Lie To Me
The night was like something out of a horror film: the sky was pitch black and the only source of lights were provided by the city, people were scarce and this made the surroundings seem utterly dead, and then a slow wind blew through and set a nearby playground in motion. Its squeaks and creeks were the only sounds around, except for a little boy and distant footsteps.
"Come on, Mom," the little boy groaned as he waited on the climbing bars. "She's always late."
Slowly, out of the veil of darkness, Drusilla emerged like a ghost in her innocent white dress. She was as pale as ever, with her sickly yet porcelain form, but her voice rang out into the silence like bird echoing overhead. "Are you lost?"
For a moment, the boy almost had a heart attack at the sound of her eerie British voice, but seeing her smiling he thought nothing of it. "No, my mom's just supposed to pick me up, is all."
Drusilla stalked closer to the climbing bars as the child hopped off. "Do you want me to walk you home?"
"No, thank you," the young boy replied, getting a better look at the woman in the light and now growing scared.
The vampiress wrapped her long, bony and manicured fingers around the rusty bars and dragged her hand over the cylinder-shaped surface. She began to take flowing steps closer to him and as she did, Drusilla leaked some of her venom and insanity into the atmosphere.
"My mummy used to sing me to sleep at night," her voice grew lower and huskier as she sang, "Run and catch…the lamb is caught in the blackberry patch…She had the sweetest voice."
Now the boy's heart was beating hard and fast with fear and Drusilla smelt it. Just as quickly as she floated away in her memories, she snapped right back and directed her piercing gaze at the child. The vampiress mischievously smiled as her eyes glowered down in simplistic evil. She loved children so.
"What will your mummy sing when they find your body?"
"I'm not supposed to talk to people," the boy said as he backed away; ready to run if she came closer.
This made Drusilla very hurt and enraged so the huntress growled, "Oh. Well, I'm not a person, see? So that's just-"
Suddenly, Angel sprang out of the darkness like a corporal shadow and glared down at the boy in serious urgency. "Run home."
Within moments, the terrified little boy vanished into the night to make it home safely. However, Drusilla did not like that one bit. Who was this man who thought he could chase her meal away? Once the boy was out of sight, Dru got her wish as the man turned around to face her.
"My Angel," Drusilla softly admired in surprise.
"Hello Drusilla," he greeted back plainly, still half hidden in shadow.
She walked closer to him with a hand limply over her heart as she asked in a half-forgotten whisper, "Do you remember the song Mummy used to sing to me? Pretty…"
"I remember," Angel replied solemnly as his face slightly fell.
"Yes, you do," Dru said, the growl returning to her weak voice.
"Drusilla, leave here," Angel steadily ordered. "I'm offering you that chance. Take Spike and get out."
"Or you'll hurt me?" The vampiress cut him down in a sweet tone and seeing his angelic face become powerless and ashamed, she finished, "No. No, you can't. Not anymore."
"If you don't leave, it'll go badly - for all of us," Angel persisted, hoping to get through to her and change the subject away from his guilt.
"My dear boy's gone all away, hasn't he?" Drusilla mocked in her realization. "To her."
"The girl. The slayer." She closed in the distance between them and placed a hand on his chest as if she wanted to wrap it around his heart. "Your heart stinks of her. Poor little thing. She has no idea what's in store. But her protector will…soon enough she always does."
"You know about Libby?" Angel asked, trying to keep himself shrouded in his brooding exterior so she wouldn't know how anxious he was truly becoming.
"Of course I know," Drusilla wickedly smiled. "We're the same coin. Opposite sides. Flip and call to see who wins."
Realizing that he wouldn't get more than that, Angel firmly stated, "This can't go on, Drusilla. It's gotta end."
Catching a glimpse of worry, Dru leaned in as if to kiss him and purred, "Oh, no, my pet. This is just the beginning."
Drusilla then strode away through the darkness, leaving Angel to ponder and return home as well, but what they - well Angel - didn't know was that Buffy and Libby were on the roof…watching.
Libby saw the panic and hurt on Buffy's face and said, "It is so much more complicated than it looks."
"That's supposed to make me feel better?" Buffy almost screamed. "Who is she? How does Angel know her? What's going on between them?"
"Whoa! Calm yourself," Libby ordered as she held the slayer's arms. "This is the kind of thing that you need to talk to Angel about."
"Why can't you just tell me?" Buffy yelled in fury, agonized by everything. "You never just tell me! Why is that, huh? I mean in case you forgot, your purpose is to help me and it helps me when you tell me things, but you never do! Not right off the bat! You wait or drop hints or find loop-holes to tell me but not tell me!"
"Keep yelling at me like that and hurting my feelings and I'll give you nothing! Ever!"
Libby's voice boomed out over the rooftop and was filled with strength, certainty and threat. It was surprising how much Libby could contain in her slender form, but Buffy knew by now that she never bluffs so the slayer stopped attacking her and calmed down.
"I'm sorry, I'm not mad at you. Really, it's just - please, Libby," Buffy begged. "Give me something. I mean, it's Angel."
Accepting her apology, Libby replied, "Her name is Drusilla. She's been Spike's girlfriend for a hundred plus years."
"So she's a vampire?"
"Yeah, she's older than Spike. Actually, she turned Spike. And she was almost killed in Prague so she's seriously weak right now."
"Okay, so how does Angel fit in?"
Libby smirked and raised an eyebrow at her before saying, "Ask your boyfriend. You will never build trust with this kind of communication, or lack there of."
