Chapter 1: Bargaining Part 1
Ok. I know that I said that I would right my own story, but I also said that I would keep to a little canon. This is one of them. It's a really good episode that brought back Buffy and I can use it for Liam. Most of it is canon, some is my own writing. There is no actual Liam appearance until the very end. Just like with Buffy in the episode. Wanna know what happens? Read. Enjoy.
Buffy was walking through the cemetery at night. It was her nightly patrol as usual. She saw some action this summer. Every night she had faced at least three vamps or a big nasty demon. Tonight seemed to be slow for once. She was actually kinda glad.
"Finally, a nice quite night." She said to herself.
"And that's unusual." She heard a voice from behind her. She turned around and from around the tree came Liam, her son from the future.
"Liam." She greeted her son with a kiss on the cheek and a hug. "I didn't know you would be here."
"Well I wanted to see my mother." He said with shrug.
"Awww. How sweet?" she said smiling. Then a thought occurred to her. Liam was here yes, but she remembered him jumping into a portal and dying. What was he doing here? "Wait." She took a step back. "I saw you die. I was at your funeral. I planned it. How are you here?"
"Well," he started to circle her. "That's actually a pretty funny story." He chuckled. "You see, one minute I was sacrificing myself for the world and for my brother." Buffy remembered him saying that she was pregnant before he jumped. She glanced down, expecting to see a swollen stomach, but she was flat. He came to her front with his back to her. "The next minute, I'm waking up and finding myself refreshed."
"What do you mean?" Buffy asked feeling a little scared.
"Are you proud of me, mom?"
"What? Of course I am. You tried to save the future. You saved the world. How could I not be proud of you?"
"So, you'll feel proud of me no matter what I do? No matter what I become?"
"Of course. You're my son. I will always love you."
"That's great, because…." He whipped around with a growl and a roar and grabbed Buffy by the neck and lifter her up. She saw his face. It was bumpy and he had yellow eyes and fangs. "I have a new plan for the future." He threw her and she hit a nearby tree and slid down. "I'm done with the whole leading people to do what I want them to do." Buffy got up and faced the thing that used to be her son. "I'm done with sitting on the side lines." Buffy went to punching him but he grabbed her fist and flung her into a wall of a mausoleum. "I was always the get down and dirty kinda guy." She got up and Liam came at her. She tried to kick him but she seemed slower than she usually was. She kicked Liam in the stomach, aiming for his head. "That wasn't nice."
"That wasn't supposed to happen." Buffy said. Liam grabbed her and threw her to the ground. He kneeled over her. She heard the sound of a motorcycle coming her way but she didn't see any coming.
"You know, they say that family blood is always the sweetest." Buffy looked scared, staring at the face of her former son. "Guess we'll find out." Buffy screamed.
Buffy woke up screaming. She immediate felt two arms wrap around her protectively. She withered and then settled into the arms.
"Buffy, it's ok." She heard her husband say. She looked at Angel, the love of her, look back at her caringly. "Is everything alright?" Buffy looked down at her swollen stomach. She was five months pregnant and about to go on six. After Liam had told her she was pregnant, she went to the doctors and they confirmed her suspicions that the baby was conceived at the time Angel went back to LA after they got back together.
"Bad dream." Buffy said. She occasionally had dreams about Liam where she would wake up crying. Most of them were about him jumping into the portal. But this one was different.
"Liam?" Angel asked.
"Do you wanna talk about it?"
"No." Buffy said after a beat. "Maybe in the morning."
"Ok." Angel said kissing her temple. "Go back to sleep. You and the baby need it." Angel leaned back onto the bed and turned to go back to sleep. Buffy did the same. This dream she had. It felt different. But it also felt familiar. She didn't know what it was about. Maybe she'll figure it out tomorrow after some rest.
Buffy wasn't the only one who was up that night. The rest of the gang had picked up the slaying slack since Buffy had to go on 'Maternity Leave'. However, they weren't without some slaying help. Faith had gotten out of prison, thanks to Liam, and went into slayer mode. She kept her badass girl charm when it came to slaying, but she was a totally different person. Everyone saw it. She would actually listen to the gang now. She tried to compliment when a compliment was allowed. She would take orders like a soldier. Of course once Xander started to treat her like a servant, she made it clear that she was a like a gun. They aimed her at a target and they fired her. She wasn't a butler. After that, it was pretty much that. Demon comes along, she killed it, end of story.
Tonight was no different. The gang wanted to help out in the patrolling and would come along with Faith for support. A very large, both tall and chubby, vampire was running steadily between the headstones in a graveyard. Spike was running after him. Tara was running after them with Giles behind her, carrying an axe. They came up to a fence and the vampire was gone. Spike yelled in frustration.
"I'm never gonna get anything killed with you lot holding me back." He said.
"I thought the big ones were supposed to tire more easily." Tara said panting.
"No, that's over-the-hill shopkeepers."
"I'm fine." Giles said leaning on a headstone panting. "I just need to ... to die for a minute."
"It was that powder you blew at him made him rabbit off." Spike said to Tara
"It's sorbis root, it was supposed to confuse him, but ... it just kinda made him peppy." Tara explained. Spike rolled his eyes. "It's not supposed to mix with anything, you think he might be taking prescription medication?"
