Disclaimer: I in no way own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or any of the characters mentioned in the cannon.

A/N: Well here is the first chapter of my second attempt to rewrite the Buffy series from seasons 3 to 7 :D I hope you all enjoy this first chapter. :D

Just a small warning now, this story shall be moving slowly so no expecting mushy feelings straight away. ;P

A big thank you goes to ashes at midnight and vaantje for their helpful suggestions in naming this new story :D

CHAPTER 1

Beauty and the Beasts

Buffy walked into the deserted mansion, all the minions having fled when Angelus had started to open Acathla and there last battle had begun. She had killed him! But again she had not killed him. Her hand had faltered at the last second as she was about to plunge his sword into his chest, missing his heart by inches. She couldn't kill him not after seeing with her own eyes the undeniable change that had been her Angel coming back to her. She didn't know how, and she didn't know why all she knew was that she had been grateful and then terrified as the gaping mouth of Acathla opened wider and wider its fiery breath scented with sulphur and a disgusting heat.

Buffy shook her head. She had been to hell herself since then and had managed to get herself out. She had been tempted to stay. Feeling that she deserved it for sending her sweet, sweet innocent Angel to hell, but she hadn't been alone. She'd had a group of innocent humans alongside her that were terrified, and so she had fought knowing that the demons wouldn't let the others go willingly. They never did. She killed many, and had gotten everyone out safely, not one had been killed or left behind.

She had tried to leave her duty and past behind, but after that moment she knew she couldn't. She knew that she had to go back, and face her demons, and those she had left behind without warning. She had been worried about her mother's reaction to seeing her again. She had after all kicked her out after an ultimatum that she couldn't accept, not if she wanted the world to be saved, not if she wanted to stop Angel.

Buffy looked around the large dark room where Acathla had once stood, the room that she had killed her Angel in. She'd had such nightmares, ones of Angel's undeserving forgiveness, ones of his hatred and disgust in her for sending him to hell, and others...the ones that scared her the most were ones of Angelus; ones where he returned to her tall and menacing petrifying her, and then, then he killed her friends, everyone she had ever loved in front of her, torturously, slowly taking great pleasure in her pleas and pain, before finally, finally he killed her. Of course he didn't always kill her, sometimes he let her live knowing that the pain and guilt of her failure would eat away at her killing her slowly and far more painfully then he ever could.

Stepping further into the room Buffy looked around. Images flashing before her eyes as she glanced over the spots were the battle had taken place. The wall she had fallen against when Angelus over powered her threatening to slam his sword into her chest. Buffy blinked to clear her eyes the images painful, tears welling in her eyes, ones that she forced back refusing to let them fall.

She could see a black burnt circle around the area that Acathla had been. She hadn't noticed it before tonight, squatting down in front of it she ran her hand along it only to find that it was seared into the cool stone. Buffy looked up to see if anything else had changed since she had last visited the mansion.

She had thought everything was ok when she got back. Her mother having given her a relieved, watery welcome home hug, and her friends had seemed to understand, but that had soon diminished during a welcome home party she hadn't even wanted. All she'd wanted was to move on, settle back in to a routine. Go through the motions, slay the demons of the Dale and die early. Buffy shook herself from those thoughts they led to nothing good.

She couldn't do anything about her destiny and her friends expected her to move on, and get on with dating guys. So she was going out with Scott tonight, to the movies to pacify them. The guy was cute, but he didn't come close to Angel. He didn't make her heart sing like Angel. There was no comparison. Scott wasn't even a blimp on her radar. On top of that she had to deal with a new sister Slayer. Faith, she was completely different to Kendra. She was a lot like her in some ways. She had that attitude that made her more feisty than Kendra, and in a way she was glad, glad because in all likely hood Faith would live a lot longer.

She couldn't seem to make a connection with her sister Slayer, it was like there was this wall between them that neither could breakdown, maybe she didn't want to get attached again only to lose her, or maybe Faith didn't want to get close. Whatever the reason a wall was there, but she was going to keep making an effort. Faith concerned her a little bit though. She'd totally lost it when fighting a vamp, and sure she understood that the vampire in question had mentioned Kakistos a demon that had killed her Watcher and had tried to kill her, but she couldn't help but think that her brunette sister was a ticking time bomb. If someone hit the right buttons she'd explode and become an unpredictable creature.

Buffy sighed and looked down at her Claddagh ring that was once again nestled on her left ring finger the heart facing inwards, shaking herself from her previous thoughts. She had come here for a reason, and she had to leave soon. Giving the ring a last kiss, tears that had been held at bay before fell down her cheeks now as her grief became too much for her to keep them bottled in. Shakily pulling the ring off her small finger, to her watery hazel eyes her hand looked wrong without it there. Looking at it for a long moment more, remembering the best, and worst night of her life, when Angel gave her the ring.

"Goodbye." Buffy whispered, her voice barely audible in the silent mansion, but even that was enough to reveal her pain. Setting the ring gently in the middle of the scorched circle trying to get it as close to Angel as she possibly could. Standing up on slightly weak legs Buffy remained motionless for a long moment, just looking down at her ring, she desperately wanted to pick up her ring again and wear it proudly for the world to see. She would forever and always love Angel, and she would always belong to him, nothing and no one could change that.

Forcing herself to turn Buffy walked out of the mansion, going back the way she came, taking deeps breaths to calm herself, and put on her best 'happy' face and meet Scott for their date. Just after Buffy left the cold lifeless mansion a bright white light shone down on the Claddagh ring illuminating the small band. The light got more and more intense as the seconds passed, the ring began to vibrate, chinking furiously against the stone. After a moment more the room glowed with the bright light that was emanating from the dimensional portal.

A large masculine body falls through hitting the floor with a loud thump, his naked body quivering. He tries to stand, but finds that he is unable to for the moment, low growls come from him as he shivers. Looking around the large empty room he is in. He shivers uncontrollably as he lowered his head his hand fisting around the ring that had brought him back. He looked up again trying to figure out where he was, and how in the hell he got there from where he was previously. The hellish place where he had been hiding from his tormentors for the time had been quiet different and far hotter, and the air smelled cleaner here, something he could actually stomach breathing in with his unneeded breaths.

His dark hair sticking to his forehead with his cold sweats the vampire closed his eyes his body tense waiting for any sign of an attack as he lay himself back down on the stone floor he was on, needing to gain some of his strength back, before he could attempt to move again.

The blond Slayer unaware of the goings on inside the mansion kept walking her arms folded around her against the slight wind that was blowing against her as she walked her way down the small hill.

***

In the woods travelling low to the ground, moving slowly as to not startle anything in the woods, a creature stalked sure and true as it hunted. It was searching for someone in particular. Its rage was running high as it thought about what had happened just recently. The boy would pay for his crimes.

The creatures hands itched for the death of the boy. Nothing would get in its way! Nothing!

***

Willow paced in front of the cage where Oz lay curled, his bright yellow eyes watching the red head with alert eyes listening to the words spilling from her lips as she read from the book that she held in her hands. "One night after supper, the lead dog turned up a snowshoe rabbit. The dog lay down low to the race, his body flashing forward. Leap by leap. He was sounding the deeps of his nature and the parts of his nature that were deeper than he, going back into the wombs of time. The rabbit could not..."

Suddenly Oz leapt at the cage, smashing against the bars of the cage he was locked in. Rumbling growls emanating from his chest. Willow jumped, looking at the werewolf that was her boyfriend three nights of the month taking a small step back in her shock at the sudden violence from the previously calm wolf. "Okay. Uh, maybe we should try a less stimulating passage." Willow murmured quickly regaining herself. Flipping through the pages, she heard Oz growl at her, glancing up she smiled to see him settling himself back down in the cage.

Xander entered the library suppressing a yawn as he clutched the warm thermos that had hot coffee, and a couple of magazines to keep him occupied throughout the night. "Private Harris reporting for Oz watch?" Xander quipped.

Willow looked up from the book that her eyes had once again been pursuing. "Oh good." Willow beamed.

Xander yawned not being able to hold it back anymore. Taking the book from her hands Xander glanced at the cover. "Oh Call of the Wild. Aren't we reading the cliff notes to this in English?"

"Some of us are." Willow said pointedly taking the book back from his slack grasp. "Anyway it'll help you stay awake. It's good and, and very wolfy." Willow glanced over at Oz his eyes on her. "Seems to sooth the savage beast." Taking Xander's arm and leading him as far from the cage as she could whilst still keep Oz in sight, before turning her attention back to Xander. "Except for the part about," Willow lowered her voice even further. "rabbits."

It didn't make any difference though as Oz leapt at the bars of his cage again. Angry excited growls coming from him. The sudden noise made both the teenagers jump, and they looked over at Oz to make sure that he was ok, and more importantly still in the cage. Coming back to himself Xander snatched the book from Willow's hand. "Rabbis?" Xander asked looking the book over. Deliberately pronouncing the word wrong so that he didn't provoke Oz into another excited frenzy.

"It…seems to make him a little overexcited." Willow said snatching the book back from Xander and placing it on the table. "Ok, now he's had his two o'clock feeding, and, uh after sunrise, if he forgets were his clothes are, there on top of the file cabinet in the cage." Willow explained with a small blush as she indicated the cage. "I put those towels up for privacy."

"Uh, no worries. I can handle the Oz full Monty." Xander said with a smirk, before he realized what he said and endeavoured to make sure his meaning was understood. "I mean, not the 'handle', handle like hands to flesh handle."

Willow nodded a blush staining her cheeks. "Mm, ok," Willow nervously gestured as she tried to get out what she wanted to say the blush staining her cheeks getting deeper. "Well it's not for you. It's for me, cause I'm still getting used to half a Monty."

"Oh good." Xander said relieved, before his tired mind absorbed what she had actually said. "Half? You and Oz? Which half?" Xander blustered, trying not to sound all that effected.

Willow grinned, her eyes sparkling playfully. "Wouldn't you like to know?" Willow teased, before turning serious. "Anyway, he's more manageable tonight, and the third night. Tomorrow night, the total full moon that he's a real wolfer." Willow reached across the table to grasp the dart rifle gun. "But in case there's trouble…there won't be, but if…" Willow held up the rifle as a way to finish her sentence, a slightly uncomfortable expression on her face. Her words not just meant to convince Xander, but also herself, that whilst she was away nothing would happen.

Xander took the weapon from Willow's white knuckled grip with his right hand holding his things in his left. His index finger slipping comfortably over the trigger, as he rested the stock of the gun against his shoulder. "Sleepy time. Gotcha."

"Thanks again for doing this Xand. I wouldn't have asked, but I have this test." Willow said gratefully.

Xander smiled, giving a small shrug. "No big. You can count on me. I got my coffee, magazines. Figured I'd read, maybe," Xander pointed with the gun in the general direction of the stairs. "run the stairs over there a little bit." Xander chuckled. "I'm good."

Willow was nervous and a bit worried with the way he was handling the gun around Oz, and herself. Taking the gun from Xander's hand she set it down on the table, giving her dark haired friend a nervous smile. Giving Xander a wave good bye Willow walked her way out of the library, giving a small wave to Oz as she walked passed him. Oz gave a small growl as she passed, possibly in answer, no one would ever know. But Willow liked to think that was, that even as the wolf Oz recognized her on some basic level.

Xander turned to the table when the library doors had closed behind Willow. Picking up the book he looked at the cover for a moment before placing it at one end of the table, giving a quick look to Oz, before lying down on his belly across the table, using the book as a pillow. Oz growled as silence prevailed in the library that had once been filled with a calming familiar voice.

***

Buffy, and Faith strolled side, by side in one of Sunnydale's twelve cemeteries. Trying their best to get to know each other as they did a joint patrol. Buffy put on a brave face, but really her heart was aching inside. Joint patrols were something she did with Angel, granted there was never much patrolling going on, but it still felt like there was a big peace missing as she walked beside Faith, almost like she had forgotten something, but more painful.

"Nice place. Do you ever catch kids doing the diddy out here?" Faith asked breaking the silence, as she felt her usual charge of excitement at the prospect of dusting a few vamps or killing a few demons. The fight never failed to get her aroused, but the thought of it made tingles race through her body.

Buffy shook her head. "No. There's a smooch spot up by the woods. That's usually were kids go." Buffy told her, though she had never been there herself, most of her and Angel's together time was on patrol, where they kissed, and petted more often then they patrolled. So no catching…just doing.

"Yeah? Bet you and Scott have been up there kicking the gearshift." Faith said with a provocative grin, which left no room for misinterpretations of her meaning.

Buffy gave Faith a look that spoke volumes on her opinion. "Hardly. Only been on a few dates."

"But you like him. And when you think about him you get that," Faith inhaled meaningfully. "good, down low tickle, right?"

"Yeah I guess." Buffy said without thinking, this conversation was really weighing on her. Buffy eyed Faith when she realized what she meant. "How low?"

Faith grinned at her. "You tell me?"

"How about not?" Buffy looked around uncomfortably under the guise of scanning for possible threats, but really she was trying desperately to think of what to say. "But he is…nice, and funny." Buffy managed mentally wincing at how lame it sounded even in her own ears.

"And quiet a muffin." Faith gave Buffy a friendly smile, which Buffy returned, she could finally feel a connection between them, it was small and needed to be built upon, but it was something.

Buffy nodded. "Blueberry. That crunchy, munchy stuff on top." Buffy bit back a sigh she was running out of things to say, and she desperately hoped the topic would change soon. It wasn't that she disliked Scott, it was that her heart was still in the hands of her Angel, and she doubted that there was any chance that she'd get it back…she didn't want it back. Her heart belonged with Angel as far as she was concerned. "But my most favourite thing so far, is that he doesn't seem to be any kind of hell beast."

"All men are beasts Buffy." Faith told her seriously, giving her sister a sideways glance.

"Ok I was hoping to not get that cynical until I was forty." Buffy quipped, feeling slightly uncomfortable with the assessment.

"It's not cynical. I mean, it's realistic. Every guy from... Manimal down to Mr. I-Love-The-English-Patient has beast in him. And I don't care how sensitive they act. They're all still just in it for the chase." Faith said firmly, her own experiences lending credence to her words, at least for her.

Buffy remained silent, but a small part of her had to agree with what Faith was saying.

***

A boy ran through the bushes in a panic, terror spurring his feet to run faster, as he raced away from thing that was after him. He could hear its low dangerous growls as it chased him further and further away from the safety of the cars parked up on the hill.

Looking back to see if he could see his pursuer still, his foot caught in a raised tree root that sent him sprawling to the ground. Rolling onto his back terror making his breaths come in quick pants, as he saw his pursuer closing in on him. Using his feet to try and push himself away from the beast. He screamed loudly in terror as whatever it was that was chasing him dragged him away, heedless of the boy's pitiful strength as he clawed at the dirt trying to save himself of the horrors that were sure to come.

