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Summary: Continuing the story after the Surprise/Innocence episodes.
Disclaimer: The characters do not belong to me, they are the property of Joss Whedon, inspirational creator/director/exec producer - you name it! All I claim is the story - it belongs to me.
Author's Notes: This story picks up after the Surprise/Innocence episodes and was intentionally written to be reformatted into script form - no lengthy drawn out descriptions here - just continuous action.
Feedback: FEEDBACK IS WELCOME! It means a lot to me to get feedback from all who read this! Tell me what you think - good, bad, or ugly - I can take it! Send feedback to Cate68(at)hotmail.com. All Post Boarders from the Official site know me as Cate.
Enough of that - on with the story! Enjoy! - Cathi
The library was uncommonly quiet as Giles, Xander, Willow and Cordelia sat around the table, trying to make sense of what had happened over the past two weeks. With The Judge destroyed and the threat of Armageddon in the past, at least for now, the group set forth to discuss the dangers that lie ahead.
"We have to face some serious facts here and do what is best for... for humanity, not just what is best for Buffy's broken heart." Giles spoke carefully as if she slayer was in the room, but her absence loomed heavily among them. "If we somehow find a way to restore Angel's soul, we have to consider if his soul would really want to be restored. He would once again be facing an eternity of suffering from his actions in the past... and even more with the events of the past few weeks."
Suddenly the library doors opened and a small band of vamps enter the room. The unsuspecting four were surrounded so fast that no one had time to react or even attempt to launch a defense. Giles was quickly surrounded by three vamps and wrestled to his feet; he attempted to resist but his efforts were useless. Then Giles heard his words repeated by a familiar voice and turned to see Angel standing in the doorway.
"Suffering from the events of the past?" Angel mimicked as he walked into the library. With his tall frame dressed in its familiar black, his presence is breathtaking and all eyes are immediately drawn to fix on him.
"No my friend, the soul is dead, I say we leave it that way." The smirk on his face faded away and Giles looked straight into the eyes of a demon now known as Angelus. The Angel they once knew had been destroyed and all that was good in that vampire was lost forever.
Angel sat down at the table, as he always had done when his expertise on some vampire issue or prophecy was in need, and looked around at the terrified faces of the people who once called him friend. Xander made an attempt to get up and go for a stake that is sitting in the middle of the table, along with the cross-bow and arrows, but was quickly put back down by the vamp standing right behind him. The vamp grabbed him by the hair throwing his head to the side ready to take a bite.
"No!" Angel slammed his hand down on the table causing everyone in the room to jump. The vamp quickly released his grip. "You will get yours later!" Disgusted, the vamp let go and Xander threw him a look of pure terror.
"What do you want?" Xander practically yelled, still gasping for air after his almost attack. Angel looked at him, impressed with his courage.
"Now Xander. I think you know why I am here." Angel leaned toward him, almost as if he wanted to keep his words secret. "I have plans for everyone in this room." He looked around at them as they hung on his every word. "I see the one I really came for is not here. I hope she still isn't heartbroken over . . ."
"You are a . . ." Willow finally found the courage to spit out a few words, but she was cut off by the vamp standing behind her.
Angel threw her a puppy-dog look. "Not to worry, I have a pretty good idea where to find her." Giles looked at him with disbelief, as if he knew what Angel was planning. He struggled briefly but to no avail.
Suddenly Angel stood up and looked as if he were listening for something, or someone. "I sense we have a visitor. If they make a sound," He instructed the vamps, pointing at Xander, Willow and Cordelia, "Silence them!" Obeying, the vamps grabbed hold of their victims by the neck. Angel ran to take cover behind the library doors. They open and Buffy took a few steps into the library before noticing the vamps holding their treasures.
"What the . . ." She started, but is ambushed from behind. Being caught off guard, Angel easily pinned her to the floor. Motioning to one of the vamps holding Giles, he was handed a rope and tied her hands behind her back. She winced in pain as he made sure she would not work her hands free. She struggled against him but was greeted by a sharp piercing pain in the side of her neck. Xander and Willow struggle to free themselves to come to her aid but it was useless to try; their captors slam them back to their seats. Buffy turned to see Angel, in full vamp form, licking the last bit of blood from the edge of his lip.
