Chapter 15. Wherein we finally see the method to Drusilla's madness

Giles pulled aside the three girls. Kendra had found some comfortable beanbag chairs to sleep on and Jenny was still on the phone yapping away in the Gypsy language. "I received a call back from the other watchers." he held up a hand to forbear interruptions. "There have been two instances of Dark Quickenings in living memory. Warriors for Good who absorbed too much Evil and... broke. For lack of a better term. Both did eventually come back, but they were never completely the same. And in both cases, it took their friends' support and encouragement to due so." He swallowed before delivering the next part. "And not all of those friends survived. The evil inside Xander may no longer recognize you as friends. And if he kills you and then regains himself, he'll have to live with that guilt forever."

"We'll do it. Whatever it takes to bring Xander back." Buffy asserted.

"Xander would do it for us." Willow echoed.

Giles' throat was tight. He hadn't really expected anything else from them, but he'd hoped. This would be very dangerous. And it was a danger he couldn't protect them from or even prepare them properly for.

"Seriously. I'm still full from last night." Xander pushed away his food. "I mean, I got 2 or 3 liters out of each of my parents. Human male capacity is around 5 liters. So, yeah. I'm still full." He pushed the girl back to Drusilla. Five liters was human capacity; he wondered if his might be a bit more than that, perhaps storing some in his stomach. He had drank a lot that night.

The poor girl was seriously freaked, as any reasonable person should be on meeting their first vampire. Still, she was very beautiful. Blonde haired and blue eyed. But a weird name he didn't even bother trying to remember. Chanticleer?

"You don't have to feed, Kitten. Just bite her." Drusilla said. "She wants to be turned." and pushed the food back.

"All the more reason not to turn her. She obviously has a screw loose somewhere. You turn her. Or get Spike to do it. What happened to him?" Xander said.

"You shot him. Naughty kitten. He did run away, he did. But don't worry, he'll be back in time for my party." Dru smiled and decided that she wasn't going to get her Kitten to feed today. She drained the girl instead. She needed her strength for what she had to do later. Hypnotism took so much out of her right now. She could barely control the minions she was going to need to pull off her plans tonight. But after her party, she'd be strong. Strong enough to control a full grown Tiger. And an army of vampires who knew what Kitten knew about guns and were immune to everything but sunlight could take over the world. Plus, Kitten just had to bite people to turn them instead of draining his own blood. With him under her control, they could kill or turn all of Sunnydale in just a few nights.

After she was done with her food, she passed her food to Xander, who quickly broke the girl's neck.

"Huh, I guess she really is sick." Xander said as they stood over Dru's bed.

"From what Spike said, it comes and it goes." Angelus replied. "Where the hell is he anyway? Is he still mad that you shot him?"

"Drusilla said he'd be there." Xander said.

Angelus nodded. "If Dru said so, he'll be there." He pointed to two minions who were looking especially vacant tonight. But they still followed directions easily enough, and with less complaining than normal. He had them carry the nearly catatonic vampiress to the church. Soon enough, she would be well and Spike would be gone. And that was the last time he let her pick the man she wanted to turn.

Spike had never been what you'd call brave. Even though he loved a good brawl, he tended to be the first to run at the sign of true danger. Incongruent facts that allowed him to kill two Slayers and still lead a long unlife. On the other hand, he had always believed in true love since before he'd died, and now he was willing to put it all on the line for her. For Drusilla. He took a deep breath he didn't need and walked in the front door of what he was pretty sure was a trap that might just end his unlife.

"Well, here we are. The Canon Church." Giles said as everyone piled out of his car. It was about five minutes to Midnight.

"I don't see any cannons." Buffy complained. "Too bad. Those would have been handy for stopping this ceremony."

"You can borrow one of my cannons." Cordelia offered. She'd gone down to the gun range last night and found she wasn't nearly as good a shot as Xander was in his memories. At best she'd be a distraction; at worst, she might hit one of her friends. She was bringing the Beretta, but it was staying holstered unless she had a clear shot at a vamp running away or right on top of her. Her main weapon was going to be a stake.