***

Buffy, Willow and Ox walked up stairs from the quad, going up to the balcony. "I don't think that's true, that every guy is in it only for the chase." Willow said seriously, a small frown on her face as she thought about it. Continuing on from the conversation they had been having after Buffy had told them about her patrol with Faith.

"I know it's an awful generalization." Buffy agreed, feeling more firm in her own ideas now that she had, had the night to think about it.

"Hey Buffy!" Someone shouted. Looking over in the direction of the voice, her hazel eyes landed on Scott as he walked over to her from the other side of the balcony. Beside her Willow smiled at Oz, happy that her friend was taking her advice and moving on from Angel, and on to someone more stable, and normal. "That's what I stopped you for basically, hey." Scott said with a smile when he was standing in front of the blond he was dating.

"Oh, okay," Buffy smiled weakly. "Hey."

From across the balcony Scott's close friends Debbie, and Pete make their way over. Debbie was holding a bouquet of flowers that Pete had given her as a surprise gift this morning. Her small hands clutching them as if afraid they'd disappear on her. Oz noticing their approach holds up one of his hands in greeting. "How do, Debbie?"

"Hi Oz." Debbie said with a smile she'd always liked the guitar player, he'd always been nice to her in his peculiar way. "Hey, you're not doing jazz band this year." She commented, feeling disappointed by the fact.

"Oh, can't take the pressure," Oz said in way of an explanation. "It's not the music that's hard it's the marching."

"We have a marching jazz band?" Buffy inquired looking inquisitively at Scott, trying to at least look interested in the boy, and like she wasn't feeling majorly uncomfortable standing next to him. She felt all kinds of bad for doing this to him. He deserved someone who could really, really like him, not someone who could only pretend to appease her friends into leaving her alone about dating someone new.

Before Scott could answer Oz did. "Yeah, but you know, since the best jazz is improvisational, we'd be going off in all different directions, banging into floats…scary." Oz said with his lopsided smile.

Willow smiled at the group. "He's just being Oz." She told them

"Pretty much full time." Oz quipped smiling across at his Willow, tempted to give her a kiss, but held himself back seeing as they were in a crowd of people and he didn't want to embarrass his easily embarrassed red head.

Buffy's wandering hazel eyes landed on the bouquet of flowers clutched in Debbie's hand, a flashing image of the only flowers she had gotten from Angel, going through her mind, the note 'soon' sitting on top of their stems. She really wished that they hadn't have come from the demon, she hadn't had nearly enough time with Angel…Buffy turned from those thoughts before tears filled her eyes. "Those are pretty flowers." She commented smiling at Debbie. Proud of herself for the steady polite voice that she had managed to use.

"Thanks." Debbie beamed thrilled beyond belief that someone had asked her about them, she was just desperate to let everyone know that, her fella was buying her flowers. "There from Pete." She told them, grinning up at her boyfriend.

Pete gave a small smile. "Yeah, well, I, I'm sure Scott does that kind of stuff for you too, Buffy." He said uncomfortably, praying that the heat he felt in his cheeks was not a blush.

Scott looked stricken for a moment, looking down at Buffy with nervous eyes. "Uh, well I don't think we're up to flowers…Are we? Up to flowers?" Scott asked slightly panicked not wanting to upset her. "Did I miss flowers?"

Buffy forced a reassuring smile. "No. we're pre-posy." Buffy swallowed past the lump in her throat as the image of those red roses in a box, in her mother's arms flashed across her mind. She definitely wasn't ready to receive flowers. "Definitely."

Scott nodded relieved. The tension in his body leaving and he breathed easier, he didn't know what he'd do if the pretty blond beside him became angry with him.

"What time is it?" Buffy asked suddenly remembering that she had to be somewhere soon. Looking around for a clock, before grabbing Scott's left wrist so that she could see the face of the wrist watch he was wearing. "Oh, I have to go see Mr. Platt today." Buffy muttered, not really wanting to go, but knew that she needed to.

"Platt? The school councillor?" Debbie asked, looking interested.

Buffy nodded confirmingly, bringing her hands together in sarcastic joy. "Yep. I get to convince him I'm little-miss-stable so that I can stay in school." 'Except stable is the last thing I'm feeling right now, and I really don't want to talk about it…to anyone…' Buffy thought depressed. No one seemed to understand the pain she was in, expecting her to move on. To act as if Angel had never existed, that she hadn't sent him to hell…

"Platt creeps me out. I would totally quit going, except I'm flunking senior bio, and my teacher says I have success issues." Debbie giggled.

"Senior bio? I kind of aced that final." Oz informed her.

"And how did you do that? Oh right you showed up." Willow teased.

Oz smiled at her, not taking any offense to his girlfriends gibes. "If you want my notes there yours." Oz offered wrapping an arm around his girlfriend.

"Thanks." Debbie said gratefully. "That would be great."

At that moment the bell rang, making them all grimace at the loud sound, Buffy more for the fact that she had to go talk to the school shrink, about things that, she wasn't really supposed to talk about, and could get her sent to another loony bin.

"We'd better go." Buffy said dully, turning to Scott she gave him a smile. "I'll see you."

"Yep." Scott said happily. A large bubble of happiness welling in him when Buffy lay a hand on his arm, as she leaned up to kiss his lips lightly, before she turned and walked away. Watching her walk out of sight, with Willow, and Oz not far behind her. He gave his friends a contented look. Pete shook his head good naturedly at his friend, at how much he seemed to have fallen for the diminutive blond so fast, before they made their way to their prospective classrooms.

***

Giles sighed as he read the newspaper article in his office Xander standing behind him. 'This was not good.' Heading out of his off with a purposeful stride, Xander following him. "We need to recheck every possible exit avenue." Giles said firmly, a frown on his face.

"And I'm telling you, it's a waste of time. I was here all night." Xander said confidently. Not believing for a second that Oz got out at all last night.

The both of them looked over at the door to check who was coming into the library. "Right." Giles muttered at Xander, before giving a stiff smile to the couple who were now giving him concerned looks. Their eyes travelling from him to Xander. "It's good to see you. No need to panic." Giles told them, looking on the verge of panic himself.

"Just a thought," Oz said in his usual monotone. "Poker, not your game."

Willow gave the Watcher a concerned frown. "What's the deal?"

Giles started to pace not being able to hold still any longer as his worries ate at him. "Now, uh, bear in mind, uh, most likely, there, there, there is no deal," Giles stopped in his pacing to look at Xander. "but um, if, if, if there was a deal, then it, um, would concern murder... last night. A male student was, was found I-I-in the woods." Giles informed them, shifting his glasses uneasily, as he wondered if it wasn't Oz, who, or what it could have been. There were so many possibilities and too little information in the newspaper article.

"Which student?" Willow asked sadly, glancing over at Oz.

"Jeff Orkin." Giles replied solemnly.

"Jeff…he was," Oz looked over at Xander their eyes meeting for a moment, before Xander looked to the ground. "I knew him." Oz said softly a stunned, almost disbelieving expression on his normally calm face.

Giles shifted uncomfortably. "I'm afraid he was, he was, um, terribly mauled. Now, uh, much as I hate to think it, i-i-it could be the handiwork of, of..." Giles forced himself to say the words, but couldn't quite get out Oz's name, not wanting to believe that there was any chance that the young man in front of him with such a good heart had anything to do with it. Knowing the pain it would cause him.

"Me." Oz finished for him, trying to keep himself calm, as he desperately tried to remember what he had done last night, but all he came up with was a blank.

Willow turned concerned eyes on him, grabbing his hand, forcing him to look at her. "Wolf you, not you, you." Willow said firmly, trying desperately to make him see the difference as much as she did.

"But it's not." Xander said firmly getting exasperated, as a slight amount of guilt started to eat at him as he remembered sleeping peacefully not watching Oz like he was supposed to. "Not wolf you, not you, you. The room was secured, the gate was locked," Xander walked into the cage to check the window. "Window unbreakable and," Xander looked up and his heartbeat increased in horror. "Open!" He managed to chock out, the small amount of guilt eating him before increasing by leaps and bounds. Xander pointed up at the window as he backed out of the cage trying to deny what he had seen, and hoping that somebody would prove him wrong, and tell him that he was crazy.

"Oh God." Willow cried upset, wishing that she had checked the window before letting Oz into the cage last night. Oz and Giles walked in to inspect the window, looking for any possible signs that Oz had left through the window sometime during the night.

Xander shifted his feet uncomfortably. "Not to freak…I rested my eyes now and then. That's all." Xander said guilty. Willow gave him a surprised hurt look. Feeling betrayed. She'd left Oz in Xander's care for one night, and he'd goofed off!

Giles looked away from the window to pin Xander with his eyes. "How long exactly did you…rest your eyes for?" Giles asked, glaring at him, managing to keep his voice platonic.

Xander felt the anger in his eyes though and he had to fight squirming under the piercing gaze of the Watcher. "A little now, and uh, little then, but I never heard Oz leave." Xander added trying to come to his defence. Oz just stared at nothing as he ran the consequences over in his mind, worries gnawing at him. 'Was there more mauled dead bodies, just waiting to be found?' "And he was still here in the morning, when, ah, when I, ah…" Xander stuttered trying to find a word that wouldn't make him seem like a major ass.

"Woke up!" Giles yelled angrily, making the younger boy flinch at the harsh truth of the words.

"You could put it that way if you want to Mr. Technical." Xander quipped, trying to make light of the situation.

Oz walked over to Willow with sad eyes. Willow looks at him with slightly watery ones slipping her hand into his offering comfort. "Oh God." Willow whimpered. Oz looked away from Willow, and over to Giles his eyes imploring him to put an end to all this uncertainty, just wanting to know if it was him, or not. 'God he hoped it wasn't.'

***

Buffy lightly knocked on the door to the school psychologists' office before opening the unlocked door and stepping into the room, closing the door behind her. Her nose wrinkled slightly at the smell of cigarette smoke in the air, her eyes resting on the arm of the psychologist, his hand deftly holding a burning cigarette in between his fingers. His arm was the only thing she could see, as the rest of him was blocked from her view by the very puffy leather chair he was sitting in. "Two o'clock Miss Summers." Mr. Platt said without turning around.

Buffy smiled weakly. "Buffy Summers reporting for sanity." Her smile faded when all he did was blow out a large puff of smoke, making no move to turn around to face her, as he continued his observation of the schoolyard from his window. "Look…I know that I have to do this, and I'll cooperate, and I'll look at your ink blots and everything, but…I don't want to talk about my life or my childhood…or anything for that matter actually. And, uh I don't wanna be friends here." Buffy informed him not wanting to sound rude, but also wanting to get out of the small stuffy, smoky room.

Mr. Platt finally turned around to face his patient. "We're not going to be friends." He informed her with a smile. "You have friends already. I hope." He said with a wave of his hand. "Friends are a good thing." He paused to take another drag from his cigarette, before crushing it out. "Mm-hm. They like you agree with you, tell you what you want to hear." Mr. Platt reached into his desk drawer. "That's not what you need right now." he told her as he pulled out a can of deodorant. "What you need it a trained, not too crazy professional who will always give you his honest opinion." Popping the lid off the aerosol, he sprayed it around himself, trying to camouflage the scent of smoke in his small office. "Which I offer." He gestured to a chair. "Take a seat." He replaced the lid of the can, and hid it back in his drawer as Buffy took the offered seat, fighting off a groan of annoyance, suddenly knowing that this wasn't going to be over as soon as she had hoped.

"Not too crazy? Those are your credentials?" Buffy asked.

Mr. Platt looked at her for a moment before moving around his desk to sit on it in front of her. "Look Buffy, any person, grownup, shrink, pope, any person who claims to be totally sane are either lying or not very bright. I mean everyone has problems. Everyone has demons, right?"

Buffy shifted uncomfortably, and averted her gaze. "I got to say I'm with you on that one." Buffy muttered looking down at her hands.

"Excellent. So the hope I bring you is. Demons can be fought." Buffy looked up at him surprised suddenly wondering if he knew more then she thought, that thought was quickly put to rest as the rest of his sentence was aired. "People can change, you can change." Mr. Platt crossed his arms over his chest. "Now your turn, let's start with why you ran away."

Buffy looked up at him for a moment, feeling uncomfortable. Fidgeting in her chair before leaning back into it, she tried to think of a way to get around answering his question. He didn't know the circumstances, and she didn't want someone judging Angel for something he wasn't responsible for. Buffy gave him a weak smile. "It's a long story."

Mr. Platt shrugged. "Bore me."

"You know. I'm, I'm really over it. I, I'm moving on, I feel good, I, I'm even dating someone new." Buffy mumbled telling him the mantra that she had on repeat in her head, to remind herself what she was supposed to be feeling, what she needed to feel for her friends to be happy, for her mom to be happy, for everyone to believe that she was the happiest Buffy in Slayerville.

"All good things." Platt assured her. "But you're, you're bringing me in at the end of the movie."

'I only want you to know the end of the movie.' Buffy thought slightly bitter that he wasn't taking her hints. "I was dating someone." Buffy said awkwardly as she compiled the barest of facts that wouldn't give away the true freakiness of her life. "Uh it, it ended badly. My mom and I were fighting, and…I guess I kinda…freaked."

Platt was silent for a moment. "Well, tell me about this guy. The bad ending guy." He clarified to be sure he got his point across.

Buffy looked at him, remain stonily silent for a long moment of time, considering what to do. To tell him to mind his own, or just give him the gist of what happened so that he would move on from the painful subject. "He was my first…I loved him, and then he…" Buffy paused considering how to put what had happened in layman's terms.

"Changed." Platt supplied for her.

Buffy gave him a surprised look at his depth of insight. "Yeah."

"He got mean."

"Yes." Buffy said slowly, with a small nodded, her mind helplessly replaying her first meeting with Angelus, and the mind numbing pain that went with it.

"And you didn't stop loving him." Platt concluded for her. Buffy looked away not knowing what to say, or how to respond to his accuracy, not sure if she could form words at the moment anyway if she did. "Look, lots of people get lost in love. It's no shame. They write songs about it. The hitch is you can't stay lost forever. Sooner, or later, you, you have to come back to yourself."

Buffy considered him for a moment. "And, and what if you can't?"

"If you can't…Well love becomes your master, and you're just its dog." Buffy blinked at him surprised at hearing it put that bluntly. Buffy let out a soft sighing breath, her mind whispering to her of Angel, and all he meant to her. All he had understood about her. He was her rock, and without him, she felt like she was torn loose of her moorings and she was floundering to keep her head above rising water.