Buffy rolled her eyes as they headed back home and hesitantly asked, "I'm not gonna like what I hear, am I?"
"No, but you won't expect what you hear either."
"Great, I hate complicated."
The chosen ones walked through the school halls in search of Giles. Libby was alert as usual but Buffy was quiet and solemn. She couldn't stop thinking about how Angel and Drusilla acted towards each other last night and after what Libby told her, the Slayer was beginning to feel fearful. As her thoughts were beginning to consume her mind, they found Giles leaving the company of his adult school crush and they couldn't help but notice that Giles was blushing.
"Hey," Buffy said half-heartedly while Libby slyly smiled up at the librarian.
Ignoring his protector's obvious glance at his reddening cheeks, Giles replied, "Hello. Did we hunt last night?"
"Libby and I did a couple of quick sweeps downtown," Buffy answered.
"Nothing vampirey," Buffy lied, looking over at Libby in the hopes that she wouldn't bring Angel up.
Her protector only smiled compassionately and Buffy let out a sigh of relief. No matter what was going on and no matter how upset Buffy could get, it was a comfort to know that she could always count on Libby for anything. Even something as small as a white lie that she needed at that moment.
"I've been researching your friend, Spike," Giles continued. "The profile is fairly unappetizing. And I still haven't got a bead on why he's here. Libby do you have any thoughts on the matter?"
Knowing that it had everything to do with Drusilla and that Buffy was in no mental state to hear all of that, she responded, "Actually, I'm gonna need that info to marinate a little longer."
"Oh - um - it's just -"
"Trust me, Giles. I'd never put anyone in danger," Libby reassured. "Spike's ultimate plan is just something we shouldn't be focusing on right now. Soon though, I promise."
"Oh, well, what is?"
"Ford?" Buffy's voice and eyes perked up. "My old friend from Hemery?"
"The guy you had a crush on in fifth grade? Yes."
"He's here? Is he okay?"
"Actually..." Libby replied with sympathetic eyes. "No, he's dying and coming to Sunnydale to become a vampire."
"What?" Buffy and Giles exclaimed in dismay at the same time.
Libby moved them into the solitary library and continued, "He's scared and desperate and doesn't care who he has to hurt to become immortal...including you, Buffy."
"No," The slayer shook her head. "You're wrong, Ford would never do that."
"I'm right and he will."
"No! I'm not listening to this!"
Buffy ran out of the library aghast by what her sister said. It was impossible! A friend she loved couldn't be capable of that. She just couldn't believe it, especially not in the state of mind she was in.
"I appreciate you not withholding information this go-round, despite the overly blunt delivery," Giles began as he cleaned his glasses, "But what do you propose we do about it?"
"Let Buffy deal with everything that's going on emotionally and I'll take care of the rest."
When she saw the look of suspicion from her watcher, Libby added, "You'll be in the loop. As will Willow and Xander and Angel. Jeez, I have fun once and I'm already under scrutiny." The protector made sure she was out of the library before Giles had time to rebuttal and headed off to history.
In history class, listening to the lecture was the last thing Buffy wanted to do. She whipped out a piece of paper and planned on passing notes with Willow. Buffy needed the perspective of someone who didn't know what was going on, especially since Libby wasn't giving her a lot and what she did share broke her heart. She needed Willow, the best friend who she could count on just as much.
I saw Angel talking with a girl last night and Libby's not giving me much to go on
Do you know who she was?
Libby said her name is Drusilla Dark hair Old dress Pretty
Yes she turned Spike
Really? Maybe that's how she knows Angel because Spike knows Angel
I don't know but I'm worried
The bell rang loud and clear over the campus so Buffy could now talk verbally with Willow…and include Libby and inevitably Xander.
"I don't know, it's just…they seemed pretty friendly," Buffy tried to explain.
"Who's friendly?" Xander peaked his head in between the two in an attempt to discover the source of the conversation.
"No one," Buffy moaned.
"Angel and a girl," Willow answered honestly.
"Drusilla to be precise," Libby added.
"Guys, do we have to be in total share mode?"
"Hey, it's me," Xander countered. "If Angel's doing something wrong, I wanna know. 'Cause it gives me a happy."
Buffy sneered up at him and sarcastically said, "I'm glad someone has a happy."
"Oh, you just need cheering up, and I know just the thing," Xander began to bust a move and continued, "Crazed dance party at the Bronze!"
"I don't know…" Buffy sighed as she retreated into herself and sat down in the student lounge.
"Very clam dance party at the Bronze?" Xander revised as his dancing dialed down. "Moping at the Bronze?"
"Xander, stop while you're behind," Libby suggested with a nudge of her foot over Willow's seated form.
Soon a tall, lean and cute guy walked up behind Buffy and said, "I'd suggest a box of Oreos dunked in apple juice, but maybe she's over that phase."
Buffy spun around at the familiar voice and couldn't believe her eyes. It was her old friend Billy Fordham from her former high school. Seeing him again put happy butterflies in her stomach and she couldn't help but feel like the normal girl she used to be.
"Ford?" the blonde exclaimed in surprise as she wrapped her arms around him.
"Hey Summers," he replied as he hugged back, "How you been?"
"Oh, my God! What are you doing here?"
"Huh?" Buffy could have sworn her heart stopped for a moment. Was it possible that one of her old best friends was going to be in the same school as her again? That would be the best pick-me-up and the slayer was almost afraid to have high hopes. Especially with what Libby was saying about him.
"I'm finishing up my senior year at Sunnydale High," Ford confirmed with a smile. "Dad got transferred."
