Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or any of the characters mentioned in the cannon.

A/N: Ok, yes I know new story that and not a chapter for Dark Release, and I'm sorry about that. I'm just glad that I'm posting something after so long. A new chapter for Dark Release will come out I promise musie is just taking a little break she's been working on Dark Release nonstop for a while now, but she's eager t get it finishes she just going away so she can come back to it refreshed. And in the mean time she's given me a completely AU season 1 to work on. Well almost completely AU there are a few scenes in this first episode that are in or closely linked to the first episode of Buffy season 1 'Welcome to the Hellmouth' but musie wanted some of the same things to happen as in the original series, but hopefully it will only be this one chapter that has any scenes taken from the original TV series.

EPISODE 1

Home Sweet Hellmouth

Buffy sat in the passenger side of her mother's jeep, her elbow resting against the bottom of the window and the rounded curve of the car door, her fisted hand pressing against her rounded cheek, pressing the soft flesh harshly against the solid bones of her teeth. Her mother sitting beside her driving the towards the little town called Sunnydale. Buffy looked out over the passing Californian scenery. She'd never been out this way before so it was all new, but she found that she couldn't bring herself to appreciate it overly much. Her life was a disaster, a disaster that had started a years ago on her fifteenth birthday on the steps of Hermery High when the stuffy Englishman that called himself Merrick had told her that she was a vampire Slayer.

Things had just gone steadily downhill from there. Her mom and dad had started arguing every night after a couple of months of her sneaking out and her grades getting steadily worse and worse as more and more of her time had to be devoted to what went bump in the night, and then the rumours had started. Buffy Summers got into fights, Buffy Summers was hanging out with gangs and getting into trouble. She gone from popular to being treated like she had the plague by every friend she'd ever had. That hadn't been so bad, she'd found the inane chatter of her friends getting more and more boring, everything that had come out of their mouths had been irrelevant and unimportant. So in away it had been a relief and people stopped bothering her, stopped asking her to do things with stopped caring whether or not she was in class.

Her parents fighting had increased though, they couldn't ignore the rumours. They didn't understand how she had changed so much, going from such a sweet tempered girl to starting fights and staying out late and coming home with dirty or ripped clothes. So the fighting got worse and more and more often she'd heard her name tossed around and a lot of 'your faults you were never hard enough on her.' Until the inevitable happened, her father walked out of the house and never came back. He called occasionally though to show that he still cared about her that was something. It wasn't very often though and she found that she missed him being with her mother even if she didn't miss the yelling and screaming and her mother's tears.

Buffy heaved a heavy sigh. Then things with Lothos had also heated up and his minions had attacked the school gym when the students had been attending a formal dance. She'd only had the one choice to set fire to the gym after getting the other students out there was no way she could have taken on that many minions and lived. Of course that had lead to her being kicked out of school which had led to her mother searching for a school that would take her. Which led to Sunnydale High the only school within a thousand kilometres that was crazy enough to let her attend.

She considered it a good thing though, it wasn't too far away from L.A. but far enough away from L.A. that she could start again, and put being Buffy Summers vampire Slayer behind her and once again be Buffy Summers normal daughter with normal teenage problems. She'd done her bit to save the world from vampires it was somebody else's turn to take the mantle and worry about not letting their parents find out and juggle school work with slaying and having stuffy Watcher telling you that you didn't have time to go out and have fun because vampires needed slaying and people needed saving. So she was done there was nothing else to it… the stake in the handbag that was by her feet was just a precautionary thing. Wouldn't anyone be cautious if they'd had vamps trying to kill them for the past year?

Joyce Summers shifted gear, before glancing over at her daughter as she stared moodily out the window. Her expression filled with none of the life that it usually was. Joyce looked back at the road as she placed her hand back on the wheel. "This move will be good for us. I have the gallery and you'll be at a school that has a reputation for being friendly and accepting of students with… colourful records."

"Tactful." Buffy quipped turning her gaze from the window.

"Oh sweety I'm sorry. You know I hate to bring 'it' up. Just try to perk up ok. We'll be there soon and you can check out our new house and we can both start again. A clean slate."

Buffy smiled removing her elbow from against the car door and turning to sit straight in her seat, her stylish sunglasses protecting her eyes at least a little from the suns glare. "I'd like that." She said truthfully. She wanted nothing more than to wipe her passed clean away… well maybe not the person she'd become because of it, she didn't think she could stand becoming the vapid little girl who only cared about the latest fashion and could only talk about who was hot and who wasn't.

Buffy leaned forward and turned up the radio and nodded her head gently to the music doing her utmost to not let thoughts of the past send her back into a funk. Joyce smiled glad to see that her daughter wasn't too deeply depressed about the move to a small town after living all her life in the brightly lit city of L.A. At that moment they drove past the Welcome to Sunnydale sign and a couple of seconds Buffy was looking at the town she now called home.

***B/Aus***B/Aus***

Buffy walked up the unfamiliar staircase of the house that was now home. Walking down the hall a short ways she turned into the room that was designated as hers. Her double bed was already set up and set against the far wall of the room, and the movers had been kind enough to take her small vanity up the stairs and set it in her room. Buffy frowned at it and moved towards it pushing it closer against the wall with a gentle push, and sliding it further across manoeuvring it so that it was across from her bed. The room looked depressingly bare and empty, the only thing that really looked like a person slept in here was her bed. It had been the only thing she'd done before her mother had called her down for dinner. It had been take out seeing as all the pots and pans were still in boxes.

Buffy looked around at her own boxes that were littering the room. One box had 'vanity' scrawled across it and then there were the boxes stacked in front of her wardrobe with 'Buffy's clothes' scrawled on them, and then there was the box that said Mister Gordo. Buffy walked over to that box and picked it up. Setting it down on her bed she easily ripped the sticky tape off it and opened it revealing the stuffed toy pig that had been nestled inside small foam sticks packed in with him to keep him safe and comfortable for the ride in the movers truck. Buffy lifted him out and set him on her bed, on top of her pillows. "There, that's better." She murmured. Grabbing the now unimportant box Buffy threw it towards the door where it landed with a soft thud. "Right, Mister Gordo, it's time make this room more home-y." Buffy said determinedly setting her eyes on the other boxes still unpacked and the one suitcase of her clothes she had packed in the jeep just in case she didn't feel like unpacking when she got here and had to get clothes in a hurry for school tomorrow morning.

Buffy shifted the boxes of clothes out of the way from the wardrobe door, before opening it wide and took in the space that was available to her before turning her attention to the boxes. Ripping off the sticky tape one by one Buffy took out the clothes that had been placed in there hangers and all and began hanging them up in their groups. Jackets in one section, jeans in another, shirts in another, and skirts in another, before she started putting away the ones that had to be folded and put up on the shelves. Working her way through them all slowly making sure that the clothes she put away were right to go straight back up into the wardrobe. Having emptied out all the boxes she turned to the suitcase and unzipped it to reveal the one set of clothes she had set aside for tomorrow and her socks, panties and bras. Laying the clothes out on the bed for the moment Buffy set about putting her underwear away in the drawers provided in the wardrobe.

Finishing up with her clothes Buffy stretched for a moment, before eyes landed on the chest she'd had since she was a little girl. It had carried things from her soft toys when she was younger to all the bits and bobs of a teenage girl that wouldn't fit anywhere else. It still held the bits and bobs, but now the chest had a hidden compartment a second layer. A layer that was filled with stakes and wooden crosses that could double as a stake if she was desperate, and bottles of holy water. All the things inside that chest had saved her life at one time or another. Buffy sighed as she stared at it she'd almost decided to throw the contents of the second layer of the chest out in light of the fact that she was done with slaying, but she couldn't bring herself to do it. It was too scary a thought to walk around without some form of protection on her and in the house. Now that she knew what went bump in the night she doubted that she could ever leave herself or her family unprotected by leaving herself weapon-less if not defenceless.

Walking towards the chest Buffy turned to face the room trying to decide where to put it so that it was at least out of plain sight. Her stakes and crosses maybe hidden, but it wasn't bullet proof all anyone had to do was lift the top layer inside the chest out and they'd see her dark secret. It wasn't something one left lying around. She'd considered putting a lock on it once as insurance, but had decided against it when she'd really thought about it and realized that if she was in a hurry fiddling with a lock would take too much precious time even just breaking it would considering that she still had to get it open and lift the top part out. Buffy's drifted to her bed, before she turned her eyes away again, the bed didn't stand high enough off the ground to fit the chest under it. Her eyes went to space under her vanity and she once again turned her gaze away, too hard to get at. Her eyes fell on her wardrobe and she cocked her head slightly, before shrugging and bending down to lift the chest off the ground and walk over to the still open wardrobe. Setting the chest down just outside the wardrobe Buffy slid the chest in with her foot the rest of the way. Nodding to herself happy with the fit before closing the wardrobe door not wanting to look at the chest again that night.

Buffy's eyes turned to her window to stare out at the night and for a brief moment she wondered, wondered if she should go out, get a lay of the town check out the night life and rid the world of a vamp or two before heading back home to sleep. Buffy shook her head and disregarded the notion she wasn't going to be fulltime slay gal anymore, she'd made a promise to herself when she'd seen how distressed her mother was when it had been discovered that it had been her who'd burnt down the school gym, it had been hard enough for her mother to deal with the fact that her daughter had started fighting and hanging out with the wrong crowd, but to burn up a school building and get expelled was just too much for her. She's made a promise to herself then that slaying was behind her, that she wouldn't be sneaking out of the house anymore in the middle of the night to fight vampires and other nasties. That she'd just be Buffy Summers daughter, friend and high school student!

Buffy turned as her mother knocked on the door. "Well, it's nice to see that you're settling in." She murmured her eyes drifting over the empty boxes littering the floor, before stepping into the room. "And I see Mister Gordo made the trip safely."

"Yep, he's a trooper." Buffy quipped her eyes scanning around her room and gave a small nod. "It's still not quite right, but it's definitely more home-y."

Joyce smiled. "Oh it won't take long as soon as you've got your floor covered in your clothes it'll feel perfect."

"I'm not that bad." Buffy said in protest. "I put my clothes away… most of the time."

"And where am I at these times when your clothes make it off the floor and into the wardrobe or the laundry basket?"

"Taking a mental holiday to the land of white sandy beaches and blue as blue oceans." Buffy said innocently.

Joyce smiled. "In that case I better take that mental holiday more often."

"As long as you promise to bring me back one of those drinks with the little umbrellas." Buffy quipped.

"Hmm." Joyce sighed and touched her daughters shoulder. "I should really go and tackle some of my unpacking. Your way ahead of me."

Buffy turned to face her mother. "Oh you want some help?" She offered.

Joyce smiled grateful for the offer, but shook her head. "No, I think I'll be fine. Besides you still have a few things to unpack yourself. Like that box of those soft toys you insist on keeping."

"Well, their cute and cuddly and know just what to say when you're feeling down and dumpy." Buffy defended.

"Which is nothing at all." Joyce replied a little amused.

Buffy nodded. "Sometimes that's the best thing to say." Buffy walked with her mother to the door of her room. "So you found where the mover-people put them?"

Joyce nodded as they entered the hall and walked the small way to her room. "Yeah, they were placed in the basement."

"You sure you don't want any help?" Buffy asked as her mother stepped into her room.

Joyce shook her head. "No, thanks for the offer though."

Buffy nodded. "In that case, I'll go rescue my stuffed toy animals from the basement." Joyce shook her head, but smiled as Buffy skipped down the rest of the hall until she reached the stairs, before turning and sighing as she was faced with all the boxes piled in her room.

After getting slightly lost once on her way to the basement, Buffy finally walked down the stairs that lead to the basement. It was large and had at least to small rectangular windows that weren't covered by boxes of things that as of yet had nowhere else to go. Buffy turned on the light and looked around it wasn't near as gloomy as she'd expected despite the boxes it was rather spacey… or would be once the boxes were unpacked and demolished and sent to the local tip. Buffy spied the medium sized box marked soft toys and walked over to it. Thankful that it was on the top of the pile of boxes instead of at the bottom she picked it up and made her way back up to the main area of the house. Walking back up the stairs that lead to the bedrooms and the bathroom Buffy re-entered her room and placed the box on her and in a swift movement tore the sticky tape off the box and opened it.

Smiling down at her small collection of soft toys Buffy pulled them out one by one and placed them on the floor by the wall slightly across and to the left from her window, her small bookshelf that had never held a single book on any of its shelves needy to be reassembled before her soft toys could take their honoured position on it. "Don't worry guys; you'll have your home back soon." Buffy promised the fluffy white rabbit, the soft pink bear, the smaller brown bear with a bowtie around its neck and the medium sized grey seal complete with plastic little whiskers. Buffy moved across to her window and slid it open.

Her eyes immediately going to the tree that was placed only a little way away from her window, a perfect position for her to sneak out of the house unnoticed, or for an enemy to sneak up… Buffy shook her head and turned her gaze away from the tree and to the nice looking neighbourhood. There was no feasible reason for there to be a vampire climbing up the tree unless they knew she was the vampire Slayer and they wouldn't know if she gave them no reason to suspect that that was what she was… and she was most definitely not planning to do anything Slayer-ly. Buffy sighed and shut her window slightly harsher than she meant to making the glass vibrate threateningly in its pane. Buffy paused expecting to hear her mother calling her name or the sounds of her footsteps coming towards the room to see if she was ok… or scold her for slamming the window shut, she really did have to watch her strength, or she'd end up rousing suspicions.

Buffy closed the curtains to her window, before turning and walking over to her wardrobe and pulling out a large satin pyjama top. Throwing it on the bed Buffy reached for the hem of her shirt and pulled it up and over her head before throwing it casually to the ground, before sliding out of her jeans and stepping out of them. Reaching up she unclasped her bra and it too fell to the ground in a graceless heap. Buffy slid the cool satin pyjama shirt over her shoulders and slowly did up the buttons, before walking across her room and picking up the box marked 'vanity' and set it on the smooth white surface of the table. "I'll sort you out tomorrow." She mumbled. Turning around again her eyes landed on the clothes that were now lying on the floor and she grinned sheepishly her mother's words repeating in her brain. 'She was right, the room felt more home-y already.' Buffy thought, before walking to her door leaving the close where they were for now, silently promising herself to throw them in the laundry hamper tomorrow morning.