"Don't worry Buffy." He laughed, "I just had to weaken you a little." He said with a grin of accomplishment on his face. As he released her she fell back to the floor, oblivious to what was happening around her. "Tie her feet. I don't want them functional to do any more damage." He instructed a vamp, which obediently bound her ankles.
Looking satisfied with his catch, he grinned down at Buffy, then he moved to Giles and the grin changed to a look only a true demon could display.
"Do I need to weaken you too or do you choose to behave?" He asked Giles, just inches from his face. There was no answer. "Good! Lucky for you I am not that hungry anyway." Turning to the rest of the vamps, "You are to give me a half hour, then release them." He received a questioning look from everyone in the room, including the hostages.
"And you are not to feed on them." He instructed as he walked to Willow, skimming his fingers down the side of her face, grabbing her by the chin and forcing her to look up at him. "I will take care of them later." Willow struggled to free her face from his chilling grip and but she was forced to look straight into his eyes. "Starting with this one . . ."
Pointing to the vamps still holding Giles, he instructed, "You know what to do with him. Have him waiting for me when I get there."
Giles suddenly felt all sense of feeling leave his body. He was sure if it had not been for the vamps holding him up; he would be a pile of tweed lying on the floor. Then all his thoughts went to the slayer as he stole a glance of her. She was the one he was to watch and train, the one he was responsible for. Buffy had become like a daughter to him, but now he was certain she would meet an untimely demise, as they all would, and there was not a thing he could do to stop it.
Buffy, though still weak, stirred and enabled herself to sit up; just now realizing that her feet were also bound and her shoes were missing. Throwing a questioning glance down at her feet, she remembered the incident at the mall with Angel and realized the pain she must have enstowed upon him. She almost smiled.
Angel gave the vamps holding Giles a nod and they moved to escort him out of the library. Just as he got to Buffy, he whispered, "I'm sorry I . . ." but the vamps stopped him in mid-sentence with a blow to the side of the head and pulled him through the door.
Xander, Willow and Cordelia watched in horror and disbelief at what was happening around them. They were unable to make a sound; paralyzed under the restraints of their captors.
"You have your orders." Angel spoke sternly to the remaining vamps and turned toward Buffy. He stopped and picked her up, holding her like a groom carrying his new bride over the threshold. She looked up at him, barely aware of what was happening, and tried to struggle. Being weak from his earlier sip, her efforts were useless against his vampire strength. He turned to look at the blank faces left in the room, shot them a deceptive grin, and rushed out the door. The others were left behind to replay in their minds what had just happened. Buffy and Giles were gone and their fate was left to the vamps ordered to guard them.
'Why only a half hour?' Xander thought to himself, amazed that he was able to think at all after what he had just witnessed. He felt his whole body start to shake as he recalled the image of that demon he once almost called friend, sinking his teeth into Buffy. "Why didn't he kill her? What's going on?" He found himself asking out loud. Suddenly he sensed a vamp inches away from his neck. "Wouldn't you like to know?" The provocative female voice answered him. 'A female vampire.' Xander thought to himself. He closed his eyes and tried to force his mind clear of this past event. He had to think.
Giles awoke with a jolt. All he could feel was the pain in his head and the cool sensation of perspiration all over his body. Struggling to adjust his eyes to the light, he realized he was in Angel's apartment. He had never been there, but had overheard Buffy and Willow talking about it during many of their boy-talk sessions back at the library. The next sensation that hit him was the feeling of restraints around his wrists, ankles and waist. He was tied to a chair sitting up against the wall in the bedroom.
All of his senses were on overload as the memory of the ambush at the library came rushing back to him, now he was fighting off panic. Giles struggled to adapt his thoughts to the situation. 'What is Angel planning to do with me?' He thought to himself. He recalled Angel's profile over and over in his mind, trying to remember if he had ever harmed a watcher, ever killed a watcher. As far as he could remember, Angel had never even gone up against a Slayer before he met Buffy. He could not make any rational reason why Angel wanted him.
Preoccupation with his own situation made him oblivious to the small figure piled on the bed in front of him. Once his eyes adjusted completely to the dimly lit room, he could see Buffy lying on the bed. Both of her arms were stretched over her head and each wrist was tied to the bedpost with what appeared to be a red cloth or scarf of some sort. Her feet were still tied together with the rope that was used to tie her up at the library and the end was secured firmly to the foot of the bed.
