could hear a rib or two crack. With the wind knocked out of him, Tucker dropped his arms. Buffy finished him off with a brutal kick to his head and he hit the wall again, sliding to the floor, blood flowing from his nose. Even then Buffy drew her arm back for another punch.

"Buffy! No!," screamed Angel as he grabbed her arm.

"Angel?"

"Didn't you hear me yelling? What are you doing?"

"No, I...what do you mean? He was trying to kill you!"

"No. He saved my life. He was helping me up."

"What! But...but I saw him! He was leaning over you with a stake in his hand!," protested Buffy. "And Willow said she saw you two fighting."

"We were. Until I explained to him who I was. Then we were jumped by three of Sven's boys. Buffy, he's a hell of a fighter. One of them was holding me and I was about to be staked, until he..."

"Oh my god! Tucker, I'm so sorry." Buffy took a step towards him and he raised his arms over his head. Buffy stopped. "Tucker, I didn't know."

Angel knelt down beside Tucker.

"You really wailed on him, Buffy. We might need to get him to a hospital."

"No. No doctors," said Tucker through clenched teeth. "Too many questions."

"Tucker, how many fingers am I holding up?," asked Angel.

"Which one of you wants to know?"
"Buffy, come here. Let's try to get him on his feet. I don't think we should stay here any longer than we have to."

Buffy and Angel started lifting Tucker by his arms.

"Time out. Not yet," protested Tucker. "Just give me a minute. If I stand up now I'll probably lose my dinner. Oh, this is going to hurt in the morning."

"Are you dizzy?," asked Buffy.

"Big time."

"Tucker, you may have a concussion. We need to get you to a doctor," said Buffy, trying to convince him.

"No. Wouldn't be the first time. And there's nothing they can do for cracked ribs either except tape them up. Been there, I can do that."

"Tucker, I had no idea. I thought you were trying to kill Angel. I'm so sorry."

Tucker looked at Buffy, then looked at Angel.

"Lucy, you got some splainin' to do. Like why does the slayer have a vampire for a boyfriend?"

"You know I'm the slayer?"

"I do now. You were holding back on me in the gym. I knew it. Even so, I didn't realize how strong you were. Of course, if I knew you were going to attack me I might've put up a better fight."

Buffy didn't say anything but looked very upset.

"Now I'm sorry. Put in your place I would've done the same thing. And the element of surprise be damned, you still would've kicked my ass."

This made Buffy smile.

"Don't sell yourself short. You gave me a good whuppin'," said Angel.

"Angel, I don't know how to say this, so I'll just blurt it out. Is the sight of this much blood going to upset you in any way?," asked Tucker, wiping his hand across his upper lip.

"No, you've got nothing to worry about. But if it will make you feel better, I'll move back some."

Tucker looked at Angel and tried to focus but he was still a little blurry.

"No. If she can trust you that's good enough for me. Let's try that standing up thing now."

They got him to his feet but Tucker still had to steady himself by leaning on Angel.

"Still dizzy?," asked Buffy.

"Oh yeah."

"Let's get you back to the library. On the way you can splain to me why you hunt vampires in your spare time. You're good, but still, sooner or later you're going to get yourself killed," said Buffy.

"Why? Simple revenge." And saying that, Tucker collapsed between Angel and Buffy.

"Angel, we need to get him back to Giles. Run ahead and get Lisa and Willow. I'll carry him. I owe him that much. Hurry!"

"Try not to let him sleep," warned Angel. Buffy nodded in agreement. She sat Tucker down and cradled his head in her arm.

"Tucker, wake up. Come on now, you can sleep later, I promise," she said, lightly slapping his face. Tucker moaned.

"Hey, Tucker, wake up. We've got to go now."

"Julie? Julie, is that you?," whispered Tucker.

Buffy was so surprised that she almost dropped Tucker. She saw the cross that hung from his neck but now was curious about the other chain. Pulling it free from his shirt, she looked at the mate to the Friendship pendant that Lisa wore around her neck. On the back were inscribed the letters J and T.

"Julie Weber. Tucker Jenkins. Oh boy, this is not good. What a night. Can it get any worse?"

Just then Angel came running back down the stairs.

"Buffy! Lisa and Willow...they're gone!"

"It just got worse."

*****

"Giles!," yelled Buffy, bursting through the library doors.

"Giles?," said Buffy, coming to a stop. Behind her Angel carried Tucker in and gently laid him down on one of the large tables.

"Xander? Where is everybody?"

Buffy heard a low moan coming from Giles' office and ran in there. Giles was lying on the floor, one hand holding the back of his head. He moved his hand to look at it. There was blood on it.

"Giles, what happened? Where's Xander?," said Buffy, kneeling down.

"I'll be alright, I think. And thanks for asking."

"I'm sorry. How are you doing?," she asked as Angel stood behind her in the doorway.

"I'll be fine. There were six of them, I think. It happened so fast. They didn't ask anything of us nor did they say what they wanted. I was hit with the blunt end of an ax and I don't remember much after that."

"You think they took Xander?," asked Buffy.

"If he's not here, then yes, most likely. Buffy, there's a first aid kit in my desk drawer. Would you get it for me, please?"

"Of course."

"I don't believe in coincidence. This was planned," said Angel.

"I agree," said Buffy. "But what would they want with Xander and Willow?."

"Willow is missing as well?," asked Giles.

"And Lisa," said Buffy, putting a gauze cloth to the back of Giles' head. "Hold that. The bleeding has almost stopped. Angel and Tucker were attacked by Sven's friends. Willow got away. I told her to stay with Lisa, but now they're both gone."

"Wait. Tucker? Why was he at the warehouse?," asked Giles, sitting up.

