Full Summary: Buffy returns from her summer in L.A. mentally and emotionally scarred after her death at the hands of The Master. After her bad behavior puts her friends in danger, she once again assumes the mantle of Slayer and things appear to be back to normal. However, Buffy is still on edge after her traumatizing drowning experience. She decides to summon a rare and ancient ally to aid her in her mystical duties called The Slayer's Protector. Libby Winters arrives in Sunnydale just in time to help Buffy deal with two new vampires, Spike and Drusilla, who just moved into town, but tensions run high when fatal secrets are revealed and all relationships are put to the test. Especially when Angel's gruesome past comes screaming back to haunt them all.


Chapter One

The Protector

Buffy walked through the cemetery for what seemed like the thousandth time. Tombs filled the green and brown earth marking the potential awakening spots for newborn vampires, each more daunting than the last. Still, Buffy drew in deep breaths and tried to focus on the silver lining of slaying. Strength, power, confidence in her abilities, how everything was black and white…yet something was missing.

It had been two weeks since she smashed the Master's bones and the slayer was doing her best to get back to normal while overcoming the painful memories. However, the nightmares of that gruesome vampire sinking his brutal teeth into her neck and then dropping her into that dank pool of murky water to die haunted her dreams.

Buffy managed to reclaim her powerful self in her life and duties, but every night when she was alone there was a cold, lingering sensation over her shoulder. It took all of her courage and cautiousness not to peer behind her, as the slayer knew nothing would manifest.

A crisp breeze blew across the cemetery to shake her from routine thoughts. Buffy crossed her arms and hugged her jacket closer to her chilled form. She couldn't remember the last time she felt truly warm or the last time she felt safe. Not since she became the slayer. How did anyone expect her to survive in a life like this? Oh right, she wasn't supposed to. Not forever anyway and she already died once, so when was she going to die again permanently?

The young girl shook her head and quickened her pace. Just because she was able to overcome everything that was thrown at her so far did not mean that Buffy only sometimes felt the weight of her calling crushing down on her shoulders. Something had to be done.

As Buffy walked around a crypt, she began to hear chanting. She swiftly sprinted towards the sound, all the while not letting herself be seen. Within a few moments, the slayer came upon four large and menacing demons chanting over a ceremonial circle. She assumed it was made by them since the circle was made out of human bones, a symbol dug into the ground, and their own thick, orange blood. What put her on edge was that the demons themselves were a dark gray color with black devil horns and knife-like claws longer than her fingers, which made the human blood that was smeared all over their bulky and hideous bodies shine a bright and deadly crimson.

Buffy had to force herself to concentrate on the chant, but all she made out was gibberish and a little bit of pig-Latin, but when they all said the word, "Tégurhes" and raised their arms in commanding unison, it didn't matter what she was trying to understand.

A portal of blinding red-ish orange light burst through the symbol on the ground and the whole graveyard shook. Buffy held onto the tombstone she was hiding behind and watched as the same kind of evil creature emerged from the portal and stood before his followers. The chanting demons all knelt before him and Buffy stared at the gigantic demon. It was at least eight feet tall and as wide as two of his followers. His mouth revealed sharp and jagged teeth and glowing eyes the same color as the portal.

Buffy gulped and tucked her hair back.

As the ridiculously enormous demon was greeting his followers, the slayer ran over to them and threw two of the lesser demons behind her by the horns and kicked the two others to the ground.

"Do you have an invitation to be here?" Buffy asked.

The leader growled and went to strike her and Buffy ducked. The other four came charging back but Buffy fought them off and killed one in order to knock the leader to the ground with something heavier than her stake.

The three followers attacked her on all sides and the slayer was trapped. One grabbed her from around the waist while the other two grabbed her arms and legs. Buffy struggled to get free but their grasp was too strong. They lifted her up to their master and as he was ready to slice her in half with his claws, Angel came flying in from nowhere and tackled the leader.

Creating a good distraction, Buffy kicked a lesser demon in the face and punched another one between the eyes before flipping herself over the one who held her torso in order to snap his neck. She faced the last two and after a bit of fighting, Buffy drove her stake into one's face and broke the other demon's neck.