Walking down the hall back towards the stairs Buffy came to a stop in front of her mother's open door. "Night mom."

"Night Buffy… don't forget you have to be up bright and early tomorrow for school." Joyce called after her daughter as Buffy after receiving her 'night' in return had began walking back to her room. Buffy made an acknowledging hand gesture that Joyce couldn't see and walked back into her own room shutting the door behind her with a conscious effort to restrain her strength. Buffy turned off her light and walked towards her bed, her eyes adjusting the sudden darkness almost immediately, one of the few perks to being called as The Slayer you could see almost as well at night as you could during the day.

Pulling back the covers Buffy slid into her bed and wrapped the covers around her. Her eyes remained wide open however as she moved her gaze about the room, that was more home-y, but no less strange. Buffy took a deep breath and let it out slowly. She could be a normal girl again, she could do that for herself and for her mother. She'd earned the right to pass the mantle on to somebody else… and she had! It was somebody else's duty now to stop the vampires from making snacks of innocent people. She'd done her bit. Buffy closed her eyes and rolled over onto her side stubbornly ignoring the fact that she sounded more like she was trying to convince herself rather than actually believing it.

***B/Aus***B/Aus***

Buffy whimpered in her sleep chaotic, disjointed images assaulting her dreams. Images of a tall muscular sickly, pasty pale skinned vampire with a horrible red stain covering his lips, drawing ones attention to his sharp fangs to see if they were stained the same sickening colour of red. Images of vampires rising in hordes, rising from somewhere and storming the streets without a care in the world for hiding what they were. People screaming running, a flowing river of blood that was thick and deep, dead bodies littering the ground, an image of a stone angel from a cemetery she didn't recognize. A flash of dark chocolaty brown eyes that made her breath hitch in her throat, before it was expelled in a gasp as the image swiftly shifted to the sickly pale face of the vampire with the red stain around his lips, his eyes catching her attention this time, they weren't the usual amber of the vampire, but a stark glowing red.

Buffy opened her eyes with a gasp, her breathing slightly heavy. She placed a hand against her forehead and rubbed it with the heel of her palm. "Just leave me alone!" Buffy grumbled. "Don't you people know the meaning of the word retirement! Go bother somebody else with this crap!" Buffy threw the covers over herself and slid from her bed, stomping warily out of her room and down the hall towards the bathroom, to wash away the grime and sweat that was covering her skin in a fine sheen, and dubiously hopefully that the hot water would wash away the images shown to her in her dreams. She was retired damn it, she didn't care about this stuff anymore! Somebody else could do it! Buffy closed the bathroom door with a loud bang momentarily forgetting about her enhanced strength as she concentrated on trying to get rid of the knots that had formed in her stomach since her prophetic dream.

***B/Aus***B/Aus***

Buffy sat in the car as her mother drove down the road towards the new high school she had been enrolled in. Her fashionable creamy white long sleeved top and dark brown skirt that wasn't too long or to short were impeccable despite having been packed in a suitcase for a few hours. Her sunglasses on once again as she watched the township go by. It wasn't all that long until the school came into view. Buffy tapped her fingers against her pants as her mom drove closer until finally pulling up illegally in front of the school so that she could get out.

"Have fun, Buffy." Joyce said as Buffy undid her seat beat.

"Uh-huh." Buffy answered automatically as she opened the door and stepped out of the car.

"Oh and Buffy?" Joyce called making Buffy turn around to look at her, the car door still open. "Please do try and not get kicked out of school."

"Don't worry mom. You're looking at a new and improved Buffy, flying under the school radar extraordinaire." Buffy closed the car door and turned, before walking up the school steps.

"But I do." Joyce sighed a little worriedly before shaking her head and driving off down the road heading towards her newly bought yet to open gallery.

***B/Aus***B/Aus***

Doing his best to weave in amongst students Xander rode his skateboard down the paved path. His clothes shaggy and his dark hair is in a messy disarray, in his attempt to look cooler than people allowed him to be. "Coming through… coming through…" More students entered the path and Xander wasn't sure if he could successfully manoeuvre about them all. "Not certain how to stop… Please move." He added, but it didn't make any difference. He made it through the thick of the crowd only to catch a glimpse of blond hair and attractive clothes and a new face. Craning his head around to get a better look as the unfamiliar hottie as she walked up the stairs. His distraction was moment to long as he went boarding right into one of the metal stair railings, causing him to fall off his skateboard and onto his back, with a painful thump. Willow walked up to him at just that moment making her the first thing he saw when he squinted his eyes open, the sun hurting his eyes.

Willow brushed hair behind her ear as she looked down at him, silently wondering how he'd managed to plough himself right into the railing as she smiled down at him. "Willow!" Xander greeted brightly pretending as if he hadn't just fallen off his skateboard in front of everybody. "You're so much the person I wanted to see." He informed her from his position on the ground.

Willow's eyes brightened in feminine pleasure and hope and she sat up a little straighter, suddenly worried if she looked ok or if she had something between her teeth. "Really?" She asked as Xander picked himself off the ground skateboard in hand.

"Yeah." Xander said earnestly as he fell into step beside her as they continued making their way up to the school. "So are we Bronzing tonight?"

Willow nodded. "Wouldn't miss it." She beamed once again placed some of her hair behind her ear, the long strands always escaping from behind the delicate lobe of her ear. "So have started the math homework yet?" She asked knowing Xander.

"The math." Xander repeated as if confused. "Oh right the math, yeah, probably going to need your help on that one Will."

"Which part are you having trouble with?" Willow asked.

"The math." Xander repeated.

"Ok, well… do you have Theories of Trig? You should check it out." She suggested.

"Check it out?" Xander parroted confused, his mind in a completely different place to his friends.

Willow nodded and looked over at Xander. "From the library. Where the books live."

Xander nodded sagely. "Right." He said, now on the same page as Willow. "I'm totally there. See, I want to change." He assured his friend as they entered the school hall.

"Hey." Jesse greeted them as he broke away from conversation with someone else as he spotted the two of them coming into the hall.

"Jesse!" Xander replied as he clasped the other boys hand for a moment. "What's what?" He asked as they continued down the hall.

"New girl!" Jesse said immediately, slapping somebody's outstretched hand as he passed them.

"That's right, I saw her. She's pretty much a hottie." Xander informed him.

"I heard someone was transferring here." Willow injected into the conversation, hoping to sound more interested than she did jealous over the fact that Xander found her hot.

"So tell." Xander demanded of Jesse.

Jesse looked at Xander confused. "Tell what?"

"What's the sitch? What do you know about her?" Xander asked, fighting off the 'duh' tone that wanted to creep into his voice.

Jesse shrugged. "New girl."

Xander looked at him incredulously. "Well, you're certainly a font of nothing." He quipped, before turning to follow Willow as she turned down a hall. Jesse followed behind with another shrug. So, he hadn't thought to try and find out more about the new chick that had strangely transferred mid semester. She was a hottie what else was there to care about?

***B/Aus***B/Aus***

Buffy sat before principal Flutie's desk twiddling her thumbs a small frown on her face. As hard as she tried the images from her dreams last night kept popping into her mind, haunting her trying to make her feel bad for not planning to do anything about it. And it was working a little bit, but she'd done her bit and now she'd hung up her stake and her crosses she sacrificed enough for the world now it was time to get her priorities straight and slaying was far, far… so far down the bottom of that list that it was even hard to read! Buffy heard the door open behind her, and looked over her shoulder to see who she assumed was Mr. Flutie a whole different world of worries curling in her belly as she saw him looking down at a folder that had to be her transcripts.

"Buffy Summers," He said looking up and giving her a smile as he sat down at his desk and opened the folder completely. "Sophomore, late of Hemery High in Los Angeles. Interesting record, quite a career." Buffy eyes widened in surprise as he picked up her transcript and deftly tore it into four pieces with a large smile, a sudden thought crossed Buffy's mind that he was crazy… in a cool kind of way. "Welcome to Sunnydale. A clean slate, Buffy, that's what you get here. What's past is past. We're not interested in what it says on a piece of paper. Even if it says," Mr. Flutie looked down at one of the squares of paper that remained of her transcripts. "Whoa!" He exclaimed and immediately began rearranging the pieces so that they sat in the correct positions. "A Sunnydale we nurture the whole student. The inner student."

Buffy looked at Flutie's hands concernedly as he pulled pieces of tape from the dispenser and stuck the pieces back together, the good feeling she'd been having about Mr. Flutie and his school policies fading. "Other schools might look at the incredible decline in grade point average. We look at the struggling young woman with the incredible decline in grade point average. Other schools might look at reports of gang fights…"

"Mr. Flutie…" Buffy tried to cut in, so as to give some reassurances that she had no plans of making the same mistakes she'd made last year.

"All the kids here are free to call me Bob." Mr. Flutie interjected.

"Bob," Buffy repeated, feeling a little uncomfortable calling any teacher or principal by their first names.

"But they don't." Flutie added, as he checked that the transcript was sticky taped correctly.

"Mr. Flutie," Buffy tried again. "I know my transcripts are a little colourful…"

"Hey, we're not caring about that!" Flutie assured. "Do you think 'colourful' is the right word?" He asked unable to help himself, never had he come across a student that had actually burnt down a school building. "Not 'dismal'? Just off hand I'd go with 'dismal'."

"It wasn't that bad." Buffy murmured self-consciously, this meeting doing more towards her not wanting to be The Slayer then all the little pep talks she'd been giving herself.

"You burned the gym." Flutie stated.

"I did. I really did. But you're not seeing the big picture. I mean, that gym was full of vampir… asbestos." Buffy corrected herself, a swiftly flare of panic going through her at her slip.

"Buffy. Don't worry. Any other school, they might say 'watch your step', or 'we'll be watching you', or 'get within a hundred yards of the gym with a book of matches and you'll grow up in juvie hall' but that's just not the way here. We want to service your needs, and help you to respect our needs. And if your needs and our needs don't mesh…" Flutie trailed off, a firm believer in not intimidating any student… even one that burnt down a school gym.

Buffy watched as Mr. Flutie slipped her transcript back into her folder looking a lot worse for wear for having been ripped up then taped up. "Look Mr. Flutie," Buffy tried again. "I don't want to repeat mistakes of the past and I want to assure you that I'm only planning on focusing on getting my grade point average back up where it's supposed to be."

"Well, Ms. Summers consider me assured." Mr. Flutie said with a bland smile. "Now you should get going first class is about to start, and you wouldn't want to be late, now would you?"

"Uh, no… of course not." Buffy mumbled and stood from her chair, Mr. Flutie still smiling at her.

Buffy turned and walked from Mr. Flutie's office, she supposed the interview could have gone worse, but she couldn't help the feeling that despite what he said, he would be keeping a close eye on her. It was in his body language, in the way he'd spoken about her past school record. Dismal he'd called it and she supposed it was, but she preferred the term colourful and so did her mother. But that was in the past, she was aiming for a new life entirely now, not her pre-slaying life, she just wasn't that girl anymore, and she had no interest in trying to get her back, that girl had been useless and destined to be a super model with no real brains to speak of and then she'd be a washed up supermodel who couldn't get a job anywhere because she didn't have the skills. No little Ms-Washed-up-Supermodel was not what she wanted to be. She was going to be a post-Slayer Buffy… she hadn't quite figured out who post-Slayer Buffy was yet exactly, but she had a rough outline and that had to count for something.

Buffy opened her bag and began digging around inside it, looking for the piece of paper that had her schedule printed on it. She paused as her eyes landed on the stake that she had in her bag, it annoyed her that she couldn't go anywhere without it. It was broad freaking daylight! She knew very well that vampires couldn't come out during the day, but still there it was just in case the impossible happened, or she hadn't made it home from school before dark and she was set upon by vampires. Buffy shook her head and began rummaging again, a frown of concentration on her face as she shifted her notebooks around.

Buffy sucked in a breath as she was bumped by one of the students running past her almost knocking the bag from her shoulder, but she managed to catch it before the contents of her bag spilled out all over the floor. Buffy sighed and gave herself a shake, before continuing to dig through her bag. 'Where in the hell is my schedule?' Buffy thought growing frustrated.

Xander who was walking down a hall on his own making his way towards his class, saw her and paused in his stride, hesitating a moment, pondering whether or not to risk going over and talking to the hot petite blond as she struggled with her bag. Not being able to help himself, despite the talking down to her expected to get, Xander walked over to her. "Can I have you?" Xander asked.

Buffy looked up her eyebrows raised in question not quite sure she believed she'd heard what she thought she'd heard. "What?"

Xander blinked his eyes shut a slight flush of embarrassment creeping over his cheeks. "I mean, can I help you."

Buffy glanced down at her bag, before looking back up at Xander and offering a smile. "Well, I have to find History and I can't seem to find my schedule in the chaos that is my bag?"

"Oh sure, I can show you the way. My classrooms just across from yours." Xander offered excitedly, wincing slightly at the over enthusiasm.

"That'd be great, thanks." Buffy said with relief, falling into step beside Xander.

They walked in silence for a moment, Xander trying to think of something whity to say, whilst Buffy was just happy to be getting on her way to class. "So, I don't know you, do I?" Xander finally said lamely. It being the only thing that was coming to mind.

"I'm new." Buffy stated. "I'm Buffy."

"Xander. Is me. Hi." Xander babbled nerves eating at him, this being the first time a hot girl had willing talked to him without saying something scathing or even willingly shared the same space with him. "Well, this is you." Xander said gesturing to the classroom he'd lead her to. "This'll be the room you get ancient facts you couldn't care less about stuffed inside your head for the rest of the year."

Buffy nodded. "Well, thanks." She said gratefully, before turning to head into the classroom.

"Oh, and take a seat in the back. Mrs. Emerson tends to spit a lot when she gets excited and history excites her… to a freakily high level."