"I don't know yet. But he's in the rough shape in the next room," said Buffy.

"They worked him over pretty good?," asked Giles, grabbing the first aid kit.

"Not exactly," said Buffy, looking away.

"Giles, what was Willow doing at the warehouse? I thought she was coming back here with you?," asked Angel, changing the subject for Buffy.

"I never saw her or spoke to her. Buffy, help me up. I want to take a look at Tucker."

"What would Sven want with Xander and Willow," asked Buffy, thinking out loud as they moved into the other room.

"Friends of the slayer. He's playing mind games with you, Buffy. I know the game. Know how it's done," said Angel coldly. "They saw you with them, the other night. But not Giles. That's why they didn't take him."

Giles was about to break open the smelling salts when Buffy stopped him, putting her hand over his.

"Giles, there's two things you have to know before you bring him around. First, I did this to Tucker."

Giles glanced at Tucker, then quickly looked back at Buffy, his mouth open in surprise.

"I lost it. I thought he was trying to kill angel. That's not an excuse. There is no excuse. I...I'm sorry."

"We'll deal with that later. Let's help him first."

"Good. But now the other thing you need to know. Before he blacked out, he called me Julie. He thought I was Julie. Tucker is wearing the other half of that Friendship pendant I found, the one Lisa is wearing now. We can't tell him, Giles. He doesn't know she's dead."

"Maybe. But perhaps he does. Did that occur to you? For now, though, until we're sure, we won't mention it. You're going to have to tell him eventually, you know."

"I know," agreed Buffy. "He didn't want a doctor involved. Said something about too many questions. Angel, get him a glass of water, okay? Maybe Giles can give him a pain killer."

Buffy took off her jacket to make a pillow to put under Tucker's head. Giles administered the smelling salts and he quickly opened his eyes.

"Tucker, you're in the library at school. This is Giles. He's...he's my Watcher."

Giles stared at Buffy.

"He knows I'm the slayer."

Giles nodded.

"How do you feel?," asked Giles.

"Been better. Been worse, too. Got a little bit of a headache but I'm not as dizzy as I was before."

"Here, drink some water," said Giles, taking the glass from Angel. "And take these, it'll help your head," said Giles. "They're just non-aspirin pain killers," he added, noticing Tucker hesitate.

"Thanks."

"Here's an ice pack. Might want to hold it to the side of your face. That's a nasty looking bruise," said Angel.

"Tucker, what were you doing in that warehouse tonight?," asked Buffy, not ready yet to talk about what she did to Tucker.

"Hunting down a vampire. Goes by the name of Sven. I assume that's the black hat that you're chasing, too?"

"Yeah, that's him. But what are you doing hunting vampires? I'm the slayer. You knew I was in Sunnydale before you came here, didn't you?"

"Yes. I'll tell you my story. Everything. But first you have to answer me one question."

"Shoot."

"What makes Angel different? He's a vampire. And I guessed right that you two are more than friends. I don't get it."

"I have a soul. The others don't," replied Angel simply.

"How?"

"A curse. A gypsy curse, put on me so I would suffer for all that I have done. The others have no remorse, no conscience. But I remember everything. I haven't fed on a human since then."

"How long?," asked Tucker.

"About a hundred years."

Tucker nodded and sat up.

"Well, where do I start? Buffy, I told you that a couple of years ago my parents were killed in a car accident. That wasn't entirely true. Sven had not only killed them but had made them like he was. I trapped them in their car during daylight and set fire to it."

"Tucker, wow! How did you...it must've been hard," said Buffy. "I can't imagine what you felt then."

"I gave them peace. They weren't my parents anymore. They would have killed me that very night. I basically dropped out of school and trained myself, driven by only one need. I will kill Sven or die trying."

"And I'll help you, I promise," said Buffy. "So that's why there were no ashes left in the car. Oh, sorry, we did a little checking up on you after I saw you stake a vampire one night."

"Understandable. There's not much more to tell. I tracked Sven here and followed one of his vampires to that warehouse last night. If I had known you were the slayer, I would have sought you out. I only knew there was one here, not who. Oh, and this scar on my neck is a gift from Sven. Almost had me until I pulled a cross out and drove him off me, but I was too weak to follow him."

"I didn't think you father was a carpenter. Next time try something like...you were bit by a puppy."

"That's a new one," agreed Tucker.

"Tucker, who's Julie? You called out her name before you passed out," asked Buffy.

"She...we were a couple once. Very close. But I drove her away because of my obsession with revenge. She couldn't handle it, didn't want to believe vampires existed."

"So you haven't seen her in a while?"

"No. Why do you ask?," countered Tucker, getting uncomfortable talking about her.

"I'm sorry, it's really none of my business. I shouldn't have asked," answered Buffy quickly.

"No problem."

"Buffy, can I have a word with you?," asked Giles. They walked back into his office.
"Has it occurred to you that Lisa may have taken Willow? We were warned that she might turn against you."

"I can't accept that, Giles. She has a soul. She wouldn't willingly hurt me."

"If she was hypnotized she may not have had free will. What do we tell Tucker?," asked Giles, concerned.

"Nothing. Not yet. I need time to think."

Just then the phone rang. Buffy grabbed it before Giles could pick it up.

"Hello?" Buffy listened but didn't say anything. She looked at Giles and put the phone down. Angel and Tucker came to the door of the office.

"That was Sven. He said that if I want to see my friends alive again, I'm to come to the docks by pier one after sunset tomorrow. And he asked if I knew how to play fox and geese!"

End of PART FOUR

PART FIVE - Xander

"This is hopeless!," cried Giles.

"Giles, keep your voice down. You'll wake up Tucker in the next room. What's wrong? Can't find anything new on our flavor of the week?," asked Cordelia.

