Angel crossed the lobby. "Good evening, Mr. Angel," called a passing lawyer. Angel nodded a reply and went into Wesley's office. Wesley set down the book he was reading to greet him.
"I've got bad news," Angel began before proceeding to tell Wesley about the slayer crisis.
When he finished Wesley leaned back in his chair. "So, we're back down to two slayers."
"And the new slayer, Rebecca. She needs a watcher."
"Yeah." There was a pause. "I understand if you don't want-"
"I'll do it," Wesley said with certainty.
"Really? Are you sure?"
"Absolutely. While I'm sure the watchers Rupert has trained are sufficient, I understand that training a slayer is a difficult process and should be left to one with years of experience. I may have messed up with Faith-"
"Wesley that wasn't-"
"I believe that I would be the best choice given the circumstances."
"Andrew gave me her fathers phone number. I'll make the call."
"Actually I'd rather do it myself if that's alright."
"No, that's fine. Here." He handed Wesley the scrap of paper where he'd down the number. "I'll go make sure there's a room set up for her when she gets here. Keep me posted." Angel turned to leave, but Wesley stopped him.
"Oh, uh Angel," he called. "I've getting a number of strange reports. Several people say that say a flash of blinding white light early this morning around dawn. You would have out around then and I was wondering if you saw anything."
"No, nothing," he lied.
"Well it sounds a bit like rather powerful magic. It would be worth looking into."
"Right. I'll do some investigating. See ya, Wes," he called hurrying out of the office feeling uncomfortable.
Wesley sighed an sat staring thoughtfully out of the window. He never wanted another slayer. Not after Faith, but he'd had enough time to move on and get over his mistakes. He knew the problem wasn't his fault alone, but he wished he'd been a little less "by the books" the way Rupert had been. He had another chance to get it right, but it was also another chance to mess it all up. With a sigh, he picked up the phone and dialed the number.
When Spike awoke, Buffy wasn't with him. He didn't panic as he could feel her close by. Sure enough when he sat up he could see her sitting on the sofa wearing the t-shirt he had discarded some time in the night when it had gotten to hot. He ran a hand through his long messy brown curls. 'bout time I cut it. It could probably use a strong bleaching as well. he thought. He lifted his arms high above his head feeling the muscles pull as he stretched. He stood and stretched his legs before he joined Buffy in the living room.
"Morning, pet," he greeted her.
She sat staring straight ahead and unblinking. He followed her eyes, but there was nothing there. He waved a hand in front of her face and she didn't flinch. "Bu-ffy," he called sing-song like. "Something wrong, love?"
He watched her confused for another moment before he decided to leave her be and went into the bathroom. A few minutes later he emerged teeth brushed and hair fixed. Buffy hadn't moved. Spike was about to address her again when Angel came in.
"She's been sitting like that all day," Angel told Spike. "She wont tell me what's wrong, but I thought this might help." Help up her freshly cleaned dress.
Buffy blinked and looked or at Angel. She held out one small hand and he gave her the dress. She tugged Spike's T off of her and tossed it aside where Spike noticed Angel's t-shirt from the night before was also laying. She put the dress on sitting up a bit to fix it down over her hips.
"Better?" Angel asked her. She nodded but went back to staring. Angel sighed. "Andrew called."
"What did the little nerd want? I already told him I'm not signing any autographs," Spike replied half-joking.
"He called for me. Apparently there's trouble in Italy. In fact there's trouble across the globe."
"What kind of trouble?"
"The kind of trouble that directly coincides with our return to the twenty-first century."
Spike raised and eyebrow. "That so?" Angel nodded and they both glanced at Buffy. "What happened?"
Angel was about to speak when Buffy started. "White light. It cleansed them. Took the demon out. Just girls now. Little girl with a little curl... right in the middle of her forehead." She giggled.
"You had a vision?" Angel asked.
Buffy tried to concentrate and tell them what she saw, but the visions always made it that much harder to control her mind. "The one will come and sunshine will sleep."
"What one?" Spike tried to ask but Buffy couldn't hear him. She felt like she was drowning in the chaos that was her mind.
"Sunshine will sleep and the wolf will howl. Hearts will bleed when sunshine awakes," she rambled as her body trembled. "and the swan will sing when she's chosen to bleed," Buffy wailed. A loud high sound that made the others want to cover their ears.
