I begin this story following "Provider" and "Double Meat Palace". Everything up until that point remains unchanged. Anything afterwards may or may not happen. If you need a reminder of what has happened up until this point, you can go to Buffyworld.com and read the complete transcripts or if you have them you can watch your tapes of the shows.
Lilah stands and looks at the small apartment. Even the few furnishing seem crowded. She glances into the bedroom. The large bed dwarfs the room.
Lilah: Are you just about done?
Man: Yes ma’am. We are done.
Lilah: It’s about time. Let’s get out of here.
The men walk out and Lilah follows. She looks around once more before smiling and closing the door. She walks over to a dark van around the corner. She steps in and looks at the shaman sitting in the corner.
Lilah: Are you ready?
Shaman: Do I have a choice?
Lilah: Not if you want your wife and children to live.
Shaman: How can I be certain you will release them afterwards?
Lilah: You can’t. Now let’s get it done.
The shaman lifts his arms. He clasp one hand over the other. He speaks and slowly uncovers his palm. Dancing on his palm is a tiny beacon of purple light. He continues the incantation and the beacon divides into a blue and pink light. He taps his finger on the pink light and it flies out the window. He sits back and cradles the blue light in his palm.
Shaman: Need to wait. Distance traveled is different.
Lilah: Oh yeah I guess it is.
Angel and Wesley are in the office.
Wesley: You are really excited about this.
Angel: Yes. This is the Blinnikov World Ballet Corps. This is one of the premier companies in the world. And they're going Giselle! It's their signature piece.
Wesley: You’ve said that already.
Angel: Have I?
Wesley: Yes now ………….
He stops as Angel suddenly turns and runs out the front door.
Cordy comes down the stairs with Conner.
Cordy: Where is Angel?
Wesley: Not sure. We were talking and he just ran out the door.
Cordy: He said nothing?
Wesley: Not a word.
She walks over and looks out.
Cordy: Well he took his car. I guess I’m not going home after all.
Wesley: He can’t be gone too long.
Cordy: Probably not.
Wesley: You could try calling him.
Cordy: You try. He never answers it.
Wesley: I just can’t imagine what happened.
Cordy: Maybe he got a vision.
Wesley: Yes, right. Uh, you think?
Cordy: No. I was kidding. I am vision girl. Heck I better be after getting all demony for Christ sake.
Wesley: Well I was heading home myself. Unless you need me to stay.
Cordy: No you go on. I can handle telling daddy dearest off all by myself.
Wesley: Glad it’s not me.
Cordy: Oh yeah. Forgot to tell you, I won’t be in tomorrow.
Wesley: What? And why not.
Cordy: The ballet. Remember? It will take me all day to look the part. I have to get my hair and my nails done.
Wesley: Yes. I see. Make yourself all up to sit in the dark.
Cordy: Of course. I will be seen coming and going. I need to look my best.
Wesley: Fine. Do what you must.
Cordy: I will.
Buffy comes in the front door.
Buffy: Hello. Anyone for Double Meat Burgers?
Dawn: Burgers? Again?
Buffy: I brought fries too.
Dawn: (sarcastically) Yum.
Willow: Burgers are fine. Let’s take them in the dining room.
Dawn: No fancy table will make them taste different.
Willow: So Buffy, are you paroling tonight?
Buffy: Yes. I have time to do a thorough sweep through all the hot spots.
Dawn: So you won’t be home again tonight.
Buffy: I can’t, you know that.
Willow: Hey Dawny, I will be here.
Dawn: I know.
Buffy lifts her burger to her mouth but suddenly lays it down and runs out the front door. Dawn and Willow look at each other. They both jump up. Willow runs out the front door and watches as Buffy runs down the sidewalk.
Willow: Dawn, lets go.
She grabs her keys and jumps in her car. She shifts into reverse as Dawn dives in the passenger seat. The car moves down the street.
Willow: Do you see her?
Dawn: No. Where is she going?
Willow: Heck should I know, but something is wrong.
Dawn: She just wigged out. There! I think I saw her shirt.
Willow turns down the road. They slow as they near the Bronze.
Willow: Now where?
Dawn: I have no idea. I am going to get out and look.
Willow: No. It is too dangerous after dark.
Dawn: But Buffy.
Willow: Is the slayer. Lets just drive around and see if we find her.