"Yeah, that must be it." Spike said sarcastically
"Good god, I hope he doesn't try to operate heavy machinery." Giles said. Giles and Spike laughed.
"Yeah, we could all be in real…" Spike didn't finish as Willow's voice popped into his head.
"Guys, heads up." She said telepathically. They all looked up. Willow was standing on top of a large crypt, telepathically communication with the gang. "The vampire's circling back towards you, six o'clock." The other three looked around for the vamp. "Try to drive him back towards the Van Elton crypt."
"Van Elton." Spike said telepathically.
"Is that the one with the cute little gargoyles?" Tara said aloud. The vampire they were chasing ran back across their field of vision, seeing them, turned and started back the way he came.
"Left, make him go left!" Willow said telepathically. Giles threw his axe. It thudded into a tree right by the vampire's face. The vamp turned and headed left. Tara and Spike looked at Giles, then they all ran after the vampire. The vampire winded up at a dead-end, and turned to go back. Suddenly a fist came out and punched him in the face. He fell down. A pair of feet walked over and stood by the prone vampire's feet. He stared up at the person. It was Faith.
"Big, fast, and dumb." Faith said. "Just the way I like 'em." The vampire sat up and she kicked him in the face, thrusted out with her stake, but he grabbed her arm, hitting her with his other arm, and got up. Tara and Giles appeared, grabbing the vamp's arms and held him while Spike punched him in the face twice. Then Spike moved for another punch but the vampire head-butted Spike and he staggered back.
Xander and Anya were running through another part of the graveyard.
"Sounds like the other units are engaged." Xander said.
"Xander, Anya, stop! "Willow said telepathically. Xander and Anya stopped running, and looked startled.
"Great googly-moogly, Willow, would you quit doing that?"
"I told you I was going to get the lay of the land."
"But not the lay of my brain."
"It's kind of intrusive." Anya said. "You could knock first or something."
"Xander" Willow said telepathically.
"I know, I know, I don't have to talk when I answer you." Xander said. "But I saw 'The Fury,' and that way lies spooky carnival death." A vampire was hiding behind a tombstone a few feet away from Xander and Anya.
"Xander! Vampire! Other side of that tomb. You can get the jump on him if you go the other way."
"Why didn't you just say so?" Xander and Anya head around the side of the tomb.
Back to the other battle, the big vampire threw both Tara and Giles off him. Faith ran at him, tried to punch but he blocked, picking her up over his shoulders, swinging her around so that her feet kicked Spike in the face. Then he threw her toward Tara.
"Tara, down!" Willow said. Tara ducked and Faith went flying over her, landing against a wall. Giles grabbed the axe, got up and swung at the vampire, who grabbed it and spun Giles around, pinning him against the iron fence with the axe handle on his throat.
"Spike!" Giles choked. Spike jumped on the vamp's back but he was so big he barely noticed. He shrugged Spike off a couple of times. Spike stepped back and sighed. "Spike!"
"What are you doing?" Willow asked. "Help him!"
"I did." Spike said lighting a cigarette. The back of the vampire's shirt was on fire. The fire spread up to the rest of his shirt. He let go of Giles and staggered back, bursting completely into flame and dust. Giles put his arm over his face as the dust showered over him. Spike took a drag on his cigarette, sauntered over to Giles and held out his hand. Giles took it and Spike helped him up.
"You might have let me in on your plan while he throttled me." Giles said.
"Oh, poor Watcher. Did your life pass before your eyes? Cuppa tea, cuppa tea, almost got shagged, cuppa tea?"
"Guys, help Xander and Anya over by the Anderson tomb." Willow told them. They head off. Xander was being held in a headlock by the other vampire.
"Xander!" Anya said as she lunged with a stake but the vamp merely stepped aside. She swung again and missed. The vamp hit her and she fell down. The vampire continued growling and struggling with Xander.
"I got it!" Faith said coming over and kicked the vampire, and he went down, letting go of Xander who landed on the grass beside Anya. The vamp got up, blocking a kick, and punched Faith. They exchanged a few more punches and kicks. He got her on the ground, picked her up over his head, and Spike came in and punched him in the stomach. The vampire dropped Faith, and Spike kicked him. He shoved Spike away, and Spike landed beside Xander and Anya. Faith kicked the vamp onto the ground, then staked him as he started to sit up. "Another one bites the dust." She turned to the rest of the gang that was getting up and walked over to them. "You guys ok?"
"Yeah." Spike said. "We're good. Hey, nice job on getting that vamp." He said with a smile.
"Thanks." She replied with a smile. They looked at each other smiling for a minute before turning to the rest of the gang. "So what now? One more sweep?"
"No. I think that will suffice for tonight." Giles said. They all started walking. "However, Spike is right. You did well tonight Faith."
"Hey, being in prison for a year may have slowed me down for the first month, but I'm back and better than ever." Faith replied.
"And that's good. Especially with Buffy being on 'Maternity Leave'. We still need a slayer active on the hellmouth, otherwise demons would run ramped."
"And we don't want that." Xander said.