"Buffy, shh," Angel soothed as he rushed to her side. "It's gonna be alright." He held her to him.
Spike was quick to reach her as well and stroked her hair murmuring,"It's alright, pet. Don't cry. I've got you."
After a few moments. Buffy felt better. She mind still a jumbled mess, but the internal storm had died down. When she was calm they tried to ask her what she had seen. She just shook her head. They weren't sure she had forgotten or if maybe she just didn't want to talk. She looked tired so they left her rest on the couch and went into the bedroom leaving the doors cracked behind them.
"What was all that?" Spike asked. "Her visions get bad sometimes, but that was..."
"It looked like she was being tortured," Angel added. Spike nodded in agreement. Angel filled him in on Andrew's phone call. Spike listened quietly which Angel thought was a bit odd, but thought Spike was probably just feeling a bit confused about the situation with Buffy as well.
"No more bitty slayers then," Spike shook his head sadly. "They're not gonna make it with the enemies they've made."
"Faith is helping, but they're desperate. They were hoping for Buffy's help. I don't know what I'm gonna tell them."
Spike sighed. "You think Buffy's spell caused this?"
Angel nodded. "When we were transported through time there was this blinding white light just like Andrew said. It happened at exactly the same time as when we got back. And when I talked to Wesley earlier he said that people all over the city saw it too."
"When's this new slayer comin' to town?"
"Wesley called last night. They're putting Rebecca on a plane first thing tomorrow morning."
"I don't want her anywhere near Buffy," Spike growled.
"Agreed," he looked toward Buffy. "Do you know where she put it?"
"Not a clue. She must have hidden it somewhere around here though. Why?"
"I need to know where she got it. Just to make sure there won't be anymore surprises."
"Good plan," Spike said with a nod. "We better get looking."
Angel spotted Miss Anne sitting on his table. He rolled his eyes. "No need."
Spike looked where he pointed and saw the obvious bulge under the dolls dress. He chuckled. "I don't think Miss Anne makes a very good guard dog." He lifted up the doll and sure enough the little green stone sat beneath Miss Anne's skirts. He handed it to Angel.
"Shiny." He pocketed the amulet. "I'll see what I can dig up. Make sure she's fed before Rebecca gets here." Angel left Spike alone with the stone still Buffy and got busy searching through the computer archive and several dusty old books.
Spike went back to Buffy and tried to get her attention. She sat perfectly still as Spike called her name and snapped his fingers in front pf her face. Just as Spike was again ready to give up she spoke.
"Angel took Miss Anne's treasure," she said looking disappointed.
"Yeah. He's gotta make sure you didn't do too much damage."
"Damage is done." She looked up at him. "Dinner?"
Spike smiled. "Let's go." He offered her his hand and they walked together arm in arm to the elevator. They took it down to the garage and strutted straight past the guards Angel had posted. The pair of guards followed the pair of vampire insisting that they obey Angel's orders to keep an eye on Buffy whether she was with Spike not. Spike eventually gave in to their demand, but said they should follow in a separate vehicle.
"I don't need to be babysat," Spike insisted. He threw open the door to Angel's viper and slid inside. Buffy followed suit and they drove off into bowels of the sleepless city.
The expensive black SUV shadowed the flashy sports car into the slums of the city. They parked outside an old brick building. The bright neon sign reading "CLUB NOVA" flickered. The A occasionally went out completely. One of guards went to the door to open it for them while the other held an umbrella at Buffy's door. The sun was still out but what sunlight wasn't blocked by the smog from the nearby factories was kept dulled by the thick grey storm clouds.
Spike climbed out the car and locked the door. He offered Buffy his arm and together they approached the building. The guard at the door pushed it open and artificial fog and house music poured into the quiet lot. The bouncer nodded as they passed recognising his own kind. The club was spacious with few places to sit down. Aside from the bar, there were only four tall tables at the back of the room and a low black leather love seat set into a far corner.
Their personal guards waited by the bar while Spike ordered up a drink. Buffy turned her nose up at the offensive substance. She watched the rhythmic motion of the small crowd of people on the dance floor. There was one more awkward body moving on beat but was less than graceful. He reminded Buffy of her friend Xander and she felt a hallow emptiness thinking of the friends she was missing. She nudged Spike and pointed to the dance floor.