"Pardon?"

"You know, the latest bad boy. Last week it was a demon, this week it's a vampire, next week, who knows? Haven't had a mummy in a while."

"Oh, no. Nothing new. Our latest nemesis just wasn't interesting enough to have much written about him. Though I've come to the conclusion that he is, to use an American expression, nuts," said Giles.

"Why do you say that?," asked Oz, putting down the book he was reading.

"Well, at first I thought he was just superstitious. But from reading what little is known about Sven, I'd say that he actually believes verbatim the old Norse myths and sagas."

"Great! Just find a really scary legend, read it to him and maybe he'll run away. Of course, I find all this Viking stuff scary. I mean, it's bad enough they all dressed alike but they had absolutely no taste in clothes. And what's with the horns?," added Cordelia.

"Yes, that insight will help us greatly," replied Giles.

"Actually, Giles, she might be on to something. If we could scare him a little, it might be enough of a distraction for him to make a mistake," said Oz.

"Perhaps you're right. Let's see, a scary myth. Well, Odin himself feared death. The Norse gods were not immortal. One time he withdrew his favor from a chieftain during battle just as he was about to win a great victory. When asked why he did this, Odin reply was 'the wolf is always waiting'." The wolf symbolized the mortality of the gods and he knew it would kill him someday no matter how many of the einherjar, his chosen warriors, he surrounded himself with. So what good did it do to win battles or have his followers worship him if it was in vain?"

"So he fears his own death. We could threaten to kill him," suggested Cordelia.

"What else?," asked Oz.

"Uh...the valkyries. If you saw a valkyrie, that meant it was letting you see it because you were about to die or were already dead," said Giles.

"Sven already is dead," commented Cordelia.

"True," agreed Giles.

"You really think the valkyries were vampires?," asked Oz.

"Yes. There is a carved ivory box from the seventh century called the Franks Casket. On it is a human figure with the head of an animal and it represents one of the valkyries. That, and all the stories of them feeding on dead bodies after battle first led me to believe they were vampires. All legends have some truth in them."

"What's up with this goose the fox game?," asked Cordelia.

"Fox and geese," corrected Giles, rolling his eyes. "The Halatafl, first mentioned in the Grettis Saga. Not unlike Chinese checkers in some respects. There is one fox and usually thirteen geese. The playing board varies in design but very often is in the shape of a cross. You move the pieces along marked lines. Only the fox can jump over a piece and then that goose is removed. The geese win by surrounding the fox so that he cannot move. The fox wins by killing off all the geese or at least enough of them so that he cannot be captured."

"And Sven challenged Buffy to a game of this? There must be some hidden message in choosing that game," said Oz.

"But what?," asked Cordelia.

"I just can't sit here anymore while he has Willow! I need to do something!," yelled Oz, in an uncharacteristic display of emotion.

"He's right, Giles. We need a break. It's time for the fat lady to sing," said Cordelia.

"That's it! Cordelia, what is your hat size?," asked Giles.

"Huh? Like I'd wear a hat and flatten my hair!"

"And Oz, look up a good taxidermist in the yellow pages. I think I'm on to something."

Cordelia and Oz exchanged a worried look.

*****

Just after sunset Angel came, standing at Buffy's side on the pier. Occasionally a seagull would cry out. The moon, almost full, was rising on the harbor skyline.

"You missed a great sunset. Wished you could have seen it," said Buffy sadly, touching Angel's arm but still looking off in the direction of the where the sun had set.

"I know. Me too," replied Angel, giving Buffy a hug. "Have you figured out which building Sven could be in?"

"It was easy. He left this note nailed to that post," said Buffy, handing Angel the paper.

"It's the blue one. Don't be early," read Angel.

"That's the only warehouse painted blue, over there," pointed Buffy. "I respected his warning and didn't go in, but I've walked around it. Only three ways out, doors to the front and either side. The back overhangs the water. Let's go."

The front door wasn't locked. Angel held Buffy back and went in first. Sven was not hiding but in fact was plainly visible, standing at the back of the building. He wore brown leather pants and a vest, his chest and arms bare. He had a patch over his right eye, pirate-like, and was holding a spear in his left hand. With his long, red hair and standing at about six feet tall, he was an imposing figure. Willow stood at his side, surprising not tied and seemingly unafraid.

Fifteen or twenty feet to Sven's right sat Xander. A rope was wrapped around his chest and his arms were behind his back. He had duct tape over his mouth and there was an ugly bruise over his left eye. Sitting in the corner to Sven's left and much closer to him sat Lisa. A chain went around her chest, pinning her arms behind her back as well. A large cross was nailed to the floor in front of her. Her mouth was not taped over but, in full vamp face, it was obvious that she was in pain because of the cross. Lisa's face was sweaty and she stared at Buffy.

"Welcome, slayer. So we meet at last!"

"You're fight is with me, coward! Why do you hide behind hostages?," snapped Buffy.

"Oh, our fight will come. But first, I offer you a challenge."

"There's no time. You wanted me, here I am!," said Buffy, taking a step forward.

"Hold!," commanded Sven, placing the spear point against Willow's neck.
Astonishingly, she still showed no fear. Buffy stopped.

"Good. Now hear me out. I asked you if you knew the game that would be known to you as fox and geese. I like games. My challenge is simple. Beat me and you may ask of me one question and chose to release one of your friends, either Xander or Julie. If I win, you answer me one question and we fight, one on one."

"Buffy, don't listen to him! His words mean nothing. Mind games, remember?," said Angel, looking around the warehouse for Sven's men. But they seemed to be alone.

"Slayer, silence your boyfriend before I withdraw my offer and kill someone. Do you accept my offer?"