The slayer turned to see Angel fighting the leader and she couldn't help but admire his fighting skills. It was amazing, he was amazing. The way Angel was so quick in countering the demon's moves and executing his own blows, Buffy watched completely mesmerized by his heroism and undeniable gorgeousness.

Then, Angel had his feet kicked out from under him. The slayer immediately went into action and easily ignored her minor pain to help her beautiful vampire. Together they fought the evil monster but it was a lot harder than Angel made it seem. The demon's strikes were brutal. Buffy could feel her bones bruise and when she didn't get out of the way fast enough, the demon slashed her side with his razor sharp nails.

The slayer was determined not to fall to the ground, but an enraged Angel fought with new passion and quickly crushed its head into a tombstone, causing lots of orange blood to spew and spill all over the soft grass.

The slayer straightened up and pressed her hands to her wound as Angel walked over. She couldn't help but smile at the sight of him. He was dressed so nicely in his dark clothes as usual and glowed in the moonlight with his proud yet humble expression that you wouldn't know he just killed a demon in a very disgusting way.

"You're hurt," he said in a worried, but still velvet voice. "How bad is it?"

"Oh, no worries," Buffy tried to cover it up. "It's just a cut, I'll be fine by tomorrow."

Angel took another step toward her and his captivating eyes desperately pried for the truth.

Buffy huffed and confessed, "Okay, okay, it hurts, but nothing that won't heal."

The soulful vampire came very close to her and gently held her hands in his, the concern for the woman he loved filling his eyes. "You need to have that taken care of right away." His voice was so soft and caring that Buffy couldn't help but stare at his lips. "I think your bruises will be gone by tomorrow, but you need to bandage your cut or it'll only get worse; even with you."

"I'll be sure to do that," Buffy smiled. "So, how do you know this won't heal all by itself in the knick of time?"

"I know a lot more about how to hurt people than I'd like." Angel answered solemnly, releasing her hands.

"Still," The young blonde continued sweetly, "I appreciate the help. Thanks."

Angel smiled down at her and brushed a strand of hair out of her hazel eyes. She was more beautiful to him than she would ever know. "Always, Buffy."

Buffy walked as fast as she could to her watcher's house. The fight in the cemetery was the last straw. If it weren't for Angel, she would have been torn apart and probably eaten. Everything was unraveling and instead of it floating down around her fingers it was binding her hands together. A slayer couldn't fight no handed.

She knocked on the wooden door and before long Giles opened it with a surprised smile. "Hello Buffy." He moved aside so his charge could come inside and added, "How are you this evening?"

"Not good." Buffy stated as she went straight for the couch and pulled up her shirt to expose her wound.

Giles followed her in concern, but when he saw the blood-filled gash he cried, "Oh Lord! Buffy, what happened? Are you all right?"

The young girl nodded, but winced when Giles began to clean the laceration. Her tender flesh stung under the dabs of peroxide but not enough to numb her writhing stomach. No amount of deep breathing or sensitive wounds could distract from her desperate decision.

"I almost lost, Giles," Buffy said in a whisper. "It was close."

The watcher moved a bit closer as he bandaged around the wound. "But you didn't lose, you're going to be all right, Buffy."

The slayer half-heartedly nodded.

"There you are," Giles breathed a sigh of relief. "The bone bruises should be better by tomorrow, but those lacerations need to be looked after for a couple of days."

"Yeah, that's what Angel told me." Buffy agreed, pulling her shirt down and relaxing into the cushions.

"Angel?" Giles asked, removing his glasses.

"He was there tonight," Buffy explained. "There were four big ugly demons who summoned a bigger and uglier demon and he killed the leader while I killed his minions."

"What did these demons look like? Did you hear a name of some sort?"

"Big, bulky, gray, black horns and long, sharp claws for fingernails. I couldn't understand the chant but at the end, right before the huge one appeared, they said something like Tejas or Toughers or something like that."

Giles tried not to frown at how horrible she was with supernatural names, but when he started to think of what might match her description the watcher got up and grabbed a book. After flipping through some pages, he pointed to a picture and asked, "Is that what you saw?"

Buffy leaned over and saw the picture of the demons she killed and their leader. "Yup, that's them. Who or what were they?"