He set his drink down and took Buffy's hand. He led the way down the two short stairs to the floor and the each slid into the group as though they were creatures made for dancing rather than killing. Buffy shimmied and swayed to the beat and Spike found himself lost in the familiar movements. Occasionally Buffy would glance at something over Spike's shoulder. Spike looked back but saw nothing to be concerned with so he ignored it. That is until Buffy turned them in a circle until she stood where Spike had. She moved slowly backward until she was wedged between another couple. The girl huffed looking irritated, but said nothing as Buffy effectively took over the boy's attention. After a moment the boy seemed entranced by Buffy. Whether it was her magnetic stare or the rhythm of her hips, she had him hypnotized.
Buffy whispered into the boy's ear. Spike followed as she led him away. She dragged him over to the love seat and pulled him down next to her as she sat. To the people on the dance floor, they would appear to be kissing, but Spike could see clearly through the shadows. He saw her pull him in close and push her fangs deep into his neck. He was dead in no time. Buffy licked her lips and left the lifeless body where it sat to rejoin Spike.
"Had enough?" He asked her. She nodded looking cheerful. "Let's go then." He led the way out. Spike was amazed by how much easier it was getting to watch her kill. He no longer felt remorseful. The victims' faces no longer clouded his mind. He couldn't kill himself. It would be wrong, but he didn't mind as much if Buffy did.
Rebecca Sharpe walked through the doors of Wolfram & Hart ready prepared for the worst. She had been warned that the law firm was notorious for its demon connections ans otherworldly deals. They had told her that the place was run by Angel. A vampire with a soul. Did they think she was born yesterday? A good vampire. Puh-lease. She thought. But she'd play along. Get inside all personal and cozy. She's take 'em down from the inside and if that didn't work, well she wasn't the best dang bow hunter in the county for nothing.
A tall man with dark hair and pensive eyes greeted her. "Welcome to Wolfram & Hart. I'm Angel." She shook his hand as she thought of the irony in that statement.
"Rebecca," she replied.
A thinner man stepped forward and offered his hand. "Wesley Wyndam-Price," he spoke with a British accent. "I'm to be your Watcher." She thought he seemed strong and intelligent. Rebecca wondered what he was doing messing around with demons.
A man who was younger and more confident than the other strode forward. "Gunn," he said giving her a gentle but firm hand shake. "Charles Gunn."
Rebecca smiled at him. "It's nice to meet you."
Wyndam-Price cleared his throat. "Shall we show you to your room then? You should spend the rest of the day getting settled in," he said as he led her away.
She noticed behind her that Charles made to follow but was stopped by Angel's hand on his chest. "Actually I'd like to begin training right away. Evil waits for nothing, ya know?"
"Quite," Wesley agreed. He led the way into the elevator. He pressed the 20 and the little metal box rose smoothly to its destination. Wesley led her down the hall and opened a door with a key from his pocket.
Inside was a large sitting area with big windows and tasteful furniture. There was a small kitchen area (toaster oven, no stove) with a café style table and mini fridge. There were double doors that led to what was mostly likely the bedroom.
"This is one of few residential suites in the building," Wesley commented. He pointed toward the doors. "The bedroom is through there and so is the bathroom. If you need anything you can dial 1 on the phone," he pointed to an office phone that rested on a table next to the loveseat. "That will get you the Angel's secretary. She'll be happy to help."
"Great." She set her suit case by the arm chair that faced the windows. She was feeling a bit awkward being in a new place. She'd never lived on her own being only 17 so having her own suite was pretty exciting, but the whole room looked like something that her family would have to sell not only their car, but the house as well just to spend the night in. The bright lit and crowded city was extremely different to the small blue-collar town she grew up in. "Where do we start then?"
"I thought we could discuss the basics of slaying. How to detect, find, and kill vampires."
"What about other monsters?"
"We will start with vampires and work up from there."
"Don't you have to teach me how to fight?" She had done some rough housing with an older cousin when they were younger, but she had no real skills. Rebecca was anxious thinking that she truly no idea what to do as a slayer.
"First you have to have the knowledge. Then comes the hard part. Actually killing a demon." Wesley spent a good hour explaining how to kill, detect, and find vampires, the turning process of vampires, the differences in myth and truth, and how demonic possessions with not as common as TV portrays, can be incredibly difficult to deal with.
Finally as Rebecca was starting to feel mentally exhausted, Wesley suggest they get something to eat. They ordered food over the phone and went down stairs.