Buffy looked over her shoulder and smiled. "Thanks for the tip." Before she could walk in though Xander spoke again.

"So, perhaps… maybe I'll see you around. Maybe at school, since we both… go there…"

"Uh, great. It was nice to meet you." Buffy said a little hurriedly before walking into her class.

Xander watched the door shut behind her. "We both go to school. Very suave, very not pathetic." Xander berated himself.

Cordelia who was walking down the hall heading to history paused as she reached him. "Hoping to catch some brains Harris, I hear you're in short supply." Cordelia said scathingly.

Xander turned his gaze to Cordelia. "I'm doing better then you in the brains department, Queen C." He retorted.

Cordelia rolled her eyes. "Whatever." She snapped, before strutting inside the classroom. The bell rang then and Xander turned and headed into his own.

***B/Aus***B/Aus***

Buffy sat in her seat near the back of the class. The teacher, Mrs. Emerson she believed Xander had called her talked on and on. She could see what the boy had meant about her being excited about history, and occasionally she could see spit flying from her mouth on occasion, but she was doing her best not to concentrate on that, but it was tempting. She was having trouble taking notes. Mrs. Emerson going too fast for her to keep up when she didn't really have any of the background knowledge the other students had. "It's estimated that about twenty-five million people died in that one four year span. But the fun part of the Black Plague is that it originated in Europe, how? As an early form of germ warfare." Buffy sighed and scribbled that down as well sure that it would be handy to look back on somewhere down the track, although it was always hard to tell when you'd never had the teacher before.

"The plague was first found in Asia, and a Kipchak army actually catapulted plague-infested corpses into a Genoese trading post. Ingenious." Buffy blinked at that, it was a freaky kind of ingeniousness to throw plague ridden dead bodies into an unaffected area, making innocent people suffer even if they were part of the enemy country. "If you look at the map on page 63 you can trace the spread of the disease."

Buffy looked at her new classmates helplessly as they all opened up their books to the suggested page, whilst she just sat there feeling like she was falling even more behind as she sat in the classroom trying desperately to soak it all in. The tall brunette sitting next to her leaned over in her seat and pushed her book forward so that it was sitting in between them. "Here."

"Thanks." Buffy said gratefully, as leaned over to look at the map on page 63.

"And this popular plague lead to what social changes?" The teacher questioned turning her gaze to the students searching out those who hesitantly put up their hands.

***B/Aus***B/Aus***

Buffy stood as the bell rang to signal the end of class, flipping closed her notebook she held open her bag with one hand and placed her book and pencil case back in there. When she looked up she saw the brunette girl who'd offered to share her book with her waiting for her. "Hi, I'm Cordelia." The girl introduced herself.

"I'm Buffy." She replied as she began making her way towards the door the tall brunette easily falling into step beside her.

"You know, if you're looking for a text book of your very own, there's probably a few in the library." Cordelia suggested. At that moment Xander who'd walked out of his classroom and had immediately started scanning for Buffy saw her walking with catty brunette. He stared at them for a moment, before turning away and heading down the hall. Feeling a little stupid that he believed even for a moment that the new girl may be different.

"Oh great, thanks." Buffy looked around hoping for a sign. "Uh, where would that be exactly."

"I'll show you." Cordelia said brightly, as she looked over Buffy's clothes and hair, her brown eyes approving. "You transferred from Hemery, right? In L.A."

Buffy nodded. "Yeah."

"Oh, I would kill to live in L.A. being that close to so many shoes!" Cordelia exclaimed. "Why'd you come here?" Cordelia asked suspiciously.

"Oh, you know, cause mom moved here… I mean we both moved, but mom wanted to." Buffy answered self consciously.

Cordelia rolled her eyes and nodded, completely unaware of how uncomfortable Buffy was with the direction of the conversation. "Parents huh, their so selfish! One desire to move and suddenly you're stuck in a hole of a town like Sunnydale with only a couple of boutiques you could even consider shopping in."

"Yeah, I guess." Buffy agreed slowly.

"I would have gotten myself legally emancipated if my parents tried to make me move from a place like L.A." Cordelia said decidedly, before smiling at Buffy. "Well, you'll be ok here." Cordelia assured her as they turned down another hall. "If you hang with me and mine you'll be accepted in no time. Of course we do have to test your coolness factor." You're from L.A. so we can skip the written." Cordelia continued. "But let's see… Vamp nail polish."

Buffy flinched slightly at the word vamp. "Over?" She replied a little tentively, it'd been so long since she'd had the chance to really involve herself in the fashion scene, it was one of the things she did miss about her pre-slaying days.

"SO over." Cordelia agreed and Buffy breathed out a sigh of relief. "James Spadar?"

"He needs to call me." Buffy answered more confidently.

Cordelia nodded again. "Trendy, but tasty. John Tesh?"

"The devil." Buffy replied instantly.

Cordelia shrugged, but smiled. "Well, that was pretty much a gimme, but you passed."

"Oh, good." Buffy said with a small smile, relieved that she was fitting in and not raising any flags that she was odd, or strange.

Cordelia brought them to a stop by a water fountain and Cordelia smiled again, this time a little cattily. "Willow! Nice dress." Willow smiled tentively as she looked up from the fountain she'd been drinking from. "Good to know you've seen the softer side of Sears." Cordelia said cattily. Buffy looked from Willow to Cordelia in surprise, in all honesty she didn't see anything wrong with the dress the girl called Willow was wearing, it looked nice and complemented the colour of her long red hair. It surprised her that Cordelia who'd been so nice just a second ago had suddenly changed into bitch. Buffy turned her gaze back to Willow uncomfortably, standing slightly behind Cordelia as the brunette stared down her nose at Willow.

"Well, my mom picked it out." Willow murmured apologetically her head down as she plucked at the dress with shaky fingers.

"No wonder you're such a guy-magnet." Cordelia said witheringly. "Are you done?"

"Oh." Willow murmured glancing at the fountain, before hurrying off wanting to get far away from Cordelia, before she could think of something else demeaning to say to her.

Cordelia stepped towards the fountain her gaze turned to Buffy. "You wanna fit in here, the first rule is 'know your losers.' Once you can identify them all by sight, they're a lot easier to avoid." Cordelia bent down over the fountain and turned on the water to drink. Buffy turned her gaze to the retreating figure of Willow her long red hair a shining beacon amongst the crowd of students in the corridor. She felt bad that she hadn't done or said anything, but in all honesty she hadn't been sure what to do. She didn't know either girl that well, and didn't know what would make the situation worse and what wouldn't. Buffy turned her gaze away from Willow to rest it on Cordelia who stood back to her full height and smiled at her.

A couple minutes later Cordelia was once again leading Buffy towards the library and talking. "… And if you're not too swamped with catching up you should come out to the Bronze tonight."

Buffy glanced at Cordelia. "The who?"

Cordelia smiled. "The Bronze. It's the only club worth going to around here. They let anybody in, but it's still the scene. It's in the bad part of town."

"Where's that?" Buffy asked a little dubiously, not really wanting to spend time with the catty girl, who in a lot of ways reminded her of her former self, which was a little disconcerting. There was no way that she could have been that mean… could she have been in her bid to remain the most popular girl in school?

"About half a block from the good part of town. We don't have a whole lot of town. You should show." Cordelia urged as they arrived at the library.

"Well, I'll try, thanks." Buffy said politely.

"Good." Cordelia said decisively. "I'll see you at gym, and you can tell me absolutely everything there is to know about yourself." Cordelia turned and walked off without waiting for a reply.

Buffy watched her go, a little thrown by the idea of telling someone all about yourself in a gym class. "That's sounds like fun." She muttered sarcastically, thinking of Cordelia's reaction should she find out what her life had really been like during her last year in L.A. Buffy took a breath it'd be ok, she'd work something out… a something that hopefully wouldn't involve seeing much of Cordelia. She was after all looking to be a post-Slayer Buffy and hanging out with someone that was obviously a big part of the scene she'd been into a pre-Slayer Buffy wouldn't help her do that.

Buffy turned and walked into the library the door swinging behind her on its hinges. The elegant look of the library surprised her as she first walked in. The library at Hemery had been all white wooden walls with computer cubicles and a small section to the side for books. Making it look every inch the modern day library. But this one, there wasn't a single computer in sight and the smell of books old and new was strong in the air, which wasn't surprising seeing as the second level was filled with large stacks of books. It was also deserted not something that had happened often in the library at Hemery, but then that could have been because of the computers.

"Hello?" Buffy called as she looked around, the librarian also seemingly having deserted the library. Buffy peered around a bookcase that was on the first floor of the library. "Is anybody here?" Buffy moved towards the checkout counter her eyes taking in the folded over newspaper a red circle was drawn around a picture and a small headline on the front page. 'Local Boys Still Missing.' Concern crossed Buffy's face as she looked down at the blurry picture of the three young local boys in the picture. 'Missing' was one of those headlines that could mean vampire victim, in L.A. it meant vampire victim more often than not, but here in Sunnydale? It couldn't mean the same thing, the town was tiny! But it was still a possibility. Buffy frowned annoyed with herself, she had to stop thinking like The Slayer! She was retired those missing boys weren't her problem!

Still she couldn't turn her eyes away from the picture that was staring up at her as if accusing her of some wrong doing, because she'd put up her stake. Buffy jumped as she felt a hand tap her on the shoulder and she whirled around only to let out the breath that had caught in her throat to see a well kept older gentleman. "Somebody's here."

"Ah, yes. You must be Ms. Summers."

Buffy looked at him a little quizzically. "Good call. I guess I'm the only new kid, huh."

Buffy watched as he straightened his spine. "I'm Mr. Giles." He said as if it should mean something to her. Buffy raised her brows at him. "I-I'm the librarian."

"Oh Good. Cause I'm gonna need the…"

"I know exactly what you're after." Giles told her cutting her off as he hurried around the checkout counter. Picking something up from the shelf bellow the counter he placed a big musty old book on the counter.

Buffy's eyes widened in surprise, and her heart pounded in her chest as she took in the title of the book. 'VAMPYR'. Buffy took a slow step back, before regaining herself. "No, that's definitely not what I'm after." Buffy said firmly wishing that her heart would stop pounding.

"Oh," Giles murmured surprised. "A-are you sure?"

"Oh, I'm sure, I'm so sure that I doubt that there's a sure-r person on the planet. But you seem rather certain about your book there, so I'm just gonna leave you to it." Buffy turned then and walked as swiftly as she could out of the library, without running. Giles looked after her confused, he was sure that it was a Ms. Buffy Summer who'd been called as The Slayer. He'd have to check the information The Council had given him on the current Slayer and make sure he couldn't afford to make too many mistakes, but then judging by her reaction, he wasn't sure that he had.

***B/Aus***B/Aus***

Buffy rested her hands on the bathroom sink and breathed hard, her head lowered so that it almost touched the cool bench. What in the hell had that been about? Was it normal for the librarian to shove books marked 'VAMPYR' at the students who walked into the library? Or was it her, did he know what she was? But that was impossible, he couldn't know what she was, the only other people left who knew where Watchers and they didn't work as librarians at a public high school in a small nowhere town like Sunnydale! And Merrick wouldn't have told anyone, he had always stressed the point that no one could know about her being The Slayer! There was also the fact that he was no longer alive to talk to anyone. He'd been the first casualty in the war she'd been chosen to fight. She couldn't help but think that she'd gotten him killed. No she knew that she'd gotten him killed during the early stages. He told her to meet him to patrol with him instead she'd gone to a party. The next she'd seen him he'd been a dead John Doe in the newspaper, and was found in a cemetery.

Buffy shook her head, no Giles the librarian couldn't know what she was. Plus he looked right at home in the library liked he'd been there for years. Maybe vampires were back in fashion and she just hadn't heard about it, maybe all the students went there and asked for books on vampires so now he just expected it. Yeah that had to be it. Buffy sighed and straightened herself up. Looking at her reflection she grimaced, she'd smudged her mascara. Pulling of a square of paper towel from the dispenser beside her, Buffy dampened it and rubbed carefully under her eyes, removing the dark smudges. Grabbing her lips gloss from her bag she freshened that up. Putting the tube away Buffy fluffed her hair a little before making her way out of the girl's bathroom.

Buffy looked back the way she had come, she really needed text books for her classes, but she couldn't bring herself to go back to the library and the strange librarian. The notion that somehow he knew or something about her made him guess at her secret sticking with her despite what she'd told herself in the bathroom. Buffy took a deep breath to steady herself, before turning away from the direction of the library and walking away down the hall with the signal minded purpose of getting away from the librarian.

Walking out one of the doors Buffy soon found herself staring out over the quad. Her eyes immediately settled on the familiar red head of Willow and she smiled brightly, before making her way over to the girl who was sitting on one of the benches that littered the area. "Hi, your Willow right?" Buffy called drawing the girl's attention.

Willow jumped slightly when she looked up to see the petite blond who'd been with Cordelia. "Oh did you want me to move. Cause I can move. I can move as fast as gopher on gopher day… if there was a gopher day… w-w-which there isn't." She babbled.

"No, I don't want you to move. I was kind of wondering if I could sit… preferably with you still here, so that I don't look as much of a loner as I feel."

"Oh!" Willow exclaimed surprised, before nodding cautiously, glancing around for any sign of Cordelia or her Cordettes. "Sure, it's a free bench."

"Oh, so no bench tole?" Buffy quipped as she walked around the bench to sit on the other side of Willow, angling herself so that she could look at Willow.

"No… at least not yet." Willow murmured.

Buffy frowned slightly. "You do know I was joking, right?"

"Oh, you were?" Willow asked with slightly wide eyes, that she briefly scanned around the quad once again to see if Cordelia was watching a giggling at her waiting for the punch line of whatever joke they were playing, but she still saw no sign of them.

"I'm Buffy by the way. The new girl." Buffy introduced herself with a friendly smile.

"Willow, but you know that already." He red head said self consciously, brushing hair back behind her ear.