"Why not? Either way, you lose."

"Excellent. We shall see who loses. To your left on that barrel is the Halatafl board. I will be the fox, you the geese, and Angel will move the pieces as we call out our moves. You may go first."

After a few moves it became apparent that either Sven was a horrible player or that he was letting Buffy win. She began to suspect a trap. The contest was finished in minutes. The fox was trapped.

"Very good, slayer! My promise, as you shall see, will not be broken. You may make your choice. Will it be Xander, or Julie, who goes free?"

"Willow. I choose Willow." Willow looked at Buffy, confused.

"That was not one of your choices. Do not try my patience," said Sven, placing the tip of his spear against Lisa's heart. Lisa closed her eyes. "Need I remind you that this spear is made of wood?"

"Don't you have to answer my question first?," asked Buffy.

"If you wish."

"Okay, does Julie have her soul or did you hypnotize her into believing she still has it?"

"A fair question, but perhaps I should let you ask of me another."

"No. Answer it," demanded Buffy.

"I don't know, and that is the truth. She was to be with me, but something went wrong. Now make your choice."

Buffy looked at Xander. He was far enough away from Sven that Buffy knew she could reach him before he could harm him.

"Remove your weapon. I choose Julie."

Julie opened her eyes but Buffy couldn't decipher what emotion lay behind them. Xander's eyes, however, grew wide in disbelief and fear. He tried to yell something but couldn't. Sven stepped back and banged his spear twice on the floor. Behind him a trap door opened and Willow began to descend a ladder that led down into darkness.

"Willow! No!," warned Buffy.

"Interesting choice, slayer. I hope you can live with it."

Sven banged his spear two more times on the floor. A trap door opened up under Xander and he vanished. A second or two later came the sound of a large splash. Xander was in the water! Sven smiled at Buffy and then followed Willow down the ladder. He slammed the door shut above him just as Buffy got there.

"Angel, try to follow him!," yelled Buffy as she kicked the cross by Lisa across the room. Just as she jumped into the opening where Xander had been, Buffy caught a glimpse of Sven's men running in through the front door. It was too late to stop her fall to help Angel and Xander needed her anyway.

The water was cold and it was very dark under the pier. She called Xander's name but didn't hear a reply. Buffy dove under the water, holding her breath as long as she could. It wasn't very deep here but she couldn't find Xander! She surfaced and looked around. Nothing! Diving under again she almost immediately bumped into Xander. She grabbed hold and surfaced.

Close by was a floating walkway which rose and fell with the tide, used to unload boats. Buffy rolled Xander on this and slid up next to him, ripping the tape off his mouth. She wasn't sure if he was breathing and started mouth to mouth breathing for him. After the fourth try he coughed and threw up water. Buffy snapped the rope that held him.

"Xander, are you okay? Are you hurt?," asked Buffy nervously. He nodded and hugged her. They both started crying.

"Xander, can you stand up? It's not safe to stay here."

"Yeah, I'm okay. Let's go. And Buffy, thank you for..."

"I know."

*****

They hadn't walked far when they found Lisa with Willow.

"Lisa! Willow, you're alright!," cried Buffy, running ahead of Xander to meet them. Buffy hugged Willow but Willow didn't return her greeting. Still, Buffy was too excited to notice.

"Lisa, where's Angel?," asked Buffy, looking around but not seeing him.

"We both jumped through a window to get away and we split up to look for Sven. I found her standing all alone on the pier. Sven wanted us to find her. He must've taken a boat to get away. I haven't seen Angel," said Lisa, closing her eyes and suddenly bending over and grabbing her sides.

"Lisa, what's wrong?," asked Xander. Then he noticed that Lisa's face had changed.

"You know what's wrong. Buffy, I have to get away. Fast."

"Lisa, Angel will be here soon. He'll help you," said Buffy, pleading.

"You don't understand. There's no time. I'm losing control. I'm sorry about Willow... it's my fault," said Lisa, looking at Buffy with tears in her eyes. "Talk to her, you'll see," she said, then turned and ran away.

"Lisa, no! Come Back! Please!," yelled Buffy, but Lisa was gone.

"Do you want me to follow her?," asked Xander.

"No. She's too dangerous now. Let's get back to Giles. We can't wait for Angel because I can't protect you both. Not here. If he doesn't show I'll come back."

"Willow, are you okay?," asked Xander.

"Why do you call me that?," asked Willow, looking at Xander. "My name is Lisa. And who are you?"

*****

Tucker had told Buffy that he would stay behind with Giles to rest. He even admitted that he wasn't up to a fight just yet. But the waiting was too much. He had to do something and so he slipped away from the library unseen.

Tucker knew where the harbor was but didn't know exactly where Buffy would be. He walked slowly, staying close to buildings staying in the shadows, listening. He thought he heard muffled footsteps from the dark alley he had just passed and doubled back, sneaking a look around the corner. A garbage can fell over and a cat ran past him, scaring the breath out of him.

Before he could recover a girl screamed from the other end of the alley. Tucker drew a stake from his coat and ran blindly through the dark, knocking over another garbage can. Speed was more important now than stealth. He came to another alley that ran left and right. The silhouette of a girl was running away from him to his left. Hearing the sounds of a struggle to his right, Tucker ignored her and ran in that direction.

The light was better here. To someone else the couple ahead of him could have been mistaken for two people in an intimate embrace. Tucker knew better. He got within ten feet of the vampire when she dropped the boy to the ground. Blood covered her mouth and she growled at Tucker.

Tucker froze. He couldn't take another step. The stake dropped from his hand, the sound of it echoing down the alley. The vampire walked towards him. He took two steps back and hit the brick wall behind him. Then the vampire stopped.