"I think it's rather nice that Buffy gets a break for once." Willow said. "It's exactly what she needed after…." She trailed off not wanting to talk about Liam.
"The thing with Glory and the portal." Tara finished for her.
"And Liam dying." Anya blurted out.
"Thanks Ahn." Xander said. "This conversation needed that."
"But Buffy did go through a traumatic year." Giles said. "With Liam coming, her and Angel getting together, dealing with Glory, protecting Dawn, and Liam's passing, she deserves to have some time to herself."
"And she did." Xander said. "What with getting married, going off to Ireland, dealing with morning sickness. Never wanting that to happen again."
"But you will if you want to have my babies." Anya said.
"Anya, not now." They walked more without talking to each other.
"I miss him." Anya said. "I didn't really know him all that well, but I do miss him."
"We all do Anya."
"Some more than others." Faith said under breath sadly. Spike heard her and walked a little closer to her.
"Don't worry." Spike said. "Buffy and Peaches will shag it up after this kid just so that they can have Liam. Then we'll have him back. But in a small puking, crying, diaper wearin' form."
"That's something right?" Anya asked.
Buffy was in the kitchen of the mansion eating a big plate of a traditional Irish breakfast. Faith came into kitchen behind her. Since she got back to Sunnydale, Buffy and Angel offered her to stay at the mansion with Spike and themselves. Faith didn't really want to intrude but they had insisted.
"Morning." Faith said.
"Morning!" Buffy said cheerfully. "How was slaying last night?"
"Good. Spike burned a vamp with his lighter and I staked another one."
"You guys are becoming quite the pair."
"Well it seems that a reoccurring theme in Sunnydale is that the slayer works with a vampire."
"Not all the time. I went over a year without Angel. It went pretty well."
"Yeah. And you did it with some soldier boy. By the way, he was pretty good."
"What? You're not with him anymore. And he's off in some jungle in South America."
"And I'm glad." Angel said coming in a grabbing a bag of blood from the refrigerator. "Buffy is mine and mine alone." He put the blood in a cup and put it in the microwave. "No one is allowed to touch her but me."
"Oh really?" Faith said with a raised eyebrow. She went up to Buffy and started poking her in the shoulder, making Buffy giggle. "What are you going to do?"
"I'm thinking about letting you girls take your shirts off and see where it goes." Spike said as he came in with a smirk. The microwave dinged and Spike grabbed the cup of blood.
"Hey, that's mine." Angel said. Spike shrugged and drank the cup. Angel sighed and grabbed another bag of blood.
"So what's on the agenda for today?" Faith asked.
"Well, I have to go to Dawn's school for some teacher-parent-guardian day thing." Buffy said.
"Is Angel-face going to be in attendance?"
"No." Angel answered as he got his cup of blood. "It's sunny out and I think teachers and parents would find it weird that a guardian of a student comes in and out of the basement. Not to mention him avoiding sunlight wherever he goes so…..no."
"Yeah. And they'd freak if they saw you go up in flames." Spike added.
"So what are you going to do today Angel?" Faith asked.
"I don't know. Maybe read, sketch, train."
"Basically what you do every bleedin' day." Spike said.
"At least I don't sit around all day watching Passions."
"I like Passions." Buffy said. "It keeps me occupied since I can't go out slaying." Angel smiled at her. Buffy glanced at her watch. "Oh, I gotta go and meet up with Dawn and then go to her school and sit through boring lectures about teachers saying their doing the right thing."
"OK. Love you." Angel kissed Buffy.
"Love you." Buffy said and left. Angel sat in a chair and drank his blood. Faith started making herself some breakfast.
"So Angel," Faith said. "How's the baby coming along?"
"Great." Angel said proudly. "Buffy and I have gone to the doctors every time we had an appointment and he said that the baby is in good health and is right on schedule."
"That's good." Spike said sitting next to Angel. "So you and Buffy are really happy about this kid."
"Yeah. Why wouldn't we be?"
"I'm not saying you wouldn't. I'm just saying that with everything that had happened, will you love this baby more than Liam?"
"Hey! Buffy and I will love our children, no matter what order they come in. And we will love them all equally." Angel slumped in his chair and drank his cup of blood and started to brood.
"Sorry. It's just that, I don't know how you and Buffy did it." Faith came over with her breakfast and sat down. "I mean the rest of the gang is still mourning over him. Faith and me included. I'm just wonderin' how you and Buffy did it."
"We didn't. We're still…" he sighed. "We're still mourning. Some nights, Buffy wakes up in a panic because she sees his face as he sacrificed himself. Last night, she awoke up screaming after a nightmare. She didn't want to talk about it." They all bowed their heads in sadness.
"I know it's only been four months," Faith began. "I only met him once and he did so much for me. It's still kinda hard."
"It's hard on all of us." Spike said. "He did a lot for us all."
"Yes he did." Angel said. "Sometimes I felt like I shouldn't fight for the helpless because I got distracted and my son died. I didn't want that to happen to Buffy and our future children. But Buffy told me that I should honor his memory and do what he wanted us to do. He wanted us to help save the future."
"Exactly how?" Faith asked. Angel and Spike looked at her. "I mean, he didn't leave any note did he? Explaining what to do."