Giles could see three red spots on the shoulder of her white blouse and immediately a chill went up his spine. He knew the spots were drops of dried blood from where Angel had calmed her at the library earlier that evening. Straining his eyes, he forced himself to check every inch of her body that was visible to him, looking for any further signs of injury. There were none. She just lied there, motionless. His mind began to wander again, reverting back to the pain in his head, when he shuttered to attention. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a light come on in the next room, they were not alone, and then his mind went completely blank.
Xander was impatiently watching the clock. It had been more than half an hour since Angel rushed out the door with Buffy. The vamps were busy in Giles' office rummaging through his old chronicles and watcher diaries, not paying any attention to their hostages still sitting dumbfounded around the table.
Deciding it was time to act, Xander nudged Willow in the arm. Her mind had her off in some other happier world when Xander bumped her and she jumped, causing Cordelia to let out a startled gasp. The vamps did not notice the action behind them and continued rummaging through the chronicles.
Looking at Cordelia and Willow, Xander made them follow his eyes to the stakes sitting in the middle of the table. A small smile came across Willow's face as she looked up to find one of the weapons that could destroy a vampire, and it was within her reach. 'How careless those fools were to leave this stuff sitting here,' she thought to herself. 'Angel was right when he told us that most vampires are idiots.'
A look of terror came over Cordelia's face. "Are you crazy? They will kill us!" She frantically whispered, almost crying.
"Well what do you think they will do if we stick around here much longer? How long do you think it has been since their last meal?" Xander obnoxiously whispered back to the two girls eagerly awaiting his next decision.
"Xander's right. We have to get out of here, now." Willow assured Cordelia, motioning to her to keep quiet.
"Grab a stake, just in case they come after us, and quietly head for the door. Once outside the library, split up; and don't stop running until you get to Willow's house. She lives the closest. Then we will figure out what to do next." Xander could see the worry on Willow's face grow stronger as he spoke.
"Will, at least one of us has to make it out of here. Buffy and Giles don't have a chance without us." He looked down, suddenly realizing what he has just said. "That is if they have a chance at all."
Xander motioned and the three slowly and quietly got up, picked up a stake and walked to the door. Luckily one of the doors was still propped open from when Angel had left with Buffy. Passing through the door, they started to run. They didn't stop until they reached Willow's front porch where they quietly went in and straight up to her room, closing the door behind them.
Completely oblivious to what had just happened behind him, one of the remaining vamps looked up from his raggedy looking journal and noticed that the three hostages were gone. The rest of the vamps were still discussing and laughing at their new found sources of entertainment and did not notice their comrade get up and walk out of the office. The vamp stopped and pondered the situation. Without a second thought, he disappeared out the door, leaving the rest of the vamps behind.
Giles sat as quiet as possible, somehow hoping that the figure he could now see in the other room would just forget about them, or go away long enough to give him time to come up with some kind of an escape plan. His thoughts were extinguished when the sound of a low, soft moan came from the up until now, motionless body lying on the bed. His face brightened when he realized that Buffy was still alive and regaining consciousness. He knew he would need her help if they had any chance of getting out of there.
Buffy's eyes opened and she struggled to recall where she was and how she had got there. It all came back to her in a blinding rush, but she didn't panic. Not until she realized she couldn't free her arms and legs. She relaxed as the memory of the ambush at the library slammed back into her mind like a run-away train. She didn't notice the eager watcher sitting just off to her side.
"Buffy sit still!" Giles whispered with authority. He could see the shock in her eyes as she struggled to understand the sight before her. "I have no idea what he is planning . . ." He lied not wanting her to panic. " . . . And I think he is here, I can hear something in the other room."
Buffy looked at Giles; shocked to see him bound to the chair. She noticed a dried stream of blood down the side of his face and imagined the struggle he must have attempted, and failed at, that lead to his capture.
"Oh my God." Buffy whisperd under her breath, barely audible to Giles. She wrapped the little bit of slack in her restraints around her hands and gave a forceful pull. As a result, the headboard moved forward, only slightly, then snapped back into position slamming against the wall with a thud.
Giles' heart skipped a beat. He now knew that it would be just a matter of time before Angel came in the room to find them both conscious. "Buffy," he whispered, "If we have ever needed a plan, this is the time!" Taking a deep breath and trying to think clearly, he continued, "There isn't much time to... " His words are cut off by the image of Angel standing in the doorway, hanging on his every word. All Giles could do was look at him; once again his mind went completely blank.
