Thanks to everyone who's reviewed so far, I really appreciate it :) I like reading yours guys' and gals' thoughts. It helps me to focus on where the story should be going.
As always, enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy or any of the other characters. They belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy.
"Tara?!" Xander asked, rushing over to the spot where the blonde lay, surrounded by numerous amounts of smashed furniture and scattered books. Her vision starting to clear, the teenager allowed the boy to help her onto her feet, the room momentarily spinning as she regained her balance.
"Are you ok?" Cordelia inquired, standing a few feet away from the two in an attempt to avoid coming close to the numerous sharpened objects in the room.
"Y-yeah I'm f-f-fine."
"V-v-vampires." She answered, looking around the room slowly as her vision finally cleared. "W-where's Willow?"
"You mean she was here?" Xander's voice was ablaze with concern now, as he watched Cordelia look around the ruined room in an attempt to find the red-headed Witch.
"Y-yes. I-I saw t-t-them knock her o-out."
"They've taken her then." Cordy added, ceasing her search for Willow as she spoke. "And we have no idea where they would have taken her, besides back to where our undead Slayer is."
"Buffy thinks that Willow restored Angel's soul on purpose."
"But s-s-she didn't."
"Buffy won't care. She's angry, and she's going to take out all that anger on the person she thinks is responsible." Xander explained, helping the girl to a nearby chair that hadn't been destroyed in the melee earlier.
"Meaning Willow." Cordy added, crossing her arms across her chest.
"And we know that Angel was the king of torturing people back in the olden times. Imagine what he taught Buffy in just a sort amount of time."
"I can make all of this stop, Willow. I probably won't, but I could if I wanted to." Pacing around the girl tied to the chair, Buffy watched as Willow raised her head slightly, if only to hear her captor better. Numerous cuts covered her face and dried blood also lay in various patches along her skin. "We could have avoided all of this, but you had to go and pull a Sabrina on me, restore Angel's soul and all that jazz." Grabbing the red-head's chin, she pushed the girl's head up until they were looking into each other's eyes. "Why would you ever do such a thing to me? I thought we were friends."
"It doesn't…matter…what I say. You'll…hurt me….anyway." Willow managed to push out of her tired body, her mind barely keeping her body awake from the amount of pain it had taken in over the past two hours.
"Eh, you're probably right." Wrapping her finger around the girl's red-hair, the vampire felt the girl's body tense, and she smiled.
"Relax, I'm not going to hurt you anymore…at least not for a few more minutes."
"Could, but I won't. You've taken something from me, so I feel as if I'm in the right here to be doing what I'm doing." Letting the girl's hair fall from her grip, the vampire continued to walk around the Witch in a circle, observing the pain she had inflected on her former friend. "All I want you to do for me is to revoke the curse, and I'll stop hurting you. No more pain, no more hurt, you'll be free to go."
"Then I guess we're going to be here for a while then…" Stopping her cycle, Buffy dropped down to her knees in front of the red-head. "I can get you the books you need, if you'll tell me the titles you used. Will that help?"
"Can't…won't…" Letting her head fall, Willow was silent, her breathing beginning to sound labored as she fought to stay awake. Turning away from the girl with a look of frustration on her face, Buffy eyed a few more shards of broken glass and made her way back to the girl with one of the larger pieces in hand, a few splots of blood splattered across it. Seeing the broken glass, Willow let out a groan from her lips, trying to move the chair in the process. Smiling at the girl's attempt to escape, Buffy pushed the glass into her pocket, and laid her hands against both of the Witch's cheeks. Morphing into her vampire form, she looked into the girl's scared and tired eyes, noticing the pain that lined both of her pupils.
"Come on, stay awake." Letting her hands fall back to her sides, Buffy removed the shard of glass from her pocket and again resumed her cycle around her captive. Looking at the girl's red-hair for a moment, the vampire used the shard to move a few strands of it out of the girl's face.
"Whatever you want, I'll get for you... Don't make me hurt you anymore."
"How do you know? I could be telling the truth, and you just don't know it." Being met with only silence from the teenager, Buffy grabbed her throat again, receiving a smaller reaction that she had when the girl had originally woken up, but still seeing a reaction nevertheless.
"Willow, tell me how to undo the curse! There has to be a clause in it somehow!"
"Why don't you share it with me then? I'm dying to hear it."
"The curse can be lifted…only by a moment…of perfect…happiness." Hearing the words leave the girl's mouth, Buffy only tightened her grip.