***

Buffy walked into the library from her meeting with Mr. Platt to see Giles, her usually calm and collected Watcher pacing a hole in his library floor, and Willow, Oz, Cordelia and Xander were sitting on the library steps looking miserable. Buffy set her bag down a table. "I'm afraid to ask." Buffy muttered crossing her arms over her chest.

"Oz ate someone last night." Cordelia declared with her usual clueless bluntness.

Willow glared at the brunette, with angry eyes. "He did not!"

"Oz does not eat people." Xander growled annoyed, the guilt in him making him more irritable then normal. Cordelia rolled her eyes uncaringly. "It's more werewolf play." Buffy looked at Giles inquiringly, deciding that she wasn't going to get an answer from her friends anytime soon. "You know, I bat you around a little bit, like a cat toy. I have harmless, wolf fun. Is it Oz's fault that," Oz lowered his head in guilt. "you know, side effect, people get cut to ribbons, and maybe then he'll take a little nibble and..." Willow turns hurt eyes at her friend. Xander noticing the look, cut off his rambling. "I'm not helping, am I?"

"No." Giles agreed. "Oz may have gotten out of his cage last night." Giles explained, answering Buffy's look.

"Or maybe there's a, another werewolf roaming the woods." Oz said feeling desperate for other options to be discussed.

"Perhaps. Perhaps it is something else entirely." Giles offered.

"It's ok. We'll work together and figure this out." Buffy said firmly, trying to offer comfort to her friends, hating the looks of misery on their faces.

"Yes, um… Buffy, uh, you, uh, patrol the woods. Uh the others, um, check the morgue." Giles decided.

Willow smiles. "Right! We can see if it's a werewolf kill or not." She looks at Oz, suddenly remembering that Oz still had two more nights of changing. "But what about Oz?"

"Um…I have some research materials at home I need to look up. We could ask Faith to watch over him."

Buffy nodded in agreement looking over at Oz. Oz ignored Buffy's gaze, instead he looked at Giles sullenly. "What, your having a Slayer watch me? Oh good, I'm glad to see were not over reacting." Oz grumbled, standing up, feeling the need to leave. Needing some space from all that was happening, and all the uncertainty around who, or rather what was responsible for the death of one of his friends. Willow glances at Buffy concern filling her eyes, before she went after Oz catching him by the arm. She attempted to smile reassuringly, wanting nothing more than for Oz to feel better.

Oz looked away from her. "Ok. Uh you know that thing were someone bails in the middle of an upsetting conversation? I have to do that. It's kind of dramatic I know, but… sometimes, it a necessary guy thing." Oz said trying his best to keep his voice calm, and for the most part succeeding, only Willow could hear the emotional tremor in his voice.

"And I want you to… but…" Willow glances at the clock meaningful, gesturing at it helplessly.

Oz looks at it with condemning eyes. 5:34. Almost sunset, looking round at the others for a moment, wishing that they'd all leave so that he could at least have a small moment, before the sunset and he thought no more. Walking to the cage, with a profound reluctance, and yet with a determination that he hadn't had just the previous night. The cage door creaked sharply as he swung it open. The lock clicking into place with a loud clang as he swung the door shut.

"Oz." Willow asked concerned as she stood outside the cage. She didn't like the vibes she was feeling from him. They were all dark and turbulent.

Oz refused to meet her gaze, feeling to low down, and dirty at the moment to want to see the lovable innocence in her eyes. "Get away from the cage." Oz demanded gruffly.

"What?" Willow asked confused, and a little hurt, at Oz's treatment.

"It's going to happen soon." Willow still wouldn't move her eyes never wavering from him. She was about to speak again when Oz cut across her. "Get away from me!" He turned his back on her walking further into the cage. Willow looks at him for a moment more her eyes giving away her hurt and confusion at Oz shutting her out, when all she wanted to do was hold him close until he felt better. To show him how much she loved him, no matter what he did, or didn't do.

***

Buffy patrolled through the woods glad for the alone time. When she didn't need to put on a face, and act all chirpy Buffy who was dating the good looking and much adored Scott. Here she could be sad mopey Buffy who was very much in love with her Angel. Who would give anything to jump back in time and not pressure Angel into making love to her, Buffy felt tears welling in her eyes and she turned her thoughts from the painful subject.

Her eyes surveyed her surroundings for any sign of what could have mauled the boy the other night. She hoped that she found something, if only to ease the burden that was weighing on Oz's heart at the thought of killing someone he was close with. Not that the death of his friend would be made any easier, but at least he'd know that it wasn't him that had viciously attacked him.

Buffy paused, she could swear something was watching her! The hairs on the back of her neck were standing on end, warning her of the danger. She heared something behind her and she swivelled around, but she saw nothing, but the dark forest, that surrounded her.

Angelus watched from the bushes as a small figure prowled his forest. The woman was prowling, she walked with the grace of a predator, an experienced one. His senses were going haywire, warning him of the danger the tiny girl possessed. His instinct was to attack, to get rid of the danger, to protect himself, to protect his territory. But at the same time he felt as if he knew this person that he knew her very well, but he couldn't place her face, or name to the prowling figure. He growled softly when she paused, her back still to him, he could see her tense. Dashing through to another spot one where he would be able to see her face. He growled again when he got there, she had turned around, to his previous position, an object in her hand.

His eyes recognise the object as danger, as lethal, a small flash of memory crossed his mind, but it is small and quick and gone to quickly for him to catch, or remember it. He growled again, before silently dashing for another spot. This time he can hear her give chase. He moved quicker, instinctively knowing that if she caught him it meant death. Stopping when he reached a thick spot of bushes he saw her run into sight, slowing slightly when she couldn't see him. His eyes narrowed and a low snarl escaped him, when for the first time he saw her face, and an unexplainable anger filled him, as well as a light heartedness as if she eased a spot inside of him. He couldn't remember, and the conflicting feelings confused him.

With a snarl Angelus raced out of the bushes towards her intent on getting rid of her, and stopping the unexplained confusing emotions within him.

Buffy came to a complete stop, staring in disbelief as she saw what she was pursuing running towards her. She couldn't see what it was very clearly, but she was relieved that she had found the possible something that had killed Jeff. The figure knocked her down as it ran into her, at that close proximity she could make out that it looked like a man, but it had been too fast for her to see any facial features. She steadied herself, pushing herself up. She paused in her attempt to get up as she saw clearly for the first time just who had attacked her. The face of her Angel stared back at her, his dark eyes haunted, as he snarled at her ferrously, blood coating his lips. Her eyes widened with surprised disbelief. Her heart pounded furiously in her chest as she soaked in his presence.

Angelus turned back to face her after he had knocked the girl down, staring at her as she was doing him, deciding what he should do. She was danger therefore she should die, but he also sensed that he had known her, that at one stage they had been close. Angelus snarled his body quivering with pent up rage. His body still hurt at times with real, or remembered pain he wasn't sure, but his tormentors wouldn't be far behind him, they were always close. He'd killed a few he knew, but there had always been more…always more!

Angelus snarled angrily, ferally, before he attacked her again his decision made.

Buffy shook herself of her surprise quickly as Angel moved to attack her, as she moved to stand up, grabbing him she threw him to the ground, trying to find away to get out of this without seriously hurting him. It was obvious to her that Angel wasn't in his right mind at the moment. Buffy stumbled under his weight, falling to the hard ground.

Angelus picked himself back up to rest on all fours, before crawling over to her, to finish her off whilst she was defenceless. He lunged at her. Buffy used his momentum against him, lifting her legs to catch him in the gut, sending him sailing over her to land hard on his back. Rising to her knees, Buffy punched him before he could completely regain his footing. Her fist landed on his face, sending him into an uncontrolled spin. He quickly regained himself using his motion to add force to a back handed punch he landed on her face.

Buffy lost her balance falling on to her back on the forest floor, looking up she saw Angel lunging at her again, using her legs again she sent him onto his back once again. He twisted his body awkwardly and delivered a punch to her gut. Buffy rolled away from the animal that her love had become, pulling herself up into a defensive stand. Delivering a solid kick to his head when he tried to stand. Angelus slumped down on all fours shaking his head slightly trying to regain his focus, looking up at the girl a low growl rumbling in his chest, he was in time to receive a hit to his face. One that was strong enough to send his head flying to the side. Angelus fell to the ground his limbs giving out on him, after a few breaths his world went black as he lost consciousness.

Buffy stared down at the unconscious body of her Angel, her breaths coming in harsh pants as she tried to regain her breath. Cautiously stepping closer to him, she looked down at his defeated body, tears welling in her eyes. She still didn't quite believe what was happening. That he was back. Squatting down Buffy gently rolled him over. She cringed slightly as she saw that he was wearing leather pants. Angelus had been the only one to favour leather pants. She would be the first to admit that they looked good on him, but she hadn't allowed herself to admire them. Afraid that it would hinder her in her duty. Softly stroking a hand down his face she winced when he cringed away even in unconsciousness.

Buffy sighed, it was expected that Angel would still be wearing leather pants. He hadn't exactly had the chance to change before she had sent him to hell. Reaching out an arm she gripped one of his wrists tightly, and slowly, trying to be as gentle as possible. She lifted him, pulling his arm over her shoulder so that his weight would be spread out more evenly and she wouldn't be teetering under his not so light weight. Wincing slightly as she saw that he had bare feet, and had been running around in the forest. "I got you Angel. No one's going to hurt you anymore." Buffy murmured soothingly, hoping that this beastial state he was in wouldn't be permanent.

***

Willow nervously walked through the dark silent morgue, her flashlight the only source of light in the closed establishment. Willow gulped as her light illuminated several bodies lying on gurneys their bodies thankfully covered by a light blue sheet. Walking past them carefully, she could hear Xander gulp behind her as he followed after her. For once she couldn't hear Cordelia who was trailing behind after Xander, which was unusual as the cheerleader normally couldn't stop talking. She was grateful thou, she doubted she could handle listening to Cordelia's tactless ramble when she was doing something that was as close to her heart as this.

Opening a door and slipping into a room that had large square drawers lining the walls. Walking over to them Willow silently read the names of each until she came to the one marked Jeff Orkin. Pulling open the drawer to reveal Jeff's body covered by one of the light blue sheets. Pulling back the sheet far enough to reveal Jeff's naked chest Willow took a deep fortifying breath, determined to see this through for Oz.

Setting her Scooby Doo lunchbox on Jeff's chest she opened it, pulling out a plastic bag and a pair of tweezers. Behind her Xander approaches, taking one look at the body he rears back, his gag reflex kicking into action, his already pale face, getting paler, a hand covering his mouth in an attempt to keep his dinner in his stomach. "Oh God." Xander moaned weakly.

Ignoring Xander's obvious discomfiture, she handed the flash light over to him. "Here hold this." Willow demanded, needing her hands free to do what needed to doing. Willow scowled slightly when Xander didn't hold it steadily. Reaching over she grips his arm trying to adjust it like she did her desk lamp at home. Taking Jeff's cold lifeless hand in her own she squinted her eyes at his fingers, trying to see as the torch light kept shifting.

Xander whose nerves were jumpy, with the danger of committing a crime. Felt someone behind him. He swung around the torch light shining into Cordelia's face. "Ahh." Xander yelled out of shock.

"God." Cordelia huffed, getting her breathing under control, from Xander's unexpected scream.

Annoyed Willow once again reached over and grabbed Xander's torch arm shining the light back where she needed it. "We're doing crime here. You don't sneak up during crime!" Xander grumbled trying to save face, not wanting to be known as a screamer. Turning back to Willow, he steadies his arm the torch light finally shining where she needed it.

"God, have a…" Cordelia began with a roll of her eyes, stepping forward to get a closer look at what Willow was doing. She paled, shocked, covering her eyes with her freshly manicured hands. "Ok. Scarred for life. Oh God!"

Willow ignored Cordelia's outburst, as she calmly went about scrapping some samples from under Jeff's fingernails. "Willow, how can you stand it?" Cordelia asked incredulously, hardly able to look at the body, let alone touch it.

"Yeah, Will. I mean this guy is pretty barf-worthy. Can't we be elsewhere? Like you know, is Oz cleared, or not, huh?" Xander asked, almost whining wanting to get away from the body before he embarrassed himself.

Willow finished with Jeff's hand placing it back down on the cold metal pull out table. Moving the flash light around Jeff's body. Her eyes inspecting it for anything else, that may come in useful in identifying who Jeff's attacker was. "I'm not sure. I mean, there are a lot of incised wounds, but they could be from anything." Willow said sadly, hoping the evidence she had collected would give them a more definite answer.

"Anything with big sharp teeth and vicious…" Cordelia began tactlessly.

Xander seeing where she was heading cut her off. "Do you wanna go back to the car and wait?" Xander asked, his meaning clear. Willow determinedly began to pick at Jeff's chest with her tweezers, ignoring Cordelia's tactless words. Telling herself that it was just Cordelia being Cordelia.

Cordy stared surprised at Xander's bluntness, no one cut across her like that…at least no guys did unless they were teachers. "No. God. I'm just say…"

"Almost done." Willow chirped suddenly cutting across Cordelia deliberately not wanting to hear the end of her sentence. "Lemme just get a few stray hairs from the body. They could be from the attacker." Cordelia huffed, and plugged her nose with her fingers. The stench of the body getting to her.

"Great so we got everything we need?" Xander asked relieved at the prospect of finally getting out of here.

"Yep. That's it." Willow said putting the hairs in a separate plastic bag. Suddenly Willow dropped the tweezers as she fell back into Xander her eyes closed, having fainted from all the excitement.

Xander caught her with an arm, the both of them sinking to the floor.

"Oh." Cordelia muttered surprised at Willow's sudden fainting spell.

"Ok uh… a little too much excitement for the Wilster here." Xander quipped weakly, steadying her head against his chest so that it wasn't lolling at a funny angle, that was bound to put a bad crick in her neck. He looked up at Jeff's body with sad eyes. "Doesn't look to good for Oz, does it?" Xander asked his girlfriend.

"It really doesn't." Cordelia agreed her eyes straying to the dead body as well. "This guy was ripped apart by a wild animal." She shivered, she couldn't even bide the thought of her life ending like that.

***

Buffy walked with a purposeful stride through the mansion moving quickly, whilst trying to search thoroughly. She couldn't be gone to long whilst Angel was unconscious, if he woke up, in the state he was in he'd run off into the wilderness. She couldn't stand the thought of him out there alone, and hurting with no understanding of who he once was, and all that they had meant to each other. "Oh come on!" Buffy muttered annoyed as she walked into another room. "Where are the freaking chains?! This was a vampires' home. Chains are like mandatory." Buffy grumbled almost whining. Spying a large trunk topped with old fashioned dolls, that looked like they had seen better days.

