A few days later, Kathryn STILL couldn't find Angel. He was never at home, never at school, never answering her calls and everyone she asked always seemed to not know where the heck he was. It was as if he had disappeared off the face of the earth. And to bake her noodle even more, Buffy had made such an improvement that she was able to come home. However, she had to stay in a wheelchair to prevent further injury. The doctor's orders were to just rest, but Buffy wasn't able to stay in bed for very long before she felt the need to move around and do ordinary stuff.
Kathryn stepped through the front door after a long and exhausting day at school. Mostly due to Mrs. La Croix again... Kathryn sighed and scanned the hallway for signs of...well, anyone except Mr. Gordo. He sat up as if he were more important than he really was before hissing at her and dashing up the stairs in record time.
Kathryn raised her eyebrows in curiosity. **Why does that damned cat always do that?** She shrugged and dropped her keys on the hall table. Glancing down toward the ground, she noticed a backpack. Not hers, not Dawn's, not Buffy's...definitely nobody who lived here. **Who the hell does it belong to then?**
Kathryn headed up the stairs and put her own stuff in her room before checking every single room for signs of the visitor...or intruder. **Hey, maybe it was a murderer out to kill Buffy...or not. Who the heck would want to kill a little nobody like Buffy?**
Kathryn carefully inched the door of the last room open. Buffy's door creaked open loudly to reveal Buffy and Angel involved in a heated lip-lock on the bed.
**That...fucking...bastard...** Kathryn clenched her fists. She didn't even register the pain of her sharp nails digging into the flesh of her palm. She couldn't believe what she was seeing. Surely she was hallucinating...right?
Buffy thought she heard a noise. Like the door creaking open. She pulled away from the kiss and saw her sister standing there, mouth gaping open and fists clenched so tightly that Buffy wondered whether she should be concerned about Kathryn's wellbeing.
Angel was about as shocked to see Kathryn as Kathryn was to see him. He was relieved though. He had been hoping that he wouldn't have to say it to her face. She had that intimidating glare...it made just about everyone feel small and in significant when she used it; even someone who was taller than herself. "Kathryn."
"I don't want an explanation," Kathryn said bitterly. She spun around and left the room, slamming the door behind her. She hurried down the stairs and picked up her bag along with her keys and unknowingly almost caused the front door to slam into Dawn's nose when she slammed it behind her.
"Hey!" Dawn protested. "Fuck off," Kathryn spit out as she ran down the front steps. She was in a hurry. She needed to talk to Fray. And for the second time in her life, Kathryn felt betrayed by her sister.
...Junior High...a few years previous...
"Kathryn?" Buffy asked uncertainly.
"Promise you won't fall into the wrong crowd?"
"She was saying that about me?" Kathryn screeched.
Cordelia nodded. "I know that it must be horrible to find out that your best-friend-slash-twin-sister had betrayed you." Cordelia sympathised, wondering if any of what Harmony had said was actually true. She only knew that she liked the twins—a lot—and was disappointed that Buffy had already befriended Willow Rosenberg. **Oh well. Her loss.**
Buffy was frightened out of her slumber by the loud knocking on the door. Not her bedroom door; her front door...and her back door. She looked at her alarm clock. **Gosh, we must've gotten sleepy.** Buffy rubbed her eyes and blinked a few times to adjust to the light. **Stupid people...it was good dream too!**
Angel—who had fallen asleep in the chair he had been sitting in the whole time—woke moments later, confused as Buffy was. "What the fuck is going on?" He hurried to the window and looked outside. There was a group of tough looking guys pounding on the back door. That was all he could see except for the cluster of less tough-looking guys watching worriedly. **What the fuck do they want?**
"What's going on, Angel?" Buffy asked. She felt so helpless...it sounded a lot like a riot outside, without the shouting or destruction.
"I'm not quite sure, but I think that it's that gang that Kathryn was rumoured to have."
"Great. Sex, drugs, lies, betrayal, deceit AND gangs. What the hell is wrong with her?" Buffy shook her head and slipped on a robe to fend off the cool November air. "Where's Dawn? And Mr. Gordo?"
Dawn burst into Buffy's room right on cue, with Mr. Gordo scooped protectively in her arms. "What's happening?"
"It's a gang. Maybe I should talk to them; find out what they want. Buffy, you call the cops. Dawn, find a closet to hide in." Angel grabbed the cordless phone from Buffy's desk and handed it to her to make it easier for Buffy.
"Be careful!" Buffy shouted before worriedly punching in the three elusive numbers. It was easy to remember when your mind was clear and when you weren't feeling quite up to scratch. Every single number that had been imprinted in her memory ran through her mind before Dawn shook her out of her daze.
"Buffy! Call 911 already!"
Angel peeked through the peep hole of the front door and found that the group who had previously been doing their level best to knock it off its hinges had decided to adopt a tough demeanour instead of wasting their energy on pounding the door instead of the people behind it. **Must be a strong door...** He scanned the few he could see through the small opening. **At least it isn't a racial gang.** Caucasians, Wogs, Asians, African-Americans...all very assorted.