"They were called the Tégurhians. Tégurhes was created by evil forces millennia ago to populate the world as an army and kill every living thing in it. They were all killed off thousands of years ago, but a few escaped until the time was right to raise the original Tégurhes. Which I guess was tonight." Giles closed the book and plopped it on the table a bit disappointed in himself for not knowing that.

"Wow, big night without even knowing it." Buffy mused as she began to pick at her cuticles.

Giles noticed his slayer begin her nervous habit and scooted closer to her. "Buffy, is something on your mind?"

Buffy sighed at his caring question and looked at him with watery eyes. Rupert removed his glasses and rested his hand on her shoulder. She looked at his hand but not a muscle in her body relaxed.

"I'm scared Giles," Buffy's voice cracked and a few stray tears fell from her eyes. "I feel like the last few missions were won by the skin of my nose. I don't think I'm totally over what happened to me with the Master. I thought I was after I smashed his bones, but I don't feel safe when I patrol alone anymore. I mean, it's not like I felt all safe and warm like a little puppy with all the slaying before I died, but this is different, it's worse now. I need protection of some kind, any kind as long as it's powerful."

Giles rubbed her arm in understanding before he removed it and went to clean his glasses. Gathering his thoughts, he responded, "Buffy, you already have more powerful protection than any other slayer recorded as you have your family and friends. There is no more you could have as slayers are meant to fight alone."

The young girl sat forward on the couch and stared up at the man who had looked out for her as much as father would. "It's not enough, Giles. I need to feel safe if I'm going to stay alive."

Giles said nothing and turned his gaze to his bookshelf.

"There has to be something, Giles. Centuries upon centuries of slayers and not one had any protection? None of them felt like they needed a safety net? A little insurance? I don't buy that."

Buffy straightened her back and wiped her eyes. Taking control of her quivering breath, she raised her voice so maybe he would look at her and understand. "I don't care if it's dangerous or forbidden or impossible. I'll die again soon and for good if I don't get the protection I need so I can do my job. C'mon Giles, if you know anything that could help me feel like a real slayer again, I need you to tell me."

Giles turned away from her as he put his glasses back on. "In every generation, there is a Chosen One. She alone will have the strength and skill to stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer." The watcher recited as he grabbed a dusty volume from the bookcase.

He turned back to Buffy as he flipped through the pages. He worked slowly as if his fingers were at war with his mind. Finally, Giles sat down next to her once he found the hidden chapter. Buffy scooted closer and gasped at the words that followed.

Giles finally met her eyes and said, "There is only one thing that will give you such a steep request, but I must tell you that it isn't a spell or a potion or anything of that nature, it's much greater…with severe consequences."

Buffy nodded and Giles read, "If a slayer has a specific or dire need of protection, she may call to her an ally. This being will possess insight beyond that of a watcher and wield powers divergent of a slayer, however, let no mistake be made. The sole purpose is to defend the Chosen One. She is the Protector. Specific and unique to every slayer, each protector will always be gifted with three powers: knowing, agility, and telekinesis. In the beginning, her powers will be weak, but will grow to extraordinary and dangerous lengths the more she learns to control them in battle and training."

"How could you not have told me this?" Buffy shouted, causing Giles to jump. "This is huge! I could've used this from day one!"

"There's more. If you let me finish this passage, you will understand why this is never mentioned."

Buffy blinked and held her breath at the unfamiliar concern in his hushed tone. She slowly sat back and pulled her legs to her chest in order to stay still. Giles never took his eyes off the book and Buffy never took her eyes off his fretful expression.

"The protector may come from any time, place, or even reality to be the perfect match for the slayer as there will only ever be one protector for every one slayer. Therefore, only one ritual exists to summon a protector to the Chosen One." The watcher went on to describe the detailed and specific summoning spell and then recited something in Latin that made Buffy's eyebrow rise in confusion. Giles cleared his throat and added, "Which translates to 'I summon you to protect and defend me, I call you to be my trusted ally, I bring you to me to help in my destiny. I am the Chosen One and choose not to stand alone. Fulfill your purpose and assist me with mine. Become the Protector.'"