Knocking the dolls from there perch without care she threw open the lid, and tipped it over. Emptying the contents on the floor. Finally seeing what she had been searching for, she picked up the heavy chains, shackles on the ends of them. Retracing her steps back to the main room where she had left Angel. She was relieved to still see him there lying on the floor unconscious. Looking over at the metal bracket holding up the high marble fireplace mantle, she walked over and looped one end around the iron bracket and reluctantly locked the shackles around Angel's wrists.

Buffy took a step back as she watched his unconscious form, not quite being able to believe what she was seeing; what she had touched just moments ago. It just all seemed like some dream that she was going to wake up from. One of his arms was held high off the ground by his chains, she winced at how uncomfortable that would be. "I'm sorry I have to chain you…but I can't have you hurting others whilst you're like this…I, I hope you understand, and that you can forgive me." Buffy took a big shaky breath. "God I missed you so much Angel. So, so much!" Buffy dabbed at her eyes with her sleeve hot tears pooling in her eyes. "It almost killed me when you disappeared inside Acathla reaching for me so confused, so innocent of everything that had been going on…of everything he'd done…" Buffy stopped talking when Angel stirred on the floor. His large body tensing, before he lashed out at her.

Buffy jumped out of the way in time moving out of reach of Angel's deadly hands.

Angelus growled at the women he had been fighting in the forest, leaning against the chains she had put him in. Again the anger and the lightness took over him, like he was ok now, but he wasn't ok! There was never an ok in this place. It was fight or die, and he fought, damn it did he fight! But the bastards he was up against were cunning and he was weak, so very weak, he hadn't fed nearly enough to replenish his strength when he had been running in the thick forest. Using it as a cover. To hide until he was ready to fight those bastards again, but then the woman…and he was caught again. The chains hung heavily around his wrists. Testing the strength of his bonds one last time, Angelus retreated to the wall, huddling against it waiting for his tormentors to arrive, trying to steal himself whilst he cowered uncontrollably. The pain they had put him through. The lack of nourishment…the teasing smell of human blood set just out of reach of his hands…always just out of reach…giving him hope, and taking it away, always taking it away.

Buffy walked around him slowly in a wide arch always keeping out of reach, aching to take his quivering body into her arms and comfort him, but she knew that if she did he'd kill her on instinct alone. She couldn't imagine what he had suffered whilst in hell, but it had to have been horrible. "Oh Angel," Buffy whimpered. "If I could have taken your place I would have…anything to have spared you this." Buffy stopped walking when she noticed the new scorch mark on the floor, this time one in the shape of a man's body. Buffy looked back at Angel when she heard him growl and begin to struggle with the chain. Buffy cringed in regret she hated to see him chained especially when it was so obvious that he hated, and feared it.

Turning her attention back to the scorched silhouette of Angel for a better look. Trying to put together the pieces of an incomplete puzzle.

Angelus growled as his attempts to pull the chains from the wall fail, he could see the woman who had chained him kneeling close by. With a feral growl he lunged for her, his eyes full of anger, as he missed, although thrilled that she had jerked back out of what he guessed was fear.

Buffy looked back down at the scorch marks wincing at the sound of Angel's continued struggles behind her, there was nothing that she wanted more then to set him free. Angelus gave up on his struggle with the chain and slumping to the floor his arm still held high by the chain, he waited. Waited for what he knew was to come.

Buffy sighed standing up, looking over at Angel's cowering form she winced again as guilt ate at her. She really couldn't stand to see him like this, it was too far removed from the man she knew him to be. That beautiful, vibrant man that had so much to give. She couldn't solve anymore of the puzzle with the information she had here, Buffy decided casting another sad look at Angel. She knew she was making excuses to get away, but she couldn't handle seeing him like this anymore. She had to get used to the idea, before she could be around him for a longer period. She'd come again tomorrow, and see how he was, bring him some pigs blood…see if he'd let her get close enough to put it in reach.

Walking slowly towards the door Buffy looked back over her shoulder at him, to see his brown eyes focused on her, watching her with angry wary eyes, as if he was expecting her to attack him. Buffy forced herself to smile at him reassuringly, hoping to make him see that she wasn't going to hurt him, but all he did was bare his teeth at her, and growl at her threateningly.

Walking out in the night, Buffy headed for the library at a brisk pace, it was the one place she could think of where she could research what she wanted for the night without being asked about it. It wasn't as if Oz would remember what she had been doing in the morning.

***

Oz growled in his cage as one of Mark Ferrari's songs rang in his ears from Faith's portable CD player as she danced around the library in an attempt to cure her boredom. She probably should have brought more stuff with her to do whilst she was on wolf watch, Faith reflected drawly. A hand landed on her shoulder all of a sudden out of nowhere, spinning around on instinct she delivered a backhanded punch to her aggressor. Her fist smacking Buffy across the face the blond not being prepared for an attack took the full force of the blow not even attempting to block it.

"Oh." Buffy muttered as she stumbled back using the portable library card catalogue to steady herself from falling.

"Oh! Uh, Buffy!" Faith stuttered flustered at having attacked the more experienced Slayer, who was becoming what she thought was a good friend, she wasn't sure thou seeing as she hadn't had one before…unless she countered her Watcher… "Are you ok? What are you doing here?"

Buffy rubbed her tender jaw. "Uh, bleeding internally, but I'll live." Buffy joked, grimacing slightly as her jaw throbbed.

"God, I'm so sorry." Faith held up her CD player as a silent part of her explanation. "I guess I didn't hear you."

"Figured as much." Buffy agreed, wincing again as her jaw gave a particularly painful throb. "Ow. Again." Buffy arched her back in a small stretch. "Uh…actually, I, I, I came to give you the rest of the night off." Buffy said with a small smile.

"Get out of jail free, huh? How come?" Faith asked with a raised brow, not sure she should be asking where this gift was coming from in case it went away.

Buffy shrugged nonchalantly. "Couldn't sleep." Buffy muttered taking off her jacket, it wasn't exactly a lie, she wouldn't be able to sleep just yet. "Figured I'd, uh, cram for my French test." Well she'd be cramming alright, but not for something as unimportant as her French test.

Faith smiled, and shrugged in return. "That's cool. I was going kinda crazy in here, but I can get in a few stakings before sunrise." Faith handed Buffy the keys to Oz's cage with relief, before heading for the door.

"Knock yourself out…not literally, though." Buffy called after her as she watched her walk to the library door.

"Yeah, later." Faith said with a small wave of her hand before she was out the door, anticipation for her patrol thrumming through her.

Buffy heard the door clang shut behind Faith, turning her hazel eyes on Oz for a moment, she then turned her attention to the card catalogue. Setting the keys to Oz's cage on top of it, she pulled open the first drawer, and started to search through the small little cards looking for books that would help her.

***

Giles walked into the library a cup of coffee in his hand, he smiled slightly in relief when he saw Oz naked in the cage. Glad to see that there hadn't been any trouble last night. Unlocking the door to his cage with his own personal key, and pulled the door slightly open so that it wouldn't automatically relock itself. Taking a sip from his cup, he looked around expecting to see the dark headed Faith curled up somewhere, but instead he saw his Slayer curled up in the stacks asleep, a book in her lap and a drawer from the card catalogue next to her on a step stool. Other books lay around her some open in various spots others lay closed.

Quietly Giles walked up the steps to the upper level of the library, reaching down for one of the books that surrounded her, slightly bemused at the odd sight of the usually anti-bookist girl surrounded by text books. As his fingers brush against the book he was going to pick up Buffy stirred sensing the presence above her. Opening her eyes Buffy looked up at him and smiles a little sheepishly at having been caught. "Hey." Buffy mumbled quietly, rubbing at one of her eyes as she stretched her cramped muscles.

"Hmm. Hello." Giles replied taking another sip from his coffee.

Buffy looked around herself and gave another smile. "Oh boy. Faith and her nutty books." Buffy said standing up, trying to play off all the books that were surrounding her.

Giles arched an eyebrow at her, and looked down at some of the books, reading the titles. "'Exploring Demon Dimensions', and 'Mystery of Acathla'." Giles said not buying it.

"Yeah! And she still listens to heavy metal." Buffy exclaimed walking towards the stairs. "Freaky deaky."

"Buffy…" Giles said softly. Buffy sighed and leaned against the railing realizing that Giles wasn't going to buy into her story. Giles walked slowly over to the railing leaning against it beside her looking out over his deserted library waiting for Buffy to start speaking.

"What if…I told you that…I had a dream about Angel…and, um…it brought up questions?" Buffy said speaking slowly as she decided to lie to her Watcher and father figure, not wanting to let them know that Angel was back yet. Partly because she didn't want them to be able to see him this beaten down and unable to really protect himself against the most likely violent and angry reactions of her friends, and partly because she selfishly wanted to keep him to herself for a time

"I'd say it was to be expected. Must have been some dream. I didn't know you knew what a card index was for." Giles said with a small smile as he took another sip of his coffee.

"I dreamt that he came back." Buffy said, giving Giles a glance judging his reaction, before slowly moving to sit down on the steps.

Giles sat down beside her, feeling badly for the pain Buffy was in. "Of course, after Jenny was killed," Giles started awkwardly, not used to talking of himself in such a personal way. Setting aside his cup he clasped his hands in his lap. "I had dreams that she was s, still alive, that I saved her." Giles said softly, getting the words up past the lump that had formed in his throat.

"This was vivid. Really vivid, three-dimensional, sensurround, the hills are alive…" Buffy cut herself off looking at Giles with wide apologetic eyes as she realized her use of one of Jenny's metaphors.

Giles took off his glasses and cleaned his lenses giving him an excuse to look down and blink away the tears that had formed in his eyes as he considered. "Do you believe it was a prophecy?" Giles asked making sure that his voice was neutral.

"No." Buffy said quickly, almost too quickly. "I, I don't know…" Buffy took a deep steadying breath. "I guess it just…made me wonder." Buffy sighed, her research last night hadn't really revealed much in the way of hope for her, or even a mention of someone returning from a dimension from which the portal was closed…permanently. Buffy sighed again, before looking at her Watcher with hopeful eyes. "Is there even a chance? Could it happen?" Buffy asked, it seemed like too much of a miracle to her still to seem real, and if anyone would know it would be her stuffy father figure.

"Well there's no record of anyone returning from a demon dimension once the…gate was closed. I, I, I can't imagine how it would happen, or, or why." Giles told her wishing that he could give her a better answer, but perhaps it was best this way, it would give her more of a reason to move on.

"Let's just pretend for a second that…Angel somehow managed to find his way back to Sunnydale. What would he be like?" Buffy asked, her mind flashing to the mostly broken creature chained to the wall at the mansion.

"I really can't say. From what is known about that dimension, I, it would suggest a world of…brutal torment. And time moves quiet differently there, so…"

"I remember." Buffy said cutting him off from saying anymore not wanting to hear what she already knew about the place she had condemned Angel to. Her innocent Angel. "So he would've been there for hundreds of years." Buffy said sadly looking at her knees.

"Yes." Giles said looking up at her for the first time in a while.

"Of torture." Buffy added her voice wavering slightly and she bit her bottom lip to keep it from quivering.

"It would take someone of extraordinary... will and character to survive that and, uh, retain any semblance of self. Most likely, he'd be, be a monster." Giles told her regretfully.

Buffy lowered her head hopelessly. "A lost cause."

"Maybe. Maybe not." Giles said glad to be finally be able to give her some comfort. "In my experience there are…two types of monster. The first, uh, can be redeemed, or more importantly, wants to be redeemed."

"And the second type?" Buffy asked hesitantly.

"The second type is void of humanity, cannot respond to reason… or love."

Willow walked through the door then, bringing a silent halt to their conversation, a box of donuts in her hands. "I thought Faith was on duty." Willow commented as she walked towards the stairs.

"Oh, hey, change of plans." Buffy said with a smile doing her best to wipe the traces of her previous serious conversation with Giles off her face, as she came down the stairs to meet her.

"Glaze or cake?" Willow asked with a smile. "It's fun to watch them make them. They use this spritzy thing, and they drop the batter into this…"

"Couldn't sleep, huh?" Buffy guessed with a small smile.

Willow sighed realizing that she was busted. "I've been at Mister Doughnut since the TV did that snowy thing." Willow confessed slightly sheepishly. "How come you're the wakey girl? I mean, this time it's not your boyfriend who's the cold blooded…" Willow cut herself off as she sees Buffy's pointed wide eyed look. Oz slipped on his outer shirt as he came up beside her. "Jelly doughnut?" Willow asked offering the box.

Oz ignored the proffered doughnuts. "Everything alright?" He asked sensing a slight tension amongst the group.

"Yeah. Uh, what happened with the inspection of the body?" Buffy asked remembering. Suddenly more worried that it was a vampire attack then a werewolf one.

Willow smiled awkwardly. "Anyone? They're yummy delicious!" Willow said with an overly cheery voice trying to avoid the issue.

"Willow come on. Was it a werewolf?" Buffy asked, forcing herself to say werewolf, not vampire as her nerves strung tighter with her sudden worry that it may have been Angel. 'And,' she thought sadly. 'In his current state he would be capable of it to.' Willow set down the box on the table, her expression showing just how much she didn't want answer. "Was it a vampire?" Buffy asked again growing impatient with her friend.

"I, it wasn't conclusive." Willow said softly.

"How could it not be conclusive? What did it look like? Was he bit? Buffy asked her voice rising slightly.

"Let her finish Buffy." Giles said firmly, looking patiently at Willow.

"No, it's just…" Buffy trailed off as she suddenly realized the sensitivity of the discussion with Oz standing right there, and she blushed slightly in her embarrassment at pushing Willow. "…I'm sorry." Buffy said sitting down. Giles nodded, calmly waiting for Willow to get out the details of what the body looked like.

***

Buffy sighed as she took her lunch tray and walked out of the cafeteria line. Her tray filled with a couple of varieties of jell-o. The mauled body of Jeff Orkin really was inconclusive at best, totally worthless at worst. Anyone or anything could maul a body like that depending on what they had on them, but she was quiet sure that it hadn't been Angel now, there were no bite marks, and his hands though dirty, hadn't been covered in blood, nor was his pants, or chest stained with it. The only evidence that Angel had actually killed was the blood that had surrounded his lips.

Buffy searched the sea of tables around her looking for a spot to sit. Scott saw her from his table, where he is sitting with his friends Pete, and Debbie. "Buffy. Over here." Scott called with a small wave and a smile.