"Willow, I have to admit there's a slight ulterior motive behind my choosing to sit with you." Buffy admitted, making Willow tense as prepared herself for the mean joke that was about to be played on her. "I've heard around campus that you're the girl with the smarts that can help me get caught up. Of course it'll involve hanging with me for a while and being at least a little friendly with me… that part is optional though."

Willow breathed out the breath she'd been holding and her body relaxed. "But aren't you hanging with Cordelia?"

"Can't I do both?" Buffy asked.

"Not legally." Willow mumbled.

Buffy shrugged. "Well, I kinda have this burning urge to not flunk all my classes and from what I've been told you're the best person to help me with that. So Cordelia will just have to deal, or not. I'm not all that fussed."

Willow smiled her nervousness fading. "Sure I can help with that, not the Cordelia dealing part, but the catching up part. If you have 6th period free we can go to the library and…"

"NO!" Buffy cut Willow off sharply, before giving her a slightly self conscious apologetic smile. "No, uh let's go somewhere quieter… or uh noisier." Buffy caught sight of Willow's look and went for a half truth. "The library just gives me the wiggins."

Willow nodded her understanding. "Yeah, it does that to a lot of people. Me I love it. All the books and the smell, and the quiet. And our new librarian Mr. Giles is really cool and smart."

Buffy swallowed. "He's new?" She queried her heart picking up speed again as her lingering nagging suspicion that he knew who she was flared to life again.

Willow nodded eagerly. "Yeah, he's just started. He was Curator of some British museum. Or the British museum." Buffy frowned at that hadn't Merrick told her that The Watcher's Council was based in London? "I'm not sure." Willow continued. "But he knows everything and he brought all these historical volumes and biographies, and am I the single most dullest person alive?" Willow asked, suddenly aware that she'd gotten carried away in her excitement.

Buffy cleared the frown off her face and smiled reassuringly. "Not at all."

Willow smiled, but before they could say anything Jesse and Xander spotted them and made their way over. "Hey!" Xander greeted as Jesse jumped between the two girls to land on the concrete path of the quad. "Can we interrupt? We're interrupting." Xander said as he sat on the low wall behind the bench his legs dangling down to rest on the back of the bench seat.

"Hey." Buffy greeted slightly bemused.

"Hey there." Jesse said nodding his head at her.

"Jesse, Xander. This is Buffy." Willow introduced.

"Oh me and Buffy go way back. Old friends from the hallway, and then there was that period of estrangement we're I think we we're both growing as people, but here we are and it's like old times. I'm quiet moved."

Jesse shook his head at Xander in friendly mocking way. "Is it just me or are you turning into a bibbling idiot?"

"It's not you." Xander muttered feeling a little embarrassed by his nervous ramble, that had started as away to remind Buffy that they'd met, but had gotten way out of hand.

"Its nice meeting you guys… I think." Buffy added sharing a slightly concerned what's going on look with Willow.

"Well, we just wanted to welcome you, make you feel at home, unless you have a scary home." Jesse quipped.

"Find out what you like, dislike, look for in a man, and things that annoy you. Let's hear it all." Xander continued drawing Buffy's gaze to him.

"If you have any dark, painful secrets we can publish?" Jesse added, drawing Buffy's gaze back to him.

"Oh, wow, geez. Anyone for twenty questions that don't revolve around the life of Buffy?"

Xander shrugged unapologetically. "Not much happens in a one Starbucks town like Sunnydale. You're the biggest news we've had all year."

"I'm not all that interesting, trust me." Buffy murmured self consciously.

"Are these guys bothering you?" Cordelia's voice suddenly cut across them making them look to the left where she was standing a polite friendly, good Samaritan look on her face that was pointedly directed at Buffy.

"No, not at all." Buffy replied without a hint of hesitation.

"But, uh-uh she's not hanging with us." Willow interjected, making Cordelia raise an eyebrow at the red head.

Cordelia turned her gaze back to Buffy. "Well, Buffy just so you know all these people are classified as losers. So if you want to spare yourself the humiliation of stooping down to a level that's clearly beneath you. Give them a wide birth."

Jesse stepped towards Cordelia, his brown eyes looking at her adoringly. "Hey Cordelia, are you heading up to the Bronze tonight? Cause ah, I could us some company, you know what I mean."

Cordelia made a disgusted face. "Oh, please." She cringed rolling her eyes at Buffy. "I'd be caught dead, before I'd be caught anywhere with you." She turned her attention back to Buffy. "I'll see you in gym Buffy." Cordelia said her biting tone changing for a friendlier one, before she turned and walked back into the school, heading towards the student lounge where her friends would no doubt be waiting for her.

Buffy watched her go, before turning her eyes to Willow. "What's her defect?" She asked.

"Ah, well, we have a few theories on that, but my favourite is, that she accidently swallowed a whole bottle of bitter pills when she was a baby and all the bitterness soaked into her brain, rendering her incapable of socially polite conversation." Xander said sagely, before catching the look on Jesse's face and quickly added. "But it's only a theory of course. There is the small chance that I'm wrong, and the cuddly Cordelia is just lying in wait. Waiting for someone to draw it out of her."

Jesse looked after Cordelia a little forlornly, a tiny crack in his confident exterior allowing his hurt feelings to show through for the moment. Willow looked at Jesse sympathetically, feeling sorry for her good friend, who'd loved Cordelia for years and only had pain and suffering to show for it. "I'm sure she'll realize what a great person you are, Jesse. In the meantime you could try… finding someone else." She suggested tentively, not getting a tongue lashing in response Willow continued on. "And you know, if you happen to fall in love with that someone else and become a couple and Cordelia does suddenly realize what a great guy you are, she'll just have to suffer with the knowledge that she could have had you and she lost her chance."

Jesse turned his gaze to Willow. "But I don't want Cordelia to suffer Wills. Not ever. But thanks." Jesse drew himself together and his confident smile slid back into place. "I gotta bounce. Gotta see a teach, about a late paper." With a small wave of his hand, Jesse turned and headed off into the school building.

Xander shook his head sympathetically. "Poor old sod. Just had to up and go fall in love with the wrong kind of woman."

***B/Aus***B/Aus***

Buffy entered the gym from the locker room in the horrible yellow shirt and red shorts that the school insisted they were for Gym class. She hadn't so much as taken two steps, before she heard Cordelia's voice calling loudly across the echoing hall. "Buffy! Over here!"

Buffy repressed a sigh, after the mostly relaxing fun filled break she'd shared with Willow, Xander and Jesse she really didn't want to have to deal with the stress of dealing with Cordelia and her friends. Buffy turned towards them and fixed a smile on her face. "Hey, what's up?" She asked when she reached the group.

Cordelia rolled her eyes, the brown orbs glaring at the gym teacher. "Wishing that we had a gym teacher that understood my needs, can you believe she wants us to do dodge ball! Urgh! It's so not fair I should be spending my time practising for the cheerleading tryouts! There only a couple of weeks away now and I'm determined to get in."

Buffy looked out over the gym where the teacher was standing to the side supervising as a couple of students set up the dodge ball boundaries. "Well, you know dodge ball helps with reflexes which come in handy with cheerleading. I know I used to…"

"Oh please." Cordelia said with a flip of her hand, cutting Buffy off. "My reflexes are just fine. You know you should try out for the team to. You've cheered before I can tell."

Buffy shrugged. "A little at Hemery."

"Great, then you'll totally be there." Cordelia said decisively, Buffy opened her mouth to protest being demanded to do something, she wasn't sure she was comfortable with doing again, but Cordelia spoke before she could. "So anyway, what was with your downward mobility this morning? I mean talk about hanging out with the dregs of the social community."

Buffy shrugged. "I don't know. I like them." Buffy heard gasps from the Cordettes and turned her head to look at them, noting the disgusted crinkle to Cordelia's nose.

"You should be careful Buffy. Or people may just start to think you're a jweeb in fashionable clothing."

"Uh-huh." The Cordettes agreed in unison, making Buffy look at them with raised eyebrows.

Cordelia stalked away followed closely by the Cordettes who all twittered about her as they tried their best to catch her attention. Coach Foster blew her whistle drawing every ones attention to her. "Ok students get into teams, girls on one boys on the other. If we have time we'll have a game with boy-girl teams. Buffy started making her way over as she spotted Willow who'd been sitting in a corner with the boys before and so hadn't been spotted. Buffy shared a smile with Willow as she took a position beside her. A quick glance to her left told her that Cordelia was looking at her with condemning eyes, before their gazes met and Cordelia turned hers away with a huff of disgust. Buffy shrugged, it was no big loss, in fact she was more than a little grateful that Cordelia and her posy would be more than likely dropping their attentions to her… at least in the friendly sense, and she could handle the occasional bitchy comment when they accidentally crossed paths.

Buffy rolled her shoulders and neck loosening her muscles, she glanced over at Willow and frowned in concern as she noticed the tenseness of her posture, she'd never jump out of the way in time if she was that tense. "Willow, it's alright, the balls don't hurt when they hit you. The all soft and squidgy."

"Oh, I know." Willow assured the blond. "It's more the fact that things are going to be hurled at him squidgy or not." There wasn't time for much conversation after that as Couch Foster blew her whistle signalling the start of the game.

***B/Aus***B/Aus***

Buffy stepped out from the shower cubicle she'd been using a towel wrapped around her already dried body. She was feeling really relaxed now after the sessions worth of dodging and weaving stretching her muscles. It had felt good and now she was sweat free which was even better. Buffy grabbed her deodorant just as Willow stepped out from the shower cubicle that was next to the one she'd been in.

Willow smiled at her as she came to stand beside her rummaging in her own gym locker for the can of deodorant that she kept there. "I can't believe how good you where! You almost won single handed. If we'd managed to tag more of the boys you might have."

"I wasn't that good. I was just… lucky." Buffy excused.

Willow shook her head. "Well, it looked like skill to me. The way you moved sometimes it was almost as if you knew the ball was coming!"

Buffy laughed a little nervously, it wasn't that she'd seen the balls coming, she'd just watched body language, it could and did tell you a lot about where things were going to be aimed and where they were going to hit the ground. "I just have quick reflexes."

Buffy paused in getting dressed as the sound of other girl's voices from just around the other side of the lockers. "Have you heard about that Buffy chick?" One girl asked.

"That new girl? She seems nice, what about her?" A second girl commented.

"I heard that she got kicked out of her old school for starting fights and running with a local L.A. gang."

"No way! She's so tiny!" The second girl gasped shock colouring her tone.

"Well, you saw her in gym class, she was totally like a little Amazon!"

Willow touched Buffy's arm drawing her attention away from the conversation about her. "Don't worry about it. I know those two, they gossip about everything and everything. Half the rumours in the school are made up by those two." She said encouragingly.

"Who makes up the other half?" Buffy asked. Willow's eyes flicked over to Cordelia the Cordette's who'd all just recently stepped out of the showers. "Oh." Buffy murmured, a 'should have known' tone in her voice.

Buffy went back to getting dressed, sliding the towel from around her when she had her underwear in place. She stepped into her skirt, before sliding on her white top, smoothing away wrinkles. Grabbing a hairbrush out of her bag Buffy began combing it through her hair, settling it back in place. She placed it along with the deodorant can inside her locker, before shutting it and twirling the inbuilt round lock. She turned to Willow and smiled. "So are you ready to go?" She asked.

"Yeah." Willow agreed as she closed her own locker and twirled the lock.

The two girls picked up their bags and began making their way towards the girl's locker room exit. Buffy's attention was snagged by another two girls as they sat pulling on their shoes. "Another three went missing last night." One of them murmured worriedly.

"Yeah this time I heard it was two girls and a boy." The second one confirmed.

"Uh-huh. The boy lived on the same street as me. His names Carl, I hope he's alright. We used to be best friends when we we're younger, but then he got all goth-punkish on me and stopped wanting anything to do with me. But I'm really worried."

The second girl shivered. "If one of them went missing on my street I'd be terrified that I'd be next!"

Buffy didn't get to hear anymore as she exited the locker room with Willow. She frowned in concern, the talk about missing people, three of them again put her in mind of the circled news article in the paper that had been resting on the checkout in the library. "Hey Will, how long have people been going missing around here?" Buffy asked.

Willow looked over at her startled. "Oh so you heard about that, huh." Buffy nodded. "It's been going on for as long as I can remember. Kids just up and running away, only now none of us think that their running away. It's happening to often, and now it's getting worse it used to only be one person or so, but now it can be up to as many as five at one time." Willow took note of the frown on Buffy's face. "I wouldn't worry too much about it though. It's probably just is them running away only in groups. Not very many of us want to stay in Sunnydale for longer than we have to." She reassured.

Buffy forced her frown to lift and gave Willow a smile. "I'm sure your right. It's probably nothing." Buffy lied, she didn't think it was nothing at all, it sounded like a nest of vampires only the nest was getting bigger so they needed more victims. Usually though if a nest got big in a small town they'd move to a bigger town and with L.A. only a couple of hours away it didn't make sense for them to stay, and draw attention to themselves. Most vamps didn't want attention on them it ruined their whole hunting thing. If people knew who and what you were it was harder to nab a victim. So they preferred most people believing that vampires and demons were myths made up to scare children and amuse adults, it made it easier for them. If people knew the truth about what went bump in the night, they wouldn't step out after dark!

Buffy gave herself a mental shake, she didn't care! She was retired with a big capital 'R'. The name Carl swam around in her brain though, succeeding in making her feel bad. They'd taken a friend a person who was loved, every victim they took was loved by someone and missed by someone. Buffy frowned to herself whoever Carl was, he was already dead there was nothing she could do about that! Buffy nodded to herself, but a little voice inside her head whispered at her that she could save other peoples loved ones from suffering the same fate.

***B/Aus***B/Aus***

In a decently sized, lavishly furnished room in a church, that had sunken bellow ground during an earthquake a good 60 years ago. Two people lay naked, wreathing together on a dishevelled bed, the covers that had once adorned the bed now lay in a miserable heap on the stone ground, the silk sheets crinkled and tousled against the mattress. Torches lined the walls burning merrily, lighting the room dimly and sending flickering shadows over to the two people on the bed as they continued to move together.