"Tucker?," it said, very softly.

Tucker couldn't move, couldn't speak. Lisa's face changed back to human form.

"I'm sorry...I'm so sorry that you had to see me like this," said Lisa. She turned and walked away. She did not look back. She did not run.

Tucker slid down the cold brick wall until he was sitting. He drew his knees up into his chest and wrapped his arms around his legs, rocking back and forth.

"Embrace the pain, become one with it...embrace the pain, become one with it..."

*****

Buffy and Xander had changed into sweat pants and sweat shirts. Everyone in the Scooby gang had discovered that it made sense to keep a change of clothes in their lockers. Cordelia had shown a rare example of compassion by not commenting on what they were wearing and by offering to get the coffee and doughnuts so that Xander wouldn't have to. Oz, not being able to deal with Willow not recognizing him, went for a walk. Giles was talking to Willow in his office.

"Xander, are you okay? You haven't said much."

"A lot on my mind, I guess," he replied, staring at a book that was open on the table in front of him.

"Research?," pressed Buffy.

"Yeah, maybe I'll be...I mean, maybe I'll find something useful."

"Xander, not only have you not made eye contact with me since we got back, but that book is upside down."

"Oh."

Buffy picked up the book, closed it and read the title.

"Hannibal Crossing The Alps. Think Sven is going to attack us with elephants?"

Xander didn't reply, but instead looked down at the table.

"Xander, talk to me! What's up?"

"You mean besides being worried about Willow?," said Xander, finally looking at Buffy.

"Yes."

"Okay, first, there's Lisa. When Sven had us both and I was doing my impression of a snickers bar..."

"Huh?"

"You know, not going anywhere?"

"Right. Sorry."

"Well, Lisa tried to escape. Now I've seen vampires fight. I've seen demons fight. I've even seen vampires fight demons! But what I saw Lisa do...she scared the hell out of me. She bit, she clawed, she...she was an animal. Buffy, I danced with her just hours ago. I don't know how much of the human is in her anymore. And you saw her tonight. She's like Oz when the moon is full. It just takes over."

"What else?," said Buffy, putting her hand on Xander's arm and thinking that tomorrow night Oz would have to be locked up again.

"I...I don't know how to say this without sounding childish or selfish. No, you don't need any more distractions right now. You need to focus. I'll deal."

"Is it about saving your life? Because we aren't keeping score. You've saved mine more than once."

"No, it's not that. Look, I know what you do is hard. You have to make decisions instantly, based on instinct, sometimes with no time to think. But..."

"But...," encouraged Buffy. Then she realized where Xander was going with this. "But I chose Lisa over you."

"Buffy, you chose someone who is dead over me. Again! Was it based on need? I know she's better in a fight. I mean, what can Xander do, hurl insults and jokes and maybe the bad guy will get distracted? Throw doughnuts at him and maybe he'll trip?"

"Xander, you were far enough away from Sven that I knew I could get to you before he did. I knew I could protect you. I thought that if he was stupid enough to release Lisa we might've been able to fight him, right then. I didn't know about the trap door. I'm sorry. But you know what you mean to me, all of you. I can't do this alone. You know that."

Buffy hugged Xander before he could see the tears welling up in her eyes.

"I'm sorry. I did what I thought was right. It doesn't always work out that way." Buffy pulled away and looked at Xander but couldn't say anything.

"No, I'm sorry. I told you it would sound stupid," said Xander.

"This is what Sven wanted. Angel was right, he's good at mind games. It's important that you understand that."

They didn't realize that Giles was standing there until he cleared his throat.

"How is she?," asked Xander before Buffy could.

"Sleeping. I gave her a sedative. But this is worse than I feared. It's more than hypnosis. Sven must also be using some spell on her as well."

"Maybe she'll be like Lisa and get her memory back," suggested Xander. "With time, I mean."

"Yes, perhaps," agreed Giles, but with little enthusiasm.

"Better yet, if I kill Sven, the spell should be broken," said Buffy.

"What? Oh, yes. I think you're right. I just wish we could talk to Lisa, to see what she has remembered."

"I hate to bring this up, but what if both Lisa and Tucker come back here tonight? At the same time?," asked Xander.

"I know. I have to tell him," agreed Buffy.

Just then Angel walked through the library doors. He had his arm around Tucker.

"Angel, you're okay! Where were you?," asked Buffy, giving him a hug.
"Buffy, I found him behind a building down by the docks. He hasn't been bitten, but I think he's in shock."

Buffy looked at Tucker. He did seem very pale.

"Tucker? Hey, it's me, Buffy. What's wrong?," she asked, putting both hands on his shoulders.

"I saw her. Buffy, I saw her. She's dead now. Julie. She's one of them."

Buffy took a deep breath.

"Tucker, sit down. Tell me what happened."

"I went to look for you," he said, letting Buffy guide him to a chair. "I wanted to help. She was feeding on this guy. Killed him. She saw me, knew who I was. Said she was sorry I had to see her that way. Then she walked away. She cried. But she walked away. Buffy, vampires don't cry."

"Not unless they have a soul," said Buffy, softly, and looking at Angel.

"Angel found me. Buffy, I can't feel anything. I'm numb."

"Tucker, listen to me. I knew about Julie. I didn't know that you knew her. Not until the other night, when you called out her name and I saw that pendant around your neck. Tucker, Julie still wears hers."

"What? You knew?"

"She came to me, looking for the slayer. She wanted me to kill her. Julie couldn't bear what happened to her. She could only feel that way if she still had her soul. A demon wouldn't care. I don't understand how it happened, but it's true."

"What I saw didn't have a soul. Angel doesn't feed anymore, he said so himself!," said Tucker, getting angry.