Buffy walked over to him, more reluctant then normal feeling like she was cheating on Angel more so now than before. Now that he was back from hell. "Hey." Buffy greeted as she sat down in the spare seat next to Scott.

Scott looked down at her plate, and fought the urge to wrinkle his nose. "Hey. Uh, I can't back you on that lunch. Nutritional demerits." Scott teased giving her a smile.

Buffy looked down at her plate with an almost blank expression in hazel eyes. "Oh…my stomach can't handle hard food today, but there's fruit in it." Buffy said in her defence pointing at the small lumps in the jell-o.

Scott leaned closer to her, a small amused smile on his face. "Those are marshmallows." He whispered in her ear.

Buffy looked at the small lumps closer. "Oh." Debbie, and Pete give her curious looks, wondering how she didn't already know that, and why the normally perky girl, was looking sadder than a monkey who lost its favourite banana. Buffy sighed as she noticed the looks she was receiving. "I'm…I'm really out of it today. I didn't sleep well last night." Buffy explained hoping that, that would be a buyable excuse for her odd behaviour. She didn't seem to have the strength to wear her mask at the moment.

"Just don't tell Mr. Platt you have insomnia. He'll make you start a dream journal." Debbie told her, with a small roll of her eyes.

"Oh, what's that, like a Barbie thing? Dear Dream Journal, how come Ken hasn't come around since he got that earring?" Pete quipped pitching his voice higher to sound more like a girl.

Debbie giggled at her boyfriend. "I never did it. He's a quack."

"I kinda liked him." Buffy revealed, she'd felt better after her session with Platt, like a small part of the weight she carried had been lifted from her shoulders.

"Really?" Debbie asked surprised, raising a small finger to her chin thoughtfully. "I guess, I guess he's kinda funny and stuff. It's just…sometimes I just don't like the things he says." Debbie explained thoughtfully, everyone at the table missed Pete's angry look.

"Oh, he definitely…marches to the beat of his own drummer. A, actually, I think he makes his own drums." Buffy joked weakly.

"Well, my mom says therapy can be completely helpful." Scott piped in, wanting to let Buffy know that he didn't mind that she was in therapy.

"Yeah, but your mom has the wattage of a Zippo lighter Scott." Pete said his voice almost too serious to be joking. Debbie couldn't help giggling again, looking at her boyfriend with loving eyes.

Scott shot Pete an annoyed look, before looking at Buffy again. "I hope you realize I don't actually know these people. I just thought you'd like me better if had friends, so I hired them." Scott told her his voice serious, but his face playful. Buffy gave him a weak smile for his efforts, trying to act like she was really enjoying the conversation, and the company, when her mind couldn't stop slipping to the man she had chained to a mantle in the mansion. Scott turned in his chair so that he could face her completely. Giving her his utmost attention, wanting to get across that he was completely serious. "So I, uh, wanted to tell you that you look great today, but now I wanna raise that to amazing because you didn't sleep well."

"Uh," Buffy smiled suddenly feeling more than uncomfortable at the table. "That's really sweet." Buffy choked out. "Um…and I, I wish that I didn't have to," Buffy stood up. "But I just remembered that I do, so, uh, I'll see you later." Buffy said forgetting that she hadn't finished her first sentence, before starting the other one. Patting Scott on the shoulder as she walked around him on her way out, leaving the untouched tray of jell-o behind.

"Uh, yeah." Scott said slightly uncomfortable, as he swivelled his head to watch her walk away.

Debbie, and Pete follow the diminutive blond with their eyes for a moment, before Pete looked back at Scott with a teasing grin. "Check out Scotty liking the manic-depressive chick."

Scot glared at his friend. "Shuddup Pete. She's sleep deprived, not depressed."

Buffy slipped out of the cafeteria, leaning against the wall. She had heard Pete's comment, and Scott's reply. It made her feel beyond bad that she was seeing Scott, it was obvious to her that he really did like her, and it became more obvious everyday as he grew more confident in his complements and his smiles, and in the way he had just defended her. Now that Angel was back she had to make a decision, her friends' happiness, or her own? "Why can't life be simpler?" Buffy muttered, wishing that it was pre her seventeenth birthday when everything had rose coloured glasses.

Shaking her head Buffy moved on, walking further and further from the cafeteria, and the responsibilities her friends were putting on her… that she was allowing them to put on her.

***

Buffy made her way to the mansion a mug in her hands, steam coming from the contents inside. The scent of it tickled her nose, making her want to pull away from it, but it was for Angel, and for Angel she was sure she could do anything. Buffy smiled as she reached the heavy black curtain that hung from the ceiling to block out the sun coming in through the gaping side entrance, it also effectively blocked out the wind. Carefully slipping through the curtain, not wanting to accidently burn Angel, with the harmful rays of the rising sun.

Buffy cringed to see Angel crouching against the wall whimpering as he looked around with wild eyes, as if waiting to be attacked, before hiding his face against the wall, trying to look small. Buffy stopped moving any closer when she reached the wall opposite him, watching his suffering with a heavy guilty heart. Walking towards him slowly, not wanting to startle him. Angel didn't seem to notice her as he remained unmoving in his crouch, his whimpers never ceasing. "Angel?" Buffy called hoping for some kind of reaction, even a violent one. Just something that indicated that he knew who he was. That he wasn't completely lost. There was nothing, not even a twitch to indicate that her voice had even registered with him. "Do you understand me?" Buffy asked feeling a huge sense of hopelessness, and feeling slightly at a loss for what to do for him. Looking down at the cup in her hands, the heat of the cup a small comfort, she wouldn't give up on him, he was back, and she wouldn't let him suffer. "Angel? I, I, I bought you some blood…figured you might need something to eat…" Buffy told him cautiously walking forward her eyes never wavering from is hunched over form. "It, it may not be as warm as you like…seeing as I had to walk it here…from my house…" Buffy offered him a small shaky smile even though he couldn't see it.

Slowly closing the distance between them, a small hope bubbling in her chest that he wasn't attacking her, even though she was well within striking distance. Squatting down beside him, she looked across at him for a moment. "I'm not sure if you remember how to drink from a cup, or…" Buffy trailed off sadly, her hazel eyes glued to his large cowering form. It looked so wrong to see her Angel cowering. "Angel?" Buffy said on a sighing breath. Reaching over with the cup trying to get him to at least recognise the scent, even having him snatch the cup from her grasp would make her happy at this point, but he didn't move, if anything he tried to flinch away from her presence. Buffy pulled back the cup with a sigh. Looking at him for a long moment Buffy hesitantly reached out a hand, wanting to offer comfort, as well as catch his attention.

As soon as her hand touched his back softly, Angel lashed out with sudden violence, his fist hitting her in the jaw, sending her sprawling onto her back, the cup knocked from her grasp the contents spilling on to the floor. Buffy sat herself up, backing away on with her hands and feet, to get out of reach from the unpredictable mind of her love. Putting a hand to her throbbing cheek, she turned hurt, watery hazel eyes on him, before standing up and rushing out of the mansion. She had done that to him! Made him fear even the gentlest of touches! It was all her fault! Buffy thought as she ran, tears slipping free of her eyes and running down her cheeks against her will. She could only hope that Angel could regain himself.

Angelus growled as he watched the girl run out of the room he was being kept in. He looked at the spilled cup that was within his reach, quickly reaching over he grabbed it, salvaging what remanets remained in the cup, the scent of the blood finally registering…had she been bringing him food? They didn't bring him food, they wanted him weaker not stronger, laughing at his pathetic struggles…he hated their laugh…he hated them! He'd kill them! He would! He'd rip their blasted tongues out!

Angelus licked at the inside of the cup, he vaguely remembered what he was holding, it brought a bad taste to his mouth…and so did the blood he was drinking…he used to drink this a lot…it had tasted foul but he drank it anyway…'soul'…Angelus thought…he'd had a soul…

Angelus threw the cup away, it smashed against the stone floor, but he didn't care. A frown marred his face as he unsteadily stood to his feet leaning against the wall. The more he thought about it the more he began to believe that he wasn't in hell anymore. The setting looked familiar, the room. His eyes flicked around the room, a flash of a stone demon that was gone from the room. There had been a stone demon…hell…Acathla…he'd wanted…wanted to open it…and get rid of…someone…a flash of blond hair crossed his mind…and the face of the girl that had found him…brought him food just before…yes it was the same feeling…a feeling that had been driving him mad…with anger…and resentment…

Angelus frowned he couldn't put a name to her face, but he knew she was important, that she was the reason…the reason he had been set free…an image of sweaty bodies in a dully lit room, and pleasure…lots of pleasure…whispered words…and then pain…lots of it…then freedom… Angelus' frown deepened… he couldn't remember the name…Angelus smiled slowly, and he sunk down to the ground leaning against the wall, but he would, he knew he would!

***

Pete and Debbie walked along a hall at the back of the school, the day was ending there was only two more sessions to go then the day would be out. Debbie smiled as she walked she was having a good day nothing had gone wrong. Pete hadn't done anything to scare her, it was like before…when they were first dating and Pete was…well normal.

"Debbie, come on. Just for a minute." Pete cajoled his girlfriend taking her small hands in his, and tried to nudge her gently against the wall, his cock throbbing in his pants.

Debbie evaded him with a playful smile, and shake of her head. "No, I can't. I have to meet a friend." Debbie protested reluctantly.

Pete catches her wrist again. "So you'll be late, but happy."

Pete dipped his head so that his lips meet hers in a persuasive kiss, reaching behind him for the doorknob, of a room marked supply closet. Pulling her in with him, Debbie giggled easily giving in, not having really wanted to leave her boyfriend yet anyway…not after such a good day. When Pete had closed the door, he pulled her close, his arms wrapping around her, a contented smile on his lips as her arms wrapped around him. Debbie leaned up on her toes. Pete dipped down their lips meeting passionately. Breaking off the shared kiss, and backing away deeper towards a shelf.

"No, no… let's stay here." Debbie said glancing nervously at the shelf.

"Relax Debbie. What's wrong with you today?" Pete grumbled a small smile remaining on his face as he tugged her gently towards the shelf. Debbie went along not willing to argue anymore in case it got him angry. Taking her in his arms again Pete kissed her again, their lips moving against each others in a familiar passionate way. Catching something out of the corner of his eye, Pete looked up and noticed a jar on the shelf a few drops of fluorescent fluid in the bottom.

"What is that?" Pete growled, as he looked up at it, and he felt anger begin to surface in his blood, something that happened far too easily to be natural.

Debbie glanced at it, trying not to shift nervously. She giggled huskily, turning his face back to hers. "Nothing. Kiss me." She demanded before placing her lips on his again, hoping to distract him.

"No Debbie." Pete growled pulling away. "You didn't drink that, did you?"

Debbie looked at the jar with a mixture of fear and disgust. "Drink it? You know I didn't."

Pete looked at her intensely, his eyes hard, and Debbie fought the urge to flinch, knowing from experience that at this stage it would only make him angrier. "Debbie, what's going on?"

All traces of Debbie's lust, and happiness faded and she suddenly wished that she had protested stronger against coming in here before she removed the jar from the store room. Looking back at the jar nervously, Debbie bit her bottom lip.

***

Buffy entered Mr. Platt's office for her two o'clock appointment, closing the door behind her even though the smoke in the room made her want to leave it open. She saw that he was turned towards the window again, and guessed that this was a habit for him, the cigarette burned away in his fingers. "Two o'clock. Buffy Summers, right?" Platt said like he had the first time, letting her know yet again that he memorised his appointments, or maybe he just didn't get many.

Buffy shifted nervously wondering how to begin. Extending her arm, her hand out flat in a gesture for him to not turn around, feeling like she couldn't say what she needed to with him looking at her. "Wait. Don't turn around." Buffy said when she realized her gesture was useless when faced with the back of his chair. "Ok? And don't say anything." Buffy said clutching her jacket to her, and began to pace. "Just listen. "I mean, that's, that's your thing right?" Buffy asked rhetorically.

Buffy forced herself to not pace like a caged lion in her nervous state, and came to stand behind the chair she had sat in last time. Shifting her weight from foot to foot as she thought how to put what she wanted to say. Fidgeting with the ties of her jacket as she thought. "There's something going on." Buffy began in a shaky voice. "I mean, th, this whole entire story is probably gonna convince you that I'm loony bin material, but…" Buffy shrugged helplessly. "There's no one else to talk to. "Not Willow and…not Giles…nobody." Buffy muttered and she started to pace again in agitation. "If they, if they found out, they'd freak on me, or do something, and…" Buffy took a deep breath and stoped pacing turning to face him once again. "I need help. I just… I need to talk to someone." Buffy paused taking a few calming breathes trying to get her haggard emotions under control. "I'm so scared…it's this guy." Buffy said wiping at her cheek as she felt a tear slide down her skin. Taking a step towards the desk as she did so. "H, h, he…"

Buffy cut herself off her eyes focused on the cigarette that was in Mr. Platt's hand, for the first time noticing that it was burnt all the way down to the quick, not once had the ashes been tapped off. Buffy shifted, he hadn't moved the entire time she had been talking…she hadn't even heard the sounds of his breathing… Buffy's eyes widen slightly and she looked sadly at the chair, her entire being telling her that something was wrong with this entire situation. Walking over to the chair with quick jerky steps, she gasped to see that his chest and face had been badly mauled by some type of animal, her instincts said demon.

"He's back." Buffy whispered to the silent room, marvelling silently at how easily the words came out now that she knew no one was really listening to her.

***

Pete could feel the rage bubbling beneath the surface as he walked over to the empty bottle. Picking it up, he stared at it for a moment, before turning his angry eyes back on Debbie. "So the bottle just jumped out of the cabinet and spilt on its own?"

Debbie shook her head. "Of course not. I, I was trying to get rid of it."

"You were trying to get rid of it?" Pete echoed, mockingly, his voice tinged with only a hint of the rage he was feeling.

"To help you!" Debbie said desperately trying to calm the anger in her boyfriends eyes. "You know how you get." She pleaded.

"You think, this has anything to do with how I get?" Pete said tightly his fist clenching around the glass jar in his hand.

"Well," Debbie began nervously. "When you drink it…" Debbie flinched when she was cut off by the angry roar of her boyfriend.

"When I drink it, nothing, Debbie! Nothing!" Debbie flinched again, trying her best not to show how scared she was of him in this moment. "I don't need this anymore, ok? I am way, way past that now." Pete spat slamming the jar in his hand back down on the shelf. "You see?!" Pete said taking another down, a full one this time, and threw it to the floor, it made a loud crash sound as it broke. "You see!" Pete yelled breaking another and another. "No more. You could pour out everything I made, and it wouldn't help. And you wanna know why?" Pete demanded, grabbing her by the arms. Debbie whimpered in fright, shaking her head, as she bit back sobs of fear. "You wanna know why?! Because all it takes now is you Debbie! You and you stupid, grating voice." Pete practically screamed his voice was so loud.