"Yeah, right," Libby muttered under her breath.
"This is great!" Buffy exclaimed.
"Glad you think so," Ford began to tease. "I didn't think you'd remember me."
"Remember you? Duh! We only went to school together for seven years," Buffy countered overjoyed. There was no way what Libby said could be true. "You were my giant fifth grade crush."
"So!" Xander interrupted out of jealously. "You two know each other?"
"Oh, I'm sorry," Buffy brought herself back on track as she continued to hold his hand. "This is Ford. Billy Fordham, this is Xander, Willow and Libby."
"Hi," Xander practically choked out.
"Hey," Ford nodded to all three of them, but minding the subtle glare Libby was giving him.
"Nice to meet you," Willow finished for them, trying to be the polite one.
"Ford and I went to Hemery together in L.A." Buffy continued, still excited, "And now you're here, for real?"
"Dad got the transfer and…boom! He just dragged me out of Hemery and put me here."
"Yes, I'm sure it was that simple," Libby overly sweetly snapped with a big smile.
"Libby!" Buffy hissed softly, her eyes wide with warning.
The protector gave her slayer a knowing look with an innocent shrug and looked back at Ford. "She's in a denial mood today."
"Oh, well, uh-"
Deciding to save Ford and the conversation, Willow cut in and said, "So, you two were sweeties in fifth grade?"
"Not even," Buffy responded. "Ford wouldn't give me the time of day."
"Well, I was a manly sixth grader. Couldn't be bothered with someone that young."
"It was terrible. I moped over you for months," Buffy teased. "Sitting in my room listening to that Divinyls song "I Tough Myself.""
She then looked over at Libby who raised one eyebrow to let her slayer know that she knew all about that embarrassing fact. Which made Buffy feel that much worse, but Libby was getting her knowing power point across.
"Wow," Libby laughed. "You listened to it that young, huh?"
"I didn't know what it was about," Buffy weakly replied in excuse.
"Of course you didn't," Libby smirked.
"Hey, are you busy tonight?" the slayer asked Ford. "We're going to the Bronze. It's the local club and you have to come."
"I'd love to, but if you guys already had plans, would I be imposing?"
"Oh, only in the literal sense," Xander admitted with a wave of his sarcastically angry hand.
"It's very pivotal that you come," Libby agreed.
"Okay then," Ford smiled, not understanding what Buffy's friends meant. "I gotta find the admissions office. Get my papers filled out."
"Oh, I'll take you there," Buffy offered as she got to her feet to hook arms with him, "And I'll see you guys in French."
"It's good to meet you," Ford said as they walked off.
"This is Ford, my bestest friend of all my friends," Xander mocked. "Jeez, doesn't she know any fat guys?"
"Not a one," Libby answered. "But he won't be around long."
"Really?" Xander beamed over at Libby. "Oh goody."
"Oh! That's what that song is about?" Willow realized in shock.
"You're too cute," Libby giggled as she side-hugged Willow.
Everyone was at the Bronze that night. Xander and Willow met up together and Ford found them soon after. Buffy and Libby didn't arrive until they were in the middle of their pool game.
"Ford, you made it," Buffy greeted.
"It wasn't hard to find," Ford replied as he took his shot.
"Buffy, Ford was just telling us about the ninth-grade beauty contest and the swimsuit competition," Willow informed with a giggle.
"Oh my God, Ford, stop that! The more people you tell, the more people I have to kill."
"You can't touch me, Summers. I know all your darkest secrets."
"Care to make a small wager on that?" Xander challenged.
"I wouldn't," Libby said with a nudge of her arm.
"I'm gonna get a drink," Buffy announced before she went to the bar. "Ford…try not to talk."
When she got up to the bar, Buffy came face to face with Angel. For a moment, she felt like the night was going to deal her too much to take. However, she gathered all the strength she had and the advice from Libby and decided to speak to the man she couldn't help but love. "Hi."
"Hey," Angel replied, "I was hoping you'd show."
"So…what'd you do last night?"
The lies had begun. Despite how untrustworthy Angel could sometimes be, Buffy couldn't help but want to search for the truth not matter how upset he made her.
"Nothing at all? You ceased to exist?"
"No, I mean I stayed in, read."
When he saw his beloved's face fall, Angel knew he messed up and about what he had to find out and fix. Buffy walked back to her group of friends, but didn't feel any better.
"Didn't want that soda after all?" Ford asked.
"Not thirsty," Buffy replied half-heartedly.
"Hey, Angel," Willow greeted.
"Hi," Ford said.
Regrettably, Buffy turned around and said, "This is Ford. We went to school together in L.A."
"Nice to meet you," Angel replied as he shook hands with Ford.
"Whoa. Cold hands," Ford observed.
"You're not wrong," Xander commented in the background.
"Well!" Libby nearly shouted at everyone. "This has been lovely and short and I think it's very important that we keep it that way. Buffy, you take Ford out for a walk, Angel you can disappear like you always do and Xander and Willow and I will stay and have fun. Sound good? Great! Let's get to it."
When everyone was looking at her like she was crazy and/or high as a kite, Libby grunted and declared, "You know you're gonna listen to me eventually so just cut to the chase and do it now. Please." As so Libby said, her will was done and they all followed her blatant orders.
"I am so sorry about that," Buffy apologized to Ford. "Libby sometimes-"
"Thinks that she owns the world and everyone in it?" Ford huffed.
"Hey," Buffy defended. "She's like my sister, yes she was rudely blunt just now but she has the best intentions. Just because the delivery isn't always the way you want it to be doesn't mean it's not important or true."