"No." Angel got up. "But he did say that Wolfram and Hart is behind it. So long as my team and I fight them and Buffy and the gang help out, we should be ready for whatever they throw at us." Angel put his cup away and walked out of the kitchen.
"But will it be enough?" Faith sighed
"Hey." Spike said with a raised eyebrow. "You wanna fool around?"
"Spike." Faith said. Faith and Spike had gotten together shortly after she came to Sunnydale. They had felt a little guilty at first, especially since it was after Liam's death. But they both told each other about theirs and Liam's trips to limbo and the memories they saw. After that, they just got together and sparks flew. They didn't, however, tell the rest of the gang. They were keeping their relationship a secret. They might receive some hostility due to Spike's lack of a soul and Faith's history. Not to mention, everyone was all about Buffy and Angel's baby on the way.
Faith walked into the magic shop later that day because she wanted to get out and do something other than train and stay cooped up in a mansion until the sun went down. Giles was at the counter going over files.
"Hey G-man." Faith said coming over. Giles looked up.
"Oh. Hello Faith." Giles greeted her. "How are you?"
"I feel like if I didn't get out of the huge mansion, I would go insane." Giles looked at her horrified. "Metaphorically."
"Oh. Right, of course." Giles looked relieved.
"So how are doing today?" Faith asked trying to make conversation.
"Uh. Well. I'm running my shop. I'm helping you and Buffy fight the forces of darkness, and making a well deserve profit."
"Good." Faith looked down. Giles noticed.
"Is everything alright with you?"
"I'm just…" She looked up at him. "The fam and I had a talk this morning."
"Oh. Anything in particular you wish to share?"
"Nothing that we haven't talked about already as a gang." Giles stopped looking at his files and looked up. He knew what she was talking about. He took his glasses off and started to clean them.
"Liam." He said as he finished and put them back on.
"Yeah. It wasn't about his death. It was about his future. I mean, he didn't leave any instructions for us to like, go out and save everyone."
"Well, from what Buffy told us, he knew that she would jump and die and then come back. He didn't plan on her and Angel conceiving a child before she went off to fight Glory. He didn't want her to sacrifice herself and Connor in fear that if she came back, would he as well?"
"Which kinda brings me to my next question. If he knew Buffy would come back, did he think that maybe he would too? Will he come back from the grave?"
"I'm not sure. For anyone to come back from death would require a particularly large amount a power and dark magic. We do not associate with either."
"But it was still possible."
"Indeed. Liam did not divulge any information as to how Buffy returned. It is highly unlikely that the same could be done for him."
"Wish he was here." Faith said sadly.
"We all do. We each had some sort of connection with Liam."
"Maybe everyone except the rest of the gang. From what I was told, they only knew who he was for like a week. And he didn't really do anything for them. Except I heard that he sang for Tara at her birthday party." She snickered.
"Yes well, he was actually quite good. We were all impressed with his singing ability. But aside from that one instance, you're right, they didn't have much of a connection with Liam as we did. They did feel a rather large amount of guilt after Liam's death for their hostility towards him."
"Buffy maybe hiding it, but she feels guilty too."
"Did she tell you?"
"No. Angel told me this morning that Buffy woke up last night screaming about a nightmare."
"Well it is expected of a mother who will have a child to experience nightmares of loss. It's their subconscious telling them whether they would be good parents or not. Did Angel tell you about Buffy's dream?"
"She didn't want to talk about it with him. I'm a little worried Giles."
"I am too. Buffy's faced a lot of loss in the past year. It's only recently that she has found any happiness and joy since Liam's death."
"So what are you going to do?"
"I'll come over tonight and talk to Buffy. She usually tells me things that she sometimes can't tell others."
"Like her dreams?"
"Especially those. As I have told you Faith, Slayers sometimes have prophetic dreams, telling them to watch out for a certain evil or telling them about an event that would occur. Buffy has been known to have them and she usually tells me about them."
"You think she had one of those last night?"
"Wouldn't be the first time. I'll call her and make arrangements."
"I'll be there too. B and I really got along this summer." Faith smiled
"That's good. Especially since in the future, she trusted you enough to care for her children and you helped raise them to be quite remarkable individuals."
"Yeah." Faith's smile faded. "Let's just hope that it won't have to come to me caring for her kids after she and Angel die." In their Scooby meetings since Liam's death, they had talked about Liam's future and how to help carry on his work when they didn't know what to do or how to stop something they had no knowledge about. It was frustrating work. Especially since Wolfram and Hart had been silent for the entire summer. The only activity they had gotten was on the hellmouth. And it wasn't enough for anyone to call the cavalry. While it seemed to be joyful to have a steady summer, everyone was on edge because they knew what would happen in about thirty years. And they had no way of stopping it, or exactly what would happen.
Buffy, Angel, Faith, Spike, Dawn, And Giles were at the mansion. Faith and Spike were going to go out on patrol soon but they decided to spend sometime with the family before they went. Giles came over because of what Faith said about Buffy still having nightmares. The rest of the gang said they would stay in because of personal reasons.
