In an abandoned loft, Connor drags an old mattress over the dust covered floor. He lets it fall and a haze of dust floods the morning light coming from dirty windows. Then he sits on the mattress and rummages through a nearby pile of junk food he stole from a vending machine.
After eating he falls asleep, his mind hopelessly racing from its troubles.
In Gunn's truck, Gunn and Cordelia begin to talk about Buffy.
"I have to admit, that when I heard about the Slayer, that wasn't what I was expecting."
Cordelia sighs and says, "Yeah, that's what everyone thinks."
"Are you ok?"
"I'm worried. You have to understand that when Angel is with Buffy, bad things happen."
"For starters, Angel losing his soul."
"You know the clause in the curse. Buffy was the one who gave him a happy five years ago. They hump and Angel goes 'grrr'"
"But you don't think they're going at it right now?"
"No. I was just telling you the worst that could happen between them."
"Oh. So, what else can happen?"
"Well, sometimes they fight even when Angel does have a soul. But over the last few years, they just talk and leave each other scarred in the inside. Every time they see each other, afterwards Angel broods for days, even weeks."
"I remember how he was after he saw Buffy when she came back to life. He was good at hiding it, but you could tell there was something behind his eyes. Did he ever tell you what happened when they met?"
"Man, I don't know how he did it, stayed away from her I mean. After he went to, what was it, Sri Lanka for three months, just to cope with her death."
"Probably because he was so focused on Connor a few weeks later."
"Yeah. What do think about him not telling her about Connor?"
"I don't know." She adds a moment later, "Then again, it's none of her damn business! She's not part of his life any more."
"Do you not want to talk about this anymore?"
They remain silent for a few more minutes until they reach the entrance to the harbor. Cordelia and Gunn exit the truck and join a large group of people huddled against police tape and barricades. Police officers are everywhere.
Gunn gets a man's attention and asks, "Hey, what happened?"
The man answers, "Someone killed a cop. Fucking decapitated the guy!"
Gunn and Cordelia act surprised, then Cordelia asks, "Do they have any idea who did it?"
"Lady, how the hell am I supposed to know, am I wearing a badge? All I know is the cops are going to crack down on everybody. You don't kill cops, not unless you want them to go all fascist on yer ass. "
Cordelia and Gunn share a worried look.
In the public library, after finding nothing on the computer, Fred sits in front of the microfilm projector, looking over newspapers from 1988. Behind displayed print reflecting off her glasses, her eyes move back and forth over dozens of article headlines in a few seconds. She finally finds the article she has been looking for, then cups her mouth and mutters, "Oh my god."
Buffy and Angel walk down one of hotel's hallways, and stop at a room numbered 308.
Angel says, "Now, I'm sure this one at least has a bed."
He begins to open the door, but quickly shuts it when the widening crack shines with sunlight.
He turns to her and says, "Maybe you should go first."
Angel gets out of the way and leans against the adjacent wall as Buffy opens the door and enters the room. He stares at the opposite wall and imagines her in a space of pure light, but in reality it is just a dusty room like all the rest. She regrets that she has to leave him in the dark, knowing the symbolism of the gesture is a lie.
As she explores the room, Buffy calls back, "Wow, this place is the size of an apartment."
"Third floor is where the suites are."
"Ah, so you been holding out on me! Sorry, there's no curtains. You're right, this one does have a bed. No sheets though."
"I'm sure I can find you some."
A few moments pass, and he hears the sound of running water.
"Good, the water runs hot." She returns to the lit doorway, haloed in his eyes. "Well, it's a little dusty and bare. But it'll do. I really need to take a shower. Will you be ok?"
"I'll be fine. What about you?"
"Well, the last time you had to deal with a rogue slayer it was rough, to say the least."
"This isn't like 're not even sure if Dana knows what she's doing."
"Whether she does or not, I just want to make sure this isn't... troubling you."
"You mean on a kind of personal level?
"Well, I haven't even met her yet, so, honestly, I don't know."
Buffy almost tells Angel about the drawings of her death in Dana's room, but she decides not to for some reason she's doesn't understand.
They stare at each other's eyes, lost in one of those moments which they've only shared with the other. Then the shadow of the past stalks them and they can both feel it, so they try to preserve a few seconds of innocence.
Angel is the first to break their gaze and says, "Uh, I need to go that way," and points towards the way they came from.
Still lost in the residue of the moment, she mumbles "Uh huh."
"You're blocking it with sunlight."
"Oh, heh, sorry."
Buffy fully steps into the hallway and closes the door, and then Angel passes. She notices they're acting like they did in the naïve years, and as much as she treasures them, she knows the time since must be faced.
She calls out, "Angel."
A deep pause. "About the last time we met, at that place in between."
Angel closes his eyes and bows his head.
She continues, "Don't worry, I'm not asking you to talk about it, we've already had our confession time today. We've been acting like it never happened, or at least not like it did. We're acting like we usually do when we haven't seen each other for a while. Which I get. And I'm not saying I don't like it this way. But it did happen."
She asks, "Do you resent me for it?"
He doesn't answer.
"I would understand if you did, but I want you to know that I'm better now. And I want to thank you for..."
