AN: This one is probably the more serious of all chapters. Oh, and it's also the second-last one.

-XXXXX-

Van sat at a demon bar, working his way through his third shot of scotch, while Connor was trying to get information out of a few patrons. Ashleigh had remained behind at the hotel to watch over the children (Van didn't envy her. After all, one of them did put itching powder into his boxers), while Van and Connor hit the bars in search for Willow after being unable to detect her scent. Elena was down in the sewers to rustle some nearby vampire nests and Emily had gone to the other end of town for information from the demon bars in that area.

"No, you hadn't seen her was all you had to say," Connor told the demon.

With a frustrated sigh, he joined Van at the bar, who looked amused at his state, before ordering another shot from the female demonic bartender.

"And you've been such a big help," Connor muttered to Van.

"I've been helping," Van said, "Talking to lovely Rita here."

'Rita' smiled at the elder dhampire, while Connor struggled to keep his face neutral, while his stomach was churning at the sight of the bartender. Sure, he was partially demonic himself, but he had never been attracted to demons, especially one who wasn't as pretty as Rita, but it seemed like Van wasn't fussed about that at all. Sadly.

"Okay and what have you found out?" Connor asked.

"Well, I've been asking about this mysterious woman of yours and Rita told me that several people have confronted her. She's pretty strong and oh yes, she has the ability to alter reality. Lot of potential possibilities if I should run into her."

Connor frowned, "Are you serious? We meant to stop her, not play games with her."

"Look, Broody Junior, I only came here so I could see my mother. Turns out, she's a child, just like Daddy, so maybe this girl who reverse it for me. I don't really care about your problem with her. Your world, your problem, not mine."

"It's your problem too since you're in my world now," Connor said.

Van snorted and took a shot, "Maybe, but do I really care? I'm not here to help you, Angel Brat. Hell, I wish the time was up so I can go back to my world."

"You're here to help even if I have to force you."

"Well then, I guess we have a problem."

With a swinging backhand, Van knocked Connor off the stool, then stood up with a slight grin, as Connor slowly got to his feet while the patrons decided to keep their distance from the two dhampire getting ready to duel.

"This is a bad mistake," Connor growled.

"I know, but that's why they're fun," Van smirked.

-XXXXX-

Elena sniffed the air, smelling death and she pressed forward, coming out into a small area where four vampires were currently hanging around. Or at least they were until she showed up, drawing their attention and from one of them, a leering smile.

"Very rare we get a single female our way," said a vampire, "What's your name, girl?"

"Doesn't matter. You won't live long enough to use it," Elena replied, "But, perhaps you could live a little longer if you tell me something I want to know."

"Yeah, what's that?" asked another vampire.

"Any of you seen a five-year-old girl with red hair or you heard of her disappearance. She'd be a special one, capable of using magic."

"Maybe we have, maybe we haven't," said the first vampire, "What's it to you?"

"Well, I'm looking for her and I would really like to find her."

"If we had, we would've eaten her. Very rare to get a child down here. They're so very sweet," grinned another vampire, "And it's not like we'd tell you, so move along."

"I was really hoping to avoid this," Elena said, "Actually, no I wasn't."

In the short, brutal battle that erupted, three of the four vampires had been crippled, while the last one had been forced to his knees, his left arm pulled back and held by Elena, her gold eyes flashing as she pressed her boot hard against his left shoulder, threatening to tear it from the joint at a moment's notice.

"You know something that you're not willing to tell," Elena growled, "So, how about you start talking before I beat you to death with your own arm?"

-XXXXX-

Connor staggered back to the bar, blood running down the side of his face, as he downed the shot of whiskey Rita had put out for him, as Van did the same, equally as bloodied and he motioned for another two shots with Connor taking one of them. Save for Rita, the bar was virtually empty due to the pair beating the crap out of each other.

"Gotta admit, you took me by surprise," Van said, "Guess having a different mother helps you have a different style. I'm still not interested in teamwork."

"Neither am I, but I'll do what I have to to save this world," Connor said, "Sure, it may not affect you directly yet, but if this woman destroys my world, yours is next."