"So the teacher was telling us about how they were doing all the right things in school and that we as parents have to teach them to go to school and all that stuff." Buffy was sitting on the couch with her legs up on the table, eating peanut butter and carrots, telling them about her day at Dawns school. Angel was sitting next to her, holding her.
"And we do that anyway." Angel said.
"Yeah. And the other parents started getting into a discussion about the cafeteria food being crud." Dawn added.
"I think it's an improvement." Faith said. She was sitting on another couch next to Buffy and Angel. Giles sat in an armchair he pulled up to be apart of the conversation. Dawn sat on the floor in front of the coffee table.
"Speaking of lunches, I'm feeling peckish." Spike said getting up. "Angel, you want any blood?"
"No, thanks." Angel responded. Spike had wondered off to the kitchen. Angel and Spike had really gotten along during the summer. They still bicker at times, but it was more of a brother relationship then a grandsire and a sire. They even started saying compliments to each other.
"Angel." Buffy said. "Could you get me some ice cream and a pickle?" Angel looked at her quizzically. "What? Pregnancy." Angel got up and followed Spike into the kitchen leaving the girls with Giles.
"Buffy." Giles said looking at her. "I was told about how you were experiencing nightmares still about…..Liam." Buffy looked down.
"It's not really something I like to talk about." She said solemnly.
"I understand. I just want to know if you are alright."
"I'm pregnant." She said sternly looking at him. "I'm not fine half the time."
"As we've witnessed." Dawn said.
"I was told that you had a dream last night. Do you believe that it was prophetic?"
"Your dream last night was a prophetic dream?" Angel asked coming back in with the ice cream and a jar of pickles. Spike came in after him drinking his cup of blood.
"I don't know." Buffy said.
"What happened?" Faith asked.
"I was….." Buffy didn't really like talking about Liam. But she did feel as if it could be some dream about the future. "I was walking through the cemetery on patrol. Liam came out from behind a tree and I hugged him. But I remembered that he died and I asked him about it. He started walking around me and he acted strange."
"How strange?" Angel asked.
"Like Angelus." Everyone tensed up. "He said that he was tired of letting other people do what he wanted them to do. He was going to take everything into his own hands. Then he turned around and vamped out at me. I tried to fight him but it seemed like I was slower than normal. He had me on the ground and he knelt down. He was going to bite me when I screamed and woke up." Giles took of his glasses and began to clean them. Everyone looked a little worried.
"Have you ever had this sort of dream before?" Giles asked placing his glasses back on.
"No. Every other one was Liam dying." Buffy curled up on the couch and Angel put his arms around her to comfort her. "Giles, do you think Liam might come back as a vampire?"
"I'm not sure. Things that happen in dreams are symbolical and could mean a variety of things."
"Well if he does come back as a vamp," Spike said. "Would that mean we would have to kill him or put a soul in him? 'Cause I've been with Angelus. I don't wanna know what the spawn of Angelus will be like."
"Was anything else in your dream that could have some meaning?" Giles asked Buffy. Buffy thought for a minute.
"Now that you mention it, I did hear a motorcycle." Buffy said. "But no motorcycle showed up in my dream. What's up about that?"
"That actually has more questions than the Liam vamp-thing." Faith said.
"Yeah, well. That's all I got." She went back to eating her ice cream and pickles.
At Xander's apartment building, the rest of the gang gathered for their own secret meeting. Willow was holding a small urn and gazing at it. Tara sat beside her.
"The urn of Osiris." Tara said.
"You really found it." Willow said looking up at Anya who sat across form her.
"Yeah. It wasn't easy." She said. "I went through every supplier the Magic Box has."
"You used a Magic Box supplier?" Willow looked alarmed. "What if Giles finds out?"
"He's too busy training Faith to pay attention to me. Besides, I ended up getting it on eBay."
"You found the last known urn of Osiris on eBay?" Tara asked.
"Yeah, from this desert gnome in Cairo. He drove a really hard bargain, but I finally got him to throw in a limited edition Backstreet Boys lunchbox for a …" Xander, who was sitting next to her, coughed. Anya paused. Xander looked nervous. "...a friend." She finished. Tara looked at Xander with a little smile.
"So you got your somber on, Will, is the urn not up to spec?" Xander asked. Willow studied the urn with a frown. She looked at Tara.
"It's the one." Willow said. "Which means it's time."
"It's time?" Xander said anxiously and sat. "Like, 'time' time? With the... timeliness?
"Are you sure?" Anya asked quietly.
"I am." Willow said.
"Mercury's in retrograde," Tara said. "and we have... Do we have everything?"
"Just about." Willow got up and went over to another table and began putting things in a bag.
"But why the sudden rushy-rush?" Xander asked.
"Liam said that some events will happen and if we don't play them out a certain way, the future is going to go to hell." Tara said.
"And the faster we get this done, the faster we can sorta stop worrying about what events to change and all that. Stop flying blind"
"Exactly." Willow said turning to them. "Tomorrow night, we'll meet back here."
"Whoa!" Xander jumped up. "Let's apply the brakes and check the rear- and side-view mirrors here." They all look at him. "This is deep stuff, Willow. We're talking about raising the dead."
"It's time we stop talking. Tomorrow night ... we're bringing Liam back. We owe it to him save the future no matter what."
