Chapter Three

L.A.

Each day Buffy regained a small amount of her strength and by the third day she was able to pull her arm free of her restraints. As promised no one tried to stop as she found her way out of the building in which her captors had kept her and onto a busy street. She knew nothing of where she was other than the name of the city, there were no indications of the names of the streets around her. So she wandered the city in the dark of night, staying in dark abandoned buildings during the day. Something in her kept telling her that this Angel vamp her captors had spoken of would be looking for her as she was looking for him and that eventually he would find her or she'd find the Hyperion, whatever that was.

As the weeks went by, Buffy continued looking for something she couldn't remember. Each day she grew slightly stronger but nowhere near strong enough to defend herself against the monsters that went bump in the night. Her clothes ripped more the longer she was on the streets defending herself from the humans who thought she was an easy mugging.

On this night, she had two odd feelings about her. One was kind and warm seemingly spreading from her heart and made her feel safe, loved. The second, however, made her nauseous and put her entire body on edge. She took her next left, not realizing that is was a dead end alley way until it was too late.

"Looky here boys," said a guy leading a group of about four more guys. They all had yellow eyes and v shaped lumps on their forehead. "We found ourselves the missing slayer."

Buffy backed up until she ran into the wall that closed off this alley. She had no clue what these things were and no idea how she'd be able to escape from her five assailants.

As they began to move in, however, a dark haired man in a leather jacket landed between them. Facing away from her she couldn't make out his features but somehow she knew he was angry that they had followed her and that she was as safe as she had ever been.

"And I think you'd have to go through me before you even touch her." Her savior was tense, obviously out numbered.

"Oh yeah," the leader replied obviously unimpressed. "You and what army, traitor?"

"That would be us." Buffy's eyes shifted from her savior's back to the entrance of the ally way were three more strangers stood. The one that spoke was a black, bald man of about average height. To his left was an older white gentleman, though certainly not old, with a scruffy beard and to his right was the youngest of the group. He looked about seventeen and had long light brown hair. Just one look at him made Buffy dizzy. "Sorry we're late, Angel. Junior here insisted on tagging along."

Buffy's gaze shifted back to her "savior." "You're Angel?" she managed to get out before everything went black and all hell broke loose.

Sunnydale

"Her scent mingled with another, then disappeared by the road," Spike said for what seemed like the hundredth time. "Someone must have, somehow, managed to sneak up on the Slayer, rendered her unconscious, and taken her."

"How is that even possible?" Kennedy asked yet again. "Isn't she supposed to be like the best Slayer in the history of Slayers? If someone was able to sneak up on her, I don't see that being a reliable description of her at all."

"And just how many apocalypses have you averted, little girl?" Spike replied, annoyed that halfwit would question Buffy's record. "Oh that's right, a big fat zero. While you were in England with Mummy and Daddy and then maybe a watcher, Buffy has averted 6 total, one in L.A. and five here in Sunnydale, three of which I have played a part in on either side. Even Xander has averted more than you with the grand total of one when he got through to Red gone dark. So next time you think to question the Slayer's abilities, don't."

"I cannot believe I am actually saying this but Captain Peroxide over here is right," Xander spoke up. "Potentials, listen up. I have been through hell and high water with Buffy, literally. She has always come through when everything looked bleak. She even sent her newly re-ensouled boyfriend to hell to save us all, even if by doing so she killed a part of herself. She has sacrificed more than any of you will ever realize for the safety of the millions. She would not have gone out alone if she was not 100% positive that you were as safe as you would be if she were here should anything happen to her. We have the most powerful Wicca on this planet, an ensouled vampire, an ex-demon, and a watcher who is well versed in the magicks. I get it, you're scared, you have every right to be, but if you think we are just gonna throw out everything Buffy stands for and leave you all defenseless, then you haven't learned anything." Xander was just finishing his speech when Willow came rushing around the corner.

"I just got off the phone with Fred in L.A. She said that Angel's found Buffy but there was something off about her. They're asking we stay put until they figure out exactly what happened to her."

"Like hell we will!" Spike exclaimed, obviously annoyed with Angel's taking charge attitude. But before he could get to the door, Willow was blocking his way. "Move it, Red."

"No," she replied. "Spike you need to listen. Someone took Buffy against her will and did something to her. We cannot be sure the effects and Angel may be the only one to get through to her. Fred said Angel described her as very disheveled and timid, does that sound like the Buffy you know; the Buffy any of us knows? I am not going to let you leave. For one thing, you are our strongest fighter and for another you may do more harm to Buffy than good if you showed up in L.A. I will use magic if I have to but you will be staying here."

Spike grumbled in defeat before retreating to the basement.