Finally after an uneventful flight from LA, Buffy and Face reached a small establishment called 'Joe's Bar'. There they were to meet the so called 'friend' of Travers, who was going to take care of Buffy for the next while.
Looking over the building Buffy took a deep breath and then entered quickly. Since it was still quite early, the bar was mostly empty except for a barkeeper behind the counter and an older man on a small stage who was practicing on his guitar.
While the barkeeper looked up as the two entered and then quickly said, "We're still closed, come back later," Face stood still and looked at the older man on the stage. "Joe? Joe Dawson?" he asked, surprised.
At hearing his name Joe stopped playing and looked up and at the two newcomers. "If it isn't Templeton Peck! I haven't seen you since Nam and you still look good," he said and then put down his guitar, took his cane and walked over to them. "What are you doing here Face?" he asked, curious.
"I'm here because of this young woman. We're here to meet a friend of my current employer, who's going to take her in for a while," Face replied.
"Interesting and I'm sorry Miss. I'm Joe Dawson, proud owner of this fine establishment," Joe introduced himself and held his hand out to Buffy.
"I'm Bu...ahmm Elisabeth Winter," Buffy said, quickly correcting herself.
"So, when are you meeting this friend you were talking about Face?" Joe asked.
"Travers told me we would meet Mr. McLeod here around 3 PM," Face answered.
Joe looked at Face, surprised, and then back at the young woman. 'Was she a young immortal or why should Travers want her to meet Mac?' he quickly thought and then said, "Seems like you'll have to wait a bit longer than that. Mac is still in Paris and won't be back until the day after tomorrow."
"Damn," Face cursed. "I've got to get back to LA. Can Miss Winter stay with you until he arrives?"
Joe nodded and then said, "Yes, that shouldn't be a problem. Mac is a friend of mine and I have a spare room. I just have to ask you to keep out of the bar after its open, Miss Winter, since I guess you aren't 21 yet, are you?"
Buffy shook her head and replied, "No, I'm not and thank you for the offer of the room."
"No problem," Joe answered and then turned to the barkeeper. "Henry, would you give Miss Winter here the key to my guest room and then show her where it is?"
Henry just nodded and then asked Buffy to follow him.
After they were both gone Joe turned to Face. "It's really good to see you Face. Care to tell me your secret to how you are still looking so young?" he asked him, quite curious because as far as he knew, no member of the so called A-Team was an Immortal.
Oz did his best to hold onto whatever was left of his human mind, but it was getting harder and harder to think. The beast was gaining more and more control over his actions. Soon he would be nothing more than a wild animal and maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing. At least then he wouldn't have to live with the pain of Willow's death or the guilt of having killed Cordelia. Maybe being free from his emotions and mind would finally free him of that baggage and allow him to focus on killing Angelus. So finally he gave in to the beast and allowed it to win. When the moon fell tonight, he would hunt and he would feed and grow stronger and then he would find Angelus.
(Nash Antiquities, New York City)
As Joyce entered the shop a small bell over the door rang and the voice of a woman came from the back. "One second please, I'll be with you in a moment," the voice said.
Joyce smiled at hearing the voice of the woman. It was quite older than the last time she had heard it, but it sounded like the voice of Rachel Ellenstein. She still remembered fondly the kind woman who was something like family to Russell. As she looked around and enjoyed the antiquities standing around, she called back, "Take your time Rachel. I'll enjoy the view in the meantime."
She heard a 'crash' from the back room and a quiet "Damn" and then an older woman around 55 or so came into the front of the store. As she saw Joyce, she stood still for a second in surprise. "Joyce?" she asked and then quickly came over to her and pulled Joyce into a hug. "This is a surprise," she said.
Joyce enjoyed the hug for a moment and then she couldn't help herself. She broke out into tears again.
Rachel kindly wiped the tears of Joyce's face and pulled her to a nearby couch. "What happened, my dear?" she asked the younger woman.
Joyce took a few moments to calm herself down again and then told Rachel a slightly edited version of Buffy's death. After she had told her tale she quickly got into the comforting embrace the shocked Rachel offered her.
After Joyce had spent several minutes crying in Rachel's arms, they both heard the tell tale sign of the doorbell.
As Joyce looked up she heard a surprised male voice asking, "Joyce?" and as she saw the man she was quite shocked herself. Her first glance went to the skylight through which a lot of sunlight still fell. "Russell? What? How? Don't tell me you're a day walking vampire and that's why you are still look like you did eighteen years ago."
(Sunnydale, an old factory on the west side)
Xander watched as night began to fall before he moved to the table and began to prepare his weapons for the hunt. Jenny was already doing the same while Blade, who was already prepared, watched them. His expression was as bland as usual and yet Xander felt the experienced hunter was eager to start the hunt. Whistler was sharpening some swords for Kendra who waited beside her watcher. The five of them would hopefully have more luck in locating Angelus than Blade and Kendra had had by themselves. After all, Xander knew Angelus wanted to kill him and Jenny more than anything, so they made good bait.