"A protector has been able to be called unknown centuries after the First Slayer. It has since been recorded to extend the life of a slayer and therefore allowed her to vanquish more evil from the world. Another unmistakable truth is the bond formed between slayer and protector: it is stronger and deeper than that of partners or friends as the two become blood sisters through the summoning ritual. A protector may only gain her powers through the blood of a slayer and is why only said ritual may summon and create the protector. Only six known slayers have formed this connection and it brought many victories, but also tragedies once the protector fulfilled her destiny. The core purpose of the protector is to keep the Chosen One alive longer than her average lifespan. Consequently, the protector will never outlive the slayer. For this singular reason, it was declared by the Watcher's Counsel over five centuries ago to preserve what little substantial information there is about them so that no slayer would call upon a protector without apocalyptic need."

Giles placed the book down on the coffee table and looked over at Buffy, who was picking at her cuticles again, along with her fingernails.

"Okay, so what the book says is that for me to feel safe and be protected and have my life basically be what I always wished it could since my calling left a permanent message, I would have to summon an unknowing girl who would literally become my sister to die in my place?"

"To put it simply and rather bluntly, yes." Giles answered, taking off his glasses and placing them on the book.

"That's so unfair! I don't want to bring a girl here just to love her as my sister and then let her die just so I can feel better and live longer!"

"Yes, that would be why only six known slayers out of nearly all to ever exist have done it and why the Watcher's Counsel essentially forbade it." Giles replied with truthful sarcasm.

Buffy looked at the book and back at Giles. There had to be a loophole. She needed to find a way to have this protection so she could live her life again, especially if that meant she got to have one person in the entire world that could truly understand her.

"How long did the slayers and their protectors live after being activated?" she curiously asked.

Giles reached over for the book, scanned it, and replied, "The longest living slayer with a protector was thirty-two and the longest living protector lasted three years and died at twenty-one. The shortest lived protector was four months at age seventeen." Giles lifted his eyes to see Buffy scrunching her nose. "What are you thinking?"

"A protector hasn't been called for at least 500 years, right? So maybe the longest living protector only survived three years because it was forever ago and the slayers didn't know any better than to let their protectors die?"

"It's possible, but they didn't just let them die, Buffy," Giles tried to explain. "It's out of their control."

"Well it won't be out of mine." Buffy stated as she got off the couch and headed for the door.

"What do you mean?" the watcher called after her.

"I need help, Giles. Protector kind of help, but I'm not about to doom some innocent girl's life. We're gonna slay together and protect each other. I won't have this protector dying for me stuff."

She was about to turn and leave, but Giles grabbed her arm to stop her. "I understand your reasoning and what you want your relationship with a protector to be like, but that's not how this works. The protector's one and only purpose is to protect you and that will always mean that she will die in order to keep you alive and safe." His voice was stern and convincing, but Giles saw that it wasn't convincing enough.

"Not if I teach her how to defend herself so that we can fight together as chosen equals. And I'll protect her as much as she'll protect me. It's a two way street to me, Giles. I'll make it work. I know I can. I have to."

"Why do you have to?" Giles persisted. "You are doing very well and will only get better. Why do you need to do this?"

"Because –" Buffy hesitated to find the words. "I'm alone, Giles. I know I have friends and I am so grateful for them, but they aren't in the same boat I am. You at least have a council full of watchers to relate to. I have no one like that." Buffy's eyes pleaded for him to understand, but in this they were disconnected. "I know it's selfish of me, but I think I deserve a little selfishness every once in a while. I have a gut feeling on this, Giles. It's a good thing. But just in case, I'll even find a way to send her home if and when she ever wants to leave. Now, is the magic shop still open?"

Buffy had gotten to the Magic Shop an hour before it closed and was able to purchase everything she needed for the summoning ritual. She snuck it into her room and impatiently waited for her mother to fall asleep so she could begin. Once she knew it was safe, Buffy created the binding circle of candles, illuminating the room. Referencing the book she grabbed from Giles' coffee table, the slayer crushed the herbs and sprinkled them on the carpet to make the bonding symbol.

First, the double spiral – signifying the bond and balance of slayer and protector – made of bloodroot for protection and strength along with eyebright for mental and psychic powers. Then she made the unique blood sword symbol solely made of hyssop for sacrifice. Buffy took a moment to gaze on the soft white spirals and the vibrant purple right down the middle. However, there was one more piece. She took the ankh amulet to give the spell the breath of life it needed and laid it on the center of the blood sword. Everything was ready. Buffy knelt in the circle at the symbol's edge and pricked her finger. Drops of blood trickled off and landed on the ankh.