"We'll eat with Angel. He may be a vampire, but he is one of the good guys and it's important that you trust him. You ought to spend some time getting to know one another."
Rebecca nodded feeling suddenly shy as they entered Angel's office. She appreciated his impressive array of weaponry and noted the personal elevator. She hadn't thought that he would be here as well as she slept. It made sense for him to take advantage of the in office suites, but wondered if she could trust him like Wesley said. She noticed that Angel sat in full exposure to the sunlight coming in through the window. She stood on her toes and whispered to Wesley. "What about the sun? You said that vampires couldn't survive in the light."
"Ah, yes. The windows in this building are made to keep out the rays that would burn a vampire to ash."
"Were they made specially for Angel?"
"No. Actually there are quite a few vampires working here." Rebecca noticed he seemed a bit nervous by that admission and she wanted to ask "why all the vamps" when a blonde woman in a nice suit and pink heels walked in carrying the bad that held their dinner and a mug reading "1# BOSS".
"Here ya go," she set the items down on Angel's desk. "Do you need anything else, Boss?"
"No that's it, Harmony. Thank you," Angel replied. The woman, Harmony, turned on her heel and sashayed out of the room. He stood and picked up his mug. "Shall we?" he asked he walked around the desk and gestured to the room behind them. There was a large table clearly used for big meetings.
They sat at the table with Angel at the head and Wesley on his left. Rebecca sat next to Wesley. Rebecca munched nervously on her sub mostly picking at the seasoned bread. She wasn't sure what to say, but the silence was awkward.
"So, uh," Angel started. "How do you like it here?"
She felt her throat catch and for a moment she couldn't find her voice. "I... it's really different. From home I mean."
"Where's home?" Wesley asked conversationally. "I didn't think to ask when I spoke with your father."
"Small town in Virgina. I've never even left the east coast." She felt her self start to relax.
"I remember seeing California for the first time. It was a big change," Angel commented.
"Where are you from?" She asked.
"Ireland. Originally. There are some big cities in Europe, but California is just so..."
Angel laughed. "You could say that." They talked as they ate. As they got to know each other, Rebecca decided that Angel was pretty interesting. Even though she knew he was a vampire, his having a soul made him seem very human sometimes. Wesley joined in the conversation a bit, but mostly he listened. As they finished their meal, the elevator in Angel's office dinged.
"Oh, no," Angel groaned. He stood up and went into the office. Rebecca could see the elevator doors open and out stepped a short blonde woman wearing a rather unusual but very pretty head peice and a dainty white dress. A man with ridiculously bleached hair followed.
Wesley and Rebecca moved to join them as the blond man was saying," I know. I'm sorry. She's impossible when she's hungry you know," in a less proper but still very british accent.
"Right." Angel gestured to her. "This is Rebecca. Rebecca this is Spike."
"Nice to meet you slayer," Spike said politely. He seemed rushed by his posture and movements. "I'd love to stay and chat, but we were just heading out. Come on, Buffy." He grabbed the woman by the arm and began to lead her away. She shrieked and her body shook. "Buffy?"
She squeezed her eyes shut and held her head in hands. She appeared to be having some sort of fit.
Buffy stood in room full of bodies. Some were alive and unconscious. Many were not alive at all. Blood covered the floor and was splatter on the walls. Something entered the room through the single metal door. It was six feet tall with grey skin and visible fangs. It seemed to have extra joints in its arms and legs. The way it moved made Buffy's skin crawl.
Buffy woke and found herself lying on the ground. Angel and Spike hovered over her. Wesley stood a few feet back. She couldn't see Rebecca from her view point but she knew the slayer was in the room.
"What is it? What did you see?" Angel asked. Spike wrapped an arm around her to support her as she sat up.
"I- it... it moved like a spider," she told them.
"What did?" Spike asked.
"The demon," Buffy smiled. "They swam in a pool of blood, the bodies."
Angel hoped her face was shielded by his body and that Rebecca hadn't moved to see Buffy better. "What kind of demon?" Buffy shook her head. "Do you know where it is?"
She thought a moment. "Brick walls... empty. No people for several blocks."
"Wesley?" Angel asked. "Any ideas?"
"There's a building that's been vacant for sometime by that description," Wesley replied wanting to impress his new slayer. "It was condemned and set to be torn down until it was deemed a historical landmark."