The slayer looked back at the Bronze and contemplated on what she just told Ford. Was she truly that naive? To trust a friend she hadn't seen in years wasn't a stretch but to cut down her other half was horrible. Libby wouldn't have said the things she did if they weren't true. Buffy had to get over her grief in order to see clearly.
"Sorry, Buffy, but she yelled at all of us to do exactly what she wanted," Ford explained with no remorse. "It just sounds very self-involved to me."
"You're wrong." Suddenly, Buffy heard crashing up ahead of them and new it was a vampire. "Um...my purse!" Buffy thought fast on her feet. "I left my purse at the Bronze. Could you get it for me?"
"Uh, okay," Ford answered, a bit confused.
"Good. Run! Thanks."
As soon as his back was turned, the slayer ran toward the scene of the fight. However, Ford stopped and followed Buffy. He heard growling and saw a girl run away in tears, but he couldn't truly believe it until he saw her stake a vampire. It was incredible. As soon as he found out his old friend was a slayer, the idea of becoming immortal didn't seem so crazy. In fact, a plan was easily unfolding in his tumor ridden brain. Ford slowly walked around the corner and his information became 100% believable.
Buffy staked the vamp through the heart and turned around when she heard Ford say, "What's going on?"
"Um..." Buffy stuttered. "There was a...cat. A cat, here. And - um - there was another cat. And they fought. The cats. And then they left." That is the stupidest thing I have ever said.
"Oh, I thought you were just slaying a vampire?"
"What?" Did he just say...? "Whating a what?"
"I know, Buffy," Ford reassured in emptiness. "You don't have to lie." Buffy knew her face was consumed with her being completely dumbfounded, but she still couldn't speak. "I've been trying to figure out the right time to tell you. I know you're the slayer."
"What you said is true isn't it?" Buffy asked as she entered Libby's room.
"Yes," Libby replied kindly.
Buffy shook her head in sorrow as she sat on the edge of the bed.
"I know it's hard and I know the whole trial and error process of finding the right way to break these kinds of things to you is not always so great, but you have to know that I will never lie to you and what I tell and don't tell you is for the best, hopefully. I am still figuring this out." Libby scooted closer to a silently sobbing Buffy and added, "I'm sorry. I know this sucks, but I'm going to do everything I can to make it better. That I will never stop trying to do."
Buffy leaned her head on Libby's shoulder as she tried to breathe deeply and stop the tears. They were both still trying to get used to the new situation of their lives, but Buffy was still just trying to not be reminded of Libby's sole purpose and getting upset with her protector over her tragic friend wasn't helping. Everyone was lying to each other while seeking the truth and nothing was turning out the way it should.
"What am I supposed to do?" Buffy sniffled.
"Be his friend for as long as you can, even when he traps you and a bunch of innocent people to be eaten by Spike and his minions."
"WHAT?" Buffy yelled, tears now dry on her cheeks.
"I won't let anything happen to you and we won't let anyone die, but Ford needs hope right now."
"He's gonna try and kill people for his own selfishness?"
"He's dying at 17...all that's left is selfishness," Libby explained as best she could.
"He still has a choice...a sucky one, but it's still a choice," Buffy grumbled in disappointment.
"I know, and I gotta say it feels like we just did this only it's worse this time since we know him."
"Yeah, it was much easier with Empata," Buffy chuckled under her breath. "So, what do we do until the big showdown?"
"We call everyone to get them up to speed and act like everything's normal."
"Okay, that's doable," Buffy eyed Libby as her protector reached for the phone and slipped in, "So, about Cruella?"
Libby couldn't help but laugh and replied, "Talk to Angel and he'll tell you all about Drusilla."
"You sing the sweetest little song," Drusilla cooed into her birdcage. "Won't you sing for me, hmm? Don't you love me anymore?"
"Darling," Spike called out as he walked up behind her. "I heard a funny thing just now. Lucius tells me that you went out on a hunt the other night."
"My tummy was growling...and you were out," Dru replied, in a daze over her dead bird. "Come on," she whistled. "I'll pout if you don't sing."
"You, um, meet anyone?" Spike pushed further, getting aggravated. "Anyone interesting? Like Angel?"
"Angel," Drusilla repeated as she faintly remembered.
"Yeah," Spike grew kinder as he kissed her forehead. "So, what might you guys have talked about, then? Old times? Childhood pranks?" When he got no response, William the Bloody grew impatient and agitated again. "It's a little off, you two so friendly, him being the enemy and all that."
"I'll give you a seed if you sing."
"The bird's dead, Dru," Spike wanted to bellow. "You left it in a cage and you didn't feed it and now it's all dead, just like the last one."
Drusilla recoiled away from her lover as she whimpered in hurt feelings.
"Oh, I'm sorry, baby," Spike hummed. "Look, I'm a bad, rude man. I just don't like you goin' out, that's all. You are weak."
Spike took her hand in his to sway her back to his side and he grinned as he nibbled on her fingertips saying, "Would you like a new bird? One that's not dead?"
Just as Drusilla was about to give in to her lover's apology, Ford crashed the love party. "This is so cool! I would totally live here."
"Do I have anyone on watch here?" Spike ordered in disapproval. "It's called security, people. Are you all asleep?" But then, seeing that the boy was human, Spike stalked closer and said, "Or did we finally find a restaurant that delivers?"
"I know who you are," Ford stated.
"Yeah, I know who I am too," Spike scoffed. "So what?"
"I came looking for you, Spike."