"She does! She just loses control. When she gets hungry the demon has more power. Sven did this do her, made her think her name was Lisa, like his dead wife."

"Sven."

"Something's gone wrong. He doesn't want Julie anymore, now he wants Willow. It must be the red hair, like his wife had. Willow thinks her name is Lisa now!"

"Buffy, I can't do this anymore. Everyone I've loved is dead! I can't fight him. I can't."

"Yes you can. We can. I have a plan."

"And so do I," added Giles. "Listen to her, Tucker. I know Sven's weaknesses. We need you."

The phone rang. Only Buffy moved to get it.

"Hello?"

Buffy only listened for a moment before she hung up.

"It was him. He wants Willow back. Tomorrow night, at the Morgan warehouse."

"Like that's going to happen," said Xander, sarcastically.

"He has Oz," said Buffy.

"Oz? But...oh," said Xander, understanding.

"It's okay. My plan will still work. Even better, I'd say. But it just got more dangerous for all of us," said Giles.

End of PART FIVE

PART SIX - Sven

"My god, it's Matilda the Hun!," said Xander.

"Don't you mean waltzing Matilda?," asked Buffy.

"Atilla the Hun can dance?," asked Giles.

"Enough! Or I'm taking my horns and going home and you can play without me!," said Cordelia. Dressed as she was, if Cordelia was two hundred pounds heavier she might have been mistaken for an opera singer. If it was dark. Maybe.

"Giles, do you really think this will work? I mean, it's no one has seen a valkyrie, how is Sven going to mistake me for one?," asked Cordelia.

"We know what Sven thinks they look like because he's read the sagas. You'll do fine. Just remember your lines," comforted Giles.

"And keep your cross on. All of you," warned Buffy.

"Cordy, if anyone can pull this off, you can. The horned helmet, the blonde wig and especially the bronze breast plates. Girl, it's a new look but it works on you," said Xander.

"You think?," asked Cordelia, warming up to a compliment. She didn't see Buffy rolling her eyes.

"Xander, are the buckets of water set up for the dry ice?," asked Giles.

"Ready to go. I'll start just before sundown."

"Good. And try to stay out of sight," added Giles.

"Gotcha," said Xander, not convincing Giles.

"Angel, are the back stairs blocked?," asked Giles.

"I chained the door. It should hold."

"Good. And the holy water is in place so stay away from those areas."

"Not an issue," agreed Angel.

"Well then, I suppose we're ready. We've got everything in place," said Giles.

"Just about. The only thing missing is moose and squirrel," said Buffy.

"I don't believe the taxidermist had those. Where in the sagas..."

"Never mind, Giles. Obscure cartoon reference. I just hope Sven shows up right after sunset. He didn't specify a time when he called. We only have thirty four minutes after sunset until the moon rises," said Buffy.

"He'll show on time. He seems almost English in his punctuality," said Giles.

"You mean anal?," commented Xander. He quickly turned to Buffy before Giles could reply.

"Buffy, assuming this works, and of course it will, but even so..."

"Xander, this lifetime."

"Right. If Willow's not going to be mad at you then Oz will be for doing what you did to her."

"Oh, I don't know. I think she looks hot," said Cordelia.

No one said anything.

"What? I'm comfortable enough with my sexuality to say that," said Cordelia, defending herself. "You people!"

*****

When they heard the footsteps on the floor above them Giles looked at his watch. The sun had set twenty minutes ago. Having only one way into the basement meant that there was only one way out and he wondered if they had enough time.

The strobe light had been his idea, a flashback to his youth. It would confuse the eye into believing more than it had really seen. The fog created by the dry ice was thick and flowing along the floor like a living blanket. Quite an eerie effect, thought Giles, pleased with himself.

His reverie was interrupted when the door to the basement was kicked open. Three of Sven's bodyguards entered but stopped, confused by what they saw. Crates and boxes were strewn about everywhere. Two large, black ravens stared at them, motionless, from atop boxes on either side of the door. Sven entered and nearly walked into his men. Behind him two more vampires led Oz down the stairs. His hands were tied behind his back.

"Slayer! What game is this? Show yourself!," bellowed Sven.

It was Cordelia, not Buffy, that stepped from behind a box in the middle of the room. With the strobe lights and mist, Sven couldn't see her face clearly but he could see that she was dressed not unlike his followers.

"Who are you?," demanded Sven.

Cordelia didn't reply but stood stoically, a spear in her left hand. Music began to play, softly at first and growing louder. By his reaction Cordelia knew that Sven recognized the melody.

"What trick is this? Do you want me to kill the boy?," asked Sven, stepping past his followers and pointing at Oz.

"You can see me?," questioned Cordelia, loudly.

"Of course!"

"Then know that I have allowed that only because I have chosen you!"

"Chosen me? For what?"

"Valhalla."

Sven took another step forward, then stopped. He began to nervously take in his surroundings, as if seeing them for the first time. Cordelia stepped back and disappeared into the fog. At the same time a figure rose slowly up from the floor, taking the shape of a large, gray wolf. Its' jaws were open, teeth bared, but it did not move. It only stared into Sven's eyes as the music reached a crescendo.

Sven, wide-eyed, stepped back from the creature. Just as slowly as it had risen the wolf sank down and disappeared into the mist. Sven turned to yell something at his men and heard a large crack as he moved. He bent down and picked up several shards of a broken mirror.

"Sven! You wanted to meet me, well here I am! Now let Oz go!," yelled Buffy from across the room. Next to her stood Willow, her hair now a golden yellow in color.

"Lisa! What have you done?," said Sven. "Your hair!"

"You don't like it? But she told me you would. I did it for you!," said Willow, putting a hand to her hair.