"It is about time you two join the living." Angel smirked, "So to speak." He walked over and slapped Giles on the back as if he was greeting an old friend. "You both have been out for quite a while." He now turned toward Buffy to look her in the eyes, "I was beginning to think I wasn't going to have any fun!"
The smile on his face as he said these words sent Buffy's mind spinning. When she looked at him all she could see was the only man she had ever loved. The reality of what he once was and what he was now just did not make sense. She knew there had to be part of her Angel still inside of him, and hoped for the opportunity to find out.
In one motion, Angel jumped over Buffy onto the bed, landing in a sitting position with his back against the wall and his legs over top of hers. He sat there with a smile on his face, looking so satisfied with himself and his catch.
"So! Shall we have some fun?" His smile faded into a blank stare as he looked down at Buffy. "Angel, you can't do this... " she begged, but her words were cut off.
"Do what? You have no idea what I have planned for you." His words were seductive and his actions unnerving as he moved his hand to caress Buffy's stomach. His eyes never left hers and he waited for some sort of reaction. There was no look of love on his face like she had been so used to seeing when he touched her. Her only response was a single tear that ran down her cheek onto the pillow.
Giles watched in shock. He now was forming an idea of what Angel had in mind for them. According to Angel's profile, derived from experiences of past watchers, he knew that Angel was known as the most evil and vicious of all vampires since his creation and up to the time when his soul was restored. He would torture his victims, keeping them alive for days to serve as his object of infatuation. Once he got bored with them, the victim succumbed to a slow and agonizing death. Angel was known to strike out the fiercest against those who made him feel most human, including his own family, which he thoughtlessly destroyed every member some 200 years ago. Knowing that Angel and Buffy had shared a night of passion, Giles was sure that she would be made to suffer, as no other ever had.
"So, you call this fun?" Buffy snapped at Angel as she struggled, with no luck, to free her arms. "Well, I am not having any fun, are you having fun Giles?" She half joked looking over at him.
Giles' face was extremely pale, even more than normal. He couldn't answer; his only response was his jaw dropping slightly and a barely audible moan that escaped from his throat.
"It's unanimous," She looked back at Angel, "We would like to leave now." Buffy stated in a surprisingly confident manner that even caught Angel off guard.
"Such a sense of humor you have." Angel laughed as he positioned himself so he was now lying on his side next to Buffy, propped up on one elbow. "I believe that is one of the things that makes you so attractive to me." He paused, "Well, to the old me that is." He finished his thought.
Buffy noticed the hunger growing in his eyes as he looked down at her. She had never seen him like this in the past year they had known each other. She realized the moment was getting more serious for her and Giles, not that the situation was all that promising to start with. Taking only a second to think, she blurted out the first thing that came to her mind, trying to distract him from his growing urge to feed.
"Angel," she started, looking into his eyes, "What... what do you want from us? From me?" Her words came out sounding so innocent that Angel and Giles both just looked at her.
Giles was almost celebrating in his mind, 'Way to go Buffy.' He thought to himself, 'Distract him as long as you can.' He began to struggle quietly with the ropes that bound him to the chair. He was able to shift enough to move the rope around his waist so that the knot was within reach. Then began to concentrate on the ropes around his wrists. They were tied extremely tight and he knew it would take some time to work them free, if it could be done at all.
Giles stopped his struggle against the restraints when he looked up to see Angel lean over and slowly go for Buffy's neck. It seemed strange because the demon inside Angel had not yet been revealed, had not changed him into his vampire face. Giles watched as Angel placed a single kiss on her neck, and he almost relaxed, until reality set in. Even if he were able to free himself, he thought, Buffy would be dead before he could get to the door. He also knew he could not attack Angel. With Buffy tied up, she could not help him, and Giles was no match for any vampire. He relaxed, feeling defeated once again, closing his eyes not wanting to watch the event that was about to be unveiled before him.
Angel sat up with his upper body practically over Buffy. He was just inches away from her face and she could feel his breath on her neck.
"I think the question is," he moved his hand up and ran his thumb along the base of her neck, "What do you want from me, Buffy?"
His question took her completely by surprise. She looked at him with nothing but a look of confusion. Her mind was playing tricks on her and she knew Angel was playing a mind game, and she knew he was winning. He had her feeling both love and hate at the same time, and her every thought put her in jeopardy.