"Can you take us there?"
Angel packed several weapons and set out. Wesley directed Angel's driving and they reached the tall brick building in no time at all. Angel pulled around back in parked the car in the shadow of the building. There was an emergency escape door and several windows on this side of the building but nothing else. They group approached the door and found it was not only locked but rusted shut. Angel made short work of kicked the rusted hinges right off the door frame. Spike did the honor of kicking the door in. Angel looked irritated at him for stealing his thunder but Spike just shrugged and tried to appear uncaring while he laughed on the inside.
They followed the smell of decay down to the basement. Rebecca tried not to gag at the offensive smell. They came to a metal door similar to the one before. They could hear shirking on the other side. Spike and Angel shared a look and this time they kicked the door in together. It sailed across the dimly lit room and hit the opposite wall with a crash.
The strange grey beast crouched to the right of the room, but stood to its full hight at their loud entrance. It roared at them and dropped its latest victim from its hands to the red stained ground. Angel and Spike charged at it. It swung its long arms in a wide arc catching Angel in the chest and throwing him against the wall. Spike ducked in time but was caught off guard by the leg it kicked out and he fell onto his back. Rebecca decided it must be her turn. She had been clutching a small battle-ax that Angel had given her to her chest. Now she held it in her shaking right hand and put all her faith in her instincts. She ran at the creature and took a swing at it as it moved toward Angel. She managed to nick its left arm but in her moment of triumph it knocked her across the room. Wesley made a similar attempt and met the same fate. It all happened so quickly that the four heros were all still recovering when the creature laid eyes on Buffy. It seemed to smile with its hideous teeth on display.
Buffy backed herself into the wall suddenly forgetting anything shed even know about fighting. It grabbed her in its long-fingered hand and lifted her off her feet. She swung her arms and dug her nails into its face but it ignored her attempts. It lifted her to level with its head and bit into her shoulder with its long fangs. Buffy screamed.
Behind the creature Spike yelled for Buffy. He ran at the creature and jumped onto its back. He ment to break its neck but it swung around and crushed Spike against the wall. This put the creature next to Rebecca. She had just recovered and was getting to her feet. She saw the creature next to her and she raised her ax. Reacting quickly, she raised the ax and torn through the creatures calf slicing its leg in two.
It roared and fell onto its side. Rebecca found herself shocked by the gore that poured from the hole in its leg. Angel took the ax from her hand and chopped its head. It fell to the ground and rolled until it landed at Wesley's feet.
Angel went to see if the woman the creature had dropped was alright. She was breathing but unconscious He picked her up and made to carry her out when he noticed Buffy lying in a heap on the floor. Spike saw her too and raced to her side. She was out cold but not dust meant not dead so Spike tried not to worry. He picked her up and they left dropping the woman at the hospital on their way home.
It was dark when Buffy opened her eyes. Too dark. She couldn't make out shapes or shadows. It was like having human eyes again. Suddenly, she could see someone standing before her. The Immortal. He smiled at her. A terrifying predatory smile. She screamed and felt like she might puke or pass out. She ran.
As fast as she could. Right into a brick wall. Again and again she ran and each into another wall appeared. She noticed that walls weren't brick but stone that was caked with blood. She recognized the blood and she recognized the wall. She'd seen it before. Before her brave heros had rescued her. If they had rescued her at all. Maybe she was still there. Maybe they never came for her. She was trapped. Still stuck in the Immortals clutches. She felt certain of if. She fell to the ground and cried.
Twenty-four hours exactly after the demon had bit her (Spike was counting), Buffy laying in Angel's bed. She hadn't moved, opened her eyes, or made a single sound. Spike handed left her side. He sat in a chair next to the bed holding her hand. Silently he begged her wake up. Sometimes his eye would cloud up and tears would spill over. Sometimes Angel would come in and stare at her, run a hand through his before looking defeated and leaving. Finally as the sun set, Wesley found them both watching her.
"I have news. That demon was called a chupora. Their bite contains a toxin which causes paralysis. If you can retrieve a vial of its blood I should be able to develop the antidote. We'll need enough for Buffy and the woman at the hospital," He told them.
Angel was on the move instantly. Spike felt paralyzed himself. "Are you coming?" Angel called to Spike as he reached the elevator.
"I'm not leaving her," he called back. Angel understood.