"You've got a real death wish. It's almost interesting."
A blonde vampire soon appeared out of the shadows and handed a book stolen from Giles over to Spike. "Oh, this is great! This'll be very useful," Looking back up at Ford, he demanded, "So, how did you find me?"
"That doesn't matter. I've got something to offer you," When he got no response, Ford added, "I'm pretty sure this is the part where you take out a watch and say I've got 30 seconds to convince you not to kill me? It's traditional."
Spike slammed the book and countered, "Well, I don't go much for tradition."
The powerful vampire grabbed the helpless boy by the ear and was ready for the kill, but Drusilla stopped him. "Wait, love."
Spike listened and let him go, but he let the threat hang over Ford's head. "Well?"
"Oh, come on. Say it!" Ford urged with a big grin. "It's no fun if you don't say it."
"What? Oh..." Spike rolled his eyes. "I swear the protector showing up on the monitors was more interesting than this," He turned back to Ford and huffed, "You've got 30 seconds to convince me not to kill you."
"Yes! See, this is the best," Completely stoked, Ford finished, "I wanna be like you. A vampire."
"I've known you for two minutes and I can't stand you. Did you not hear me before? The protector buggin' up the works with that slayer ruining everything is more fun than this so I don't feature you livin' forever. Can I eat him now love?"
"Well, feature this. I'm offering you a trade." This got Spike's attention. "You make me a vampire...and I give you the slayer."
Sadistically smiling at the young kid in front of him, Spike negotiated, "Throw in her protector and you got a deal."
"You keep mentioning that? I don't know any protector of the slayer."
"She's about 5' 5", dark curly hair and is with the slayer all the bloody time…"
"Libby?" Ford asked is surprise. "The bossy one with all the-"
"Knowledge," Drusilla answered.
"What do you mean?" Ford pried, getting anxious.
"The protector...Libby...seems to always know what's gonna happen before it happens so the precious little slayer always gets her way," Spike explained, his voice filled with vexation. "I want her gone so I can kill the slayer."
"I'll hand them both over to you," Ford officially offered.
"She'll know...she knows," Dru hissed as her eyes wandered to the ceiling. "But they go anyway."
"See!" Ford declared. "I can do it."
"Oh, you better," Spike warned with a smirk. "Otherwise, I'll just kill you."
Everything had been going well. Buffy was treating Ford like he was the same old Billy Fordham, Willow was able to stay away from Ford as to not draw attention to her jumpy self, Xander and Angel were ecstatic by the information about Ford, and Libby was able to catch on some much needed sleep while Giles had his first date with Jenny. However, nothing stays nice and smooth forever.
Buffy was making herself a drink in the kitchen when Angel knocked on the back door. Buffy was prepared to talk to him the next time she saw him, but now that her love was here, the slayer felt a swarm of butterflies inhabit her stomach.
"Buffy, may I come in?" he asked gently as the door slowly opened.
"Sure, I thought once you'd been invited you could always just walk in."
"I can," Angel responded, "I was just being polite."
Buffy didn't have anything to say. It was too hard.
"We need to talk," the soulful vampire took the words out of the slayer's mouth.
"Do we?" Buffy countered as she walked into the dining room to sit down.
"You're upset with me and I don't know why."
"Yeah, I get that way when the people I'm supposed to be able to trust are lying to me," Buffy calmly but sternly slapped Angel in the face. "Who's Drusilla?"
Angel couldn't believe it. How did she know about the one vampire he regretted making the most? Libby. He understood that it was the protector's job, but this was something he never wanted Buffy to know.
"And don't lie to me. I'm tired of it," Buffy demanded as her heart began to ache.
"Some lies are necessary," Angel replied, just above a whisper.
"For what?" the young blonde argued.
"Sometimes the truth is worse. You live long enough, you find that out."
"I already found that out, but I can take it. I can take the truth."
They stared each other down, not angrily or defiantly, but longingly. They needed to understand each other on a truthful level this time and Angel feared it would be too much for either of them to take.
"Do you love me?" Angel finally inquired.
"What?" Buffy breathed in awe. She couldn't believe he just let those words slip passed his lips.
"Do you?" The handsome vampire asked again in a hushed tone.
"I love you," Buffy told him in honesty, but added, "I don't know if I trust you...especially after what Libby said."
"Well, maybe you shouldn't do either."
"Maybe I'm the one who should decide!"
"What did she tell you? Libby." Angel stated more than asked.
"That I wouldn't like what I heard. But I'm ready to hear it now, so what is it? Who is she?"
"I did a lot of unconscionable things when I became a vampire," Angel began in dread. "Drusilla was the worst. She was...an obsession of mine. She was pure and sweet and chaste."
"And you made her a vampire." Buffy finished for him.
She could see the pain and shame in his eyes and the slayer knew that he hated himself for it. While this helped break the news, Buffy thanked God that she never knew him without his soul.
"First I made her insane," Angel corrected. "Killed everybody she loved. Visited every mental torture on her I could devise." Libby was right. Buffy did not like what she was hearing. It cut her to her core and Angel saw. "She eventually fled to a convent. And on the day she took her holy orders, I turned her into a demon."
"Well," Buffy almost choked under her breath. "I asked for the truth."
"Why didn't Libby tell you?" Angel asked as he sat down a table's length away from her.
"Because she wanted me to hear it from you."
"Do you wish you hadn't?"
"No," Buffy answered as she lifted her head to look him in the eyes. "Libby was right, it had to come from you."