His neck muscles tensed and bulged. Pete cried out in pain. A grunt escaped him as his head jerked back and forth out of his control. The skin on his face and neck thickened and the veins bulged out, making his skin darker. He screamed as his head whipped around violently. Debbie watched in terror as her boyfriend became the being she feared most, a being she tried to avoid at every possible turn, but Pete…Pete tended to be unpredictable. With a final scream of pain, and anger Pete's transformation was completed. His face was mottled and grotesquely misshapen. Debbie found that she didn't have the courage to breath, scared that her life giving breathes would somehow anger this monster further.

Pete reached for her, and snagged her by the arms shaking her violently. "You're the reason I started the formulas in the first place! To be the man you wanted! And you pay me back how?!" Debbie sobbed trying to shake her head in denial, but she was too terrified. "By whoring around with other guys, and taunting me!" Pete screeched at her.

"No! I don't! I don't even look!" Debbie cried. She didn't even see other guys, at least not in the way she saw Pete. She only ever wanted him! Why could he never understand that? She had never wanted him to go and change himself…to go become this monster that terrified her.

Pete snarled and backhanded her hard. His knuckles connecting with the side of her face, sending her small body to the ground, she whimpered in terror. Slowly, taking deep calming breaths Debbie stood back up, the side of her face was throbbing with pain, but she didn't raise her hand to touch her face like she wanted to. "Is that something your shrink taught you Debbie?" Pete spat scathingly. "Huh? Huh? To share?" He snarled moving his hulking form towards her. "To communicate? To piss me off?!" Pete roared, backhanding her again in his anger, his fist hitting her in the same spot as before, sending Debbie to the floor again. This time Debbie didn't get up, curling herself into a frightened ball, as she cowered pitiful low whimpers escaping her mouth, tears streaming unchecked down her red cheeks, a bruise already forming over her eye where she had taken the full brunt of the monsters hits.

"Well guess what?" Pete snarled maliciously. "Even he's not going to listen to your pathetic ramblings anymore." Debbie looked up at him terrified. 'Oh God you didn't?!' Debbie thought. "I'm all you've got now Debbie! Do you hear me." Pete screamed pointing at her. "I am all you've got!"

Debbie continued to look at him her eyes wide and terrified, crawling backwards, never taking her eyes off him, she pushed herself up against a crate, trying to make herself as small as possible. Pete blinked down at her, realizing what he was doing, and forced himself to calm down. He looked down at his gnarled hands, then back at Debbie. "Oh my God." Pete murmured horrified at the things he had done, the things he had said to her. Changing back into his human form. He looked at her with sad eyes as she sobbed against the crate, not yet realizing that her boyfriend was back and the monster was gone. Quickly kneeling by her, wincing when she flinched away. "Hey Debbie." Pete whispered wanting her to know that he was himself again." Debbie turned away not wanting to face him just yet. "Hey listen. You know you shouldn't make me mad, huh? You know what happens." Pete said softly, taking her head in his hands, gently turning her head to face him. "Debbie please are you alright?" Pete asked kissing her forehead tenderly with all the love he felt for her. The all consuming obsession he had with her.

Debbie responded wrapping her arms around his neck, and stroking his hair, as they held each other tightly, trying to bloke out what had just happened. "It's ok." Debbie said slightly shakily her sobs having come to a complete stop. Petting his hair gently giving herself comfort from his presence and that everything was ok again. Her breathing becoming calmer. "It's ok." She said again quietly, this time her voice was gentle, with none of the shakiness of before.

***

"This creature is especially brutal. I believe the phrase coined by the coroner when describing Mr. Platt was 'pureed'. But he did confirm that Platt was killed shortly, before Buffy found him." Giles told Buffy, Faith, and Willow as he paced his library, the sun sinking lower in the sky as the day drew to a close.

"Which means that he was killed during the day." Faith summarised.

"Yes." Willow cried with elation, pumping her fist in the air like she had just won the lottery. Willow noticed the silence, and the odd looks everyone was giving her. "Sorry. I got…" Willow self consciously lowered her still raised hand. "I've just been…it's horrible, horrible." Willow ended giving up on the painful task of trying to explain away her enthusiasm over someone's death.

Buffy smiled reassuringly at her friend. "It's ok Will. We're all glad Oz is off the hook." 'And so's Angel.' Buffy thought relieved to have the lingering worries in her head put to rest.

"Indeed." Giles agreed, before checking his watch, a small concerned frown crinkling his brow. "Shouldn't he be here by now? The sunsets at five thirty."

***

Oz stood in the quad, a notebook tucked under his arm, frowning up at the sun. He checked his watch for the last time since coming out here. The person he was meeting late…very late. Oz sighed he had to get back. Turning back towards the school, about to head for the school library when he saw Debbie come running from the school. "Sorry I'm late." Debbie said with a smile, her breaths slightly heavier due to her run. "Did you bring the notes?"

"Yeah…" Oz said slowly his eyes drifting to the black eye Debbie was sporting. "Um… you ok?" Oz asked handing her the notes that he had promised her.

"What?" Debbie asked, a hand self consciously going to her eye. "Oh yeah," she said with a small laugh. "I'm such a klutz! I, um, oh…" Debbie stuttered, she hadn't gotten as far as what had caused her black eye.

"Fell down? Hit your eye?" Oz said with his deadpanned sarcasm. Behind them unnoticed, Pete watched angrily from around the corner.

"Doorknob." Debbie clarified with a bright, fake smile. "Um…thanks." Debbie said gratefully before turning to go.

Oz caught her arm concerned for the girl he considered a friend. "Hey, um… if you wanna talk…"

Debbie cut him off with a shake of her head, and another smile. "Thanks again for the notes." She said again before leaving. Heading for the girls locker room.

"Yeah…" Oz muttered, as he watched her go, a concerned frown on his face. Looking up at the sky for the hundredth time since coming out here to wait for Debbie, he ducked his head and quickly stalked off for the library.

***

"Our task now is to determine what sort of killer we are dealing with." Giles told the girls as they watched him. "Clearly we're looking for a depraved, sadistic animal." Giles described accurately just as Oz walked into the library.

"Present." Oz said with a sad smile.

Willow smiled, her expression ecstatic at seeing Oz, especially now that they had good news. Jumping up from the table she was sitting on beside Buffy. She rushed over to him, knocking Giles over in her haste, making the older man stumble slightly, before he could steady himself.

"Hey I may be a cold blooded jelly doughnut, but my timing is impeccable." Oz quipped.

Willow touched him with both hands a large smile gracing her face. "But you aren't! I, I, it's, it's a kill-in-the-day-monster! A hundred percent for sure." Willow beamed.

Oz let out a low breath of relief. "Ok." he said softly a smile stretching his lips. The first one to reach his eyes since he had been told that the window had been left open on the night Jeff had been mauled. Willow slipped an arm around his back smiling at her friends.

"Uh, I wish we had time to celebrate properly." Giles said smiling at Oz. "However, we have two victims. Jeff Orkin, and, uh, now Platt. Uh, maybe there's something they had in common." He suggested looking around at the group of teenagers he surrounded himself with, teenagers that had quickly become as close as family.

"Missing internal organs." Faith supplied after a moment of silence.

"Besides that." Giles stated giving Faith a look.

"Debbie." Oz said. Giles looked at him hopefully. "Well, victim number one, Jeff. He was in jazz band with us. They used to horse around." Oz supplied with a small shrug of his shoulders.

"They were screwing?" Faith asked seeking to confirm, what her mind had effortlessly jumped to at Oz's choice of words. Not caring about the strange looks she was getting from those around her.

"I don't think so, but he hid her music comp. book once."

"And we know that Debbie knew Platt. I mean, she was seeing him, and way vocal about not having love for the guy." Buffy said confirming the link to Platt.

"Add this and stir. I just saw Debbie a minute ago sporting a nasty black eye." Oz finished.

"Ok, so pretend Debbie wanted Platt dead. Maybe he fought back?" Willow offered.

Buffy shook her head. "No. Platt was dead in an instant. He didn't even drop his cigarette." Buffy paused as her mind went over everything, and an idea popped into her head, everything clicking into place in her mind. "Now… what if boyfriend Pete's the one doling out the punishment?" Buffy hypothesized. Becoming more certain the longer she thought about it.

"We should find them both immediately." Giles agreed, Buffy's scenario making the most sense. Both he and Buffy grabbed their coats shrugging into them quickly.

"Well, Debbie was in the quad a minute ago." Oz told them, wanting them found quickly for innocent people's sake, as well as for Debbie, he had a feeling that it was Pete that gave her that black eye, and her reaction to his questioning, seemed to suddenly make more sense.

"Alright." Giles said authoritively. "We'll split up. Um, Faith, you and I team. Willow, stick with Buffy." Giles decided.

Willow gave Oz a sad look, wanting to stay with him, and keep him company through the change. She'd come back later, and read to him some more, she decided…once this whole thing was settled. Willow stuck on her resolve face and followed the others out of the library, jogging slightly to catch Buffy up at the door.

Oz watched them go until the door closed behind them , before turning to look at the cage, that was to be his room for the third night in a row. "And… I'll go lock myself in the cage." He muttered giving the cage a glare. The only physical reminder; for the moment of what he was.

***

Debbie stood in front of the mirror in the girl's locker room a foundation pad in her hand as she patted it around her black bruise trying desperately to cover up the evidence of the monsters rage. She'd never betray her boyfriend, and she was too scared of the monster he became when angry to try and tell someone about his duel personalities. She heard the door open behind her, but didn't bother pausing or looking up, she had her excuse if asked again.

Buffy and Willow walked towards her. "It's tricky covering up a fresh shiner like that. You know what works?" Buffy asked her voice holding a slight mocking tone to it.

"What?" Debbie asked hoping that the blond would have a helpful tip that would do a better job than her foundation.

"Don't get hit." Buffy said with a shrug. Walking closer to the mirror not wanting to give Debbie the chance to run. "What's going on Debbie? I'll bet the farm you know."

Debbie shook her head. Her heart beat accelerating in her chest. "You're wrong. I don't know anything!"

Buffy rolled her eyes they did not have time for this. "Normally I'd say, you wanna play I have a secret. Fine. But people are dying here."

Debbie looked fretfully between her and Willow, her eyes slightly wider than normal. "It…it's not his fault." Debbie defended with a shake of her head. "I mean, he's not himself when he gets like this." She rang her hands together.

"You mean Pete." Buffy said to confirm their belief.

"It's me!" Debbie cried making Willow and Buffy give her a confused look. "I make him crazy. He, he just does what he does because he loves me too much."

"But weren't Mr. Platt, and Jeff murdered by an animal?" Willow asked confused.

Buffy tilted her head slightly, her hazel eyes hard. "Pete's not like the other guys," Buffy said darkly, her eyes shifting to land on Debbie again. "Is he Debbie?"

Debbie looked between the two of them again her eyes wide now with horror as she realized that they knew more than they were letting on, and that she had said too much to the two of them. "I, I've gotta go." Debbie cried grabbing her purse off the bench and made to leave. Buffy grabbed her arm stopping her progress. "You have to talk to us." Buffy demanded, Debbie shook her head. "We can't help you until you do." Buffy said softer, her eyes softening, she knew how hard it was to love someone that was hurting people…at least a side of him that was hurting people.

"I didn't ask for your help!" Debbie yelled at them.

"Well when are you going to?" Willow asked. "I mean if Pete kills you, it'll pretty much be too late."

"Debbie, we're running out of time." Buffy said softly trying to appeal to the girl, trying to reach the side of Debbie that felt guilt over the deaths of the people around her.

***

Angelus sat against the wall, the arm that wasn't forced up high by the chain, lay against one of his raised knees. His eyes were closed in sleep, but it wasn't peaceful. It was anything but as his angelic face was screwed in pain and low whimpers escaped his mouth as well as the occasional growl. His body was tense and his fists clenched tightly as he dreamed.

He was running. It always felt like he was running these days. The torment seemed never ending, and they took glee in making him feel the pain of the soul entering his body. It was a feeling that always made him cringe, and expect to be stuffed down deep in his own body under lock and key as the soul took over, leaving him only the small constellation of whispering words of death and pain, and making him relive memories he took great pleasure in.

Angelus growled as he turned a corner, to be faced with his tormentors. Ugly bastards they were with scaly skin that he supposed was designed to keep them immune from the terrible heat of this dimension. His faced shifted, he hadn't shown them his wrath in a long while, having been too busy putting some much needed distance between him and these fuckers, needing to sort out the confusion that came with feeling the pain of that pansy ass soul entering his body. Lashing out with a ferocity that would have sent any sane man running Angelus attacked the being before him. Snapping necks and breaking limbs. Tearing out hearts and crushing them in his fists. Doing anything and everything to visit at least some of the pain on them that they had caused him.

But his strength was severely impaired from the lack of food, he had been starved for the past century or so, his strength decreasing with everyday. His body never started to deteriorate though the scaly bastards wouldn't let that happen, wouldn't let him fall into a true death, he doubted he could die in this place even if they thrust a stake into his heart. Eventually the masses brought him down, forcing him to the ground, and he snarled, flailing his limbs trying to break free of their crushing grip. Metal shackles were fastened around his wrists and ankles, something in the metal making them burn the flesh they touched…they always burned, burned until he was he was surprised that they hadn't eaten through flesh and bone.

The pain didn't stop him from struggling as he was lifted from the ground, by two of this dimensions demons, biting wildly at them, their hands and arms, anything he thought he could reach. It didn't have any effect. It never did, they carried him like his struggles were a mere annoyance. They came to a stop, and Angelus stiffened, the scent reaching his nose making him want to cringe. And he looked to where it was coming from. A large vat filled to the brim with water, water that stunk of holiness. Reeked with it! Angelus snarled, a large growl like howl coming from him as they unceremoniously tossed him in. the holy water immediately attacking his skin, and begin to eat through what was left of his leather pants. His silk top having been ripped to pieces sometime during his first century here, whilst the soul had still been control. Its' pathetic acceptance and belief that he deserved everything that was done to him had pissed him off to no end.