Darla moaned loudly her eyes flashing amber as she felt herself growing nearer to her completion, as Angelus thrust his hard pulsing cock up into her sheath in a hard rhythm that would have been excruciatingly painful to any human woman. Angelus wrapped one of his large masculine hands around Darla's throat and angled her head back to a rather uncomfortable position baring the pale column of her throat to him. He felt his face shift and his fangs prick against the soft inner flesh of his lower lip. Opening his mouth he lunged down sinking his fangs into Darla's neck tasting her thick powerful blood flooding over his tongue and down his throat. Darla growled and dug her fingers into his back, her nails biting deeply drawing blood.

With a confident upward thrust of her body Darla rolled them over on the mattress and pulled back so that she was sitting on top of him, forcing his fangs from her neck, two trails of blood running down her skin from her neck. The trail going over her breasts, down her belly darkened the dark blond curls that guarded her sex and onto Angelus' pale skin as she bobbed up and down on top of him driving them onwards with harsh needy gravitations of her hips. Leaning down she placed kisses on his chest scrapping human teeth along the smooth skin. She circled her tongue around one small brown nipple, before shifting her face and biting down deeply around the small brown bud. Angelus growled and arched underneath her, thrusting his hips powerfully up against her, matching her own thrusts as Darla drank from him as he had just drunk from her.

Darla removed her fangs from his chest, before planting her hands either side of his head so that she was looming over him, dipping down she kissed him forcefully both of them fully experienced at kissing around the sharp pointed fangs that at that moment they were both sporting. The taste of their blood mingling together made them groan almost in unison. Angelus rolled them over once again, his head dipping down to her neck to lick at the blood that was left behind from the now mostly healed wound. Darla squeezed his hips between her strong thighs as she wrapped her legs around him, pounding her hips against his relentlessly seeking the promised release. Angelus grasped her waist between his hands in a bruising grip, before sliding one of his hands down in between their driving bodies and flicked her clit with just the right amount of pressure to send her over the edge.

"ANGELUS!" Darla cried, her voice echoing throughout the stone room as her body quivered with the intensity of her orgasm. Angelus continued to move inside her one of his arms hooking around her leg moving it up higher so that he could thrust deeper. Darla mewled and gripped the back of his neck with one of her delicate looking hands, with a strength that it didn't look possible she could posses she pulled Angelus' head to the side and sunk her fangs viscously into his neck. Angelus let out a lusty cry as his balls tightened, before he came, his shooting his dead seed into Darla's equally dead womb as he rode out his release. Angelus collapsed on top of Darla his breathing unnecessarily hard. Darla smiled and stroked his hair for a moment enjoying the soft thick feel of it as it brushed softly through her fingers.

Regaining himself Angelus rolled to the side forcing her hand away in the process. Darla sighed and stretched forcing herself to sit up. She really felt like just curling up here and going to sleep beside Angelus, instead of getting up and getting dressed, but it wasn't part of their relationship never had been. They'd fuck all they wanted then go their separate ways to sleep or whatever it was that they wanted to do next. To express a desire to sleep beside him would be seen as a weakness on her part, and a Sire couldn't afford to look weak, especially not when they had a Childe as strong and as cunning and as quick mind as her Angelus.

Angelus watched Darla from his splayed out position on his large king sized bed that nearly took up the entire space, not that he minded, the whole point of the room was carnality and the right bed was a big part of that. Of course it left precious little room for any else, but he managed. He watched as Darla slid off the bed to her feet, his face shifting back to his handsome human mask, he watched her for a moment longer, before turning his gaze away to look at the window that showed nothing, but mounds of earth that had cracked and shifted 60 years ago when Nest had tried to open the hellmouth to release the old ones trapped inside. Not the brightest idea in his book, and he was glad that he'd been away at the time, although it would have been amusing to see Nest fail. He'd been young then not even two hundred and hadn't been interested in anything to do with the Order that he'd been Sired into, especially not the Master who'd when he'd first met him had been living like a rat in a stinking sewer. Not on the list of places he'd choose to live.

Then neither was a church, but here he was living here, under Nest's roof after the old man had summoned him, having wanted him back in the fold, something that never would have happened if he hadn't had a strong blood thirsty reputation to his name in only a matter of a few years. Darla finished dressing and turned her gaze to Angelus who hadn't moved from his sprawled out position. "The Master called a meeting of the Order, it'll start soon." She leaned over him. "You should be there."

"I have no interest in listening to your Master Darla." Angelus said flatly, turning his brown eyes to hers.

Darla gripped his chin in a firm grip. "He's not just my Master, he's yours to Angelus. You should do well to remember that, and watch your tongue, speaking like that would get you into a world of trouble that would lead to your death no matter what I said."

Angelus sat up and threw her hand off him. "I don't need your protection, Darla."

"No," Darla agreed. "What you need is a dose of common sense. The Master forgave you your rudeness of your first meeting and allowed you to come back into the fold, to be accepted once again, a Master Vampire in high standing with The Master himself."

"The only reason why Nest forgave me was because he didn't want me siding with one of his many enemies." Angelus said firmly.

Darla nodded. "Yes that's true, but look where that's gotten you Angelus. You could be second to the mater instead of Luke if you tried, acted a little more cordially to The Master."

Angelus rolled his eyes. "I don't want to be second in command, scurrying around to do old Bat-Face's bidding, fetching his supper and doing his above ground dirty work, because he refuses to go above ground to do it himself."

"The Master doesn't need to do his own dirty work that what his subjects are for." Darla said hotly.

Angelus rolled his eyes and lay back down. "Of course they are." He sighed and allowed his eyes to close.

Darla glared at his naked form. "At least let me know if you're coming?"

"Of course I'm coming, I've got to show that I support Nest or he'll think that I'm up to something. The man is incredibly suspicious."

Angelus heard the door to his chamber open and close and he opened his eyes to find his room blessedly empty apart from himself. He frowned up at the ceiling, he hated going to Nest's meetings, almost as much as he hated answering his summons, but he did like a good boy, just like he mouthed off to Darla about Nest, because he knew that if he didn't show some kind of resistance to being ordered about, for Darla to report to Nest like he knew she was, the woman wanted to permanently place herself in Nest's good graces in hopes that she'd be named successor to the throne of Master of Aurelious and she'd do anything to achieve it. Angelus sat up and shook his head he knew that it was a fine line that he walked, one wrong slip and he'd find himself dust, but the excitement of it thrilled him, and the end goal motivated him.

He'd be Master of Aurelious, he'd make sure of it, and take out everyone that stood in his way between him and it. He needed to be careful of course if Nest even so much as thought a strong and well supported vampire within the Order such as himself was planning to over throw him, the old bat would have him killed. Its why in the decades that he'd returned he hadn't made a move against Nest, or even breathed a word of his want for the top spot. There was also the fact that Nest was close to a thousand years old, having been at least six hundred years old when he'd first met him in that sewer in 1760. Which made the bastard strong, and quick and damn near impossible to kill, but killed Nest would be. But as big as his pride and ego was, he knew that it would be downright impossible to do on his own, and probably not in his best interests to deal the killing blow himself, a fair few members of Aurelious respected and supported Nest with a ferrous loyalty. No, he couldn't do it alone, but he couldn't trust anyone in the Order with his secret not even Drusilla and Spike, not that the two weren't ferrously loyal to him, but Dru was crazy and couldn't control what came out of her mouth half the time, and Spike well Spike wasn't the brightest tool in the shed, plus he'd learned long ago that you can never trust another vampire not to betray you for their own interests. They were all… himself included selfish beings who where only out for themselves.

Angelus stood and moved towards his wardrobe for fresh clothes. No it would be an impossible task to do on his own not only was there Nest that needed to be taken out, but quite a few others that wanted the spot for themselves, that could get the position, Darla included. Angelus opened his wardrobe door and pulled out a pair of black leather pants. He had no qualms about killing his Sire; the evil bitch would do that same to him in a heartbeat if she thought it would gain her something that she wanted. She wasn't one for loyalty, and he wasn't one to give loyalty when it wasn't returned… if at all. It all depended on whether or not he liked the person enough to risk his life to save them or stand by them as the gauntlet was thrown down. Angelus slide on his silk shirt and did up the buttons, before gently running a hand over his hair to check the softly pointed tips of the spikes he'd gelled into the fringe of his hair. He cracked his neck, before turning and heading towards the door, it was time for him to go act the loyal subject.

***B/Aus***B/Aus***

Angelus entered the main chamber, the room smelled damp from the small underground pool that had spread into the church upon its impact with the earth that hadn't split open by the earthquake and as always there was that musty underground dirt smell that was mingled with the stale air that hadn't seen the light of day for 60 years. Angelus silently skirted around the crowd of minions and lower level members of Aurelious making his way towards the more powerful vampires of higher stature as he was expected to. He didn't join them up on the small ledge that supported Nest's throne that had been brought with him to America from that dank underground sewer.

He watched in silent disgust as Darla stared up at Nest with adoring, and devoted eyes as much as she wanted to be Master of Aurelious she would never wish harm upon her Sire, her savior. He'd never allowed Darla to boss him about, guide him yes, but never boss. They'd been equals in all things. They did things together, they had fun, let the whirlwind carry them away as they slaughtered a bloody path through Europe. But the one thing he hadn't been able to stand was that she'd always come when her Sire called, it was like watching a dog on a leash, her Master only giving her so much slack before calling her back to wait on him. He'd always found it an abhorrent weakness on his Sire's part to let herself be called back to his side at a moment's notice. He'd never bend to another's will, never jump when they said to jump, unless it was for a higher purpose, an ulterior motive that led him to his current goal.

It was worth playing the loyal subject for a few meaningless decades, biding his time. He had patience plenty of it, and he was a good actor. No, he wasn't going to let his pride and his ego get in the way, not when the pride and ego of the bat-faced moron would suffer a much worse blow when he realized that he'd been played for a fool for so many years. Angelus crossed his arms and settled into a stillness that only an older vampire could accomplish, as he turned his attention to what Nest was saying. "The time is almost upon us, when vampires will walk the face of the Earth undisguised, and roam freely. The human race has ignored us for too long. In a couple of night's time we will no longer skulk in the shadows, and fall prey to rogue demon hunters who seek to make a name for themselves!"

Angelus sighed mentally, he was going to go through with it then, he was really going to send every vampire in the Order out and persuade others to join them on the night of the harvest and paint the town red with the blood of humans, filling the night with terror, revealing themselves to the whole world, and in doing so encourage other vampires to come out of hiding and make the world there own. It was such a waste! Sure there were benefits, but there were too many cons involved! Sure terror would fill the air almost permanently, but even that would lose its attraction after a century or so. The humans wouldn't thrive anymore, they wouldn't eat right, they'd be too scared to leave there houses! Their blood would taste foul and lack the sweetness that it had now, and eventually humans would die out completely, leaving them with nothing, but four legged animals and other less than appealing alternatives. It had to be stopped! But how to stop it without outing himself?

"The Harvest is a time when the vampire is at its strongest and it only comes around once in a century." Nest continued. "Any mistakes may cost us this chance for another century! So there must be no mistakes." The Master turned his gaze to Luke. "Luke and a few special others." His gaze turned to Darla, and Thomas, before looking up at the ruined and dirt filled ceiling of the old church. "The time for the harvest grows nearer, I can feel it, my blood stirs. On the night of the harvest, before we take our places as the rightful rulers of this world, we must have the purifying blood of virgins to receive the full benefits of our night of power, and revolution! So tonight when my chosen go out, they will search out the humans that we need, and then tomorrow night, they will bring the chosen vessels of purification and those deserving of us will purify ourselves, before we all take to the night and take back the world that is rightfully ours!"

The members of Aurelious cheered their agreement, excitement filling them for the massacre ahead. Nest turned his sights on Angelus and took in the frown that furrowed his brow. "Come now Angelus, no need to be disheartened for my not including you in my chosen few. It doesn't reflect back at you at all. For you shall be among the few whom get to purify themselves tomorrow."

Angelus smoothed out his brow and smiled a charming winning smile. "Thank you Master." He choked out his mind ticking over possible ways of stopping this from happening. He didn't care if the virgin sacrifice happened, hell that could be a bit of a laugh, but there had to be a way of stopping Nest from invoking the power of the harvest to power his revolution!

The Master turned away from Angelus his eyes catching on a minion. "You, dispose of those dead bodies tonight, their stench is beginning to wreak havoc on my senses!"

The minion looked at the rather large pile of dead bodies that The Master of Aurelious had pointed at and gulped. "B-by myself. Master?" He squeaked.

Nest waved a dismissive hand. "You can use a couple more minions if you feel the task is too much for you alone." He said mockingly.

***B/Aus***B/Aus***

Buffy stood in front of her mirror, her bedroom light on two completely different outfits in her hands. She held the short sexy number in front of her. "Hi, I'm a gigantic slut." She muttered, before holding the plainer nicer outfit in front of her. "Hi, I'm the Queen of Bored-domia." Buffy sighed in frustration and threw the clothes down on her bed, during her pre-Slayer days she'd been good at picking out her outfits, but now, now it seemed like the hardest chore in the world, and as much as she wanted to be post-Slayer Buffy she couldn't help, but still want to dress in fashionable clothes. Buffy turned back to her wardrobe a determined expression on her face. Looking at the contents of her wardrobe she surveyed it looking for the perfect first time out in a new town outfit.

Buffy reached out and pulled a top away from the rest and looked at it, before putting it back with a shake of her head, the shirt was important, it spoke volumes about who you where and what you were after. She just wanted normal average teenage girl, but nearly every top she owned had gone out patrolling with her sometime last year, and despite it being clean and having no stains on it from the patrols, she couldn't help, but think it screamed 'weird girl'. Searching through her shirts one at a time she finally picked a short sleeved white one, and a new pair of jeans that she hadn't worn out on patrol. Before she turned from the wardrobe she grabbed a jacket, and placed it with the rest of her chosen outfit. She couldn't not go out with a stake and she wasn't taking a bag tonight, they tended to weigh her down and get in the way, and the clothes she had chosen had no way of hiding one without a jacket.