The next afternoon, Buffy and Libby walked up the steps of Sunnydale High together, ready to go home for the day. The day felt long and it hadn't even really started yet. Libby could see how distraught Buffy was over everything, but the slayer assured her protector that she'd be all right. Nevertheless, it was going to be a difficult day and night.
Soon, Ford walked up to them and Buffy couldn't help but tense up inside.
"Buffy!" He called out, trying to ignore Libby.
"Ford." Buffy nonchalantly greeted.
"Howdy." Libby fake grinned.
With a slight nod from Ford, he said to Buffy, "I had a great time last night. Well an interesting time."
"Do you wanna go out again tonight?" Ford asked, now looking at Libby too.
"I'd personally love to." Libby cut in sharply, making sure Ford knew that she wasn't going to be left out.
"Great. I sorta had an idea. It's, uh...it's a secret. I kinda wanna surprise you. Both of you."
"How sweet." Libby almost hissed, but covered well.
"I like surprises." Buffy lied, still showing no emotion.
"Can you meet me here?" Ford asked.
"Absolutely." Libby answered.
"At nine?" He suggested.
"At nine." Buffy confirmed.
Ford slightly smiled down at his old friend after winking at Libby and hummed, "It's gonna be fun."
As he walked away, the slayer turned to her protector. Seeing the confidence in Libby's eyes helped Buffy, but the blonde didn't overlook the sadness in them either.
"It's happening tonight, isn't it?"
Libby nodded and said, "Yeah, but you have to follow him now...without me."
"Why? Shouldn't I just meet him?"
"I think it'll go better if he thinks he's getting his way," Libby thoroughly told her slayer. "He wants you to figure it out so you'll be locked in that dungeon-like place with all the pawns before sunset. If you go, he'll think he's won and that way when the vampires show up I can take a lot of them out with the gang before they get inside. Plus, you'll be ready for them inside and after we save everyone, we can lock the rest of the vamps in with Ford."
"Right," Buffy agreed glumly. "I'll follow him and you can let everyone know what's up."
"Buffy," Libby tried to comfort. "We make it through this unscathed, but Ford-"
"I lose him," Buffy stated in a certain yet soft tone. "I know."
Ford walked down into the darkness of the Sunset Club prepared for the night. If everything worked out the way he planned, which he was certain it would, then by midnight he'd be forever young and healthy.
"Chanterelle, is everything ready?" he asked, but the answer he received was not from a naive blonde girl.
"Of course! It's ready. Hi!" Diego assured with hurt feelings by the lack of confidence. "I took care of it. I always take care of it."
"Is it time? Tonight?" Chanterelle inquired with excitement.
"Are you nervous?" Ford replied as he poured himself a drink.
"Yes," She smiled as she thought of what was to come, "No...I'm ready for the change. Do you really think they'll bless us?"
"I know they will." Ford lied. He knew that tonight, he was the only blessed one and the rest were meals.
"When's your friend supposed to get here?" Diego asked.
"Soon, it's gonna be fine." Ford answered, getting irritated with the guy.
"They won't let us down," Chanterelle whimpered. "I need them to bless me."
"It's gonna be fine!"
"No," Buffy's voice rang out over the echo of the doom and gloom club. "It's really not."
They all looked up to see the slayer walk out of the shadows and down the stairs. For a young, petite blonde girl, she exerted immense power and strength and made everyone in the room on edge. That is everyone but Ford.
"It's kinda drafty in here," he told Diego, wanting him to go close the one-way door.
As Diego took the hint and headed up the stairs, Buffy walked right up to face her former friend with sarcastic rage.
"I'm sorry, Ford, I just couldn't wait till tonight. I'm rash and impulsive. It's a flaw."
"We all have flaws." Ford said, waiting for some violent action from Buffy.
"I'm still a little fuzzy on what yours it. I think it has to do with being a lying scumbag."
"Everybody lies." The sickly boy replied like it was so obvious that the fact was doing jumping jacks on the blonde's nose.
"Libby doesn't," the slayer informed. "Not once."
"Yes, I've heard all about special little Libby," Ford scoffed. "Where is she by the way?"
"Grocery store," Buffy responded exasperated. "Does it matter?"
"Very much so."
"I really don't think you'd understand."
Buffy stiffened at the web of lies he still felt like weaving and this made her voice grow stronger and intimidating. "Oh, I understand completely."
"Ah, so Libby filled you in on all of it and that makes you think you understand?" Ford yelled down at her, not caring about consequences anymore.
"Yeah, I do! You don't want to die so you're making a trade! My life for your un-life!" That's when it hit Buffy. Seeing Ford's face - like she had barely scratched the surface of his master plan - she realized that there was more to it than that. "No, you're trading Libby too."
"I don't think I wanna talk anymore." Ford concluded.
He tried to walk away, but the slayer grabbed him by the throat and made him collide with a pillar behind him.
"Yeah, well I still feel awfully chatty! You weren't just gonna give them me tonight - you were gonna give them Libby too!" She banged him against the pillar again out of disgust. "I am so thrilled that Libby saw right through you! You're plan is over!"
"Actually, it's not. Not even close."
Buffy released him and Ford went into a coughing fit. He successfully pulled himself out of it, but it didn't phase his new villain persona.
"What do you mean?" Buffy demanded, becoming skeptical.
"This is so cool. It's just like it played in my head. You know the part where you ask me what's suppose to happen? It's already happening."
Buffy rolled her eyes and cut him down saying, "Of course, those doors only open from the outside, blah blah, the vampires will come in after sunset to turn everyone, blah blah, there's just one small hole in your plan," the slayer eased her stance and raised her eye brows finishing, "Libby is going to crash the party...after your precious vamps arrive."