"Yeah and when she comes, I'll be ready for her. I'll be able to take her down."

"You won't be able to," Connor said, "She beat me so easily it wasn't funny and if I fight you equally, you won't stand a chance against her. Just listen to me, Van."

"Doesn't this seem so familiar to you?" Van broke in, "Us two arguing over how things done. Something we must have inherited from our fathers."

"Alright, how about this: we put aside our differences, we work with our sisters to solve this dilemma and we all go home at the end of the day. Deal?"

Van hesitated for a moment, considering Connor's words. It didn't sit right with him taking orders from the very first dhampire, given how Van was older, felt he was more experienced in the world and that his universe's Connor usually irritated him. But perhaps this Connor being Cordelia's son might make him more tolerable.

"Fine, I'll work with my sisters then," Van said, "But I still don't like you."

"Don't worry, the feeling's mutual."

-XXXXX-

Van was slowly being driven insane.

One of the children (Angel, of all people) had found amusement in bouncing a ball off the back of Van's head while he was trying to research about Mikaela. With patience he hadn't inherited from either of his parents, Van had tried to ignore the child, but after two minutes, he had enough. But when he turned around to growl at Angel, the young vampire was already gone, having taken off with his super-speed.

"Never thought your father could be such a brat," Van muttered to Connor.

"Yeah, well, with your father, it's no surprise," Ashleigh retorted.

Van was about to shoot back a comment, but his hand shot up to catch the ball, as Angel gulped and took off again. Upon returning to the hotel following their fight (and getting yelled at by their respective younger tag-teaming sisters), Van and Connor learnt from Elena (who happily described how she had obtained this information), that Willow had been seen in the presence of a red-haired woman in tight black clothing. From that description, Connor had figured that the woman was Mikaela and had announced some research needed to be done, which he started on after his shower.

"What are you doing?" Buffy asked.

"We're reading, Mo - uh, Buffy," Emily replied, "And - no, don't touch that!"

Too late. Buffy had already grabbed the Slayer scythe with a mad grin on her face, the power of ownership resonating within her, as Emily made a grab for her. However, Buffy darted around her (much older) daughter, only to be grabbed by Van, but the scythe fell into Faith's hands and she gleefully ran across the lobby from Connor.

"Connor, Percy's created a swirly thing," Spike shouted from the second floor.

"Can't you see I'm busy?" Connor growled, trying to capture Faith.

"Okay, but there's a big ugly thing coming through the swirly thing."

"You're such a tatty-tale," Wesley cried.

"Nuh-uh, that's always been you, Pommy," Gunn said, "Member Hold…er…Holt?"

"What kind of big ugly thing is it?" Ashleigh asked, grabbing her twin swords.

"Uh, big and ugly," Spike replied, just as a roar echoed from within a room, "And I think it's kinda hungry. It's got that hungry look."

At that moment, Connor tackled Faith, the scythe clattering from her hand and Buffy reached for it, only for Elena to step around her and grab the weapon, holding it high above her head where the elder Slayer was unable to reach it. Van headed upstairs to assist Ashleigh with the demon, crashes and roars echoing throughout the hotel. Connor locked the scythe away in the basement, as the crashes and roars finally died down, Ashleigh exiting the room with bloody swords, while Van looked amazed.

"Dude, your sister is so hot when she's fighting," he cried to Connor.

"Uh, yeah, great to know. Alright, children, time for bed!"

There immediately was an uproar of protests, despite half of them yawning. Only Xander was indifferent, huddled in the corner and sniffling, upset over the loss of Willow, so Emily took him to bed, while Elena, Connor and even Van put the children to bed, Spike and Faith the most persistent in resisting, until Cordelia and Angel helped out (mainly with the latter crash-tackling Spike and duct-taping him). Ashleigh was putting away the books, until something caught her eye and she grabbed the book for a closer look, a small smile coming to her face and she whirled around to face her weary brother when he came back downstairs to the lobby.

"Connor, I've got it. I know how to defeat Mikaela!"

-XXXXX-