"Ok Kid, here are your swords," Whistler finally said as he finished. "They're sharp as hell and should take a vamps head off easily," he explained as he handed them over and watched as Kendra took their measure before smiling and placing them into scabbards tied to her back. "I'll be listening in by radio, if you get into real trouble let me know and I'll come in as backup," he told them.
"This shouldn't need your help old man," Blade replied with a slight shake of his head. "We can handle this," he stated before he turned and headed for the exit while Whistler smirked, knowing his charge meant no disrespect and in his own way wanted to keep him safe. He was the closest thing to family Blade had and while he never showed his emotions, Whistler knew how his charge felt about him through such small gestures.
"Good luck," Whistler called after them before he headed back to work on his latest invention for Blade.
Jessica didn't even bother to wait for Angelus to order her to leave. She gathered a group of followers numbering at least 15. Her main target was of course the Slayer, as Angelus had ordered. If she didn't kill the Slayer, she knew Angelus would carry out his threat to kill her. So she would do as she had been told. However, her secondary target was of course her son. She wanted him by her side and thus she hoped to capture him and turn him and his female friend as well. She smirked as she imagined it. Once she had them on her side she could rebel against he sire and destroy him.
Angelus watched them go from the back, hoping they would at least be able to take out the new Slayer. Something told him she would be far more trouble than Buffy had ever been. It still rankled that he had lost the opportunity at revenge on the blond haired bitch and so he decided he needed to kill something and called four of his followers to follow him. He would find some blond haired girl who reminded him of Buffy and torture and feast on her before killing her, and he decided he knew exactly who to go for.
Oz howled as the beast tore through him and whatever was left of his human mind faded away. The change was over quickly and he let out another howl which brought the manager to his door. The man began to bang on it and demand entrance. Oz tore through the door and smashed into the man who began to scream as he took note of what had landed on him, but Oz quickly bit into the man's throat, stopping him. With a powerful yank, Oz ripped his throat out, causing blood to cover his snout. It pooled on the floor as Oz feasted on his kill. A woman rushed out and went to scream, but another wolf brought by Oz's howls quickly smashed into her and began to tear into her. Once both wolves were done feeding, they began to circle one another, growling once or twice at each other before the second wolf turned and began to run off, pausing only to make sure Oz followed, which he did.
(One of Sunnydale's Graveyards)
Xander felt slightly nervous as he followed Blade. He was having flashbacks to his crazed attempt at killing Angelus a few nights before. Jenny's presence beside him at least calmed him somewhat. Kendra and Zabuto brought up the rear of their group. Blade suddenly paused and brought out his sword. Kendra did the same as her senses went on alert. Xander pulled one of his new guns and turned to the side, while Jenny did the same on the other side.
"Surrender Alexander," his mother's voice came out of the darkness. "Surrender yourself to me and I will spare your friends," she offered.
"You are not my mother. She is dead and all you are is a demon who is controlling her corpse," Xander growled out in hatred and almost took a step forward. Blade's sword quickly blocked his path and he managed to quickly regain his control.
"I see you've learned more control," Jessica hissed, annoyed that her ploy of baiting her son had failed. "I guess we do things the hard way then," she stated before giving the signal to attack to the rest of her group.
Blade and Kendra dropped into a combat stance at the same time as vampires appeared all around them. Zabuto joined Xander and Jenny in the middle, pulling his own weapons. Each of them knew it wasn't going to be an easy fight. The vampires waited only a second before charging at them.
Angelus stalked the upper balcony and looked down, searching for his target. A few seconds later he finally located Harmony Kendall and her friends. His followers let out growls of appreciation at the beauties below. He had to admit they were stunning and he could admit it was a shame Cordelia Chase had been killed by the werewolf. Having her as a slave would have been fun. Still, her so called Cordettes would do.
"Remember, the blond is mine and mine alone," Angelus growled at his followers. "Anyone of you so much as touches her and you die painfully," he warned with a glare at each. "We take all five, make sure none of them escapes," he added as he moved away and headed downstairs.
The vampires worked their way through the crowds easily. Even with the sudden increase in deaths the Bronze was packed. Angel reached the girls first and quickly brought his arm over Harmony's shoulders, drawing her attention. Harmony was at first going to scold whoever had dared touch her, but the minute she laid eyes on the man behind her, all thoughts of that fled her mind. He was stunning and her mouth watered, the smile he shot her made her tremble.
"Hello beautiful," Angelus said and smiled as his followers finally arrived and drew the attention of the other Cordettes.
(Cave near Sunnydale)
Oz couldn't believe how many werewolves were in this cave. He had always thought he was the only one, but now he knew there was a whole pack here and that gave him an idea. The slim bit left of his human mind grew a bit stronger again, as he planned how he could use this pack to hunt and kill Angelus and each of his followers. He moved forward and issued a challenge to the current pack leader. A rather large werewolf stepped forward in acceptance. They circled each other before slamming into each other, their claws ripped into each other's bodies while they tried to find a way to sink their fangs into the others neck.