"You really think I didn't prepare for that?" Ford laughed hysterically. "I know she's your all-knowing protector, Buffy. Spike and his vampires will be ready to ambush her outside once they get here."
"What?" Buffy breathed in terror.
"That's right," Ford sneered. "Your loud, bossy, conceited friend won't be able to help you now."
"Shut up! You don't know anything about her."
"Doesn't matter. This is the end, Buffy. No one gets outta here alive."
Even though Libby told her this would happen, Buffy still had trouble digesting it. Ford used to be so fun and smart and...good. She didn't understand why things like this had to happen. And to top it all off, now she had to fear for Libby's life and be trapped like a rat unable to help her! The slayer was going to lose it.
"There's gotta be another way out of here." Buffy said to herself as she looked around.
"This is a bomb shelter, Buffy," Ford informed. "I knew I wasn't gonna be able to overpower you, but this is three feet of solid concrete."
"At least let the others go," the slayer tried to bargain. "Let me warn, Libby!"
"Why are you fighting this?" Chanterelle inquired in dismay. "It's what we want."
"It's our chance for immortality." Diego agreed.
"This is a beautiful day, can't you see that?"
Buffy looked at those two as if they told her they were hatched in a mushroom on Jupiter. "What I see, is that right after the sun goes down, Spike and all of his friends are gonna be pigging out at the all-you-can-eat moron bar."
"Okay, that's it," Diego grunted in disapproval. "I think we should gag her."
"I think you should try." Buffy threatened.
"She's an unbeliever. She taints us."
"I am trying to save you!" Buffy defended herself while trying to verbally slap sense into him and the rest of the idiots. "You are playing in some serious traffic here. Do you understand that? You're going to die and the only hope you have of surviving this is to get out of this pit right now...and my God! Could you have a dorkier outfit?"
She had to. Diego looked beyond ridiculous.
"Gotta back her up, D," Ford added from behind Buffy. "You look like a big ninny."
Suddenly, Ford's watch sounded an alarm. "6:27. Sunset." He announced.
"Libby," Buffy sighed in panic as she ran back up the stairs. "LIBBY!"
Ford followed her up the stairs and commented, "Hey, you never give up do you?"
"No, I don't. Libby!"
"It's a good quality in a person. Too many people lay back and take it, but us-"
"Us?" Buffy replied aghast and insulted. "We have something in common now? Libby!"
"More than you think, and I doubt she'll hear you."
The slayer turned away from the door to face him and spat, "She's my sister! I have to try."
"What?" Ford was totally stunned. She had said like her sister before, but her tone had changed.
"Did I burst your evil plan bubble?" The blonde snapped. "She got her powers from a spell that made my blood hers too. She became my real sister. And you're gonna let her die without a second thought."
"I have to."
"Right, because you're what we call the 'bad guy.'"
"I guess I am." Ford thought to himself. It's what he wanted to be, but no matter what he did, he never fully felt like one.
Buffy looked down at all the innocent people and shook her head. "These people aren't gonna be changed. They're just fodder."
"Technically, yes..." Ford replied like it meant nothing. "But I'm in. I will become immortal."
"Well, I've got a newsflash for you, brain trust," Buffy grew impatient and infuriated all over again. "That's not how it works. You die and a demon sets up shop in your old house. And it walks and it talks and it remembers your life, but it's not you!"
"It's better than nothin'." Ford said solemnly.
"And your life is nothing?" Ford just scorned her words off with a laugh, thinking that she had no idea about the truth behind it all. "Ford, these people don't deserve to die!"
"Well, neither do I! But apparently no one took that into consideration, 'cause I'm still dying." And there it was. What Buffy was trying to bring out in him. The last shred of humanity left. "I look good, don't I?" Ford continued. "Well, let me tell you somethin', I got maybe six months left and by then what they bury won't even look like me. I'm gonna be bald and shriveled and I'll smell bad. No, I'm not goin' out that way."
Buffy couldn't help but have tears well up in her eyes. It was one thing to know it, but to hear him say it was something else entirely. It broke her heart a little and she felt for him, but she couldn't let herself get carried away in her grief when lives were at stake.
"I'm sorry, I am. I wish that you didn't have brain tumors killing you. You don't deserve it."
"You know?" Ford's eyes bugged open wide. "And you act like you don't care."
"I can't, because what you're doing is still very wrong."
"Okay, well you try vomiting for 24 hours straight because the pain in your head is so intense and then, we'll discuss the concept of right and wrong."
"You still have a choice," Buffy attempted to plead. "You don't have a good choice, but you have a choice! You're opting for mass murder here and nothing you say is gonna make that okay."
"You think I need to justify myself to you?" Ford insulted with a shaky voice.
"I think this is all part of your little fantasy drama!" When Ford rolled his eyes yet again, Buffy went on, "Isn't this exactly how you imagined it? You tell me how you've suffered and I feel sorry for you." Ford looked down at the ground because his insides couldn't take it anymore. "Well, I do feel sorry for you. And if Libby gets killed, if my friends get hurt and if those vampires come in here and start feeding I'll kill you myself!"
"You know what, Summers?" The old Ford reemerged and told her, "I really did miss you."
All of a sudden, tires screeched outside and Buffy could hear fighting. She ran over to the door and heard Libby fighting at least half a dozen vamps. The sound was muffled, but as far as she could tell, Libby was handling herself, but the rest of the gang hadn't arrived yet.