Angel's gaze rested on one particular blonde...the only one who he recognised in the whole crowd.
Angel quickly flung open the door. "Penn?"
All eyes turned to look at Penn. "Angel? What are you doing here?"
Angel trained his stare on the man he thought he had trusted. He was in a gang...and he didn't even tell him. Angel's brow furrowed. "I'm visiting my injured girlfriend. You care to explain?"
"Hey, hey, hey. What is this? Are we going to have a tea party and share gossip or are we gonna do what we're here to do?" one of the tougher gangsters asked Penn. The gangster was dressed head-to-toe with leather and spoke with an odd lilt in his voice. His lips were cracked and dry and his hands were large—good for punching, bad for being punched with.
"We don't want any trouble," Angel told the gangster defiantly. He wasn't about to be intimidated by some guy who had probably been wearing the same pair of underpants for the past three days. He reeked of cigarette smoke and body odour. The name stitched on the jacket said "Larry", but Angel doubted that that was the guy's name.
"Don't want any trouble? Well maybe you shouldn't have stuck your nose where it didn't belong," he grumbled irritably. "I don't know what the heck it is that we're pounding you asses for, and I don't care."
Penn took the liberty (and the risk) to butt in. "I know why. Your ex called in a favour from Fray. They go *way* back. But we go even further."
Angel was shocked. **Penn's been friends with some no-good gang leader and he hasn't even mentioned a single word of it to me? And Kathryn was too?** "Kathryn."
Becoming bored, a few of the gang members began to disperse, leaving just Penn and the other gangster with Angel. "This is because of a girl? Why do I even bother? Maybe I should just...hand him over to the police or something. It's always about him and a girl. And I never ONCE saw his entire face. Like Wilson on Home Improvement."
"Then why is he the leader?" Angel asked out of curiosity. The gangster guy didn't seem so bad after all. At least his morals weren't out of whack like this 'Fray' person that Penn had mentioned moments ago. Whatever happened to "ladies first"?
"He isn't the leader cos he's got pansy name like 'Fray'. It's because he's got money. He compensates well," Penn shrugged.
"I'd REALLY like to know what his real name is," the gangster mumbled under his breath.
"He told me to keep it a secret...but I'm really beginning to hate the gay little fucker. Sebastian Valmont. You can even look him up in the phone book," Penn said angrily.
"I'll have to remember that," Angel mumbled. The police car sirens wailed from a few streets down, signalling to Penn and Co. that it was a good time to get lost. "Thanks."
Kathryn didn't return home that night, instead staying with Fray for the night. Kathryn had gone home in the middle of the night to grab a few clothes and to refill her crucifix without bothering to check any of the other rooms for signs of havoc. The incentive just wasn't there. And there were more important issues to address—she looked totally fucked up. She felt about as trashed as she looked.
Kathryn had somehow tidied up in time to turn up for school looking decidedly presentable. She used concealer to cover up the dark circles under her eyes she had received from the complete lack of sleep she had been getting lately. She grabbed a few tissues from the box on her desk and shoved them into her bag. Her nose bleeds were becoming more frequent, but she didn't care; she just wanted to get back the feeling she got when she first started using cocaine. It didn't matter that the addiction costed her a fortune, just that she could one day achieve the same high as she had just over a year ago...it was...wow...
Kathryn checked her reflection briefly in the hall mirror and hurried to school in record time. Although 'record time' would be more closely defined as 'still late'. By about half a period.
When she arrived, she felt as if there was something strange going on. It was...it was like everyone was looking at her. Staring at her like she was a fiend that had to locked away and punished. It wasn't a very pleasant feeling to have all eyes trained on her in such an accusatory way. Kathryn had had enough after just a few minutes and made her way angrily to the nearest girls' toilets.
Kathryn took out a tissue and started dabbing at the small trickle of blood beginning to flow from her right nostril. It undoubtedly one of the worst side effects. Kathryn checked the stalls for other occupants and found none. She quickly whipped out her crucifix and unscrewed the top and snorted up the fine, white powder. When she was done, she screwed the lid back on and washed her hands. Her nose was still bleeding, but it was just about to stop so Kathryn tipped her head back and pinched the ridge of her nose, hoping that it would work.
Kathryn tipped her head back down to stare at her reflection in the mirror again. She cleaned the excess blood and applied fresh lipstick. Kathryn picked up her bag and pushed open the door. **English be damned. Who needs to know about Othello and his bitch anyway?**
She angrily trudged to the courtyard, not looking where she was going as she walked. The few people wandering around the halls made it a point to stay as far away as possible from her, carrying sheets of paper that Kathryn idly wondered about.
Kathryn bit her lip, not caring that she just ruined her newly applied lippy and sped up her pace. Turning the corner, she bumped into the hard metal of a wheelchair. A wheelchair with Buffy in it. And Angel pushing it. With her mother next him. And her father. "Ow. What's the hell is going on?"
She felt a tap on her shoulder and turned around to see her so-called friends whispering among themselves with Cordelia as their unruly leader. In Cordelia's hands were a stack of papers; the same as the ones that Kathryn had been seeing people carrying around, always with the face down—it was a whole big conspiracy; of that, Kathryn was sure. "Would you like one?" Cordelia asked her sarcastically.