Angelus gritted his teeth refusing to scream, as the holy water attacked him, making his skin blister painfully, partly in pride…mostly in pride, but it was also because if he opened his mouth the holy water would have access to his insides something that would increase the pain he was feeling now tenfold…

Angelus' eyes snapped open and he let out a tortured scream, his eyes looking around wildly, for his attackers. Slowly he relaxed as he saw the mansion. He remembered it now. He'd lived here, made the old mansion his home, and the home for his children. A low growl rumbled through him at the thought of his ungrateful platinum blond childe, siding with that blond bitch, The Slayer. Angelus scowled, he could remember most things now, his mind slowly unlocking his memories, but he still had yet to remember 'her' name. He knew he had said it many times, and had even given her a nickname, but he couldn't remember what it was. But at the same time he knew. Like if he read it, he'd know it in an instant. It was on the tip of his tongue, but it refused to come any closer. It was beginning to annoy him.

He looked up at the chain holding him to the wall, and gave an experimental tug, before shrugging when it didn't move. He wasn't at his best at the moment, and as much as he didn't like it, he could handle the chains. He'd be out of them soon enough whether because he broke them, or because the blond unchained him, it didn't matter, but he would be free, and then he could seek his revenge. His eyes glinted darkly as he stared at the wall opposite, not really seeing it, but memories, mainly ones with the blond in them running across his mind as he tried to remember her name.

***

"Were can we find him?" Buffy asked giving Debbie a small shake her patience with the situation wearing thin.

"I, I don't know."

"You're lying." Buffy said her hand squeezing a little tighter around Debbie's arm, before letting go with a small sigh.

"What if I am?" Debbie said defiantly. "What are you going to do about it?"

"Wrong question." Willow stated softly with a small wince as Buffy took Debbie's arm again.

Forcing her up against the sink, so that she could see her face in the mirror."Look at yourself!" Buffy demanded. "Why are you protecting him? Anybody who really loved you couldn't do this to you!" Buffy released her arm and took a couple of steps back to give Debbie some room, trying to curb the impatience she was feeling. Debbie slowly turned around to face them. "Would they take him some place?" Debbie asked.

"Probably." Buffy nodded.

Debbie shook her head sobs escaping her mouth. "I could never do that to him." Willow sighed her own patience wearing thin, she wanted to be with Oz! "I'm his everything."

Buffy looked at the girl with disgust. "Great. So what? You two live out your Grimm fairy tale? Two people are dead." She fairly growled, this was getting them nowhere fast. "Who's gonna be next?" Buffy demanded, as Debbie shook her head, and said nothing.

***

Oz paced the cage waiting for the sun to set, and for the change to begin. He wished that Willow would get back, he didn't like changing without her. He liked her being the last thing he saw before everything became a haze of black. He looked up hopefully when he heard the door open, only to see Pete walking to the library with purposeful strides, walking right up to the cage, not even batting an eye as to the reason Oz was locked in a cage in the school library.

"Since when do you touch my girl?" Pete growled, wrapping his hands around the bars of the cage door.

"Hey Pete…this is kind of a bad time." Oz said uncomfortably, the last thing he needed was for word to spread that he was a werewolf, it was uncomfortable enough for his small group of close knit friends to know.

"Well I guess you didn't think about that when you put the moves on Debbie!" Pete growled again rattling the cage door, his rage rising with each passing moment that he couldn't get his hands on the boy who thought to steal his Debbie. She was his!

Oz glanced up at the closed window where he could still see the sun slowly setting in the sky. "We talked yeah." Oz said with a casual shrug, his eyes back on Pete. "But it was move free."Oz told him, hoping to calm him down, at least long enough for Buffy to find her way back here. Pete either wasn't listening, or didn't care what he said in his defence as he rattled the cage again harder trying to break it open, not realizing the danger of such an action. It had never even crossed his mind that there could be something bigger, and badder then him in the world. "About this cage?... when the sunsets…"

"You won't be alive to see it!" Pete whispered angrily, his rage so powerful that it blocked the full strength of his vocal cords. Pete rattled the cage again, before stepping back from it, giving himself enough room for his transformation.

"I'm serious. Something's going to happen that you…probably won't believe." Oz told him feeling the wolf in him growing stronger as the sun sank deeper into the sky. Pete screamed as his head whipped around, his skin thickening and tensing as the change took place. Looking back at Oz when his change was complete, murder flashing in his furious eyes. Oz gulped and took an amazed step backwards. "Or, you might." Oz corrected himself.

Pete threw himself back at the cage door, yanking at it, yelling with each tug. The door broke free of the cage, giving to the strength of the raging out of control side of Pete. Stalking quickly into the cage with a roar, he grabbed Oz roughly, throwing him out the door, making Oz skid across the floor for a second when he landed.

***

Buffy sighed as she watched Debbie who was now sitting on one of the changing benches, hugging herself chanting continuously. "He does love me, he does love me."

"This is useless." Buffy said after another moment. "We have to go. I have to find Pete."

"He does love me." Debbie continued to chant. Willow reached over trying o grab her and pull her along. "Come on."

Debbie resisted Willow's strength. "He does love me."

"I think we broke her." Willow said in a concerned, but tired voice.

Buffy paused at the door to the locker room. "I think she was broken before this." Buffy said sadly, before she left through the door, she could deal with what to do about Debbie later. Pete was the biggest fish in her radar at the moment.

***

Pete walked out of the cage heaving Oz up over his head and down onto a table. The table quivered under the force, before giving way to it, sending the both of them down to the ground, as Pete forgot to let go as he smashed Oz down. Pete scrambled to his feet. Pulling the still stunned Oz up into the air again he punched him hard, the blow catching him in the face. Pete shook him, his rage not allowing him to keep his body still. "Did you kiss that whore? Huh? Did she like it?" Pete bellowed. Not giving Oz the chance to answer he heaved him up over his head again smashing him into the stairs.

Oz slid down the stairs, his body turning when he reached the base. Pete attacked him again, but Oz who had recovered somewhat lifted his leg, kicking Pete away from him, his enhanced strength aiding him in kicking the bigger boy away from him, sending Pete sliding across the floor. Oz looked up at one of the arch windows to see the sun sink below the horizon. Looking back over at Pete he smiled grimly. Watching him as he picked himself up off the floor. "Times up. Rules change." Oz managed to say just before the change took over, his body quickly morphing into that of the wolf his body used to the change now, unlike Pete's.

Pete could only stare in shock as Oz growled at him baring poisonous fangs at him, just before he leapt into the air attacking him, making them fall to the floor. Oz tried to bite Pete as they wrestled on the floor, but he couldn't get a good hold of him. Kicking Pete away from him, so that he could try again. He leapt at the no longer stunned Pete. Pete backhanded the wolf solidly, expecting it to stay down. But Oz wasn't fazed in the slightest, quickly leaping at Pete again sending them crashing into the stairs. Oz found a good purchase to bite into this time, and he sunk his fangs into Pete's arm, hard.

Pete screamed in agony, never had anyone been able to hurt him, not when he was in this invincible form. He was stronger then he could have ever imagined.

Buffy, Willow and Debbie heard the scream out in the halls and they all began to run in the direction of the library. They were soon joined by Giles and Faith, as they ran in from another hall, heading towards the library from where the scream had sound. "What was that?" Giles asked as they ran as if expecting one of them to know.

They ran through the library doors a moment later, their eyes going to the cage, and then to the two figures fighting on the stairs. Oz's jaws still firmly clamped down on Pete's arm. Pete repeatedly punched Oz in the head, trying to get him to let go. "Get the dart gun!" Giles demanded immediately falling back into Watcher mode.

Buffy reached behind the counter grasping the dart gun, and pulling it from its hiding place. "Got it." Buffy called cocking the gun, taking aim past Giles, she was about to fire at Pete and Oz, when Debbie shoved her to the side to protect her boyfriend. "Pete watch out!" Debbie screamed. Buffy's finger slipped on the trigger a shot going off. The dart embedding itself into Giles hip.

"Ow!" Giles yelped surprised at the sudden prick he felt imbedding itself into his hip, the tip of the dart scrapping the bone.

Pete managed to flip Oz off him, disentangling his arm from Oz's jaws. "Oh! Sorry." Buffy cried disbelievingly as she stared at the dart imbedded in Giles' hip.

"Oh right…bloody priceless." Giles muttered as the drug started to take effect, making him stagger and fall to the floor. Looking up he saw Oz trying to make a break for it. Pushing a table in the wolfs way Giles tried to inhibit Oz's escape.

Oz growled, but made a detour through the door that led in behind the counter leaping over it, he Oz made his bid for freedom, running out the library doors. Buffy lowered the dart gun, she hadn't had a clear shot, and hadn't wanted to waste anymore darts. Looking at Faith she threw the rifle to her. "You get the wolf."

"Got it." Faith said catching the rifle, and quickly giving chase to the rampaging wolf. Willow following closely behind, unwilling to leave Oz.

Debbie realizing that she wasn't being watched slipped out of the library, through the stacks. Buffy turned her attention to Pete, running up the stairs on the right side of the library stopping only to deliver a hard kick to Pete's head, sending him stumbling into a bookcase. Buffy walked closer to him as he got to his feet, heading up to the upper levels of the library. Punching him with both her fists, not relenting as she forced him back.

Pete staggered into a bookcase, giving Buffy an angry look, he grasped the bookcase and tipped it over. Buffy covered her head with her arms as the bookcase landed on her the books falling all around her. Pete let out a loud angry roar, as he ran from the library, his anger focused now on Debbie.

Pete ran through a set of doors coming out into a hall, clutching at his wounded arm. Looking around him, searching for any signs of his pursuer, not seeing her, he ran down the hall looking for an exit. Turning a corner, and pushing through another set of doors. Frantically looking for a way out, he spotted a high window above the lockers down an adjacent hall. Running for it Pete leapt on top of the lockers. Opening the window and slipping through leaving smears of blood behind on the wall.

Buffy reached the hall turn off's, three different directions facing her. Just as Pete scrambled through the window. Looking down each corridor, Buffy frowned when she didn't see him anywhere.

***

Debbie sat on the floor of the supply room leaning against one of the many crates, waiting for Pete to show up. She knew he would, he always knew where to find her in a situation like this. Debbie looked up as the door opened. Jumping up when she saw Pete, not noticing that he hadn't changed back. "Pete! You're alright! God you're alright." Debbie said relieved. Throwing her arms around him, Pete made no move to huge her back, blood still dripping down his injured arm. "She almost shot you. Did you see? I stopped her." Debbie told him proudly. Debbie let go of him reluctantly. "You have to leave, get out of Sunnydale. She knows." Debbie said sadly not wanting him to leave.

"How did she know?" Pete growled. "Did you run your big mouth?" Pete snarled.

Debbie backed up a step suddenly frightened, realizing that her boyfriend wasn't back yet. "No! She just knew. It seemed like she just knew." Debbie cried.

"So you filled in the blanks!" Pete roared shoving her to the floor.

"No!" Debbie screamed looking up at him terrified. "No!"

"But what did I expect from a screw up like you?" Pete snarled advancing on her.

Debbie shook her head frantically backing up as best she could. "I, I didn't…Pete…"

"You're nothing but a waste of space." Pete spat, before he lunged at her, murder in his once loving eyes.

"No!" Debbie screamed.

***

Buffy looked up her nerves standing on end, hoping that she had chosen the right path. Her hazel eyes rested on a window blood smeared on the wall around it. 'Gotcha!' Buffy thought as she moved towards it.

***

Oz leapt down the stairs and into the lounge of the school. Coming to a stop by the vending machine. Faith came running down the stairs after him. Oz leapt at her his hairy body sending her to the ground the gun dropping from her grasp, to land under her. Willow screamed from her spot on the stairs scared that Oz would manage to bite the brunette Slayer.

***

Buffy crawled through the window suddenly very thankful for her petite size. Getting to her feet she walked to the edge of the roof she was standing on. Looking down she jumped, knowing that the small distance wouldn't hurt her. Landing lightly on her feet she looked around. Turning around she noticed a light swinging through a window of a supply room. Forcing the door open Buffy walked in slowly, cautiously, looking for any sign of the hulking Pete. Looking behind a shelve Buffy was confronted with Debbie lying lifelessly on the floor.

Buffy bent down slowly checking her pulse to confirm what she already knew. "Oh God." Buffy murmured when she didn't feel anything. She heard a grunt, but before she could turn around Pete smashed her into some crates. Buffy hit the floor slightly dazed by the impact. Pete advanced on her a grin on his face. His eyes flashing murderously.

***

Faith struggled under Oz's weight trying to keep his jaws from clamping down on any part of her. "Where's the gun! Where's the gun!" Faith screamed at Willow as she fought with Oz's jaws.

Willow looked for a brief moment before spotting it under Faith's legs. Running up she yanked on Oz's tail, hard, before running down the hall. "Get the gun! Get the gun!" Willow cried as she ran trying to keep ahead of Oz. "Hurry!"

Faith scrambled for the gun. Cocking it, she took aim, before she fired managing to hit Oz in the ass. Oz whimpered coming to a stop, before he fell to the floor unconscious.

***

Buffy landed with a pained 'oof' outside the supply room. Quickly getting to her feet, Buffy looked up at Pete as he walked towards her his expression furious. 'Good.' Buffy thought. 'He'll come after me!' She had to get him away from the school away from populated areas, where he couldn't harm anyone else…where there fight wouldn't attract so much attention. Buffy turned tail and ran, satisfied when she heard him chasing after her.

Pete howled in anger. "You can't get away you stupid bitch!" Pete screamed as he gave chase. She knew too much, had too much knowledge about him, and his change. He couldn't allow her to live. Scott would have to find someone else to fall in love with. He could do much better than the nosey Buffy Summers!

Buffy ran out of the back entrance of the school, taking the most deserted roads, and alleyways. Jumping over the brick dead ends easily. Always making sure that she was in sight of the hulking figure of Pete as he chased after her, roaring with feral rage.

It didn't take Buffy long until she unwittingly reached the outskirts of the mansion. Stopping and bending over her knees to catch her breath for a moment she waited for Pete to catch up to her. At least this way she could pop in and see how Angel was doing after her little show down the Mr. Hyde wannabe.

"All the same!" Pete roared when he caught up with her. "You're all the same!" Pete said again just before he rushed her. Swinging a large fist at her. Buffy dodged, barely. Taking a small step back as she did so, to keep her balance. Buffy punched him hard in the face sending his head flying back. Raising her fist to do it again she inhaled sharply when he caught her fist. His large hand tightening around hers painfully.

Pete used his grip on her wrist to pull her closer, before he head-butted her. Releasing her fist, Buffy fell backwards hitting the ground with a thump, she scuttled backwards as she shook her head. Looking up at him, trying to find the right moment to stand back up again. Pete stalked after her, a cruel grin on his lips sensing that the battle was almost over.