Buffy spun around and looked up into Ford's eyes and asked one last time, "Ford, help me stop this. Please?" As soon as he tore his eyes away from her, Buffy pushed passed him and ran down the stairs. "People, listen to me!" She called out, "This is not the mother ship, people! This is ugly death come to play-"
Ford came up behind her and wasted no time in back-handing her so she fell down the flight of stairs. However, the slayer immediately got to her feet, but unfortunately Ford was right there to hit her again. Right after she hit the floor, the door unbolted and Libby was thrown in and flew over the balcony to crash onto the concrete floor. The collision sounded like a mallet crushing a brick. Libby was bruised and scraped from being beaten around outside, but the fall did a lot more damage. She had the hardest trouble flipping herself over on her back and it took a couple moments to get air back into her lungs.
Buffy instantly got to her feet when she saw her sister's entrance and knocked Ford out with a crowbar. The slayer rushed to her protector's side and cradled the brunette in her arms. "Are you okay?" She asked in deep concern.
"I feel like I got run over by a semi-truck but I killed five vampires." Libby answered with a weak smile.
"Yes, she did," Spike growled from the top of the staircase. "Now, take them all," he ordered his lackeys. "Save the slayer and protector for me!"
The remaining four or so vampires swarmed the cellar, but before they had time to feed, Angel, Xander, Giles and Willow entered and began fighting. Buffy helped Libby get to her feet and as Libby telekinetically separated the vampires from the humans, Buffy leapt into the air and over the balcony railing in order to claim Drusilla as a hostage.
"Spike!" Buffy bellowed over the battle.
Spike lifted his head from Chanterelle's neck and instantly felt cold fear take over his body. "Everybody stop!" he ordered with force.
Once everyone obeyed, Buffy said, "Good idea. Now, you let everybody out or your girlfriend fits in an ashtray."
"Let them go." Spike complied without a moment's hesitation.
The vampires backed away and the Scoobies led all of the victims out of the basement. However, Libby stayed and waited right in front of Spike...ensuring that he tried nothing stupid.
"Back up down the stairs, nice and slow." Libby ordered with a voice as pissed and smooth like delicious poison. She knew it was the only way to get the kind of reaction from him that she needed. "I want no problems from you."
"You'll get no more tonight." Spike swore as he descended the stairs.
Buffy guided Dru towards the door while Libby backed away across its threshold and the second she had the opening, she shoved the vampiress onto her lover and ran through the door so Libby could flail it shut. Spike sprung for the door as quickly as he could, but once he got there he discovered something.
"Uh, where's the doorknob?"
When Buffy and limping Libby walked outside, everyone was waiting for them.
"Are you both all right?" Giles asked as soon as he saw that Libby was hurt.
"I'm okay, but Libby's been better." Buffy answered as she gently touched a bruise in observation.
"I'll heal with no problem. I think telekinesis makes my body speed up the healing process."
"Really?" Giles inquired, now fascinated.
"Can we get into that later?" Libby told more than asked with a begging smile.
"Of course." Giles smiled.
"So everything's okay now?" Willow joined in.
"Yeah, the vampires are contained, but they'll get out eventually so we should probably go," Buffy answered with sorrow. "We can come back when they're gone."
"Come back for what?" Xander asked.
"For the body."
Buffy placed flowers over Ford's grave and couldn't help but feel a small hole in her heart. She stood up and went back over to Libby and Giles for comfort, but she felt lost on what kind she wanted and whether or not she deserved it. The whole time with Ford she was reading him the right act about killing innocent people for his own selfish purposes when - in fact - she was doing the same thing with Libby. The slayer knew that she never wanted Libby to get hurt or die for her and would do anything in her power to prevent it, but underneath all that was the cold hard truth that she knowingly brought her protector here anyway. She was afraid that Ford was right when he said they had more in common than she thought, but when she looked over at a sympathetically smiling Libby - a powerful protector always growing stronger and a sister with the bravest heart she's ever known - Buffy felt peace and knew that she wasn't. Not completely.
"I don't know what I'm supposed to say." Buffy admitted.
"You needn't say anything." Giles replied sincerely.
"It'd be simpler if I could just hate him. I think he wanted me to. I think it made him easier to be the villain of the piece. Really he was just scared."
"Of course he was," Libby concurred kindly, "He was dying a gruesome death. Who wouldn't be terrified? I know I would be."
"Nothing's ever simple anymore," Buffy honestly vented, "I'm constantly trying to work it out. Who to love or hate, who to trust. It's just like the more I know the more confused I get."
"Welcome to my world." Libby confessed.
"Well, I believe that's called growing up." Giles told them in his watcher way.
"I'd like to stop, then. Okay?" Buffy childishly asked in gloom.
"I know the feeling." Giles responded with a shadow of a smile.
"Does it ever get easy?"
Buffy didn't get her question answered right away because Billy Fordham, new vampire, burst through the ground and Buffy had to stake him through the heart. It was finally over and with that relief came the mourning of her friend.
"You mean life?" Giles tried to specify.
"Yeah, does it get easy?"
"Easy is very relative now," Libby said almost to herself, "It's a strange thing."
"Is that good or bad?" Buffy inquired further.
"What do you want me to say?" Giles asked his slayer.
"Lie to me."
"Yes, please." Libby echoed.
Smiling at his girls, they walked off together as he replied, "Yes, it's terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true. The bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats. And we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies and everybody lives happily ever after."
Buffy and Libby smirked at each other before they both looked up at their father figure and said, "Liar."