Angel could see the conflict on her face and he silently proclaimed himself the victor. "It is impossible to feel more than one emotion at the same time." He stated in an almost lecturing tone, "The stronger emotion overpowers the weaker one, then destroys it." He paused, then again asked the question with a definite hint of finality in his voice.
"Tell me what you want from me." He repeated in a low, almost threatening whisper.
It was obvious from the tone of his words that this was the last time he would ask. Taking just a moment to organize her thoughts, she answered.
"I want to feel your arm around my shoulder as we walk into a room." Was the first thought that she spoke. Angel gave her a cryptic smile and began to kiss her cheek, slowly moving down to her neck just below the ear.
"I want you to tell me I have sauce on the side of my mouth when we are out in public, and I don't even know it is there." Buffy's voice softened as Angel continued to place light kisses down her neck.
"I want you to hold my hand when we are in a crowd. I want you to tell me that it is remotely possible that someone may actually think I am hot. I want you to tell me every one of your life stories so I can question why you did something and call you silly." As she spoke, she could feel the tears begin to swell in her eyes and her voice began to crack. Angel noticed her voice begin to weaken, but continued his quest down to caress Buffy's collarbone with his kisses.
"I want you to talk to me when you wake up scared from a nightmare in the middle of the night. I want you to hold me tight in your arms, look into my eyes and tell me that you love me." She began to shiver as Angel worked his way down from her collarbone to lightly kiss his way across her chest just below her neck. Then her tears began to fall.
Giles couldn't listen to any more. He just sat there with his eyes tightly closed, repeating silent prayers over and over in his mind. But no one was there to hear them.
Confused by Angel's tenderness, Buffy made one last attempt to reach the Angel she once knew, to find the soul that once inhibited the body that now was threatening to take her life. Raising her head up slightly to whisper in his ear, she spoke. "I want you to be human again."
As soon as the words left her lips, Buffy knew she had made a mistake. She felt Angel stop kissing her and his body turn rigid. In that brief moment the demon that possessed his body showed itself, but not yet to Buffy. He just froze there with his face hidden in the hollow of her neck. Then with one swift move, he threw his head to the side, catching the soft flesh of her chest with one of his vampire fangs, deeply slicing open the skin.
Giles snapped out of his trance when he heard Buffy scream. It took him a minute to adjust his eyes, then saw the blood on her chest, just below the neckline. He watched in complete horror as Angel leaned over to place his lips over the wound.
"Oh God!" Giles managed to mumble, as he watched on, no longer able to look away. Angel looked up at him with that familiar look of satisfaction on his face and Giles felt those now yellow demon eyes pierce straight through his soul. 'He only took a taste.' Giles told himself when he saw Buffy was still fully conscious and aware of what was happening. 'What on earth has he got planned.' He cursed Angel silently to himself.
Angel quickly sat up and made himself relax. Buffy and Giles watched in complete amazement as Angel forced the demon to retract, and his face returned to normal. He immediately was up off the bed and standing in front of Giles, then slowly began to pace between the two, obviously in deep thought.
"You are wondering why you are here right?" He spoke as if their whole lives hung on his every word, which they did.
"I'm sure you know why you are here." He spoke to Buffy in a tone that belittled her slayer ego. "That's not too hard to figure out. But you," turning to Giles, "You... you know too much. You can do a lot of damage." His words were cold as he again began to pace between them. Buffy and Giles just looked at each other as Angel stopped his pacing and sat down on the bed.
"So, here is what I am going to do." He stated in an authoritative voice. "I am going to give you a choice. One of you... is going to die. The other, is going to join me in the world of the demons." Angel paused, waiting for a reaction from the two completely blank faces before him.
He got up and went over to the closet to retrieve his coat. After putting it on, he reached into the pocket and pulled out a handkerchief, then walked over to Buffy and placed it over the cut on her chest, pressing lightly before letting go. All she could do was watch him; there was no expression on her face as she realized the choice she and Giles were going to be forced to make.
"I don't care what you two decide. I considered keeping both of you, but that wouldn't be much fun for me now would it?" He sneered at the slayer and watcher. "I am going out for a while, but I'll be back soon. Then you can let me know what you decide." He turned and headed for the door.
"Behave now!" He joked as he disappeared through the door, locking it behind him.
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