"Not the time for jokes, Wills. I already tried that, and Angel wasn't in the mood to play." Her eyes looking down at the shard of glass still in her hand, the vampire held it up for the girl to see. "That's your blood on it, your nice, warm, Witch-filled blood. How does it feel to look at it? To know that I made it come out of your body?" Closing her eyes, Willow could feel her grip on reality starting to fade.
"Come on, Willow, stay with me here." Slapping the girl's cheek a few times in an attempt to wake her up, Buffy smiled once she saw the red-head's eyes open once more. Changing her face back into its human form, the former Slayer stared at the girl.
"Hello again." She said, tossing the shard of glass over her shoulder, not a single muscle in her body flinching when the sound of the shard shattering filled out the room. "Ok, lookie, no more glass. Can't have you blackening out on me."
"Thanks." The girl's voice weakly replied, all tone or emotion disappearing from its sound.
"You're welcome. I'm an inventive girl, so I can think of something else to do to you." She answered, kneeling down in front of the Witch. "Let's see, so sharp is completely out now. What to do? What to do?" Eying the red-head's wrist, Buffy smiled and quickly went to work untying Willow's left wrist. Feeling the girl's pulse underneath her grip, the vampire quickly morphed into her true form and bit into Willow's wrist. Her eyes widening with shock, the girl screamed for a minute before a feeling of warmth spread through her body with a rapid pace. Closing her eyes, she felt all of her pain momentarily slip away as if she had indeed awakened from a terrible nightmare.
"No, stay awake." Withdrawing her fangs from the girl's wrist, Willow felt all of the individual pains in her body come flooding back, making her want to scream again.
"Did that feel good, Wills? Having all of that pain not in your body anymore?" She asked, the tone in her voice mocking the Witch as she suffered through the pain of her wounds coming back. Slipping her finger underneath the girl's chin, Buffy again made the Witch lock eyes with her. "I could make you like me, if you wanted. There'd be no more pain, no more responsibilities, no more anything really. We'd all be one big happy family."
"Don't say I didn't offer you a way out then." Wiping the blood away from around her lips, the vampire retied the rope around her captive's wrist and headed towards the door as the sound of someone knocking on it echoed through the room. "I've got a few things to do. You be good now, ok? I've got some people here to look after you." Silence. "Don't worry, you know them."
The night now having reached its peak, Buffy smiled as she watched her prey try to crawl away from her. The girl she had found wasn't anyone she recognized, but that wasn't any particular loss. A meal was a meal. Gripping the girl by the throat, she quickly bit into her neck and felt the hunger she had inside her stomach fade as the blood collected inside her.
"Having fun?" She heard someone ask, and as she turned, her fangs leaving the girl's neck, she found Angel standing a few feet away from her, his body dressed in his usual attire of pure black. Releasing her grip on the girl's neck, the vampire titled her head at her sire in a very humanish manner.
"Pretty much. How about you? Missed me already? It's only been a day or two. I mean, I know that going about and trashing a deserted magick shop was probably your way of working things out, but I'm still here."
"How did you know about that?" His voice had no emotion in it as he spoke, and the look on his face matched that emotionless tone perfectly.
"I've got eyes everywhere, Angelus. Just as you did. You can't tell me you've forgotten about them already."
"I wish I could."
"Wishes, wishes, wishes. I don't look like a vengeance demon, do I?"
"I thought so. I'm a lot prettier than one as well. So, what brings you here? You looking for that special moment with me?"
"I've come to take you back."
"Take me back where?"
"You'll find out." He said, starting to move closer to her as he spoke. Cracking her neck, his childe continued to have a smile on her face.
"Oh, I love surprises." She said, raising her fists in the process. "But you know me, I love a fight before I get taken anywhere." Not waiting for her sire to respond, Buffy launched herself at him, smiling as the force of her attack knocked him to the ground. Morphing into his vampire form, Angel fought back, knocking her off of him and getting back onto his feet. Already shrugging off the impact of hitting a tombstone, the former Slayer raised her fists just in time to avoid a swing by her sire. Managing to put a few feet between herself and him, Buffy smiled again, noticing the dark look that Angel held in his eyes.
"What, is this your attempt to be bad for me?"
"Something like that."
"You know, I could easily make that soul go away, if you'd let me."
"Tempting, but I'll pass." As she heard his response, Buffy's smile disappeared from her lips.
"Then what exactly are you trying to do here? Relive the past without the consequences? Or did you just want to get me in the mood? Either way, you're kinda succeeding."