"All deals are off, slayer! You'll pay for this!," bellowed Sven.

"Xander, now!," yelled Buffy.

Xander stood and pulled on a rope. He was immediately covered in holy water. The vampires did not get wet. Xander's shoulders drooped and he looked up.

"Get him," commanded Sven.

Xander backpedaled as the three vampires walked towards him. Each had a small ax in hand. Then Xander tripped over the tail of the wolf and fell onto his back, a mushroom cloud of mist swooshing up over him.

"Tucker, watch her. If you have to fight just stall them, keep them busy but don't close with one of them," said Buffy over her shoulder as she ran to protect Xander. Tucker emerged from behind a barrel and took Willow's hand, leading her away.

Buffy ran and hurled herself at the first two vampires, a foot catching each one in the chest and knocking them to the floor. Angel appeared from nowhere out of the fog and attacked the third vampire.

"Xander, run!," yelled Angel.

"This is one time I agree with you, dead boy," said Xander under his breath.

One of the vampires guarding Oz joined into the fray and the other couldn't decide whether to stay behind or fight. Then he winced and pulled a dart from his neck. As he looked at it, trying to understand what had happened, he collapsed. And as Giles began to reload his tranquilizer gun, Oz doubled over in pain and fell to one knee.

"Buffy, hurry! It's time," warned Giles.

Buffy had little to say in the matter. She was knocked backwards, rolled and sprang back up. Her quickness surprised the vampire and she landed a hard kick. No one noticed that Sven had slipped behind the fight.

"Well, well. Tucker. So we meet again. Was ist los? You don't seem happy to see me. What's wrong? Once bitten, twice shy?"

"Afraid to fight me without a weapon, Sven? Come on, just you and me, man to man," challenged Tucker.

"One problem there. I'm not a man. But if you want me get rid of my spear, I will do that. This one is no longer worthy!"

As Sven raised his arm to throw his spear, Tucker realized that he wasn't the target. He pushed Willow hard to the floor, ruining Sven's aim. And then he felt the spear rip into the back of his leg with such force that it broke through his kneecap. Tucker screamed in agony and fell on top of Willow.

"Tucker!," yelled Angel. He was now fighting back to back with Buffy and had seen what had happened. Buffy had not.

"Buffy, he needs help back there. Go! I'll keep these two busy!"

Buffy didn't hesitate, trusting Angel could hold two vampires off in a fight. But as she turned she knew she was in trouble. Sven had left Tucker and was swinging his ax, two fisted, at her midsection. Buffy couldn't move in time to avoid it and braced herself for the pain she knew would come.

The pain never came. Buffy was knocked off her feet by something crashing into her. She heard the sickening sound of cracking ribs, a wet squishing thud and a gasp of agonizing pain. Before she could figure out what happened, Buffy saw Sven tackled by a large wolf. It was Oz! He had changed but it wasn't Oz who had knocked her down.

Buffy reached out and rolled over the person who had knocked her down, who had taken the full force of the ax and had saved her life. It was Lisa! Somehow she had found her way down here during the fighting and no one had seen her. Lisa was in vamp face, holding her side. She was bleeding badly but Buffy didn't think it would be fatal for a vampire. Painful and slow to heal but not lethal.

"Get Tucker and Willow. I've got her," said Angel, gently lifting Lisa up. Lisa winced and cried out from the pain nonetheless.

Buffy crawled over to Tucker. Even though he was in pain he was holding on to Willow, trying to prevent her from running to Sven. Sven wasn't moving and the werewolf was ripping away at his chest. Even Buffy was disgusted at the noises made by the cracking bones and slobbering bites. Suddenly Oz cried out with a whimper and collapsed. Buffy looked up and saw Giles lowering his rifle. Oz would sleep until morning.

It was quiet. The music had stopped. Sven's vampires were either killed or had run away. Willow had stopped struggling and was looking around, scared and confused. Buffy stood, walked over to Oz and kicked him gently off Sven. She hadn't even realized that she had a stake in her hand; it was just second nature to her, drawn by reflex. She looked at the mess that was left of Sven and wished he was conscious so that he would feel pain. Guessing where his heart should be (it was hard to tell) Buffy drove the stake down hard. Sven vanished into dust.

Buffy turned to see Tucker pull the spear from his leg. He cried out even though he was biting his lip and nearly passed out from the pain. She knelt down beside him and raised his head, cradling it with her arm. Tears streamed down Tucker's cheeks.

"Lie still, Tucker. The bleeding isn't so bad but we have to get you to a hospital. No arguments, okay? We'll make up some story," said Buffy, wiping the tears from his eyes with the back of her sleeve.

"Willow?," asked Tucker through clenched teeth.

Buffy looked at her best friend.

"I think she'll be fine. By her expression I don't think she remembers much."

"And Julie?"

"See for yourself," said Angel, carrying the girl he knew as Lisa and lying her down beside Tucker. "She was asking about you."

"Wagner's Funeral March. Nice touch, Giles," said Julie, wincing and holding both hands to her side. She was still bleeding. Giles smiled in appreciation but didn't answer her.

"Tucker, there's so much that I want to explain to you," she said softly, struggling to a sitting position.

"Later. We can talk when you're better."

"I'm not getting better. And I'm not talking about this wound."

"Julie, can you change your face back for me?," asked Tucker, ignoring what she said.

"Even if I wanted to, Tucker, I couldn't. I'm in too much pain. But I don't want to. This is what I am. I'm not Lisa, my name is Julie. But Julie's dead."

Tucker closed his eyes.

"But you're different. Like Angel," protested Tucker.

"I thought so too. But Sven was right. Something's wrong. How can I explain this to you so that you will understand?"