Buffy sighed and started getting changed, the time would come when she'd feel save to go some places without a stake, or holy water, maybe not at night, but during the day. There was a possibility that she'd feel safe not carrying a stake during the day, right? She tugged her top on over her head and settled it over her torso smoothing out small wrinkles that had appeared on the shirt as it had made the journey over her head. Slipping on her chosen pair of jeans and grabbing her jacket and shrugging it over her shoulders. She wandered over to her bed and lifted the mattress and grabbed the stake she'd jammed under there, before letting the mattress fall back into place and tucking the stake safely into the inside of her jacket.

Walking back over to her vanity mirror she looked herself over searching for signs of the stake on her person. She could see a slight outline of it under her jacket, but it wasn't a defined outline, and wouldn't be noticeable to people who didn't know that it was there. Smoothing her hand over it she closed her eyes at the reassuring feel of the strong wood against her hand and her side. Opening her eyes again Buffy gave herself a last look over, before turning and walking from her room. Heading down the hall she walked down the steps and poked her head into the lounge room where her mom was sitting and watching the news. "I'm going out mom."

Joyce looked up from the TV, before standing up a worried look on her face. "Going out? Where?"

"Just to the Bronze. It's the towns local club, apparently all the kids go there, and I said I'd make an appearance." Buffy half lied, she'd said she'd try, but it would add credence to her 'I'm a normal teenager' image.

Joyce frowned and chewed on her bottom lip. "How much do you know about this- this club?"

"That it's the place to go in Sunnydale. Mom I promise all that stuff that happened in L.A. I'm over it. I want a new start just as much as you."

Joyce sighed and smiled weakly. "I know. It was just such a hard time for the both of us, and I get it, I do. You were trying to find yourself, and Hank and I weren't helping always at each other's throats that we didn't notice that you needed our support until it was too late."

"Well, I'm all found now. I know exactly who Buffy Summers is." Buffy assured her mother, deciding not to divulge that she was still trying to work out just who she wanted herself to be now that she'd gone through what she had.

Joyce looked up at her daughter, an encouraging expression on her face. "I know, but… just promise me that you're going to help make this work?"

Buffy held back the sigh that wanted to escape her. She'd promised this many times already, but she said nothing about it. Her mother had a right to be anxious. "I promise."

"Ok, have fun, but be back by 10:30." Joyce said the last part sternly. Buffy nodded, before turning and walking out the door, her phone in her jeans pocket and a stake in her jacket. Yep she was ready for anything. 'Not that anything was going to happen!' Buffy told herself firmly.

***B/Aus***B/Aus***

Buffy dug into her back pocket of her jeans as her turn came up on the line for the Bronze. Paying the small entrance fee to the bouncer Buffy paced through the door and into the dark club. It was dark and crowded in the Bronze and a loud thrumming beat that vibrated through the club and up her spine. Buffy gazed around she could see pretty well in the dark, another thing that had happened after she'd been called. Dark was never truly dark for her unless she closed her eyes. Walking forward slowly, her gaze still scanning, The Slayer in her needing to know the layout of the place, before it would allow her to relax.

Walking the perimeter of the first level of the Bronze Buffy took note of the backstage exit that lead to a large area that was for the bands vehicle, it was also a perfect place for a vampire to ambush their prey. There was another door that led to the toilets, and another side door that lead in and out to a dark dead end alley another perfect spot for a vampire ambush. Buffy shook her head the whole place seemed like the centre of a vampire buffet. Continuing her way around the Bronze, Buffy avoided Cordelia and her group of friends including a blond that she hadn't seen at school that day, but seemed to actually be equal to Cordelia as she stood beside her instead of behind her. Searching out the nooks and crannies of the first level of the club Buffy found the couple of small lounge areas one situated behind the stairs a really rather private place in the midst of the noisy club and the other was in the back in a larger lounge area that would fit more people and was less than private.

Buffy took a turn past the bar, her eyes darting to the dance floor, before going to the live band on the stage. The lead singer was kinda cute and the leather pants accented his well built legs and the finely built torso was accented by the tight cotton shirt he was wearing, but getting involved with a guy in a band had never been her style, and now that she was concentrating on being post-Slayer Buffy she couldn't do it, it was too much attention too many eyes would be on her scrutinizing, noticing her. The more eyes on her the more likely it was that someone would discover he secret. Doing a small circuit Buffy found herself back by the two lounges behind the staircase that led to the second floor of the club. Walking around to the front of the staircase Buffy mounted the steps, just as the tweed wearing Sunnydale high librarian walking into the club looking very out of place in the casually dressed club. His eyes landing on Buffy as she moved higher up the stairs.

Buffy reached the landing and once again concentrating on looking inconspicuous and not out of place as she began walking the second floor of the Bronze. It was much smaller than the first and filled with a couple of lounges both of which were taken. Buffy's gaze went over the few people on the lounges and she rolled her eyes at seeing me with drunken women on their laps that were giggling drunkenly and kissing on their necks, or making out like horny teenagers, one really very bold girl sitting on a handsome brown haired mans lap was rubbing her hand over his crotch in sensual movements as she kissed his neck, and the male was stroking her skin under her tight overly small top that clung to her abundant cleavage leaving nothing to the imagination. The brown eyes of the man suddenly looked up and met hers as if sensing her gaze on him. Buffy looked away quickly embarrassment at being caught staring filling her, as well as disgust with the female for wearing something to small for her and allowing herself to do something like that in a place as public as a club… not that the male was completely blameless in this scenario taking advantage of the girl when she was obviously drunk despite how hot he was… but then considering his hotness the woman might have come on to him… considering her clothes she seemed like the type…

Buffy gave herself a mental shake and turned her attention back to surveying the second level of the Bronze and making it look like she was just looking around a new place out of curiosity. Finishing up quickly Buffy moved towards the metal railing that ran across the Bronze curling her hands gently around it taking in the sight of the much more crowded floor bellow. Her eyes landed on the newly arrived Willow as she sat down in a chair at a recently vacated table. Her red hair a beacon in the darkened club. Buffy smiled and turned to go back down the stairs and join her, she paused and frowned however when Giles the librarian walked up onto the landing, having finally managed to push his way through the throng of people most of whom had stared at him in clear shock at seeing someone dressed like him in the Bronze.

Buffy rolled her eyes and turned back to the railing. She should have known that she wouldn't have heard the end from Mr. Giles the 'high school librarian'. "This doesn't really seem like your scene, Giles."

"Well-well, no. This isn't my favourite place to hang out. This noise is terrible." Giles said as he joined her leaning against the railing.

"This noise is called modern music." Buffy muttered. "So, why don't you do your Watcher pep-talk thing so I can get on with my night?"

"How do you know I'm a Watcher, I-I could b-be uh." Giles stuttered.

Buffy rolled her eyes. "Let's see, your new, your British and you know all about The Slayer. So yah, Watcher." She quipped.

"Ah, right." Giles muttered, before clearing his throat composing himself. "You are The Slayer."

Buffy turned to him incredulously. "Really? I thought I was carrying around a pointy stick for the fun of it." She said sarcastically.

Giles turned to face his reluctant charge his eyes stern. "Your duty isn't something to be poked fun at." Buffy rolled her eyes at him in a despairing fashion. Giles stepped in closer. "You've been sent here for a reason."

"Nobody sent me here. My mom moved us here, because Sunnydale had the only high school that would take a girl with my record. So whatever reason you think I'm here, you can forget it. I'm retired."

Giles looked down at Buffy shocked, his blue eyes wide with it. "Retired?" He spluttered. "A Slayer can't retire, she can,"

"What? She can die?" Buffy grumbled, before moving to walk passed him. Giles grabbed her arm stopping her in her tracks. But it wasn't a threatening hold so despite how annoyed Buffy was with this conversation she allowed Giles to lead her back to the railing.

"She can fight, she can save lives. She can save the world." Giles said passionately.

"I don't care." Buffy said stubbornly. "I've done my bit, it somebody else's turn… why don't you do it? You're all eager to save the world. It's easy all you gotta do it stick a bit of wood through their hearts and they go poof. Simple."

Giles shook his head. "No, I can't do it. The Slayer is the one with the power and the strength to take on the vampires and the demons. She alone can,"

"Take on the forces of darkness. Yeah I've heard it all before. It's a real catchy spiel, but I'm over it."

"I-I I'm sorry. Over it?" Giles questioned, thoroughly confused by the girls attitude.

"Done with it. Retired remember. I'm retired with a big capital 'R'." Buffy said firmly, her hazel eyes flashing with her seriousness.

"Well, whilst you're over it. People are dying. Always the younger ones, children around your age, your classmates. People who are just beginning to live." Giles said. "I'm sure you've heard the rumours about it by now, heard it in the news, seen it in the newspaper. This town it isn't like other towns. It sits atop a mystical convergence that draws all kinds of demons and other nightmarish creatures that you told yourself couldn't be by the light of day. They all swarm here, and everyone that lives here is in constant danger of whatever foul darkness they cook up."

Buffy looked down, her shoulders slumping guilt eating at her heart. "I don't care. It's not my problem." She murmured her voice faltering.

Giles ran a hand through his hair with a ragged sigh. "I don't understand this. You've accepted your duty. You fought, you killed Lothos."

Buffy nodded and she leaned against the rail again a bitter smile twisting her lips. "Yeah, I killed Lothos… barely. I fought, I accepted, and what did it get me? I lost my friends, my Watcher, I got kicked out of school." Buffy turned to face Giles the firmness and determination back in her face. "I'm not saying that I'll never slay another vampire, but I'm not going patrolling for them. I'm retired and nothing is making me change my mind about that… I've lost too much all ready. So you and the rest of your Watcher's Council can just leave me alone… call someone else."

With that Buffy walked past Giles and down the stairs back down to the first floor. Giles stood their stunned for a moment, looking around himself uncomfortably before following Buffy down.

Angelus watched the Watcher go his ears ringing with the information he'd picked up. He'd been watching the girl from the moment his eyes had met hers for that brief moment. Something about her had intrigued him had had his senses humming and tingling along his skin in an arousing way. Leaving him in an uncomfortable way, he'd been surprised when the older man had joined her, but the following conversation had been intriguing to say the least and it had explained whilst his senses had been humming and tingling it had been a warning, but he found it hard to consider the small girl a threat. Her face was still slightly rounded with youth, stuck in between a woman's body and a girls, and her frame was tiny even Darla was taller than her and not many where shorter than Darla, but that wasn't it, not really Darla was tiny, but vicious, no it was the lack of threatening viciousness on the girls face. She didn't look like she could hurt a fly let alone a vampire. Going from her face there wasn't a mean streak in her, she did have an attitude though.

The girl on his lap huffed in aggravation at the lack of attention he'd been showing her for the past few minutes whilst Angelus had been concentrating on a completely different girl altogether. She nipped his neck sharply drawing his attention back to her. The smirk that had appeared on Angelus' face as he thought about the other girl slid away and he growled his eyes flashing amber for a brief moment. The girl moved away from his neck and batted her dark eyelashes up at him seductively, but he found himself completely bored with the game he'd been playing with her. He smiled softly at her, reaching up a hand he stroked her cheek with the back of his fingers, and she closed her eyes in contentment. Angelus grasped her chin and turned her head away from him roughly making the girl open her eyes in surprise at the sudden change as she gasped. She didn't get a chance to do much more as a searing pain shot through her neck as sharp fangs pierced her neck.

Angelus drank greedily and quickly he could still sense the presence of The Slayer along his senses, but he didn't want to lose track of her, not just yet anyway. Her sudden appearance in Sunnydale was intriguing and… just may have possibilities for him. Drinking the last drop Angelus unceremonious dumped the girl off his lap and onto the couch her eyes staring into blank nothingness, her face lax and her eyes wide, her startled fear at the sudden pain she had felt before she died still to be seen in her eyes. Angelus turned his attention to Spike who was still playing with the girl on his lap, not quite ready to end the game yet. "Spike, take care of her for me." He ordered before getting up.

Spike looked up from the girl on his lap as Angelus headed for the stairs, before turning his blue eyes to the dead girl Angelus had left on the couch. "Why am I always left to clean up after him." He muttered.

The girl on his lap turned her gaze to her friend and frowned in concern. "What's wrong with Tina?"

"She's just sleeping." Spike said soothingly petting his hand over the girls brown hair.

"Oh… then why's she so pale? She doesn't normally look so pale."

Spike rolled his eyes and sighed. "Bloody Angelus." He muttered without any heat, before shifting his face and slapping a hand over the girl's mouth when she went to scream. "Oh well, I was getting bored with you anyway." Angling her head away from him he sunk his fangs into her neck, but took more time than Angelus had with his, for unlike Angelus, Spike hadn't been paying all that much attention to his surroundings, something that Angelus told him time and time again that he should be aware of, but when Angelus was around he didn't really feel the need, after all his Grand-Sire would be taking care of that. Spike lifted his head from the girl's neck after he'd finished and licked his lips clean of the red blood that wet them. "Well, now that's better." Tossing the girl onto the couch so that she was splayed out with her friend Spike stood and walked towards the stairs, his mind turning to Drusilla.

***B/Aus***B/Aus***

Buffy moved through the crowd working her way over to Willow's table where she still sat alone, looking at the band and tapping one of her feet to the beat that was now thrumming through the Bronze against the footrest of the chair. "Hey, this seat taken?" Buffy asked Willow as she moved behind her to get to the chair on the other side of her.

"Buffy, hey, I wasn't sure if you'd be coming or not. I mean you've still got a lot of unpacking to do, right?"

"I'll take that to mean that the chair isn't taken." Buffy said amusedly, as she slid up into the seat.

"Oh, right, no it's not." Willow said with a small flush.

"That's good. And nah I unpacked most of my things last night. I wanted my room to feel more home-y and less bare, you know."

"Um, not really, I've lived in Sunnydale all my life." Willow said with a small shrug.

"That's cool. I'm only just discovering the feeling myself. I lived in L.A. my whole life until the move to here."