"Don't. I don't want to be thanked."
Angel turns and walks down the hall, leaving Buffy in the darkened hallway.
Minutes later, Buffy stands naked in the bathroom, waiting for the shower water to warm. She hugs herself against the chill, and her finger tips trace lines long healed and gone on her shoulder blades. She turns to the mirror, bends her neck to one side, and pulls her hair back revealing the faded scar.
In the basement, Spike hears the door open and looks to see Angel enter and descend the stairs.
Spike stands and greets him with, "Ah, I was wondering when I'd get a visit."
"Getting lonely, Spike?"
"What can I say, I'm an extrovert. Though, I'd prefer someone besides you. But I have to admit that if I always had to deal with your face for company, I'd learn the value of a good solitary brood too. Really, I sympathize."
"As much as I'd love some witty banter," Angel pulls out a taser from his pocket and quickly jabs the sparking electrodes at Spike's shoulder and he shouts in pain as his body jerks against the column. "How about instead I ask questions, you answer them, and if you don't I electrocute you."
After he collapsed to the floor, Spike shouts, "You didn't even ask a damn question!"
"I was just checking the batteries." After a moment of silence, Angel adds, "What, you're not going to yell for your body guard? Good." He then walks away, grabs a near-by crate, pulls it next to Spike, and sits on it. "So, you've been helping Buffy for the last two years?"
Spike replies grudgingly, "Here and there. Nothing constant."
"Don't suppose you believe that I'm doing the good fight for the good reasons."
Angel makes the taser spark.
Spike says, "Hey, hey, now! Just feeling my way around the options."
"No options. Why?"
"Money. With this chip in my head I have to buy my blood, and other necessities."
"There are easier ways to make money than helping a slayer. Less embarrassing, too."
"Look who's talking. Ok, the first few times I helped her were either to give her a reason not to kill me or to get at the wankers who put the chip in my head. In a small town deeds like that will give a vampire a bad reputation real quick. When that happened it was an advantage to be in the Slayer's back pocket."
"So, if you were so worried about other demons in Sunnydale, why didn't you just leave, especially after Buffy died."
Spike looks away, smiling, knowing that his story doesn't add up. For some reason he lets it slip and says, "Made a promise."
"What do you mean?"
He returns his gaze to Angel's and confesses, "I promised I'd look after Dawn."
Angel shocks Spike again, who steadies himself after the pain and shakes have faded and continues, "Right before the last fight with Glory, the fight you weren't there for, I promised Buffy that I'd protect Dawn."
Angel shocks him again.
Spike ends his scream with a laugh and says, "That's right, keep shocking until you hear the lie you want me to say. Which is what, exactly? That I've been waiting these two years for her to slip, then I'll make my move? Bloody hell, I could have got a gun and shot her dead a dozen times over if that was my plan."
"Who are you trying to fool pretending that you actually care about her or her friends?"
"Well, maybe I do. The truth is in the deeds, mate. I've risked my life with her when I could have skipped town. So yeah, I'm not going to lie, I've grown fond of the Slayer. She did right my way, relatively speaking, so I returned the favor."
Angel chuckles slightly and says, "What is this, Spike? You want me to believe, me, that some army boys put a shock collar on you, and then of all of a sudden you have a semblance of a conscience."
Because of some deep resentment, maybe from the fact that Angel couldn't tell that he is different even though he doesn't want him to, Spike says, "Ok, I admit it, unlike you, I don't have the fetish for pure evil all the time. We can't all be perfect." Angel glares at him with anger and confusion, and Spike adds, "Oh, what, can't figure out the suspect's motive? Here let me help you pull your head out of your ass. I'm not like you!"
"No, you're not. You're a pathetic adrenalin junky, and since you've been neutered you help Buffy so you can get your fix."
"Adrenalin junky, ha! You hate it, don't you, that I was there for her when you weren't, even souless? When her mom died, when Glory went after Dawn, when she was picking the out splinters from punching out of her coffin, I was there. And where were you? In this fancy hotel playing detective."
They are silent, and then Angel utters a fragment, "You're in...", but doesn't finish it.
"I'm in what?"
They stare at each other's eyes, and then Spike realizes that Angel is beginning to sense what he feels for Buffy.
Cordelia's voice sounds from upstairs, "Angel!"
Angel's gaze turns to the door then comes back to Spike. Reluctantly, he leaves the basement.
Spike sits on the floor, relieved of his mask, confused with his feelings, and waits for the imminent voices from the past.
Cordelia sees Angel approach from the basement door. He is visibly distressed by something, so she asks, "Angel, is something wrong?"
Trying to repress his worries about Buffy, and about Buffy and Spike, he replies, "What? No, everything is fine. What did you guys find out?"
Guun answers, "The cops are out for vengeance."
Cordelia adds, "I know this is going to sound bad, but it wouldn't be the worst move if we just let this one go. The girl killed a cop. We shouldn't want to get involved with this."
From the stairs they hear Buffy's voice comment, "No one is forcing you."
They all look up at Buffy descending the stairs, Angel most intensely, and she can feel it, but she knows that now is not the time to deal with their issues.