She moves around the block and turns down the next street. She slows to a crawl as they peer out into the dark.
Buffy enters the empty apartment. She looks around. The furniture is different but it is still familiar. She walks toward the bedroom. She stops in the doorway and stares at the black comforter and sheets. She pauses a moment before walking over and sitting on the edge. She wipes her palms across the front of her jeans. She closes her eyes and senses his presence. She hears the door close and as she opens her eyes he appears in the doorway. She moves quickly over the small expanse of floor. She leaps into his arms, wrapping her legs around his waist. As their mouth connect, he moves toward the bed.
He lowers her on the bed. He perches above her as their lips and tongues mingle. She pushes his leather coat off and it lands on the floor. He stands up and looks down at her as he starts to unbutton his shirt, but soon just yanks it over his heat. She yanks the sleeves free of wrist and he leans back into her lips. They continue to undress on another until nothing remains between them.
Angel: You are so beautiful.
Buffy: No talk.
Her hands pull his lips back toward hers, as he slowly enters her. She wraps her legs around him as they move in unison.
In the car
Willow: She did not just vanish.
Dawn: Maybe the nerd dudes grabbed her.
Willow: No, she is too smart to let them catch her.
Dawn: They grabbed you.
Willow: I am not the slayer.
Dawn: But a spell, they could have used a spell.
Willow: I know, we just need to find her and fast.
In the apartment.
Angel lifts her and pulls back the covers. They crawl under and he pulls her into his arms. She lies her head on his chest.
Angel: I forgot how good you smell.
Buffy: And how good you feel.
She tilts her head back and he kisses her.
Buffy: Can we make this last forever?
Angel: We can try.
She settles against him and they both drift off.
In the car
Willow: Oh heck.
Dawn: What is it?
Willow: That black car. I know it.
Dawn: That old convertible?
Willow: Yes. This is so not good.
Dawn: Whose is it? Jonathan’s? Warren’s?
Willow: Worse. It’s Angel’s.
Dawn: Angel? Why is that a bad thing? He won’t hurt her, will he?
Willow: He won’t. I just have no idea what he would be doing here.
Dawn: Could he be under the spell too?
Willow: He might be. Oh I don’t know. Okay let me think. We are near the Bronze but it is closed tonight.
Dawn: Right. So where else would they be?
Willow looks around at the buildings. He eyes stop on one.
Willow: I think I know.
She parks the car and pops the trunk.
Dawn: What are we doing?
Willow: We are saving you sister.
She looks into the trunk and takes out a small battle ax.
Dawn: You happen to have another?
Willow: No, but here.
She hands her the long tire iron.
Dawn: That will work.
Willow starts toward the building.
Dawn: Why do you think they are in there?
Willow: Because he use to live here. And they spent a lot of time here.
Dawn: He lived here? You mean before the mansion.
Willow: Yes. He lived here before he lost his soul. Oh lord.
Willow: This is where he well lost it.
Dawn: Here? This is where they ……you know did it?
Dawn: And you think they are……..
Willow: I not sure what to think.
The reach the door to the building. Willow peaks inside.
Willow: You stay out here. If I do not come back out, get Xander. Got me?
Dawn: Yes. Please be careful.
In the Apartment.
Angel leans over and kisses the top of her head. He smiles and closes his eyes, only to throw them open again. He looks at her sleeping form and quickly slides out of the bed. He grabs his pants and swiftly pulls them on. He gathers the rest of his clothes and darts out of the room and yanks open the apartment door. He runs right into Willow.
Angel: Oh god. Move. I got to get out of here. I can’t be here.
She grabs his arm and he jerks it free.
Angel: Please before it is too late.
He rushes for the outer door. As he steps into the night air he hears a sound seconds before the hard metal crashes against his scull. He collapses on the ground unconscious. Willow comes out.
Willow: You do that?
Dawn: Yep. Good shot huh?
Willow: Great shot.
She looks around.
Willow: Let’s get him inside before someone sees use.
Dawn: Like the nerds?
Willow: Yes or a nosey neighbor.
They grab his inert form and drag him back into the apartment. Buffy walks out wrapped in a sheet.
She stops as she see the two standing over his body.
Buffy: What happened?
Willow: I think you know.
Buffy: Oh god is he?
Willow: He said he had to get away before it was too late.
Buffy: So you knocked him out?