"Well, Sunnydale isn't that bad. I mean there's things to do. There's the Bronze for one and-and there a coffee shop that's also very cool."

"You'll have to show me sometime." Buffy said with a smile, her eyes moving out over the Bronze. It wasn't bad for a small town club, hell it was almost as good as the clubs in L.A. that allowed all ages in as long as you had the entry fee and a hand to stamp to mark you as underage. Buffy turned her gaze back to Willow. "Oh about the catching up on my schoolwork."

Willow's expression sank. "You don't want to anymore?"

"No, no it's not that. I was thinking that we could do it after school at my house at some stage. My mom makes excellent choc-chip cookies, with extra chip." Buffy bribed.

"Ok!" Willow agreed enthusiastically.

"Great! Mom will be thrilled she'll get to meet one of my new friends and see that I'm serious about catching up with my studies."

"How about I come over tomorrow after school, then we can come here together afterwards as a reward for all the hard study?"

"Sounds like a solid plan." Buffy said in agreement.

Sitting at the bar not too far away from the table the two girls where sitting and talking at Angelus held a glass of Irish whiskey in his large cool hand his eyes closing in annoyance in the mundane uninteresting topics the girls were talking about, so totally different from the conversation she'd had with the would be Watcher who by the sounds of it was trying to recruit The Slayer back into the fold. Angelus knocked back the last of his whiskey and motioned for another. He was careful to keep his back to the two girls despite the fact that his ears where picking up their conversation over the din of noise that was the Bronze. He hadn't expected to see a Slayer come to Sunnydale, but then it wasn't all that unusual despite it being a small town, it was perched atop a hellmouth, what better place to for a Slayer to set up show then one of the few places in the world where the demons flock to. Angelus turned so that he was leaning his side against the bar, so that he could see the petite blond Slayer out of the corner of his eye.

There was a chance that she could be useful to him. She wasn't like other Slayers, she hadn't been brainwashed by the Watcher's Council, or been brought up by them and she didn't want much to do with them. 'Retired' she'd said, he never heard of such a thing before and it amused him the innocence of it. To think that just because she didn't want what she'd been chosen to do that it would go away, just because she chose to ignore it. Vampires would sense her, hell demons would even sense her. She was there natural enemy and as such the braver would try to kill her and the cowardly would slink away and hope that she didn't take notice of them, but she'd never be free of her duty, not until she was dead and buried in the ground.

But just because she was a Slayer who was different than the others, didn't mean that he'd be able to use her. Just being The Slayer didn't make you automatically good, or bright. But if she was good… better than good then perhaps he'd be able to manipulate her into helping him, what better way to defeat his enemies then to get the help of the one being in the world that was destined to kill them until she met her end, and once he was done with her he could dispose of her, no point leaving someone alive who'd no doubt try to kill you after the temporary alliance was over, and if she was a good as he was hoping she was. She'd be too dangerous to leave alive. But he'd have to wait and see, he wasn't ruining everything by gaining the aid of a second rate Slayer. Angelus slipped his phone out of his pocket and dialled the number of one of his minions. A few moments later he hung up and slipped the phone back in his pocket. God he loved modern technology. Angelus glanced back over at The Slayer and her red headed companion whom he may or may not have seen hanging around before.

Buffy and Willow smiled as Xander and Jesse came over to them and took the two remaining seats at the table. "Hey guys, I was beginning to think you weren't going to show."

"Well, we would have been here earlier except Xander here, decided it was a good time to start acting like a girl and change his clothes five times and insisting on commentary on each outfit." Jesse said with an exaggerated roll of his eyes.

"Oh." Willow muttered her voice dull with sorrow, making Buffy look between Willow and Xander in sudden understanding of the twos relationship.

"Well, uh. I do on occasion like to take pride in my appearance." Xander said confidently trying to play off his embarrassment. "Oh Wills. I remembered what you told me this morning." Xander dug through the bag he'd brought to the Bronze with him, and pulled out a book. "See. It's the 'Theories of Trig' book you wanted me to get for the math-y help I need."

"Great." Willow said with enthusiasm having regained herself quickly, having gotten used to the heartbreak that accompanied loving the clueless Xander.

"You see, I told you I wanted to change." Xander said as he began stuffing the book back in his bag not wanting to be seen with it at the Bronze.

"Great, you could join Willow and I tomorrow at my house after school. I need help with the whole math thing to… and everything else."

Xander nodded eagerly. "Yeah sure. It's a date… a, uh a maths date… you know we be doing the maths heh…heh."

"Uh-huh." Buffy said with a little uncertainty, glancing over at Willow for help, who helpfully gave her a small shrug, a helpless feeling settling in her stomach, which was lightened only a little by the fact that her womanly instincts were telling her that Buffy didn't like him romantically at all, and that her inviting him was purely out of a desire to be friends or to help her.

Jesse shook his head to himself as he turned his gaze away from Xander, he couldn't understand how Xander didn't see that Willow loved him or was at the least crushing on him badly. Jesse forgot about his red headed friends plight and Xander's thickheadedness when his eyes landed on Cordelia sitting at a table with Harmony and a small group of Cordettes. He smiled when Cordelia laughed at something one of her friends said. "Uh, guys. I'm gonna go. I've got someone I've got to talk to." Jesse said without looking away from Cordelia, as he slid off the chair he'd only just pulled up not that long ago.

"Oh dear." Willow mumbled softly as they watched Jesse walk away smoothing his hair back and straightening his clothes.

"Yep, disaster incoming." Xander agreed.

Buffy looked from one to the other. "Guys what's up? What's so bad about him going to talk to someone?"

"Yeah, but look at whose table he's walking to." Xander said darkly, a frown on his face.

Buffy looked past Jesse her haze going to the table in the direction he was heading in. "Oh!" Buffy exclaimed in sudden understanding, as her gaze landed on Cordelia and her friends.

"Yeah, oh." Willow agreed dully. All three watched with cautious eyes as Jesse made it to Cordelia's table.

Jesse half smiled at Cordelia in what he hoped was a sexy fashion. "Hey Cordelia your looking good tonight."

Cordelia stiffened and rolled her eyes in annoyance. "Oh look, it's my stalker." She turned contemptuous eyes on Jesse. "Be elsewhere McNally."

Jesse ignored her. "So, I was wondering do you wanna dance?"

Cordelia raised her eyebrows at him and gave him a slow disgusted once over. "With you?"

"Well, yeah." Jesse confirmed a little nervously, a small feeling of hope rising in his chest.

"No way loser. I wouldn't let you touch me with a twenty foot pole." Cordelia turned her eyes to her friends. "Come on, let's go." She said standing, her friends copied her, giving Jesse contemptuous looks of their own. Jesse looked around himself feeling hurt and a little defeated, his eyes went over to his friends and he was glad to see that they weren't watching him, that they hadn't seen Cordelia's scorn of him. Turning away from them not quite ready to face them yet and pretend to be merry. His eyes landed on a beautiful petite blond woman standing completely still in amongst the moving crowd her sparkling eyes on him, a small smile curving up her lips as she looked at him. He smiled back and moved to make his way over to her. The woman turned and gave him a last look over her shoulder and a little wave, before walking away.

Jesse followed after her, or tried to as he weaved his way through the crowd trying to catch sight of her again. He caught glimpses of her through the crowd. He made it to the side door that she exited through and stepped outside searching the darkness for her only to come up with nothing. Looking back towards the inside of the club for a moment Jesse shook his head and turned and started heading for home. He wasn't up for any more excitement tonight, he'd feel better and more himself in the morning after a good night's sleep, he always did. Things tended to look brighter the morning after… at least for him they did.

***B/Aus***B/Aus***

Cordelia came to an abrupt halt in her storming off from her table when someone stepped out in front of her. "Why don't you," Cordelia started angrily, looking up at the unfortunate person who'd gotten in the way. Her eyes widened as she took in the hotness of the guy standing in front of her. "Where you're going." She finished softly. "I'm Cordelia." She introduced herself gathering herself together and not missing a beat.

"I'm Thomas." He introduced himself.

Cordelia looked him over, his stylish fashionable clothes agreeing with her sensitive fashion radar. She smiled up at him. "You know, I don't think I've seen you around, before Thomas." She said whilst making a minute gesture with a hand that she half hid behind her back. A gesture that Harmony picked up on immediately and she gestured to the Cordettes to follow her as she moved off through the Bronze now heading for the dance floor as she was sure Cordelia and her new hottie where going to be in no time.

***B/Aus***B/Aus***

Buffy dug her phone out of her pocket as it vibrated angrily to get her attention the noise it was making to soft for her to hear in the loud Bronze. She sighed in disappointment as she saw the beacon that was making her phone flash it was the alarm she had set on the way over to the Bronze so that she'd get home by her newly imposed curfew. Switching it off Buffy shoved the phone back in her pocket and looked back up at her two new friends apologetically. "Sorry guys, but I gotta book. Mom'll have my ass locked in my room until forever if I don't make it home by curfew. But I'll see you guys tomorrow?"

"Bright and early." Xander agreed a little too enthusiastically.

"We'll be there." Willow promised.

Buffy nodded. "See ya guys." She murmured, before sliding off her seat and heading towards the door she'd entered in, not wanting to get lost.

Angelus swallowed the last of his latest glass of whiskey and placed the glass down on the table. He waited a moment, before stepping down off the stool and following after Buffy, moving quite unnoticed by Willow and Xander as they talked at the table Buffy had just recently vacated. Exiting the Bronze after her Angelus took a deep breath of the fresh air, the stale stench of sweating humans mingling with the fresh stench of sweating humans wasn't the most pleasant in the world. Buffy walked briskly through the night her hand going to her side just to double check that the stake hadn't fallen out of her jacket at any time during the night. Her thoughts drifted to the petite blond woman she had seen in the Bronze. It had only been for a moment when she had been standing completely still almost unnaturally still. There had been something about her. She'd dressed fashionably which made her inclined to believe that she was human, but at the same time there was just something about her face about the way she had stood there, that little smile directed at someone, but not at her. Just something about the girl bugged her.

Buffy turned a corner and her gaze drifted to the left where a cemetery stood. Buffy shivered she had many memories of her and graveyards. One of the more prominent ones was her first time. The time she'd missed the heart because she'd hadn't known exactly where it was, and she'd had to pull the stake out and try again. She'd learned pretty quickly exactly where the heart was and how to hit it from both the chest and the back. It hadn't been hard, but it hadn't been easy either. She hadn't really wanted to learn that stuff and Merrick had had a hard time of it. Something she regretted now. Maybe if she hadn't been so rebellious and self-centred back then Merrick would still be alive and able to admonish her on her technique and her penchant for caring about unnecessary things like people liking her and school and homework and the latest fashions.

Buffy shook her head, before pausing. Her gaze turning back to the cemetery she was pacing on her way back home from the Bronze. She could see three figures digging in a large spare patch of grass a growing dirt pile on one side and a huge pile of obviously dead bodies on the other waiting to be buried by the three men. She wasn't sure what it was, maybe it was the way they were digging, maybe it was the fact that there were three men digging a hole for such a large number of bodies in an illegal mass grave, or maybe it was the way they moved, but something told her that there was no doubt that the three figures out there were vampires. Minions probably by the fact that they were doing menial work, probably three minions from the ever growing nest that had settled into this town, by the looks of the pile of dead bodies.

Checking her stake once again Buffy crossed the deserted road and stepped into the cemetery, one of the places she had never thought she'd step foot in again. 'You're not patrolling. You're just taking care of a pest problem. Just like you told Giles you would. Look at them so close to the road, there just asking to be staked.' Buffy crossed over the grass quietly heading directly for them. As she drew closer she could smell the stench of the decaying bodies and she felt bile rise up in the back of her throat, but she choked it back. She needed to be prepared and alert three vampires would be difficult on any night, but she hadn't exactly been training or practising lately. Buffy slipped a hand under her jacket as she drew close her hand closing around the butt of the stake. The feel of it against her palm comforting and familiar now that she was once again face to face with vampires.

Buffy stopped when she came close to reaching the edge of the hole. "Is it just me or does this whole thing stink of illegality?" She asked causing the three vamps to look up at her their game faces in place. "Oh yeah, I just knew you boys were up to no good, and with those faces. Who could really blame me?" She quipped, before drawing her stake out of her jacket and into plain sight. The vampires eyed the stake in confusion before turning their attention back to her. Buffy wrinkled her nose as she realized that they were beginning to salivate. "So, let me guess. You boys decided to set up so close to the road because you thought anybody curious enough to wander over would make a good snack?" Buffy took a firmer hold of her stake. "Well come on then. I've got a curfew to keep and let's face it you boys just aren't worth a grounding."

The three vampires growled at her. "Oops, I guess I hit a nerve." Buffy said with feigned apology in her voice. "What did you expect? Bad teeth just aren't in this year." The three minions jumped up out of the hole they'd been digging and landed around her, two on one side of her one on the other. "I don't suppose you boys would be sweeties and attack me one at a time?" The three of the growled at her. "Right, didn't think so." Buffy muttered just as they moved to jump her. Buffy quickly stepped back letting them collide with each other instead of her. Her heart was beating rapidly in her chest, but she found that she was enjoying the sensation, that a part of her, a large part of her had actually missed it. The three disentangled from each other and Buffy punched one, before kicking another. She went to attack the third only for him to punch her in the face. Buffy retaliated with a swift roundhouse kick to his head, before dodging a punch from vamp number two.

Hearing footsteps coming up fast behind her Buffy angled her stake back and waited a second later she felt the vamp that had tried to charge her from behind impale himself on his own stake. The two remaining minions looked at each other warily before turning their gaze back to her. "What are you?" The one of the left asked. The one she had affectionately dubbed vamp number two.

"Me?" Buffy asked as if wondering who else they could be talking to. She took a quick step forward and blocked a punch aimed for her head, before slamming her stake home in the vamps chest, before turning her gaze to the last remaining minion. "I'm just a girl. Who just happens to know her way around a stake." Buffy swung at the vamp, but he ducked… he ducked so far that he fell on his ass. He scrambled backwards on his elbows his amber eyes wide with fear as he looked up at the petite blond he and his companions had thought would make a nice quick meal, before they got back to digging the grave.