Gunn says to Buffy, "Listen, I don't know how they are in Sunnydale, but in this city, if you kill a cop, not to mention decapitate him, expect hundreds of them to hunt you down. I don't like it, but Cordy has a point."
She dismissively says, "Thanks for the tip," and then in a more serious tone asks, "So, do you know if they have a trace on her?"
Relenting, Gunn replies, "Alright. So, we listened to some of the cops being interviewed by reporters, and from how vague their answers were it didn't sound like they know much, yet. But from what I remember, Dana didn't exactly kill that cop with finesse, so they'll probably have a suspect soon, if they don't have one already."
Buffy sighs and says, "Ok, how do we find her in a way that doesn't involve waiting for sun set, so Angel or Spike can track her?"
No one gives an immediate answer.
Cordelia looks to Angel, sees that he seems to be deep in thought, and asks, "Angel, have any ideas?"
Everyone looks to Angel, who looks up and only says, "Wh-, no."
Still eyeing Angel, Gunn says, "Maybe we could scope out the quiet areas near the harbor. Any place that a scared girl trying to hide might run to."
Buffy says, "It's better than just waiting here. Angel, since you're staying here, do you think you could find Wesely and do some kind of locator spell?"
Gunn and Cordelia anxiously look at Angel who calmly says, "Wesely doesn't work here anymore."
"Really? But I thought you said Wesely was the one who fished you out of the ocean."
"He did, but that was just a one-time favor. We've parted ways."
"It's a long story, and you don't want to waste time."
"Oh." Buffy saw the looks on Gunn's and Cordelia's faces, and realizes that she has intruded into their private affairs.
Cordelia says, "There's still some of Wesely's books in the office. There might be a spell book we can use."
Wanting to end the awkwardness as soon as possible, Buffy says, "Good," then turns to Gunn and asks, "Gunn, right?"
He says, "Yeah."
"Well, lets go."
"Phew, this is a long day."
Buffy and Gunn leave the hotel.
Angel walks towards the lobby office, and begins looking through the remaining books that Wesely left.
Cordelia follows and asks, "Angel, what's bothering you?"
"How did you talk with Buffy go?"
"It went fine. We came to an agreement about Spike."
"I don't kill him."
"Well, that rock solid contract makes me feel so safe."
"Could we not talk about Spike right now?"
"Sure." She starts to looking through the books as well.
"Thank you. By the way, I let Buffy take a room on the third floor for now, room 308."
"Oh, are you expecting her to stay long?"
"I don't know how long she'll need to stay, but she'll need a bed for at least a night or two."
"Right, just as long as she's not customizing wall paper."
He closes a book and says, "Look, I know you and Buffy had some feuds back in Sunnydale, but could you please stop the high school drama before it starts."
"Feuds? What, would she whine at you about me after school?"
"Forget I said anything."
"Later, I have to say this , I'll admit it, I don't want her here, but it's not because of me, Angel. For the last three years, every time you've seen her, it's left you a wreck."
"It's not like she's here on a social call."
"It's not like she ever is anyway, but the effect is still the same. We have our own problems, and we don't need hers."
"So, you want me to tell her to go home, and we'll take care of Dana?"
"No, what I'm saying is..."
Cordelia stops as they hear Fred enter the lobby, and then they move to meet her.
Cordelia says, "Hey, Fred. Did you find anything?"
"Oh yes. Does anyone remember a man named Walter Kindel?"
Neither Cordelia or Angel answer, then Fred starts reading from her notes.
"June 3rd, 1988, The Coleridges were found stabbed to death in their home and their daughter was missing. But they weren't the first ones. Between '86 and '87, three other families had been murdered the same way, all with a young daughter missing. Except with those other families the girls were never found. In September, when Dana was found wandering the streets, the police tried to question her, but she was completely unresponsive."
Cordelia asks, "But, Walter Kindel, he's the guy who did it?"
"Yeah, but the cops never found him till it was too late. Seems like after Dana was found he layed low until four years ago. He tried to rob a liquor store and was shot dead. His, umm, DNA matched with what was found inside Dana."
"Oh god, that poor little girl."
Angel asks, "Did you find anything else, Fred?"
Fred replies, "Yeah, I found the Coleridge's address. It's in the suburbs on a Border avenue."
"Good. Ok, now we know a few more specifics."
"And who knows, maybe it'll calm her down to know this Kindel guy is dead."
"Maybe", Angel replies doubtfully, then, "Fred, you're familiar with the books Wesely left, aren't you?"
"Cause we're trying to find a locator spell for Dana, but we don't know were to look."
"Hmm, I don't know if he left any spell books. Mostly reference. I'll take a look."
Fred and Angel make their way towards the office, while Cordelia remains and then staggers.
She exclaims, "Crap, we don't have time for this," and then falls to the floor screaming through a vision.
"Cordy!", Angel and Fred both shout as they rush back to her, then raise her off the floor to the couch as she continues to shake.
When the tremors cease Angel asks, "Cordy, what did you see?"
She opens her eyes, revealing a terror in them, and answers, "It's Connor, Dana's trying to kill Connor!"