The slayer took a deep breath and recited the incantation. Nothing happened. Buffy squeezed more blood and chanted again. The candles merely flickered and her blood began to drip off the amulet. She shook her head and cut deeply into her palm. Everything inside of her was being pulled to this ritual as though a magnetic force was switched on the moment she learned of this protector. She had to succeed; her life may as well depend on it – literally.

Blood seeped from her hand and pooled over the ankh like paint as she chanted. Once it was covered, Buffy saw it boil as the candles went spectacularly ablaze. Buffy gasped at the sharp tear in her wrist. She grabbed her bleeding hand and saw that the same symbol she drew on the floor was suddenly marked in harsh, black lines on her wrist. The slayer's eyes widened at the sight and the feeling of unity when the candles blew out. The connection had been made. Buffy found her protector.

A phone rang. It was a loud and standard ring and it wouldn't cease. Libby's hand reached out from under the covers and turned on the light that stood on the nightstand. She squinted at the sudden brightness and tried to read the caller ID. She peered in closer as her eyes adjusted, but what she saw didn't make any sense. The phone read: Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. What? The young girl sleepily picked up the phone and plopped it against her ear.

"Hello?" she croaked, unaware if any of it was actually happening.

"Ego voco vos protego quod vallo mihi," a female voice intensely recited.

"What?" Libby asked as a jolt of adrenaline woke her up.

"Ego dico vos ut exsisto meus inquisitor socius,"

"Who is this?"

"Ego addo vos ut mihi iuvo in meus fatum."

Now the teen was upright, alert and freaking out. "Okay, seriously whoever this is-"

"Ego sum Electus Unus quod sumo non subsisto unus,"

"Why are you calling me?"

"Presto vestri voluntas quod succurro mihi per mei."

"What are you saying?" Her voice was shrill now.

"Fio Patronus."

"Okay! Whoever this is, this isn't funny and if you call again, I'm calling the police."

Libby was about to hang up when the female voice continued, "I summon you to protect and defend me, I call you to be my trusted ally, I bring you to me to help in my destiny. I am the Chosen One and choose not to stand alone. Fulfill your purpose and assist me with mine. Become the Protector."

She lifted herself onto her knees, fear plastered on her face. What did that mean? Why did the voice sound like Sarah Michelle Gellar? What the hell was going on? The other end had no answers, only the same voice repeating the Latin incantation. Libby dropped the phone onto the bed when the chant came from outside her room.

"Who the fu-OUWW!" Libby screamed as her veins felt like they caught fire and bent over the mattress to hold herself.

It felt as though her blood had turned to molten glass, gushing and slicing its way through every cell in her body. She couldn't even her breath or slow her rapidly pounding heart. Libby shrieked and grabbed her throbbing skull as though the burning liquid would burst through her brain. She stumbled on her feet, unaware if she was about to pass out or vomit or both. When she tripped over a few magazines on the floor, Libby caught sight of her veins…

They began to glow blue, then purple, then maroon, and then red in mere seconds. It happened all over her body, from her chest, down her arms, all the way to her feet. Libby began to cry as it became the deepest crimson she had ever seen…and wailed in another wave of pain when it began to sparkle gold.

Libby forced herself to crawl out of her room and down the hall. She could feel her body boiling at a dangerous temperature and knew she wouldn't survive if she didn't cool herself down. The bathroom was close, but it seemed like she seared everything she touched. Falling into the tub, Libby rained ice-cold water down on top of her and tried to hang up to dial 911, but the phone was unresponsive. She had no choice but to curl up in the shower and listen to the voice echoing through her house. And all she could think about was how badly she wanted her mother to come home.

"Please! Stop!" she screamed to the empty house. "You're killing me!"

"Become the Protector," the voice commanded.

"What does that mean?"

"Become the Protector."

"Who are you?"

"Become the Protector."

"Somebody! Please! Help me!"

"Become the Protector."


"Become the Protector."

Libby sucked in her last desperate breath as the voice silenced and her vision darkened. The scorching liquid slowed in her veins, as her heartbeat slowed…slowed…slowed until she closed her eyes and slumped deeper into the rising water.