"Good to hear." Kicking himself off the ground using all of his strength, Angel tackled his childe and quickly grabbed her arms, effectively trapping her underneath him. Her face changing into its human guise, the childe looked up at her sire and smiled.
"Getting forceful l I see."
"You can handle it." He said, still gripping her arms in his hand as he pulled her up onto her feet.
"Never said I couldn't. Still, I'd like to know what you're planning exactly. It's not exactly fun being kept in the dark."
"Don't worry, you'll be fine." Clenching his other hand into a fist, Angel looked away as he felt his hand connect with Buffy's chin, the force of the impact making the other vampire's vision go black. As her entire body fell limp, he gathered her into his hands, and began to walk out of the graveyard.
Opening her eyes, Buffy felt the hunger in her stomach already beginning to overwhelm every sense in her body. She felt slightly sore, but she thrived on the pain, allowing that feeling to become more important than the hunger she felt coursing through her entire system. Looking around, she felt an added weight on both her right ankle and left wrist, the tell-tale sign of metal clanking against the floor underneath her being all she needed to know what position she was in. Placing her hand against the floor, she tried to get back onto her feet, but the chains connected to her leg and arm weren't long enough to permit her to do so.
"Awake?" She heard him ask, his voice shattering through her mind as her ears eagerly picked up on it. Looking up, she smiled as she saw Angel sitting across the room, his voice still completely void of any tone or emotion.
"Chains, Angel?" She said, making her voice as seductive as she could possibly muster. "I didn't know you were still into that. Although I think you're supposed to be a little closer to me than you are right now."
"Don't think I brought you here simply because I wanted to do that with you."
"Alright, I won't. Still, I'm curious as to why I'm here, chained to your floor."
"It's a precaution. Until Willow restores your soul." As she heard the words leave his mouth, Buffy laughed, remembering what the red-head's screams had sounded like.
"Good luck with that. Didn't you already know? I've got her squared away somewhere. Had a few of our minions go and fetch her for me. We had some things we need to work out between us."
"Where is she?" He asked, his voice getting a slight tone to it as he felt concern for the young Witch. Hearing it, the childe smiled at him, her eyes dancing with amusement.
"Oh, she's around. Don't worry, she's taken care of. I got her food, water, and all the little things that humans need."
"She isn't your pet, Buffy, what did you do to her?"
"I did exactly what she did to me. I hurt her. You know, all the things you taught me, about how the cuts shouldn't be deep enough to let them bleed out, and how you should talk to them, force them to let you into their mind? They work. Perfectly." As she finished her sentence, the childe smirked, her eyes still dancing with an unseen fire. She was enjoying every minute of this, seeing him angry and dark. True, it wasn't a moment of perfect happiness, but it was close enough for her.
"Where is she?" He said, coming closer to her as he spoke, the sound of his boots echoing off the floor.
"I told you, you didn't need to worry. She's not dead."
"That's not what I asked. Where. Is. She?"
"You want that information? Come and get it." She replied, motioning with her finger to come closer. As he walked towards her, the smile never once faded from her face. She was at no advantage, but yet she was still enjoying this, taunting him despite the fact that he could hurt her, could even kill her. He had prepared himself to do it, but he didn't know if he could actually go through with it. It would kill him every day for the rest of his existence if he would be the one to end her life, living or undead.
"I believe that if we exchange information, both of us will be happy, one way or another."
"You want me to tell you what your friends are planning." It sounded more like a statement than an answer, but the childe recognized what it truly was.
"No, not really. I'm more interested in exactly what you think you can do. Do you really think you can kill me?"
"I don't know."
"You're unsure of whether you can put a stake through my heart and watch me turn to dust."
"It's so good to know that you still care." She said, partially mocking him, but at the same time smiling as she heard him say it. "Your turn."
"What are you going to do with Willow?"
"Hurt her some more. I'll either get bored, or her little heart will stop, and she'll die." She shrugged. "Either way, I win."
"Why hurt her? She was only trying to help you."
"Because she took you away from me." Reaching up with her free hand, Buffy rested her fingers against Angel's cheeks for a few moments before she let the limb fall back to her side. "I felt so hurt, that I just wanted someone else to have to feel it. Naturally, I went after the Witch that cast the curse."
"Even though she was only trying to help you the only way she saw fit."
"I could care less what she thought was right. I didn't think it was, so I hurt her. I bit her as well, and I can tell you that Wiccan blood tastes particularly good. My turn." Leaning back against the cement wall behind her, the childe closed her eyes as she thought about what she wanted to ask. "Why can't you be happy with me the way I am?"