"Why don't I take that? Thank you." Giles took the gun. "Seeing as I've seen both of you shoot. And that's 'canon' with one 'en', Buffy. It means the body of laws and regulations made by an ecclesiastical authority. It can also be material that is considered to be genuine by a fan base. But I don't think that situation applies here, as we are not characters in a book." Giles explained. "Right. Are we all ready?" He looked around at all his children. Kendra had healed at a rate similar to Buffy's and was now nearly 100%. Though she claimed this was faster than she usually healed. He wondered if the Hellmouth's energies had anything to do with that. He wished Jenny were here if only for another adult presence but she was still working on re-cursing Angel.

"Ready" Willow said. She hefted a large bucket of glue for dealing with the bug-guy-assassin-thing. Apparently he could only be killed in his disassembled form. So she was going to lure him under a door and straight into a puddle of glue where she would stop him to death.

Giles made one more weapons check. "Very well then. On we go."

"Hello, Princess. You're looking especially beautiful tonight." Spike said, honestly. She had dressed up for the occasion in her best black dress. Though she certainly looked sick again. He wondered what caused it and if this ritual was really likely to cure her.

"My Spike." Drusilla's head lolled to the side as if she were slightly drunk.

"Get him." Angelus ordered and two minions came straight for him.

Spike fought back against himself and his very nature so that he didn't fight back against these tools. They tied him to one of Dru's hands. Strangely, they tied only one of his hands to Dru's left hand even though her right hand was also trussed up on the other side of her. But he put thoughts of why that might be out of his mind. The cavalry would be here soon and he needed to be in shape to strike then. He started to think he should have struggled a bit when Angelus started the ceremony and the Slayer's gang hadn't arrived yet. Holding the golden cross of Du Lac upside down Angelus chanted. "Eligor. I name thee. Bringer of war, poisoners, pariahs, grand obscenity."

Dru looked at him. "Black medicine my Spike. Soon we'll be together... forever." she took his hand in hers and entwined their fingers.

Angelus stopped chanting and pulled a dagger from the base of the cross. "She has given of her unlife to her childe and from that childe shall she be born anew." and he stabbed the knife through their entwined hands.

The light and the pain blinded Spike to anything that might be left in the world.

"Well, that felt almost too easy. What do you think, Harris?" Angelus asked. He turned and noticed Xander going for something behind him. "What are you doing there, Harris?" he asked suspiciously.

Xander casually lit a cigarette he'd been taking from his coat by the back wall. "Me? I wasn't doing anything." he smirked and blew a line of smoke. "It's those two you should be worried about."

Angelus had only a moment before one of the minions Drusilla had hypnotized bashed him over the head with a crowbar. The minions then dropped their weapons and began to tie the dazed vampire to Drusilla's other hand. As they were doing that, Xander pulled a knife and something else from his jacket. He slipped the knife into the hole left in the Du Lac cross. Once they were done tying Angelus up, he handed the cross to one of the minions. Which it promptly burned.

"You're supposed to wear gloves, moron." Xander said derisively as both minions went to get their gloves. Xander pulled out the stake he'd been hiding and dusted Angelus.

"NOOO!" Screamed Drusilla as she pulled on her bonds to try to kill him. But the bonds were designed to restrain two vampires, so they held steady.

Xander smirked back at her. "I'm not sure what you were planning. But I'm pretty sure it had something to do with me and that you needed both of them to pull it off. Now, I was going to let you have Spike; but if your minions keep looking at me like that, I'm just going to dust you all and say 'the hell with it'." he pulled his silenced gun and leveled it at the head of the nearest advancing minion.

Dru visibly calmed herself and the minions stopped advancing.

"That's a good pet." Xander put away his gun.

"My Kitten. Why?" Dru mewed. She searched her memory for any sign from the stars that Kitten might betray her.

"When you've got a Tiger by the tail, you'd better have a plan for dealing with his teeth." Xander quoted pithily.

Xander took back the Du Lac cross and sat down in a pew to watch Spike die. He hefted the cross and decided that it was worth at least $150,000 for the gold alone, never mind the cultural value. He shook his head at the thought of Giles offering him a mere $1,000. Whatever. He was done with that group. Too bad that group wasn't done with him.

Buffy and Kendra's joint kicking down of the door was both loud and impressive. They were followed by Cordelia and then the rest.

