He found himself in a rare pleased humor after sending his minions away to prepare for the moment when he would at last become invincible. The Master soon decided to have a quiet few minutes of gloating at the part of the cavern where he'd earlier defeated the Slayer, leaving her dead body in the spring-fed pool where the ancient vampire had suffocated that young woman. Arrogantly making his way back to this location, the unholy monster was shocked to find the small body of dark water in the rocky floor entirely devoid of a girl's corpse.

From behind the Master, a teenage female's voice briskly announced, "I got better, thanks to who saved me. You want to meet them, too?"

Whirling around with an agility that belied his centuries of unlife, the vampire tensed for battle. In the very next second, someone came out of the cavern crevices, moving in a very bizarre style while dashing forward directly at the Master. However, this sprinting action by the oncoming person was producing its usual poleaxed effect upon this masculine creature of the night, just like every other heterosexual male past the age of puberty, whether human or demon, who in the past had scrupulously watched this very unique run.

At a normal walking pace, Buffy strode past C.J. Parker in her slow-motion jog which was magnificently bouncing in all directions every inch of this Baywatch lifeguard's superlative assets in her skin-tight red swimsuit. Buffy rolled her eyes at seeing the Master standing there absolutely frozen while he gawked in awe at the much-more pneumatic blonde. All while in the process of ignoring the other young woman with the dripping dyed hair and a decidedly lesser bra size, even if this advancing Slayer was now pulling out a stake from under her soaking-wet clothes.

"Men," Buffy disgustedly muttered under her breath as she rammed the wooden weapon through the Master's chest, instantly reducing his undead body into fleshless bones which dropped with a clatter to the cavern floor. Shooting an extremely dirty look at where a flawlessly-coiffured C.J. was still unhurriedly coming onwards despite putting to the ultimate test every seam in her barely-there swimsuit, Buffy spent a few moments working off her sudden bad temper by stomping with both feet every remnant of the Master into the most minute motes of dust.

Eventually, C.J. reached Buffy's side, and the lifeguard came to a halt. Ignoring how her chest was still jiggling under the swimsuit top like a sackful of frisky puppies, the older woman concernedly asked her latest drowning victim, "Are you all right, Buffy? Even if this has to be some kind of weird dream, you shouldn't be on your feet already-"

"Yeah, yeah," interrupted Buffy, trying not to let into her voice the intense, irrational dislike of her rescuer who'd earlier given the teenager CPR. The high-school student had her irascible mood rapidly lift at two things simultaneously occurring in the cavern: a glowing portal suddenly appearing in the rocky far wall, and the sound of a pair of familiar voices coming nearer.

With her superhuman hearing, Buffy now listened to a very sulky Angel snapping, "Stop poking me with that cross, Xander! I'm moving as fast as it seems prudent!"

"You mean just for yourself, Deadboy!" snarled back Xander. "Buffy's gotta be somewhere around here, so stop dragging your feet, or I'll stuff this in your mouth and set your tongue on fire! Because I had to threaten your cowardly ass into escorting me to this cave, she might have already triggered the stupid prophecy! I'm not gonna let that happen just because you went all 'I'm-so-sorry-but-Buffy's-doomed' when I cornered you! Get moving, or your hair goes up faster than the Hindenberg blimp!"

Worriedly eyeing the younger woman now just standing there and staring straight ahead with a look of absolute shock upon her pretty face, C.J. cautiously asked, "Uh, Buffy?"

Dazedly blinking, the Slayer turned her head to see the Los Angeles lifeguard doubtfully gesture at the portal. "Is that what ends the dream? Am I supposed-"

Becoming instantly focused, Buffy gave a firm nod while she resolutely informed Miss Big-Tits, "Yeah, that's right! Just go through it, and you'll find yourself where you're supposed to be! It's perfectly safe, but you've got to leave now! Bye, thanks for everything, shake a leg, chop-chop!"

A very startled C.J. then found herself being hustled forward by a teenager who was a lot stronger than she looked. Uncertainly glancing over her shoulder as the lifeguard stepped through the portal, the Baywatch babe's last sight of Buffy Summers was of this teenager waving farewell, with a rather sour smile fixed upon the girl's features. Actually, Buffy was trying not to audibly grind her teeth at seeing off someone whose ultra-toned ass and thighs totally lacked the merest speck of cellulite.

Giving a huge sigh of relief when both the portal and the lifeguard vanished, leaving behind an unbroken cavern wall, a young woman gazed down at her waterlogged dress, and she winced at how she must appear a perfect fright. Even so, given how close Xander and Angel were, it was a good thing that overstacked lifebimbo had left just in time. Buffy was already drenched enough; she really didn't need to stand in a puddle of ankle-deep male drool if her friend had caught sight of those for-sure fake 48DD's in that skimpy scarlet bathing suit.