Dawn: I did.
Willow walks out and brings in his clothes. She tosses Buffy his shirt.
Willow: Throw that on so you can help me tie him up.
Buffy: (throws the shirt over her head) Lets get him on the bed.
They lift him onto the bed. Buffy grabs the sheet and starts making a makeshift rope.
Buffy: This won‘t hold him long. I need you to run to the house and get some chains.
Willow: And Xander?
Buffy: I guess so.
Dawn: I will stay here with Buffy.
Dawn helps Buffy tie him down while Willow heads to the house.
Later as they guard his motionless form, Dawn glances around the room. She suddenly tugs at Buffy’s arm.
Buffy: What is it?
Dawn: I just saw a weird reflection up there.
Buffy stands on a chair and discovers a tiny camera. She realizes it is focused in the bed. She grabs the tire iron and destroys it. As Dawn watches for movement from the body, Buffy searches the room. She finds and destroys two more cameras.
They continue to watch over him until Willow and Xander arrive. Xander helps Buffy to wrap the chains around him. Moments after he is securely immobilized, his eyes fly open. He looks at the chains and up at his captures.
Angel: What is going on?
Buffy: You can quit the con job. We know who you are.
They congregate in the small living room.
Willow: (w) Dawn, keep a look out and warns us if someone is coming.
Willow: (w) We don’t want anyone to try and stop us.
Dawn grabs the tire iron and slips out the door. Willow picks up a pad of paper and a pencil. She and Buffy begin writing.
Willow: I have the curse with me
Buffy: Are you up to doing it again?
Willow: Yes, but Buffy I can do it differently
Buffy: How different?
Willow: I can bind it to another soul. Make it permanent.
Willow: I can bind it to yours. There is a problem though. If you die, your soul will stay with him till he dies.
Buffy: And if he dies first?
Willow: Same thing. He will be trapped with you.
Willow: You sure. It won’t be easy and well it requires the exchange of body fluids.
Buffy: As in kissing?
Willow: No as in blood or semen.
Buffy: No problem.
Willow: You sure?
Buffy: I am sure. Just tell me what to do.
Willow writes down the instructions. As Buffy reads over them, Willow has Xander hang a blanket over the opening to the bedroom.
Xander: What are you planning?
She glances in at Angel. He growls loudly.
Xander: You can’t……..
Willow: Be quiet.
Buffy: (w) Ready?
Willow: (w) Are you?
Buffy: (w) Lets get it done.
She slips into the bedroom.
Willow: (w) Why don‘t you go stay with Dawn?
Xander: (w) I am not leaving you two with him alone.
Willow: (w) We can handle it.
Xander: (w) No.
Willow looks at him and shakes her head.
They can hear the voices from the bedroom.
Angelus: So what are you and your little friends up to now?
Buffy: You know.
Buffy: But first I want to have a little fun. It will be my last chance so to speak.
Angelus: What? Oh I always knew you could be a real whore. You can’t resist getting one last cock suck can you.
Xander gasp and Willow looks at him.
Angelus: So bitch, you are pretty good at that. I’ll have to remember that if I let you live.
Buffy: That is not all I’m good at.
In the living room, Willow has begun softly uttering the spell. Her voice is low and Xander strains to hear her words. He desperately attempt to block out the other voices and sounds. His fingers dig into the back of a chair.
Angelus: I knew you liked it on top. You like the control. The power.
Buffy: I just like the feel of you inside me.
Angelus: I see. The little whore can’t get none while the soul is there.
Buffy: No, but I can now. So shut up and enjoy it.
Buffy: Come on. You love it. Admit it.
Angelus: I will admit you are a real pro but I don’t love you or anything else.
Buffy: Your body says otherwise.
Willow: (projects into Buffy mind) Now!
Willow: Acum! Acum!
Buffy leans forward as if lost in passion. Angelus reacts swiftly and sinks his fangs into her neck. She jerks softly. As the blood runs down his throat, he is pushed over the edge and climaxes.
Willow: Kalenedral! Kalenedral!
As the pain moves through his body, Angel lays back on the pillow. Her blood on his lips, he looks at her.
She lifts up and into his eyes.
Angel: How long?
Buffy: Not long at all. An hour or two.
Angel: Did I?
Buffy: No one got hurt. Well except you of course. Dawn gave you one hell of a blow to the head.