"Slayer!" Dru said from her tied up position. "Kill Alexander. He killed our Angel."

Xander took a last drag of his cigarette and flicked it into a corner. "Technically, I killed Angelus. You were the one who knocked off Angel by getting groiny with the beast." Xander sneered.

Buffy stopped and paled.

"What? You didn't think Angelus would share that bit of info with me? When he could shove it in my face that he got there first? Not likely." Xander spat. Most of the Scoobies were now looking at Buffy who looked even smaller than she normally did.

Kendra looked confused at first and then looked more mortified than anyone. "A vampire!?"

"Hey now." Xander interrupted. "I'm not cheesed that she slept with a vampire, even the corpse kind. I'm just peeved that it was with a tool like Angel. I mean, I had hoped you would come to your senses, Buff and see that he wasn't worthy of you."

There was an 'eep' from Willow in the back still holding the glue as she realized the meaning behind the innuendo. "Um... where's that bug-guy?" she asked to cover her slip.

Xander waved to where Dru and Spike still hung from the ceiling. "Dru decided that she had me and didn't need him any more. So we had a bug barbeque. It was fun. A bit smelly."

Spike pulled his strength together to object to that. "Hey! I paid a lot of money for that guy!" it still didn't come out very loud, most of his strength already being gone. Xander didn't think that Willow at the back of the church had heard what Spike said.

Buffy recovered herself by focusing on the fact that they still had vampires to kill and a friend to save. Because it wasn't Xander saying those hurtful things. It was the evil inside of him.

"So, we going to dance?" Xander taunted.

The Slayers each went a different way. Xander pulled his FiveSeven and leveled it at Kendra who then went crosswise from his position. It wasn't about who was the bigger threat. It was about getting her out of the way so he could take his time with Buffy and still make sure that Drusilla was still able to suck all the mystical power out of Spike.

But hitting a moving Slayer with a pistol is never an easy task. Especially with a second Slayer bearing straight down on you. He got off only two shots that didn't hit jack before Buffy was in hand-to-hand range. He didn't bother trying to put the gun away, instead he simply moved his hands out of the way and let Buffy knock the gun out of the air without hitting him. He jumped back and used a foot to kick the crowbar the minions had used on Angelus to his hands.

Buffy paused at that. "Did you really kill Angel?" she just had to ask.

Xander smiled. Best to give her a reason to go all out against him otherwise she'd just hold back. "Yes."

Buffy's mouth narrowed and tightened as she strengthened her resolve.

By now both the Slayers were together again and started advancing, driving him away from the altar. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw one minion going after Cordy, Giles, and Willow as the second played guard dog to Dru and growled at the approaching Slayers. Kendra picked up a discarded 2X4. She swung it at him, while Buffy turned and attacked the guard dog, trying to take him by surprise. Kendra swung high and he leaned back returning the favor with a jab from the crowbar to her middle she stuck out her butt to keep it out of range. She countered with an overhead blow he caught on the crowbar. He swung chest-high with the small, sharpened end towards her. She caught that on her board. Or rather, in her board as the bar drove through the wood and got stuck. And then Xander realized his mistake.

Kendra threw the board and bar to the back of the church, leaving them both unarmed, which was to Kendra's advantage.

Xander spared a glance around him to see if any weapons were nearby. He noted that Buffy had dusted her opponent and was about to dust Spike. He also noted that Cordelia was nowhere to be seen, Giles' crossbow had missed, and though he was trying to reload quickly, Willow was about to be vamp food. He cried out, "Willow!" to distract Buffy from killing Spike for another minute.

Sure enough, Buffy didn't stake Spike, instead she went to rescue her friend. But the distraction had cost Xander. He receive a full-force Slayer punch to the face from Kendra for his trouble and was tossed several feet back into the wall.

Lycans didn't hit this hard. I'd rather be fighting them.

He received several more body blows before he was able to leverage his way away from the wall and throw her into it for a change. But it didn't even faze her. She was like a fricken machine. He endured blow after blow while his own returned blows didn't seem to have any effect. He couldn't spare a thought for Spike and Dru but only knew out of the corner of his eye that thew were both still there.