Xander, Cordelia and Giles stepped closer behind Buffy to hear Julie. Only Angel hung back.

"I'm dead. But somehow my soul is still in here," said Julie, placing a blood-covered hand to her chest. "As I feed my memory comes back. And as it does, the demon I share with this corpse gets stronger. Eventually it will take over. I'll be in here but I will have no control and I'll be forced to watch what it does, who it kills and feeds on. Can you imagine the hell I'll be living in? Now do you understand? Even now I'm fighting this thing."

Tucker didn't answer. He couldn't. No one else spoke.

"Tucker, I love you. And I need you to help me. I can't ask Buffy to do it."

Tucker nodded. "I know, but..."

"Shh...," said Julie, touching Tucker's face with her hand. She began to cry. "Buffy, hand me a stake."

Buffy placed a stake in her hand but couldn't look Julie in the eye.

"Julie, how can I?," said Tucker, sitting up. He was fighting back tears.

"I'll help you. Give me your hand." Julie wrapped Tucker's fingers around the stake and he placed it on her chest.

"A little higher. Here." Julie placed the stake over her heart and held Tucker's hand to it. She looked at Buffy.

"Thank you. For being there for me," she said to Buffy. Buffy nodded and mouthed the words 'thank you', but no sound came out. She tried to smile. Couldn't.

"Tucker..."

"I understand, Julie. This will give you peace. I still love you. You know that, don't you?"

Julie put her arms around Tucker.

"And Julie loved you. Remember that, Tucker. Remember me."

Julie hugged Tucker. Hard. And the stake went into her. She vanished without a cry. Tucker stared at the stake in his hand, then dropped it. And he began to cry. Buffy reached for him and held him. She couldn't hold back her tears either. The others looked away. Cordelia began to cry and Xander put his arm around her.

End of PART SIX

PART SEVEN - The Gang

It was just another day at school. For most of the students, anyway. Willow, Oz and Xander were standing at Willow's locker, not saying much.

"Hi, guys. What's up?," asked Buffy, walking over to her friends.

"Same old," said Xander.

"Willow, you're not still upset about the hair thing, are you?," asked Buffy, noticing that Willow had tucked her hair up in a floppy hat. "It was a good idea at the time. We could color it back?," suggested Buffy.

"No, it's okay. Really. My own color will grow back in soon enough. And Oz kinda likes it!," said Willow, smiling at Oz.

"Yeah. It's more...mysterious," said Oz.

"Still don't remember much?," asked Buffy.

"No," said Willow, shaking her head. "And maybe that's for the best. I do remember this urge to hit Tucker over the head, though. Feel kinda bad about that."

"He was not letting you get to Sven."

"I know."

"Oz, you didn't let yourself get captured, knowing the moon was going to full, did you?," asked Buffy.

"No. It occurred to me, but I didn't know if I would harm Willow. Just bad karma, I guess.

"Well, it worked out. Didn't it?," asked Buffy, to no one in particular. No one answered.

"How's Angel?," asked Xander, changing the subject.

"Doing good. The ankle's better, just a sprain. But he's still bummed about the whole 'did Lisa have a soul' thing."

"She had one. We know that," said Xander.

"Definitely. We just aren't sure if Angel was the reason. Or if it could happen again."

Just then a boy in a wheelchair turned the corner and as he did, dropped two books. It was Tucker. Before he could reach down to get it someone bent to and picked them up for him.

"Hey, you dropped these."

"Thanks, Kevin. I appreciate it."

"No problem, man."

"Wow," said Xander. "A member of the pack shows mercy. Again, wow."

"Hey," said Tucker, wheeling over to Buffy and her friends.

"Looks like you're getting the hang of that," said Xander.

"Getting there," said Tucker. No one knew what to say next. Buffy and Tucker started speaking at the same time.

"You go first," said Buffy.

"Okay. I came to say goodbye. I'll be heading down to San Diego tomorrow to spend time at my Uncle's. Can't really rehab on my own, so I'll finish school down there. Maybe things will be a little quieter there, too," said Tucker, forcing a smile.

"Sorry about the knee. Guess your running days are over," said Buffy, looking at his left leg. It was bound in a cast from ankle to upper thigh.

"Yeah, gotta learn how to walk again. Doctor isn't very optimistic, but I've surprised them before."

"You doing okay? Besides the leg, I mean," asked Buffy.

"Been better. Been worse. I'll deal. I just...I just didn't think someone could break your heart twice in one lifetime. Doesn't seem fair, does it?"

"No. It isn't. But she's at peace now," said Buffy, touching Tucker's shoulder.

"I know. And I'm sorry for all the trouble I put you guys through. Maybe if I hadn't come here..."

"Nonsense! This is Sunnydale. Just another average week here for us," said Xander. Tucker smiled.

"Good luck to all of you. Be careful."

Everyone murmured the same sentiments. Tucker looked at Buffy one last time and then wheeled away down the hall.

"If this doesn't call for chocolate, I don't know what does," said Willow.

"I'm buying," said Xander.

"Double fudge, at least! Maybe with chocolate syrup," said Buffy.

"I'm one step ahead of you," said Willow, pulling a white bag out of her locker. "I went to that Scandinavian bakery that's downtown last night. If I remember right, it's called Haselnuss torte. It's filled with chocolate and hazelnuts."

"When in Rome," commented Oz, seeing that Buffy didn't seem thrilled with the idea of anything Scandinavian.

"As long as it's chocolate," said Buffy, shrugging her shoulders.

They began walking towards the cafeteria. Buffy gave one last look behind her. Tucker was just turning the corner at the end of the hall. She fought off the urge to run back to him. She didn't know what she could say.

THE END