Oz was the first to back away, but he quickly attacked again, catching his target off guard as it attempted to circle him. His claws sank into the side while he finally managed to sink his fangs into the neck of the other wolf and clamp down hard. The werewolf howled in pain and tried to shrug him off, but Oz hung on and bit harder. He used the claws on his hind legs to rip open wounds on the legs of the other wolf, which brought it down and allowed him better access to its neck. He sank his fangs back in and this time ripped into its tendons and veins. Blood coated the other wolf's fur as it collapsed to the ground and Oz finished it quickly. Clearly his target had to have been old. There could be no other reason he could have won against a more experienced werewolf this easily.
(Watchers HQ, London, England)
Giles got the meal he asked for and now was waiting on what would happen next. He really wished the ball would start rolling because sitting around in his cell and waiting had one profound effect on him. He was bored out of his mind and so he listened up as he heard a voice in front of his door.
"Marcus, I'm here to relieve you," he heard one of the voices say and the young man who stood guard before his door replied. "Good, I really could use a coffee. Any word on when this poor smuck here is to have his trial?"
Giles listened up at that because that would interest him as well. "As soon as Travers is back from the States, I heard. Wyndam-Price tried to go through the trial before he was back, but luckily for the guy here, the Senior Council voted him down. They're all waiting on Travers now. So, how is your 'guest' doing?"
"Bored out of his mind like me, I would guess," Marcus replied.
"Bored huh? Wanna hear a stupid joke my brother told me this morning? I just can't get it out of my mind since then. Damn, brothers are a pest sometimes," the newcomer said.
"Let's hear it before I go grab a coffee," Marcus said.
"But don't blame me for it. It's all Fred's fault. It goes like this.
"The slayer is standing on a small hill and sings '21 tralala 21 tralala' for quite a while. A vampire who saw this quickly joined the young girl on the hill and as he reached her, he asked her why she was singing 21 tralala all the time. At that moment the slayer, without wincing, plunged a stake through the vampire's heart. As he was dusted, she started to sing 22 tralala 22 tralala."
Giles shook his head in amusement and had to agree with Marcus as he said, "Damn, that was really a bad one. I really need a coffee now. See you later." Just as he was nearly away, Giles and the new guard in front of his door heard a "22 tralala" and a loud "arrrrghhhhhh!"
"You know that joke was evil young man, your friend will be really pissed at you in a few hours," Giles said with laughter in his voice.
"You're telling me that? I could kill my brother right now for telling it to me," the guard said. "I'm Bill by the way."
"Rupert Giles," Giles replied. "So, any news on when the trial will be?"
"As I said to Marcus here, as soon as Travers is officially back from the states," Bill said.
"Officially?" Giles said in surprise and the young man just nodded and made a sign to be silent about that topic. "Btw, your Uncle wishes you to have this," Bill said and gave Rupert a small paper tissue.
Giles looked curiously at the young man and raised an eyebrow in question.
"Your uncle said that if needed you should ask for your brother, but not before then," Bill said.
Giles nodded and sat down on the small uncomfortable stool in his cell, pondering the meaning of all this.
(Nash Antiquities, New York City)
Russell looked at Joyce with surprise and asked "Daywalking Vampire?"
Joyce, who was still sitting besides Rachel on the couch, nodded. "Yes, that would explain why you don't seem to have aged since I last saw you."
Russell, or better Connor, as his real name was, thought this over for moment. "So you know about vampires and the supernatural?" And as Joyce nodded he continued, "That will make things easier and to assure you, no I'm not a daywalking vampire."
Joyce looked at him curiously and only said, "So?"
Russell took a deep breath and said, "That's a long story."
Rachel smiled and said, "He's Connor McLeod, he was born in the Highlands of Scotland over 600 years ago and he cannot die."
Joyce and Russell blinked at the same time and then Russell said, "Ok, maybe not that long."
"You're over 600 years old? Damn and you don't look a day over 30," Joyce said, a bit shocked, but not to surprised after all she had heard in the last couple of days.
"Ok now that this is out in the open, what has brought you to New York, Joyce?" Connor asked.
Joyce took a deep breath and this time, knowing that both knew about the Supernatural, told the unedited story, or at least the one she knew.
After she had finished her tale Connor looked at her, speechless. He shook his head and then said, "Your daughter?" he took a deep breath and then continued. "That isn't possible...You couldn't have had a daughter. No Immortal or pre-Immortal can have children," he babbled out without realizing what he had just let out, but the loud "WHAT?" from Joyce brought him right back to what he just said.
New characters this chapter:
Ellenstein, Rachel - Secretary to Russell Nash (aka Connor McLeod and his adopted daughter)
Nash, Russell - Alias of the Immortal Connor McLeod
Dawson, Joe - Head of the North West Watchers, Immortal Department.
Henry - Barkeeper in Joe's Bar.
Winter, Elisabeth - New alias of Buffy
McLeod, Connor - Immortal Scotsman
Bill and Marcus - Two guards in front of Giles cell