"Tomorrow? I don't know." Xander seemed nervous.
"Um, Di-Discovery Channel has monkeys." Anya said. "And our tape machine's all wonky."
"Guys, I need you on board here."
"It's just ..." Xander said fidgeting a little. "It feels wrong."
"It is wrong." Tara said. Willow looked surprised. "It's against all the laws of nature, and practically impossible to do, but it's what we agreed to. If-if you guys are changing your minds…"
"Nobody's changing their minds." Willow said. "Period."
"Excuse me?" Xander asked. "Who made you the boss of the group?"
"You did." Anya said.
"After Buffy went on vacation and announced her 'Maternity Leave,' you said Willow should be boss." Tara said.
"And then you said 'let's vote,' and it was unanimous..."
"And then you made her this little plaque, that said 'Boss of Us,' you put little sparkles on it..."
"Valid points, all." Xander said. "But we ... I mean..." Xander came out from behind the coffee-table, and went over to Willow who is again at the other table putting stuff in a bag. "We were just talking then."
"Xander, I can do this, I promise." Willow said. "But not without you."
"Should we maybe tell Buffy and Angel?" Anya asked. "After all, it is their son."
"No. No one else can know. Not Buffy, not Angel, not anyone. They might not understand."
"What if something does go wrong?" Tara asked.
"I'm telling you it won't."
"Scenario - We raise Liam from the grave, he tries to eat our brains. Do we, a) congratulate ourselves on a job well done." Xander said sarcastically.
"Xander, this isn't zombies."
"Zombies don't eat brains anyway unless instructed to by their zombie masters." Anya informed them. "A lot of people get that wrong."
"This isn't like Dawn trying to bring Mrs. Summers back, or anything we've dealt with before. Liam didn't die a natural death. He was killed by mystical energy."
"Which means we do have a shot." Tara said.
"It means more than that. It means we don't know ... where he really is. And without him telling us about how Wolfram and Hart succeeded, we won't be able to stop them."
"We saw his body, Will." Xander said. "We buried it."
"His body, yeah. But his soul ... his essence ... I mean, that could be somewhere else. He could be trapped, in-in some sort of hell dimension like Angel was. Suffering eternal torment, just because he saved us, and I'm not gonna let ... I'm not gonna leave him there. We treated him badly when he came here. We never gave him the chance that he deserved. Never got to know him like Buffy, Angel, Dawn, Giles, and Spike did. Even Faith had moments with him. He never got to finish what he came here to do. We owe it to him to finish it. And that means bringing him back." Xander looked at Willow for a long moment.
"What time do we meet?"
The next day in the workout room, Faith was practicing with Giles while Buffy sat, plopped, on the couch watching. Giles had padded targets on both hands and Faith punched them in a rapid sequence.
"That was splendid." Giles said. Faith stopped hitting. "Now ... try it again ... only this time, remember your breathing. Think of the breath as chi. Air as a, a life source."
"Gotcha." Faith said and took a deep breathe, then resumed hitting the targets.
"Yes. Well done."
"I remember when I could do that." Buffy said. Faith looked at her.
"What? Breathing? You're going to have to do a lot of that when the kid comes out."
"I wasn't talking about breathing. I was talking about training. Spending two months away in Ireland for my honeymoon was relaxing. But now I am just plain bored at home, not being able to do anything fun."
"You said you liked watching Passions with Spike."
"That's my TV time. I need physical time."
"Angel not giving you enough?" Faith laughed. Buffy blushed.
"He's giving me fine." Buffy said getting a little redder.
"Please can we not talk about that and get back to training?" Giles pleaded.
"Sorry Giles. I just want to do something other than sit around all day and moan about being tired. I'm tired of being tired."
"Well that's understandable." He looked to Faith. "Why don't we take a break for a few minutes before resuming. Faith nodded and grabbed a bottle of water. "Also you are actually a rare case. No other slayer in history as ever given birth. Not to my knowledge anyways."
"Maybe because they couldn't take the whole sitting around for about ten months while evil frollocks around. Then they went to go and take care of them and got killed."
"That's the story."
"Man. Must suck to be pregnant and also be the force of goodness." Faith said.
"That's why you're here." Buffy said. "Without a slayer, what will happen?"
"Demons will run wild and probably tear up the town." Giles said as he took off the targets and grabbed a bottle of water.
"Exactly." Buffy said.
"May not be just the hellmouth that I'm here for." Faith said looking at Giles. "I bet you're glad that I'm here so that you have a slayer to train."
"As a matter a fact." Giles said. "I am glad you're here. Buffy was progressing so much, I was beginning to wonder whether or not I should stay."
"What do you mean by that?" Buffy asked. "You were thinking of leaving me?"
"Well I was thinking that you were grabbing a hold over the world and you wouldn't need me so much. But since Faith arrived, I have changed my plans and decided to stay to train her to be at your level. Even though Faith is a well trained slayer, she still needs all the training that you received so that she can do things on her own."
"But I like having you around." Buffy began to pout. "Please don't leave me."
"I wouldn't do it if I knew that it wasn't for your benefit Buffy. But you are a growing young women who should start taking control of her life instead of relying on others to help you through the tough times. You need to start doing that." Buffy looked sad.