Buffy winced slightly as she felt the curtain blocking the side entrance of the mansion caress her back as she moved backwards. The last thing Angel needed to see right now was more violence.

Angelus watched the side entrance with keen eyes. He could hear the battle going on and the sudden silence, before the soft rustling of movement getting closer to the mansion. He sat up straighter glad for something to do other than lament over his failure so far to recall that blasted woman's name. He watched as the curtain shifted moving slowly, until the blond he had been trying to remember the name of between fits of nightmarish dreams, all day, come through the curtain. After the girl, came a hulking monstrous looking male. His features speckled and badly deformed, rage pouring off him like a tornado.

Buffy tried to move herself faster, she needed to put more distance between them to stand up without being knocked down again before she'd even gotten up half way. "You know the only reason I'm gonna feeling anything about killing you is when I have to put up with Scott's melancholy." Pete snarled as he kept on advancing.

Buffy finally gave up on putting more distance between them, and just flipped to her feet. Her hands grasping his arms as she kneed him in the balls a couple of times before head butting him, making Pete stumble back. Buffy pressed the heel of her hand to her forehead, grimacing at the unpleasant throbbing there. She hadn't realized his head would be so damned hard. Buffy looked up in time to see a large fist flying at her face. Not having time to block it Buffy took it head on stumbling back, tripping over her feet to land on the hard stone. "Ahh." Buffy moaned, shaking her head, and once again crawling away from Pete using her elbows and the heels of her feet to push her away from him. Her hazel eyes never leaving him.

Buffy gasped surprised as a growl sounded close to her, glancing at Angel she was in time to see him lunge forward just managing to grip Pete's wrists in one of his own. Swinging Pete round effortlessly smashing him into the fireplace, his forehead slamming against the mantle making him stumble and turn angry eyes on the vampire. Buffy scrambled to her feet, just as Pete swung his fist into Angel's face, sending him to the ground. A feral growl ripped from his throat and when she saw his face again. It was to see the golden amber eyes of the demon, the hard ridges of his prominent brow not escaping her notice either.

Angelus looked up at the boy, with a smirk, he smelt human, but also demon, an odd mix of the two. The rage surrounding the boy was odd as well like it wasn't all his own, like there was something else inside him that was severely ticked off at having been disturbed. Kicking out his leg. He smashed his foot into the boys kneecap, and he heard the satisfying sound of the loud crack signifying that he had broken the fragile bone. He grimaced though at the unpleasant resounding shockwave the action sent through his own badly weakened leg, he had to end this quickly! Pete screamed loudly as he fell to his knees.

Angelus leapt on him the chains the bound him rattling with the movement. He strained forward so that his hands rested on either side of the boys head. Pete thrashed trying to get up. He couldn't die! He was invincible! Nothing out matched him! Nothing! Pete screamed as he struggled almost succeeding in throwing the crazy son of a bitch off, but he held firm refusing to be dislodged.

Angelus twisted with all his might, grunting as it took a little extra power then he had originally anticipated. But with a resounding crack the boys neck broke, and Angelus watched as his face returned to that of an ordinary human the seething wrath emanating from the boy disappearing, having once again been set free. Angelus stood up turning to face the blond who was looking at him with watery hazel eyes. He stalked towards her only stopping when the damned chains forced him to. As he looked at her he felt the anger, and the conflictingly lightness in his chest, something that he now recognized as caring; he refused to call it love, he didn't love! And suddenly the name that had been ever elusive for the long hours he had thought on it popped into his head, and spilled out of his mouth before he fully realized it. "Buffy?"

Buffy's eyes widened and she flew at him, throwing her arms around him, a few tears leaking unbidden from her eyes. 'He was back!' Angelus tensed contemplating how to react, before bringing his arms up to rest on her sides lightly. Wanting out of the chains, more then he wanted to throw her and the disgusting feelings she invoked in him away. "Buffy?" Angelus said again, careful to keep his voice, and expression like Angel's.

Buffy looked up at him. "Angel?" She asked brushing her fingers over his cheek lightly, lovingly.

"Do you think…" Angelus trailed off pulling at the chain lightly making them rattle.

"Oh?" Buffy said with a small blush. "Of course!" Buffy cried immediately feeling bad again for chaining him up in the first place. Digging into her jeans pocket, she felt around for the small key she had shoved in there, hoping that it hadn't fallen out sometime during the scuffle. Breathing a sigh of relief when her fingers grazed it, she pulled it out of her pocket quickly fitting it into the small hole in the manacle and twisting, the manacle falling to the floor with a dull clank.

Quickly divesting him of the other one Buffy took one of his hands in hers wincing at the damage done to the skin there by the heavy manacle. She was about to apologise and say that she thought she had something to ease the abraded skin when Angel spoke first. "Thanks lover you've been a big help."

Buffy felt her blood freeze, and her heart skip a beat in her chest, at the cold mocking voice. 'Angelus?' Her mind told her. 'No!' Buffy thought jerking her head up to look into his eyes, to see the soul in his chocolaty depths. Buffy searched his eyes, but it wasn't there! They were empty, and filled with the loathing hate that had filled them after her seventeenth birthday. Buffy moved to jerk away, but Angelus anticipated her, his large hand tightened around her waist, and the other, the one she had held in her hand gripped her wrist harshly, before he swung her around. Smashing her into the wall, that he had been chained to. Her head just missing the iron bracket the chain was still looped around. His large hand closing itself around her slender neck pushing her higher up the wall, his body pressed in close to hers to keep her effectively pinned.

Buffy's hands closed around the wrist around her neck as he pressed his palm against her windpipe making breathing difficult. Buffy struggled slightly, but stopped soon after as more pressure was applied to her windpipe in chastisement. "It…it's not p, possible!" Buffy managed to choke out around the pressure on her neck.

Angelus smirked at her. "Hmmm? Oh, you mean that pansy assed idiot of a soul that you sent to hell with me." Angelus questioned mockingly, smiling cruelly as Buffy lashed out with her legs weakly, twisting her torso in an attempt to break free of his grasp. Buffy felt tears come to her eyes as he forced her harder into the wall, the hand he had on her waist burning her despite the fact that it was cool. She blinked them away refusing to give him the satisfaction. Angelus' smile grew crueller if that were possible, making Buffy flinch like she expected a blow. "Hell grew too much for the poor bastard, and he started to fade…deteriorating if you will. Until he disappeared completely leaving me behind." Angelus snarled as he had to push Buffy against the wall again as she twisted violently, a cry echoing from her lips at the news.

"Of course he only lasted as long as he did because of you. He thought about you every God damned day in that place, and I tell ya after a century of hearing that I was more than ready to stake myself, it was that damned tedious!" Angelus snarled. "Buffy I'm so sorry. I never wanted you to have to meet him. I never wanted to hurt you." Angelus mimicked in a slightly higher pitched voice.

Buffy dug her nails into his flesh hoping to get him to at the very least loosen his hold, she couldn't really breath. Her body was panicking and breathing too quickly to get any real air into her lungs, she had to breathe slower! Despite the fact that she knew this her body wasn't cooperating with her. Tears slipped free of her eyes to roll down her cheeks. 'Angel.' Buffy thought sadly. 'I'm so sorry!' Angelus leaned closer, and Buffy arched her head away from him trying to evade whatever it was he had planned. His tongue flicked out licking languidly at her tears, tasting her liquid pain. Buffy whimpered as his cool tongue touched her cheek, the familiar coolness of his tongue sending shocks through her already overly taxed body. Angelus pulled back licking his lips hungrily, taking a deep exaggerated breath. "I love the scent of your fear Buff. You have no idea how long I wanted to have you at my mercy you fear, and pain surrounding me!" Angelus growled. "I'll thank you right proper for sending me to hell." Angelus promised darkly. Buffy struggled in his grasp again, her thighs brushing against his leather clad hips. "You're death isn't going to be pretty Buff. I after all have centuries of torment to thank you for, but I am going to enjoy every second of it!" Angelus snarled.

Buffy looked down at him from the corner of her hazel eyes, she couldn't help the fear she felt at seeing him again, at hearing his threatening words, but she'd be damned if she let him beat her down. He didn't succeed last time he wouldn't this time! Buffy mustered up a glare. "And your dafter then you look if you think I'm just going to roll over and die!" Buffy choked out, before letting one of her hands fall from his wrist. Punching him hard in the chest with as much force as she could manage, in the tight cramped space between his hard body and the wall. Luckily for her his weakened state made her punch effective enough for him to double over, letting her drop to the ground in a pile of limbs.

Buffy scrambled away, trying to get to her feet, and run at the same time. She let out a scream when his hand closed around her ankle, and pulled her back towards him. Looking back she saw his amusement, and anger in his smirking face, as he sat on his knees, one hand still curled protectively into his chest. It was only for a moment though, before she slammed her foot into his face. Trying desperately to make him let go. Slamming her foot back into his face a second time she heard a small crack and the hold on her foot disappeared. Getting to her feet she didn't look back as she ran from the mansion. It was the only thing she could think of to do, she was weapon less, and shaken to her core by this new development and she had to regroup and get her bearings. Decide what she wanted to do… needed to do.

Angelus watched her go as he set his nose back into place, before it healed crooked. He licked the blood that had spilled onto his hand not willing to waste it, before he stood, not bothering to go after her. There was plenty of time to finish things with Buffy, and it would be amusing to see her suffering as she waited for him to make his final move.

Angelus looked to the dead body in his mansion and shrugged, he'd get rid of it a bit later. He walked deeper into the mansion heading up a flight of stairs, and down the hall a ways until he reached his room. Opening the door Angelus looked around. "Ah it's good to be home." Angelus said with a small chuckle as he went about getting cleaned up. He was going to The Bronze, he was beyond famished, in more ways than one.

On one of the nightstands next to the large bed, the small Claddagh ring sat shining dimly in the light from the room. For the moment it was ignored by the demon as he moved about the room getting ready for his first night back on the town.

***

Buffy walked the quad beside Willow and Oz the couple holding hands as they walked. Xander and Cordelia beside them their hands joined as well. "It's all over the school. What happened with Debbie and Pete… except for the Pete was a monster part." Willow exclaimed slightly surprised at how fast the news had gotten round even in the gossip crazy school.

Oz nodded. "Yeah, a freshman told me that Pete had eight iced café mochas and just lost it."

"That's better than the estrogen theory. I heard he took all his mother's birth control pills." Buffy snorted, acting as normal as she could.

Cordelia looked at Xander confused. "He didn't? Pete was a monster?" Xander nodded confirmingly. "Where have I been?"

"In your special place Core, which is why I adore you." Xander responded giving her hand a squeeze.

"So what's the true story? What happened?" Cordelia asked the group.

"Well we got a hold of, uh, Pete's lab books and stuff, and Mr. Science was doing a Jekyll/Hyde deal. He was afraid Debbie was going to leave him, so he mixed this potion to become super mass macho." Willow explained.

"The only thing was after a while. He didn't need the potion to turn into a bad guy. H, he did it just fine on his own." Buffy stated.

"So it was like a real killing? He wasn't under the influence of anything?" Cordelia asked feeling horrified.

"Just himself." Buffy agreed. Buffy looked over across the quad to see Scott sitting by himself. "Uh…" Buffy turned back to the group. "I'll see you guys later." Buffy told them before walking over to Scott.

"Great." Cordelia whined. "Now I'm going to be stuck with serious thoughts all day."

Xander raised his eyebrow at Willow, before walking after Cordelia. Willow didn't really notice though as she watched Buffy walking over to Scott. She was worried about her friend. Despite having saved the day she seemed sad about something…well sadder, like something had happened…something she wasn't willing to share. She squeezed Oz's hand, smiling when he squeezed back. The both of them continued to watch Buffy, wanting to be there if she needed them.

Buffy sat down next to Scott. "I don't know what to say that's… not gonna sound stupid, or obvious." Buffy said softly.

"I've been friends with them both since before we started school." Scott said morosely.

"Is there anything I can do?" Buffy asked looking at him.

Scott met her gaze, remaining silent for a long moment before speaking. Giving her a weak smile. "Thanks. I'm gonna be ok. It's just that you never really know what's going on inside somebody. Do you? I mean you think… if you care about them…but you never really do."

Buffy took one of his hands in her own giving it a squeeze. "It's not your fault… no one saw this coming… and as much as you may want to believe it… there was nothing you could have done to stop it." Buffy said slowly, carefully. Drawing from her own experiences with loss.

Scott didn't react for a minute, but then he squeezed her hand, and gave her another smile. "Thanks…do you think…do you think you could sit with me for a while?"

Buffy smiled at him and nodded. "Of course." Buffy was slightly surprised when he leaned against her, but she accepted it. Wrapping an arm around the back of his neck so that she could stroke his hair… she needed to move on… it was beyond time…

***

Buffy sighed as she looked out at the darkness from her bedroom window, her stakes cleverly hidden on her body. She hadn't gone out for her patrol last night, leaving it for Faith knowing that Angelus wouldn't be after her that first night. She'd spent the night thinking, not being able to sleep, as she wondered what he was doing and what he had planned. Her own plan she had decided was simple dust him as soon as she could. It had been a hard decision, but after much thinking and debating she had decided that she couldn't bring herself to bring Angel back. He'd suffered enough in his life. Dealing with a guilt that wasn't his own to bear, and now the torments of hell… she couldn't make him live with it… she couldn't bring herself to bring him from his peace.

She knew he was at peace. He had been too good to not be resting in a heaven like dimension now. Whether it was the aether or someplace like it, he was finally able to rest, and one day she would join him, and they could live the life they hadn't gotten to live here, and this time there would be nothing to keep them apart.

Buffy opened the window and slipped out into the night. She had also debated a great deal about telling her friends about Angelus' return, but had in the end had decided against it. She rather they didn't know and live in fear. She was going to kill him before he could get to them so there was no point in making them panic. However, if it turned out that she couldn't kill him as easily as she hoped, then, then she would tell her friends… if only to give them fair warning. Buffy pulled down her window until there was only enough room for her fingers to fit through when she returned from her patrol later.

Buffy climbed down from the tree outside her window and headed off to patrol…she probably wouldn't be alone for long Faith would probably be looking for her tonight, if only to find out why she skived out last night. Buffy smiled mirthlessly as she walked. She had hoped that this particular nightmare was long over, but it seemed that she wasn't that lucky.

It shouldn't really surprise her thou, her life had stopped being easy the moment she was confronted with Merrick, the first stuffy Watcher she had encountered.

A/N: Well that was the chapter, hope you liked my modifications. :D I'll have the next chapter up as soon as I can, but in the mean time please feed the musie so that she feeds me. :D Stories get updated sooner that way, and then where all happy, lol. ;P