When he felt he'd put enough distance between them he turned around on the ground so that he was on his belly for a fraction of a moment, before he'd shoved to his feet and began fleeing across the cemetery. Buffy frowned and glanced down at the stake still tightly clutched in her hand. She wasn't sure if she felt comfortable parting with her stake, but then it'd be easier then chasing him down, or letting the minion to report to whoever his Master was. Buffy changed her grip on her stake, her gaze going back to the fleeing vampire. Judging her aim for a second, she threw the stake and watched as it twirled through the air heading after the fleeing vampire. It didn't take long, before the stake found its mark and she saw the body of the vamp jerk in pain, before it disappeared into dust taking her stake with it.

Buffy sighed, before turning to move towards the exit only to stop her eyes widening as she realized that cemetery now had five more minions coming out of the dense darkness all five pairs of their amber eyes looking at her. "Oh, this is just not my night." Buffy moaned to herself her hand suddenly desperately missing the comforting feel of the wooden stake in her hand. "Uh, I don't suppose those guys were friends of yours, were they?" Buffy asked of them as she tried to think, her heart racing in her chest a little more uncomfortably then before. One of the five vampires charged at her. Buffy watched him her body preparing to protect itself. Buffy grabbed one of the vamps arms and swung him up and over her head, before releasing him and hearing him thump as he hit the ground.

She didn't have time to spare a breath as in the next instant the next one was on her. Buffy dodged a couple of swings. Swinging a couple of punches of her own at him, only managing to land on that scent her opponent stumbling back. She heard a growl from behind her and she duck letting the vampire sail of her head and crash into the other vamp who'd been about to make another pass at her. 'Ok so far so good.' Buffy thought. She turned her gaze away from the two vampires as they struggled to disentangle themselves from each other only to see a vampire already in mid leap his arms outstretched already too close to grabbing hold of her for her to stop it. Her eyes widened, but that was all she had time for, before the minion slammed into her sending them both careening backwards through the air. They landed with a hard thump in the hole the three previous minions had been digging, the snarling, growling minion on top of her his hands digging painfully into her shoulders, pinning her to the ground.

The minion only gazed down at her for a second hunger reflected in his amber gaze, before he began lowering himself down his mouth opening wide in anticipation of sinking his fangs into her neck. Buffy raised one of her arms between them, pressing her forearm against the vampires neck in a bid to keep him away from her throat for as long as possible as she tried to think of a way out of this. She could feel his throat working against her arm as he pressed against it trying to get close enough to her neck to sink in his fangs. Buffy looked around the hole they were in and her eyes landed on the shovel that was closest to them its wooden handle catching her attention the most, though the sharp metal spade end would also be handy.

***B/Aus***B/Aus***

Angelus growled angrily as one of his minions tackled The Slayer out of sight. He'd specifically said that he wanted to see what went on in this battle, a battle that had become far more interesting the moment The Slayer had thrown away her stake to dust the minion that had fled from her. She'd done well in the battle against the three, but it hadn't been enough to satisfy him, besides he'd already called his minions to him and what was the point in wasting an order? Angelus crossed his arms over his chest as his eyes focused on the hole and the minions that were standing around it watching as their companion did whatever it was he was doing with The Slayer. The fact that he couldn't see was almost enough to make him step forward and join his minions, but he wasn't quite ready to reveal himself to her just yet. If she wasn't what he was looking for then it could pose a series threat to him if she by some miracle managed to get away.

Angelus scowled as he grew more annoyed at the wait, if any of his minions that he'd summoned to him tonight survived, they'd wish that The Slayer had killed them once he was through punishing them for the ones disregard for his orders.

***B/Aus***B/Aus***

Buffy stretched out her arm her fingers grasping for the wooden handle of the shovel. Her fingers brushed the smooth sanded down wood. Buffy looked away from the vampire on top of her baring her bare neck to his gaze, and the vampire on top of her growled ferally as his eyes landed on the strong pulsing beat in her neck. Buffy bit her lower lip as she forced her arm to stretch further, relief flooding her as her fingers curled around the thick handle of the shovel. Bringing it up she turned her back to the vampire on top of her that growled at her in anger, not sensing in his bloodlust the movements of The Slayer beneath him. Buffy pointed the rounded tip of the shovel as best she could at the vampire's heart, the shovel being longer than a stake and the heavy metal shovel bit unbalancing the wood. With a strong ferrous movement Buffy plunged her stake through the vampires back, making the vampire still in surprise his amber eyes wide as he looked down at his chest to see the rounded tip of the shovel protruding from his chest. As he looked down at it Buffy pulled it back out with a cry of effort not wanting to lose her newly procured weapon. The vampire looked back up at her again before exploding into dust.

Buffy wrinkled her nose as it settled over her, but she turned her mind from it her current predicament the higher priority. She scrambled to her feet her eyes on the vampires that were looking down at her from the perimeter of the hole. Taking the shovel in both hands Buffy lifted it up a couple of inches before slamming it down over her knee breaking the wood in two, the resounding crack filling the currently silent cemetery. Buffy jumped up out of the shallow hole and immediately plunged the pointed jagged end of her makeshift stake into the closest minion's heart. Her hazel eyes flashing determinedly as her gaze turned to the remaining three. The three came to stand in a line, before advancing on her with predatory growls.

Buffy gripped her stakes, the end with the shovel glinting the dim light the moon caste down on them. Buffy dodged a blow to the head, and retaliated by knocking the flat of the shovel harshly against the minions head sending him crumpling to the ground with a whimper. She blocked another attack by a vamp with the arm that held the shovel and when the other vamp attacked her she plunged the stake in her other hand into his heart, pulling it out just before he turned to dust. Buffy turned her gaze back to the other vamp and punched him forcing him to stumble back a couple of paces. Buffy followed after him not letting him regain his balance she thrust the stake into his heart as well. Turning back to the vamp that had regained consciousness only two seconds ago, she slammed the sharp end of the shovel into his throat severing. She had to push a little harder to get completely through the spine as soon as she did and the shovel embedded itself in the dirt the vampire turned to dust.

Buffy let go of the shovel end, leaving it embedded in the ground, but kept a firm hold of the makeshift stake. Looking down at herself she grimaced at the dust that clung to her clothes and she could feel it sticking to her skin. The first thing she was going to do when she got home was have a nice long relaxing shower. It had been a while since she'd had vamp dust on her, and truthfully it was a feeling she had never want to feel again. It was part of her old life, not part of the life she'd planned to make in Sunnydale. Buffy ran her fingers through her hair, it was probably what she got for entering a cemetery at night with the intention to dust only a couple of vamps. Buffy glanced behind her at the pile of dead bodies. She wasn't sure what to do about it, she'd never come across such a huge pile before. Buffy turned away from the bodies there was nothing she could do about it. The best thing she could do was leave them there and in the morning a gravedigger or someone would find them and hopefully the families with the missing children would find closure, or something.

Buffy moved to get out of the cemetery she was going to be a little late getting home as it was, and she really, really didn't want to be grounded. The sound of a single pair of hands clapping stopped her in her tracks and she whirled around to see a man standing over by the pile of dirt that had been dumped there by the first three minions. "Well done." He congratulated a mocking air to his tone. "You were a little sloppy, but you got the job done and with hardly a bruise."

Buffy frowned at him as she took him in. He was tall, dark and handsome, with chocolaty brown eyes that seemed to see right into her soul. His presence though had the hairs on the back of her neck standing on end and she clutched the makeshift stake in her hand tighter for a moment reassuring herself that it was there as she continued to gaze at the handsome Master Vampire. "And I really wanted a critique from a vampire, so thanks so much." Buffy said sarcastically. "I suppose those were yours." She stated indicating the dust on the grass.

"Some of them." Angelus agreed taking a step towards her.

Buffy raised her stake higher, her stance defensive as she stared at him with wary eyes. Angelus payed the stake little mind, he wasn't planning on coming within striking distance. "What do you want? An apology?" Buffy asked incredulously.

"No, I was hoping you'd kill them all." Angelus said with a charming smile.

Buffy raised a sceptical eyebrow. "Not that I don't appreciate the vote of confidence, but aren't you supposed to be rooting for your team?"

"Oh, but I am. Quite vigorously." Angelus murmured as he looked her over consideringly.

"Have you ever considered the possibility that you make need to make an appointment with the local vamp shrink?" Buffy quipped watching the vamp warily, not liking how calm he seemed despite the fact that she had a very pointy wooden stake in her hand.

"No." Angelus answered calmly, his eyes focusing on her face, he couldn't quite get over just how harmless she seemed. If it wasn't for what he'd just witnessed and what his senses were telling him, he swear that she'd make a good before bed snack.

"Well maybe you should." Buffy suggested quippingly, before throwing a punch at him.

Angelus dodged the blow and blocked another, before grasping her stake wrist when she went to slam it home. "Uh-uh Slayer, a pointy piece of wood being stuck through my chest is not a part of tonight's menu." He chided.

"Well, maybe you should have thought of that, before sending your little minions after me." Buffy snarled, kicking him the gut sending him stumbling back a couple of steps, his hand releasing her wrist. Buffy advanced after him and punched him in the face, before following through with a roundhouse to the head. Angelus fell to the ground and Buffy went to kick him again only to have her foot caught by the vampire. Angelus lifted foot higher making her lose her balance and fall to the ground in a heap. The both of them scrambled to their feet and faced each other.

Buffy watched him warily and affrontedly as the vampire dropped his defensive stance. "You've got this all wrong Slayer. I'm not here to fight, not tonight anyway."

Buffy stared at him suspiciously. "Funny way to show it sending your minions after me." She muttered, her stake still raised.

"Well, I didn't want to get stuck with a stupid bimbo that'd blow all my patience and careful planning. I needed to make sure you were good enough now didn't I?"

"You're nuts!" Buffy exclaimed.

"I have a proposition for you." Angelus told her ignoring her comment.

"What?" Buffy asked surprised, there's no way that she could have possibly heard right!

Angelus gave her a look. "A proposition." He repeated. "I want you to help me get rid of The Master."

"The Master?" Buffy questioned.

"Yes." Angelus said simply, not willing to give her anymore information until he knew she was in.

"I take it back you're not nuts. You're absolutely bonkers!" Buffy said with a shake of her head.

"I'm neither." Angelus said in a bored tone. "I'm absolutely serious."

"I'm The Slayer… no I'm a retired Slayer, but either way vamps and Slayers retired or not do not get along and they definitely don't go around trying to make deals with each other."

Angelus sighed. "Yes, you're quite adamant about the retired part, but do you really think that the demon population cares? Retired or not there's no way that you can escape what you are. I think tonight proved that."

Buffy scowled at him. How in the hell had he known that? A flash of brown eyes looking up from a woman came to her mind and she looked up at him accusingly. "You were at the Bronze!"

Angelus inclined his. "Happened to pick up on a conversation between a reluctant Slayer and an adamant Watcher."

Buffy glared at him, before spinning and storming away an angry scowl on her face. What was it with this town and wanting her to take her duty back up again. Why couldn't what she'd already done be enough? She was just one girl and she wanted to be normal again to be the daughter her mother needed her to be. To be the person she wanted to be not out fighting demons every night. Buffy gasped as a large cold hand grasped her hand tightly and pulled her up to a stop before throwing her up against a tree. By the time she looked up the vampire was standing in front of her. "Back off!" Buffy growled her stake pressed against the vampires chest, for some reason unknown to herself she hadn't just plunged it in. Angelus took a step back giving Buffy some room, but not much. "I'm not helping you. The only thing you'll get from me is a stake through the heart." Buffy said threateningly.

Angelus chuckled and retook the step forward and with a swift movement knocked the makeshift stake out of her hand. "Feisty, I like that in a woman." He purred taking up most of her personal

"To bad for you I don't take up with dead men. I prefer 'em with a heartbeat. You know the kind that goes thump-thump, thump-thump." Buffy quipped, refusing to let him know just how much the loss of her stake affected her.

"You don't know what you're missing." Angelus taunted.

"I'd rather that I never found out." Buffy returned.

Angelus smirked and took a small step back. "Don't take too long in changing your mind, Buffy. The offer might not be around for long." Angelus murmured, before turning and walking away. Buffy watched him go her heart racing, before she glanced down at the ground and spotted her stake. Bending down she picked it up, straightening again she looked around for the vampire but saw no sign of him. What had made him so sure that she would change her mind? Buffy jumped as her phone began ringing and buzzing in her pocket. Buffy dug it out of her pocket and cursed as she realized who was calling. "Hey, mom. Yeah I'm sorry, I'm on my way home now. I got caught up with my friends. I didn't realize how much time had passed… yeah mom I'll see you in a little while." Buffy hung up the phone and made her way quickly from the cemetery.

From the shadows Angelus watched as The Slayer named Buffy walked out of the cemetery. He frowned as he watched her go. He'd hoped for a better outcome, but it wasn't all together unexpected, and he still had time, and if he wasn't mistaken Buffy would be looking for a way into the Master church very, very soon. Darla seemed to have pegged one of Buffy's little friends for the snatch tomorrow night after all, after that they only really had a day or so to live, before the Harvest. Oh yes, Buffy would be seeking him out and she'd have to agree if she wanted to save her little friend and the other innocents there were going to be taken. Angelus turned and walked through the cemetery there was still hours, before dark and he didn't feel like going back underground yet, maybe he'd head back to the Bronze and pick up another meal.

To Be Continued…

A/N: Ok well that it, the first episode lol. I hope you enjoyed it. Please let me know what you think so that musie remains motivated. It's a lot harder to write AU episode length chapters then it looks lol.

Oh and also for anyone who is interested I know have facebook page that I'm mostly using for talking about my fanfictions. If anyone of you want to talk to me through there feel welcome to. I will eventually have a banner made by Ashes at Midnight with a link to it put on my profile for Dark Release so that people who have questions or want to talk to me directly can go there. Anyway just thought I'd let all my faithful and painstakingly patient readers know.