"Cut the crap Cordy," Kathryn bit out harshly. **She's backstabbing me?** Kathryn snatched the piece of paper angrily from the girl's hand and braced herself.
"Isn't it funny how people who are completely different can be such good friends?" Cordelia asked. Xander appeared from behind Kathryn and slipped his arm around Cordelia's waist.
"What do you mean by that?" Kathryn said. She was angry; very much so.
"Well, your sister and I talked. We bonded. Buffy came up with the idea. I guess we just did what no one else wanted to do. We got the fliers printed for free since Mrs. Ross so kindly offered. The downfall of the Student Body President because of drug use. She thought it was a VERY worthy cause. They turned out well don't you think?"
"Xander? He was walking me home and he saved me from a mugger. We kinda just...clicked."
A few other students had begun to accumulate. No one had had their first period classes because Principal Snyder had called an assembly to address the issue with Kathryn, which he had not even found out about until he stumbled upon Mrs. Goldsmith talking to Mrs. Ross early that morning. Obviously, something had to be done about it. Snyder being the most anti-drug aware principal in the district, he would not tolerate having the Student Body President of his campus being a coke-addict.
"Young lady, you have become such a disappointment to us over the last few months," Joyce began, "so your father and I have decided to do what's right and put you in rehabilitation. We want you to get better and we want you to understand that this isn't a healthy way to live." Joyce gently pried the bag from Kathryn's hands. She dug into the inside pocket to reveal the crucifix that was hidden within. Joyce unscrewed the lid and angrily tipped out the contents into the bin.
Hank shook his head; he was unable to believe that his precious Kathryn had been deceiving them with her...act all this time. He was also unable to believe that he had fallen for it. They had gotten used to her tantrums after a while and he had always just told himself that the tantrums were justifiable. And the thing that upset him most was that Buffy had kept it a secret all this time.
Kathryn didn't say a word. She knew that no amount of manipulation would get her out of the predicament. She cast her eyes to the ground and let the single tear that had welled up to escape and run down her cheek. "So, you got what you wanted," she spoke, seemingly to everyone who had hated her over the years.
"Yeah, well, you can't always be the biggest bitch in Sunnydale High," Cordelia remarked snidely.
Kathryn lifted her head to look her twin sister straight in the eyes. "You betrayed me." **I betrayed myself.**
She didn't struggle when they led her off the campus. She just couldn't find the strength or the will to try. She knew she needed help. She knew it a long time ago.
"Will she go to jail?" Buffy asked Angel quietly.
"Not for long," he replied, watching Kathryn walking away with her parents and Principal Snyder. He briefly wondered why she didn't seem to be angry or unco-operative. **Because she wants this.**
"I betrayed her," Buffy whispered so softly that Angel could hardly even hear it.
"No you didn't."
"Yes. I did. She's my sister; my twin. I promised her...and I betrayed her."
"No. Don't blame yourself. I think, in a way, she wanted it to happen," Angel knelt to look her in the eye. "Besides, didn't you say that she deserved it anyway? Think of it this way: you're helping her get better." He tucked a piece of hair behind her ear and gently slipped his hand under her head and brought her lips to meet his.
Angel slipped his hand into his pocket and pulled out a small, black, velvet box.
"Shit. You're not proposing are you?" Buffy asked; her eyes grew as wide as they could possibly go. "I'm not sure that...commitment is the best option for us. You know, at such a young age. Not that I NEVER want to. Just...you know-"
"Buffy? Can you maybe just let me talk first?" Angel asked, thoroughly amused by Buffy's reaction. He glanced around and found them in the midst of a large (and rather curious) crowd of peers, watching with eyes almost as wide as Buffy's had been.
Angel laughed without humour and wheeled Buffy into the nearest empty room—which so happened to be the library—so that they could have more privacy. Angel briefly checked for any other occupants and wheeled Buffy right up to the large wooden table standing in the middle of the room. Angel sat down in the nearest wooden chair and shuffled (chair and all) as close as he could to his girlfriend. He fished out the small box once again from his pants pocket.
Angel opened the box and showed Buffy the delicate piece of Irish jewellery. It was small, silver ring depicting a pair of hands holding a heart which was wearing a crown—a claddagh. "I want you to have this."
"What's the occasion?"
"Not much. The hands represent friendship, the crown—loyalty and the heart...well it represents love. You wear it with the heart pointing towards you; it means you belong to somebody. Like this," Angel held up his hand, showing the matching ring shining proudly on his finger.
Angel took out the tiny ring and slipped it onto her finger—it fit perfectly. Buffy's eyes sparkled with unreleased tears. She blinked, causing the tears to spill down her cheeks. "I love you," Angel whispered breathlessly.
"I love you too," Buffy replied. She kissed him as passionately as she could before her ribs started hurting her from the lack of air.
"I hope you get better soon," Angel said regretfully.
"And then what? We'll screw like bunnies?" Buffy joked light-heartedly, pressing her forehead to his.
Angel laughed, "You DO realise that Giles is standing right behind you, right?"