Then he fell on the table holding the still smoking censer. He spun with it and struck Kendra in the head. With her stunned, he was finally able to get a hold of a weapon. Taking a page out of her book, he tore a leg off the table. By the time he turned back around, she'd recovered, but it didn't matter as he was now armed and she wasn't. And this time there was no Mr. Nice Guy to save her. He treated her to her own rain of blows that finally looked like they were doing some damage. Another crack over the head put her down again. Perhaps permanently this time, but there would be time to finish her later. Now he finally had time enough for him to assess the situation again.

The last guard was gone but Spike and Dru were still alive as well. The Scoobies were in the back part of the church for some reason.

Xander took his table leg and went to investigate.

It was pretty clear what had happened with Giles apologizing and Buffy sitting in a pile of ashes with a crossbow bolt in her shoulder.

"Well now. This is kind of a disappointing final showdown." Xander hefted his table leg on his shoulder like a baseball bat.

Giles' eyes shot up to him and then to the still form of Kendra. "Shit." the librarian swore. "If you really want that grand showdown, Xander, you'll have to let us go so Buffy can get well." he offered.

Tsk. "Nice try watcher. Now who wants to be first?"

Willow stood up and walked calmly to him. "There's no need for that, Xander." Willow said.

"That was the problem with Spike and Dru. Buff never finished them off and they just kept coming back." Xander said. "I'm not going to make that mistake."

"I meant you don't need the table leg with me." she said. "You don't need to force me to do anything. Just ask. If you want to turn me or drain me, I'm yours."

"Then you're weak." Xander spat.

"Perhaps. But all my life, I've known that there's only one man I would ever love. All he had to do was say... anything and I would be his for the taking. Do you remember the first day of kindergarten? I broke the yellow crayon and you told the teacher you broke it? You took a time-out for me when you said that you did it on purpose. I still have that crayon in my desk at home. To remind me of you. Because I was weak and you were strong. And now you have to be strong one more time, Xander. Strong for me. Come back to me Xander, or take me with you." Willow was bawling by the time she was done with her speech and even Giles had tears on his cheeks.

She stepped up until they were touching. "So if this is who Xander Harris is now, then bite me." she whispered. She stepped closer and put the nape of her neck right under his mouth. "Because I don't want to live in a world where Xander Harris lost himself. I love you."

"Lost my way?" Xander turned her head so she was looking into his ice-blue eyes. "No. Just had my eyes opened."

"Giles said you took in too much evil. It's not you Xander. You have to fight against it." Willow pleaded.

"There's no demon inside of me. I did all of it. Me!" Xander's head twitched at the memories.

"Come back to me, Xander." Willow pulled their foreheads together as they used to do.

"I don't think I can come back Will. I killed my parents. I killed Kendra." He paused for a moment. "It hurts, Wills." Xander admitted.

"I know you're in pain. I can't imagine the pain you're in. I knew something was up at your house. I should have done something to stop it." Willow said. "I still love you."

"You can't. No one can." Xander objected.

"I love you."

"Stop it."

Instead of speaking, Willow just pulled Xander into a hug, which ended in them both crying on their knees.

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry..." Xander cried.

In all the confusion, no one noticed that Spike had turned to a pile of dust next to Dru who was now trying to free herself. She had been expecting to have minions to free her. Cordelia picked herself up from where she'd been knocked out by the vampire, took stock of the situation, then calmly walked over to Drusilla and staked her.


Though the doors and windows were all closed, the candle flames in the church fluttered in the wind. Dust swirled on the altar. A vampiress, beautiful even in her game face, stood naked thereon when there had been no one in the room a moment before.

"Naughty tigers who bite their mistresses get turned into beautiful throw rugs." she said.

A/N: Thank you to all those who Rec'd and reviewed, especially those who did so early. This was originally going to be a 3 part, 1-shot until your feedback convinced me to continue it. Chapter 4 and much of the Reverse-yellow-crayon scene was written in about 2 hours and the chapter posted not long after that. Once I had that, most of the rest just seemed to flow. Mostly.

Anyway, I'll be presumptuous and tell you straight off that I have no plans for the sequel at the moment. However, if you think you know where this goes from here; by all means, you have my permission to write a sequel. All I ask is credit.