Most important of all, when she said 'friend', she meant Xander and nobody else. If that other bastard had really acted like she'd just heard, Angel was in the very near future going to sort-of-accidentally get a stake shoved up his-


Right after that loud howl of joy, this named Slayer found herself swept up off her feet by a pair of strong arms and gaily whirled around in a complete circle several times, before Xander finally put Buffy down and beamed at the bemused girl still with his hands gripping her shoulders. Excitedly chattering away, the teenage boy's questions tumbled out, one after the another, "You okay? No sign of the Master? Listen, are you sure I can't talk you out of- Mmmm!"

That last startled mumble was caused by a laughing warrior girl clapping her hand over Xander's busy mouth. Only a minor fraction of Buffy's attention was conscious of how Angel had also slipped into the cavern, to then make a beeline for the exact spot where his casual leaning against the wall would put his brooding face into the most dramatic shadowed position to show off rugged manly good looks. The rest of her brain was more occupied in hastily coming up with the perfect lie to explain the last couple of minutes, but Buffy still took maybe a nanosecond, at the most, to change that souled demon's status from previously 'lifelong passionate dream of the tormented dark stranger with fantastic cheekbones' into something at present on the order of 'gutless stalker creep'.

Buffy now gave Xander her most tender smile, while she explained to the guy she was determined to make hers forever, "I changed my mind because of you, Xander. You were so worried about me that I couldn't help but think about it when I was about to face the Master. So, when he actually showed up, I just said to myself, 'If Xan's sure I've got a chance, I won't let him down.' That made me totally ignore the prophecy, and I kicked the Master's bony butt! He's that patch of dust by the pool, which I fell into during our fight."

His delighted face promptly splitting into an ear-to-ear grin, Xander whooped, "That's my Buffster! I knew you could do it! Not like- I mean, I was wondering what happened to- Glurg!"

The very start of her soon-to-be-boyfriend's glad remarks caused Buffy to look suitably modest, until this satisfied expression changed into complete bewilderment over how Xander's comments had abruptly shifted into purest incoherence, accompanied by a fixed downwards stare from this young man. Hastily dropping her eyes to follow Xander's gaze, Buffy now observed how her damp white dress was closely fitting to every inch of her trim form, particularly across her breasts. Where, in the cool air of the cavern, a pair of female human physical consequences were at this exact moment gloriously displaying themselves, nearly poking through the cloth.

Buffy then looked back up to directly meet Xander's own eyes. An instant later, the teenage boy's entire face turned brick-red, so that when the Slayer cupped his right cheek with her outstretched hand, Buffy actually felt the skin's heat on her fingers. Still blushing furiously, Xander listened in his sheer astonishment to an amused girl in his arms telling him, "Hey, no harm, no foul. Look, let's get out of here and head back to the library. I've got a spare cheerleader outfit in my locker at the school, so I'll change into it before we tell everyone else there what happened. Okay? Xander?"

Xander was at this point staring blankly over Buffy's head when his mouth engaged into action without consulting his brain: "Right, right. Cheerleader. Cheerleader outfit, with the short skirt and tight sweater, showing everybody Buffy's got school spirit. School spirit's important, especially with the back flips and splits and high kicks-"

Continuing to vacantly babble away while being led off by a smirking Buffy, both young people left the cavern without either even bothering to look over at Angel.

This confused vampire still continued to lean against the cavern wall for another couple of seconds, before he jerked into unlife, indecisively taking a few steps towards the exit where the other two humans had departed, before Angel came to a perplexed halt. For some reason, he had the dim sensation of innumerable futures come crashing down in the immaterial plane, and the Irish bloodsucker felt an actual chill run down his yellow spine at the certain likelihood of being totally blamed for whatever had just happened. Trying to convince himself Buffy's latest attitude was just a minor reaction to breaking the prophecy - and exactly how'd this occur, anyway? - so all he needed to make it up to her was by being his usual mysterious-sexy self. Yes, that'd work. After all, it'd done so numerous times before.

The other truly horrible prospect was Xander Harris had somehow just become in Buffy's eyes a likely romantic partner. Shuddering at the very thought, Angel started to once more leave, only to again come to a dead stop, while the vampire incredulously sniffed at the cavern air with his supernaturally keen nose. It shouldn't have been possible, not here so far underground, but for some reason, he was smelling…Coppertone suntan lotion?