Angel: I knew someone did.
Buffy climbs off him
Angel: Were you………..
Buffy: I will explain at the house.
Angel: But your neck.
Buffy: Let’s get to the house and I will tell you it all.
Buffy walks in to the living room.
Buffy: Xander, can you unchain him please?
Xander: You sure?
Buffy: Yes, I need to get dressed. Be right back.
She grabs her clothes and heads to the bathroom. Xander removes the chains and leaves the room. Angel sits up slips on his socks and shoes. He walks into the living room carrying his coat. Buffy tosses him his shirt.
Buffy: You might need this.
Angel: Thanks. (he turns to Willow) And thank you, again.
Willow: That is what friends are for. Now lets get out of here.
They grab their stuff and head out.
Dawn: Is it over?
Dawn: Thank god.
They walk to the cars. Angel touches Buffy’s arm. Buffy looks up at him and he nods to his car.
Buffy: You guys go to the house. I am riding with Angel.
Willow: Well okay. But you are coming home?
Buffy: Yes, we are right behind you.
Willow, Dawn, Buffy, and Angel walk in.
Willow: I am glad Xander decided to go home.
Dawn: What was with him? He seemed very quiet.
Willow: Dawn, why don’t you see if you can find us something to eat. I think the burgers are history.
Dawn: Thank god.
She heads for the kitchen.
Buffy: Let’s sit down.
Angel: What is wrong? You said I didn’t hurt anyone.
Buffy: You didn’t.
They sit down.
Willow: Angel, I need to tell you something. I altered the curse this time.
Angel: You did? How?
Willow: Instead of just restoring it to your body I was able to find a way to anchor it. To bind it to another soul.
Angel: Okay, enough with the cryptic. What did you do?
Willow: I bound you soul to Buffy’s. It can not be lost again.
Angel: To Buffy’s? Am I to assume that is why she was allowing me to …...?
Willow: It was. The spell required the exchange of fluids.
Angel sits and thinks about this.
Angel: So as long as Buffy is alive my soul is safe?
Willow: Even afterwards. Your souls are bound until both of you die.
Angel: But if she is bound then she will be trapped here.
Buffy: Not a problem.
Angel: I can‘t let you do that.
Buffy: Too late. It is done. It was my decision.
Willow: Angel if you die first, the bond will not break either.
Angel: That’s fine. I would not be going to heaven anyway.
Buffy: Don’t even think like that.
Angel: It is true. I can never overcome what I have done. But Buffy you can not be trapped on earth for eternity.
Buffy: I told you, it is too late. Now just accept it.
Willow: And your soul is here for good. That is a good thing.
Angel: I guess.
Dawn: Buffy, can you help me?
She gets up and heads for the kitchen. Angel gets up and follows her.
Buffy: What you find?
Dawn: How about scrambled eggs and toast?
Buffy: Works for me. You do the eggs and I will do the toast.
Buffy: But first I need to clear off the table.
She heads for the dining room and Angel follows her. As she turns, she walks right into him.
Buffy: What is with you? Why don’t you go sit in the living room with Willow?
Angel looks at his feet. Buffy drops the burgers back on the table and takes his hand.
Buffy: Are you okay?
Angel: I am not sure. I feel strange.
Buffy: Strange as how?
Angel: I can’t explain it. I just……….
He reaches out and cradles her cheek.
Angel: Oh god.
Angel: There is something wrong here.
Buffy: Now “you” are being cryptic.
Angel: Buffy, I have to touch you, to be with you or it hurts.
Buffy: Hurts? I know the feeling. These past couple years have been so hard.
Angel: Uh, no I mean really hurts. When you walk away from me I feel a physical pain.
Angel: Yes. I thought it was nothing at first but it gets worse the farther you go until I have to follow.
Buffy: How far is okay?
Angel Not sure.
She starts slowly backing up. His eyes follow her progress as she moves across the dining room. As she nears ten feet, she sees him shuffle his foot. She stops.
Angel: Barely tolerable.
Buffy: Do you want me to stop?
She steps back and reaches the other end of the room.
She moves quickly into his arms. He holds her tightly.
Buffy: We better go tell Will.
Angel: I agree.
She takes his hand and the walk into the living room.
Buffy: Will, we have a big problem.
Buffy: The spell. Something is wrong.
Willow: Wrong how?