"Will you at least call and visit a lot?"
"Of course. I will not leave you all without any means of contacting me. And I will come and help during dire situations."
"Apocalypses pretty much." Faith said.
"Yes. And I will be here for all of the important events in your lives. But as I said, I won't be here for everything. You two are remarkable young woman and need to go out into the world as such. You need to find out who you are aside from the slayer and be those women." He looked to Faith. "Of course that means, no being a murderer." Faith lifted her hands up in surrender.
"Hey. I owe to both Angel and Liam to stay on this path of redemption and helping others. Angel helped me when no one else would. Then Liam got going on working to be that woman I saw in his memories."
"What was that woman like?" Buffy asked curiously. Faith smiled and looked at her.
"Happy. Loved. Someone who people would actually like to be around because of her. Not because someone said to." Buffy smiled. Faith sat down next to Buffy. "I saw Liam and his sister when they were kids. I saw my child." Faith was getting tearful. "I had friends and family around me. The way I got that was by being a good person. I want to be a good person, not just because I saw my future. I want to be a good person because I want to be." Buffy smiled at her and placed a hand on hers.
"And you will be. And in some ways you are already." They smiled at each other. Giles smiled at the sister slayers getting along.
"I believe Liam did more than what we intentionally thought." Giles said. The slayers looked at him. "He brought this family closer together than ever."
"We owe him everything." Buffy said. "I like to think that he's resting in peace knowing that his family is getting along." Faith placed her head on Buffy's shoulder and hugged her. Buffy hugged back. Giles smiled.
Later that day at the magic shop, Xander and Tara were sitting at the round table reading. The door jingled as Willow entered. Anya appeared from the side.
"Hey. You're late." Anya said.
"Oh. I, uh, had to get that thing." Willow said a little too casual. She went to the counter, holding a small leather bag.
"Giles isn't around, you can dump the cryptic." Xander said.
"The last spell ingredient." She said nervously.
"Okay, right. What is vino de madre anyway?" Willow walked over to them.
"Wine of the mother. Kind of ... black market stuff."
"Black market, you-you didn't tell me that." Tara said. "You shouldn't have gone alone, it could have been dangerous."
"Sorry. I didn't ... I was careful."
"Well, it must be something pretty intense." Anya said. "The black market's all baby teeth and spooky fluids."
"All I know is we have to have it to finish the spell, so, it's good stuff in my book." She took a book from the bookshelf and returned to sit at the table. "How come you guys are here anyway? I thought we weren't gonna meet till later."
"Oh, we were." Xander said. "It just felt weird hanging out on our own."
"It's better if we stay together." Tara said. Willow took Tara's hand.
"Aw, you got butterflies, baby?" Willow said.
"More like bats."
"Y-you wanna look at the money?" Anya offered. "I find it always calms me." Xander smiled fondly.
"That's okay, thanks."
"You tell those bats that everything is gonna be all right." Willow said. "I promise. We couldn't be more prepared."
"I know, I just wish it was time, I…I can't stand worrying about it anymore."
"Giles you didn't have to come back for a second night in a row." Buffy said. Once again, the slayers, the vampires, Dawn, and Giles were at the mansion later that night having a family dinner.
"Oh. But I want to." Giles said. "I really do enjoy these dinner's we have. And I love spending time with you all."
"Didn't know you cared so much." Spike said with a grin.
"Well, all it takes is just some spending some quality time with to really enjoy who you consider family."
"Another thing to thank Liam for." Spike said raising his cup of blood for a toast. "May the memory of the man live on forever and may he bring us closer together."
"Here, Here." Everyone said as they clanged glasses together. They drank and dug into the dinner that Angel prepared.
"Man Angel." Faith said. "How is it that you become such a great cook but you don't each food?"
"Well, when you're out in the world brooding and feeling guilty for a hundred years, you kinda pick up a few things to keep you occupied." Angel responded.
"Such as drawing, cooking, and brooding." Dawn said.
"Yes." Angel laughed. "Such as those."
"But it's nice." Buffy said. "And he stopped brooding so much."
"That's because of you guys. For once in over two hundred years, I have family." Buffy leaned over and they kissed.
"Get a room." Spike said. Faith eyed him.
In the forest that night, Tara, Willow, Xander, and Anya were standing in a semicircle beside Liam's grave. Willow was directly at the foot of the grave. Xander and Tara held lit candles.
"Does everybody have their candles?" Willow asked.
"I'm trying, my lighter won't stay lit." Anya said flicking her lighter continuously.
"Well, hurry, it has to…"
"What time is it?" Tara asked.
"A minute till midnight." Xander said checking his watch.
"C'mon, Anya, do you have it?" Willow said urgently. Anya got the lighter lit and lit her candle.
"I got it, I got it. I got it." She said.
"Okay. Start the circle. Now." They all kneeled, holding their candles, except Willow who held the Urn of Osiris. Willow produced a small jar and poured, what appeared to be blood, into the urn. Tara and Xander look nervous. "Osiris, keeper of the gate, master of all fate, hear us." She dipped her finger into the urn and marked her forehead and both cheeks with the blood. "Before time, and after. Before knowing and nothing." She poured the contents of the urn onto the earth. "Accept our offering. Know our prayer." Suddenly she jerked backward, panting, and her arms went out at her sides. Deep ugly gashes appeared on her arms.