"Because you're not Buffy, not completely."
"You're saying I'm tainted somehow?"
"Your soul isn't in control, you're not her, not in a complete sense."
"So, you think that if I let the little red-head make my soul come back into control, everything will be all better? We'll go back to the way it was before, except we can't touch each other, can't we? Moment of perfect happiness." Her sire was completely silent as she spoke, and as she finished, she found herself waiting for his response.
"No. It can't ever go back to that. I'm sorry."
"You have nothing to be sorry for. You didn't ask for your soul to be restored, it was forced on you. Do you really want the same thing to happen to me?"
"If I didn't, you wouldn't be here."
"You speak like you really believe that. That it would be so easy to kill someone you love." She said, almost chuckling as she spoke. "You don't think like that, Angel, so spare me a lie you can't even believe yourself. You want me to live, to be with you for the rest of your existence. You want me to be there in the middle of the night when you turn over in bed, so you can look at my face and know that I'm yours."
"You can't kill me for that single reason. And no matter how hard you try, you can't make that go away."
"What do you mean the curse won't work on Buffy?!" Xander asked, his voice coming close to cracking as he spoke. Looking at the blonde sitting in front of him, he felt like smashing the table his hand lay above, simply to relieve the anger he felt inside his heart.
"W-we were r-r-reading and we found that a S-Slayer's soul doesn't l-leave her b-b-body if she's turned. It's just t-trapped inside while the d-demon fights it f-f-for control."
"So you're saying that the entire time we've been running around doing curse this and curse that, all we needed was a spell to make the soul inside Buffy stronger?" Cordelia inquired, rolling eyes in the process. "Can you say needless much?"
"Willow and G-G-Giles weren't completely s-sure. It was s-s-something that wasn't mentioned m-much in the b-books."
"Well, what are we waiting for? We need a spell, so let's just write one."
"It's n-not that s-simple. It's something t-t-that takes a w-while to do." Tara answered, her stuttering having toned down now that she was more calm. She was still shaken up from her encounter with the vampires, but her worry about Willow overwhelmed everything else. She couldn't explain it, other than that a person that had been nothing but kind to her was in trouble, and there was still a chance to save her. "I n-not sure if I'm s-strong enough to w-write one and make it w-w-work."
"What do you mean? She's not a Witch like Willow is…right?" Cordelia asked, her eyes darting back and forth between Xander and Tara.
"I'm not a-as strong as W-Willow is, but I've cast a f-f-few spells."
"Then you're telling me you can make Buffy's soul stronger?"
"I'm n-not sure."
"Well, if we're going to do anything, we have to do it quick. Am I the only one that remembers that our book person and Slayer are both in the hospital?" Cordy added, pushing herself away from the table and getting back onto her feet.
"Tara, listen to me, you have to try."
"B-but…" The blonde started before Xander rested his hand atop her knee.
"You can do this." Hearing the words of encouragement, the young Witch closed her eyes and breathed out, trying to calm herself in order to think properly. Opening her eyes, she tried her best to put a display of determination on her face.
"Get me s-some paper."
"Who did you get to watch Willow?" He asked, realizing that the game that she had forced him to play was coming to a close.
"I sent word through the underground, and I brought the rest of our twisted little family home." Her words crashing around his brain, it took Angel only a minute to realize what his childe was telling him.
"You brought back Spike and Drusilla?"
"I thought that since we're basically married now, it would be nice to see my 'children', since I am their mother now, in a sense."
"Do you even realize what they'll do?!" Her sire asked, gripping her shoulders in the process.
"Of course. They'll do whatever I say they will. You should have seen how Spike looked at me when I first brought him into the mansion."
"Buffy, you're losing your mind!"
"It wouldn't be the first time you've caused someone to do that, wouldn't it? I do recall that our poor little daughter is a little insane." Buffy said, morphing into her vampire form and laughing, her yellow eyes piercing Angel's soul. "Don't worry, they won't touch Willow. I told them that she's only for me to hurt." Getting back onto his feet, Angel headed for the door and had opened it only a crack before the ray of sunlight burst into the room, part of it striking Buffy's hand, causing a small fire to erupt on her skin. Her laughter quickly replaced by screams, she frantically tried to smother the flame. Shutting the door as quickly as he had opened it, he rushed over to her, and helped her put the small fire out, her screams stopping in the process.
"It looks like we're going to be in here for a little while more, Angel." She said, nearly spitting his name in the process. "Since it looks like you lost track of time."