Buffy: Every time we are apart, Angel feels pain. Real Pain.
Willow: Oh. That shouldn’t happen. Let me see.
Buffy: No. I am not putting him through that again. Trust us. Ten feet is about as far as he can tolerate.
Willow: Let me check my books. I will be right back.
She dashes up the stairs.
Dawn: Buffy, I thought you were helping me.
Angel: Lets both help.
Later as they sit down to eat, Willow walks down.
Willow: Nothing. There is no reason for what you describe.
Buffy: There has to be.
Willow: Nothing I know of.
Buffy: So what do you suggest?
Dawn: Uh what is going on?
Buffy: Not now Dawn.
Buffy: Not now.
Willow: I don’t know. It shouldn’t be like this. I know what I did and this is not why.
Buffy: I am calling Tara.
Buffy: Tara. Another wicca.
Dawn: And Willow’s ex.
Buffy and Angel walk into the kitchen and she dials the number.
Tara: Well Willow is right this spell should not do this normally.
Buffy: So what is the problem?
Tara: The problem is your souls already had a bind. You were already soul mates.
Buffy: We are?
Tara: You know you are.
Buffy: I use to think we were.
Angel: We are. So why is that a problem?
Tara: Well since the bond was already there, the spell did not merely bind the two souls. It in essence merged them. And since Buffy is the anchor, the soul belongs to her in reality. So she does not feel the tug.
Willow: But Angel does?
Angel: So what can we do?
Tara: Nothing. There is nothing you can do.
Angel: What? There has to be.
Tara: No. The merging of the souls can not be reversed.
Buffy: So we will never ever be more than a few feet apart.
Tara: Oh you will eventually. You will eventually be able to stretch the bond. Uh think of it has a brand new rubber band. It is all stiff and hard to stretch. But over time it will get looser and you will be able to get farther apart. But it will take time.
Angel: How far are we talking?
Tara: Not sure. Probably 5 or 10 miles. Maybe eventually 15 miles. I really can not say.
Angel: That’s it? I am sorry I have to go back to LA. I can not stay here in Sunnydale.
Buffy: Relax. Just call Wesley and tell him you need to stay here for a few days while we figure this out.
Angel: Buffy, I have people in LA counting on me. I can not just stay here like that. I have to go back tonight.
Buffy: Angel, calm down. We can drive to LA after we figure out what we are going to do.
Angel: Buffy, I am sorry.
He tips her face up towards his.
Angel: I am going to LA tonight.
Buffy: But I can’t.
Angel: I don’t expect you too. I will just have to deal with the discomfort. But I am leaving now.
Tara: You won’t make it.
Angel: I will. I have to.
He kisses Buffy on the forehead.
Angel: I will call you tomorrow. We have a lot to talk about.
Buffy: We do.
He turns and Buffy walks him to the door.
Buffy: Be careful.
Angel: I will.
He moves off the porch. She watches as his movements slow. He sits in the car and glances up at her as he starts the engine. She notices the haunted look of pain in his eyes. He shifts in reverse and backs away. She watches until she sees his tail light round the corner. She walks in and closes the door.
Tara: He leave?
Buffy: You don’t think he will make it do you?
Tara: No. He will be in too much pain.
Buffy: Maybe I should have gone with him.
Willow: I don’t think he wanted that.
Buffy: He has not choice.
Willow: I am so sorry.
Buffy: It is not your fault. You tried to help.
Tara: She is right. This could not have been expected.
Angel pulls over a couple miles from the house. He fumbles with his cell phone.
Cordy: Angel Investigations.
Cordy: Angel? Where on earth are you? Who do you
Cordy: Are you okay?
Angel: Not really. I need your help.
Angel: Just pack me and Conner a bag and bring them and him to Sunnydale tonight.
Angel: I will explain. Just please.
Cordy: Okay. To where? The mansion.
Angel: No Buffy’s. I got to go.
She stars at the dead phone.
Angel turns around and quickly makes his way back to the house. Buffy hears him outside and opens the door. As he reaches the door, he collapses on his knees.
Angel: I can’t.
Buffy: I know. Willow, can you help me?
They help him to the sofa and lie him down. Buffy sits beside him and runs her hand over his cheek. He releases a low moan and falls into an exhausted sleep. Buffy sits with him while he sleeps. She will not leave him and risk increasing the suffering.