"Willow!" Xander tried to reach for her.
"No!" Tara said. "She t - she told me ... she'd be tested. This is supposed to happen."
"Osiris! "Willow chanted louder. "Here lies a warrior of the people. Let him cross over." Willow winced in pain. Blood ran from the cuts on her arms. Round shapes moved under her skin. She gave a little moan of pain. The round things moved up her arms and over her chest toward her neck.
"She needs help!" Xander said.
"Xander, she's strong!" Tara said. "She said not to stop, no matter what. If we break the cycle now, it's over." They all watched anxiously. Willow continued breathing heavily.
"Osiris, let him cross over!" Willow said louder. "Aah..." Willow made choking noises as the round things under her skin moved up her neck.
"Oh my god, oh my god." Tara said. Willow leaned forward putting her hands on the ground, gagging. A snake head appeared in her open mouth. The snake slithered out her mouth and onto the ground. The others looked horrified. "It's a test." Tara said anxiously. "It's a test. Willow..." Willow was still leaning over the ground with her mouth still open. Anya, Xander, and Tara continued staring as orange light swirled around Willow, who was kneeling up again, panting loudly.
"Osiris, release him!" Willow said. The red light dissipates and Willow fell to the ground. The fire on the candles all blew out at the same time.
"Willow!" Tara said going to her. Willow was still panting on the ground. Xander and Anya came forward as well. The all kneeled by Willow. "Are you alright?" Willow looked up at them.
"Did….did….did it work?" Willow panted weakly. They all looked at the grave and then around them, hoping for some sign that their plan, all their effort, paid off. They noticed nothing.
"I'm not sure." Xander said. "Shouldn't there be some sorta sign? Like maybe Liam's body materializing or something."
"I don't know." Tara said.
In the ground, into blackness, into Liam's coffin, Liam lay there in the same position as he was buried in. His chest was rising and setting at a moderate pace. His face now had a full grown beard and his hair had grown to shoulder length. The orange mist from before swirled around his head. As the mist moved around the body, Liam continued to breath. The mist settled into his head and his brain glowed and then stopped. Liam awoke wide-eyed and gasping. He looked around, panting, with an expression of confusion and fear. All of the sudden, he gasped in pain and held his chest. He clenched his teeth and shut his eyes tight, the pain in his chest intensified. Liam started withering in his coffin. He banged his hand on the coffin ceiling as his other hand held his chest. The pain was unbearable. To him it felt like something was clawing inside of him. The hand he was banging with, stopped, and started twitching. Liam yelled in pain. The hand started turning blue and it turned into a claw. Liam saw this and gasped in fear. He shut his eyes again and ripped off his tie. His other hand turned into a claw too and Liam started thrashing. He opened his mouth and his teeth turned into canine teeth. His screams and gasps, started turning into growls and roars. His face turned to the same shad of blue as his claws. His face started to get all bumpy and they were framed by almost horned like protrusions. His ears elongated. He thrashed and withered in his coffin before punching the coffin ceiling and making a hole.
Back on the surface, Willow, Xander, Anya, and Tara were still kneeling before Liam's grave, wondering what to do next.
"Maybe you did something wrong." Anya suggested to Willow.
"No. No. I did everything right." Willow countered. "I triple checked everything. I went through the test and I know I passed."
"Then why didn't anything happen, Will?" Xander asked.
"Maybe something did happen." Tara said and looked at the grave. "Maybe we just can't see it." They all got the same revelation.
"We didn't unbury him." Anya said in shock.
"He could be down there alive." Willow said fearfully.
"We gotta get him out." Xander said and started digging with his bare hands. "Mind helping me." the others started digging as well, moving dirt away so that they could reach Liam's coffin. "Will, mind using some magic to get this moving along."
"Not after that." Willow said. "I'm too drained."
"I can try." Tara said. They all moved away as Tara looked at the small hole they made and raised her hand. Suddenly a claw burst out from below, making them all scream. They watched as another claw came out. The claws moved around frantically and grabbed the edges of the hole they made and pulled out the body they were attached to. A blue, horned-faced, demon crouched at the spot of hole with its head bowed and breathing heavily. They gang stared at it in fear. The demon didn't seem to have noticed their presence. Xander tried silently to grab the girls and pull them away. Willow jerked her arm away as she saw the cross necklace hung around the demons neck and she noticed the coat too.
"Liam?" she said weakly. The demon jerked its head up looking at them with blood red eyes. Willow crawled back in horror. The demon growled and let out a fearful roar. The gang screamed and got up and ran. The demon snarled and lunged forward at them.
So what do you think? Can you guess what Liam is? How about, how he got that way in the first place? Why did the mist make his brain glow? And what's with the motorcycle sound in Buffy's dream? All good questions. This is just the beginning. More chapters will come. And Liam is going to have a boat load of surprises waiting for him. Yes, he will be back to normal. Don't you worry. Comment and Review. Stay tuned.