Two Cents by Cheri
I can't live like this anymore." Buffy moaned after waking up with Spike once again.
"Why can't you accept what has happened between us Buffy." He asked rising off the bed.
"Because it's impossible. There is something pushing me to make this same mistake over and over again."
"It's called love." Spike announced.
"No! I don't love you Spike!" She cried running out of the crypt.
The gang is in the magic shop when Buffy bursts through the door. They all look up surprised and see that she is not herself.
"Buffy? What's wrong?" Asks Xander.
"I have something to tell you guys." She announces forcefully..
Cut to an outside shot of the hotel. A baby's plaintitive wail is the only sound to be heard. Cut to Angel pacing the floor holding the crying infant. He looks up when there's a knock on the door.
"Angel?" Cordelia quietly says.
"Come in." He says quickly. "I don't know what to do Cordy. This isn't anything I ever expected to be going through."
He looks at her pitifully and her face softens as she reaches for him.
"I know." She says and touches his shoulder. "I mean, who would ever think that you of all people would be a father. For anyone else, this would be the happiest time of their life, but you..."
The baby cries louder and Angel moves away rocking him helplessly.
"At least we don't have to worry about the whole 'moment of true happiness' thing. The last thing he needs is Angelus for a daddy."
Angel scowls at Cordelia and she drops her shoulders.
"What happened to your sense of humor? You know, I'm just trying to do the silver lining thing."
She walks over and takes the baby from him and he takes a deep breath.
"He's not hungry, he's not wet. That cry is not like any other I've heard before. And I've heard children cry for centuries. Something's wrong, I know it. There's something we're missing."
Suddenly Wes comes running in the room. They both turn to face him.
"Angel, I think I found something."
"What?" Angel asks abruptly.
"Do you remember when Darla first came? She said she had been all over trying to find out what was in her and why?"
"Of course. It's hard to forget when your ex-lover vampire sire shows up on your doorstep nine months pregnant. I remember every word she said. But how does that help?"
"I think you should come downstairs. Cordelia, it seems that you've quieted him. Can you give us a minute?"
Angel looks at the whimpering child in Cordelia's arms and she nods for him to follow Wesley. They walk downstairs to find Gunn and Fred awaiting their arrival.
"Okay, what did you find?" Angel prods.
"It's not exactly what we found, but who." Wes says to an increasingly impatient Angel.
"Okay...who did you find?"
"I think I can answer that." Says Fred. "See, Darla mentioned visiting a shaman as a last resort for answers. He had never failed but when he tried to see what she was having, he couldn't. He told her that he couldn't help her because it wasn't meant to be known."
"And?" Angel snapped.
"And we think we know why." Gunn interjected.
"I'm really not in the mood for the cryptic." Warned Angel.
"It's not that we're trying to confuse you." Wesley said stepping up. "I'm still not sure what it means, but I believe that the child at that time had no lifeblood. That's why the shaman couldn't read it."
"But that's impossible. He has blood and a heartbeat and a soul. You know that."
"Yes, yes we know." Assured Wesley. "But what if it didn't always?"
"What does that mean Wesley?" Angel answered menacingly.
"It means that those powers that be can get pretty zany at times." Fred spoke up quickly with a smile. It vanished under Angel's harsh glare. "Maybe they decided to change your son's destiny. Or maybe they gave you a son to change someone else's destiny."
"It's all quite vague at the moment." Wesley added. "But with everything that we've seen, one can't ignore the fact that this child is not something that was meant to be. It was created or placed in Darla for a reason. The only way we'll ever know is if we ask them."
"So you want me to ask the powers that be why I have a son." Angel finished.
"It's just a thought." Gunn answered.
"Well I won't. I don't want to know what or why, I just want to be a dad. Can't you see what this is for me? I'll never have this chance again. I can't take the risk of them telling me it's all a mistake. I won't." With that Angel turns and walks away and back up the stairs.
The three watch him leave and look at one another worriedly.
Cut to the magic shop interior. Xander, Anya, and Willow are sitting at the table with unreadable expressions on their faces.
"Please say something." Buffy begs.
"I..." Xander tries but closes his mouth after only a weak attempt.
"It's just..." Willow tries as well but also closes her mouth.
"So I guess the chip rendering Spike impotent really doesn't render him IMPOTENT." Anya says casually.
"Not exactly the reaction I was expecting." Buffy says quietly sitting down.
"What were you expecting? You're bumping uglies with SPIKE! That is something I never wanted to know." Xander exclaims standing up.
"Don't be like that." Willow says. "We all go through rough spots."
"Rough spot? We're way past rough spot here Will." Xander argues.
"Can we please just concentrate on my problem here. I need you guys to help me figure out what's happening to me. Something's been wrong since I came back and I need to find out what. Spike can hit me! Did you even hear that part? How can Spike hit me?" Buffy demanded.
"That's a good point. Does that mean you're a demon?" Anya asks. "No. I would know if you were a demon. It has to be something else."
"What else is there? You're either human or a demon." Xander interrupts. "Unless you're a vampire. Oh God! Did Spike make you a vampire?"
"No! I'm not a vampire." Buffy insists.
"Okay, let's just focus here. Willow takes charge. Xander, you and Anya start doing research. After death stuff, you know. I'll check all my wicca books and try and find something about consequences of resurrection spells. Buffy, you stay away from Spike until we figure this out. Can you do that?" Willow turns to ask.
It's too late though. Buffy is gone and the three look at one another worriedly.
Cut to the separate groups of three working simultaneously on research.
Cut to a shot of Angel and Cordy sitting in the baby's room sharing the duties of childcare.
Cut to Buffy kicking in the door to Spike's crypt. He doesn't have time to react before she's on him.
Spike wakes up smiling to find himself alone in an empty bed.
"Buffy?" He looks around hopefully. He finally realizes she's gone and his face falls. "Oh bloody hell!"
Exterior: Buffy walking through cemetery. A couple of vamps rise and she nonchalantly stakes them both. She hears what she assumes is a third one behind her and spins to attack.
"Buffy!" The stake stops just a centimeter from the heart.
Cut to wide shot of Buffy facing Dawn still not moving the stake away.
Interior: Baby's room
Angel lies on back with eyes closed. The baby is lying face down on his chest sleeping peacefully.
Cordelia studies them obviously touched before turning to leave.
Cut to Cordy walking down the stairs to join the trio hard at work.
"So are you still trying to prove that Angel's baby started out evil?" She asks.
"Don't say it like we want the kid to be evil." Says Gunn. "We just want to cover all the bases."
"Don't you think if there was some massive evil force in this kid that I would have had a vision?" Cordelia demands.
"We can't be sure of anything Cordelia." Wesley begins.
"I can." Cordy insists. "They send me life altering, mind-numbingly painful visions about complete strangers in need of Angel's help. Why would they not warn him of his own son's evilness?"
"That's what we're trying to decipher." Wesley says motioning to numerous piles of books scattered about.
Cordelia walks to several stacks and looks at them briefly before pushing them all to the floor.
Fred's surprised scream at Cordelia's unprovoked anger makes her stop.
"I'm sorry Fred." She offers. "But I want you all to understand something."
She walks over to make sure that Angel is not coming down the stairs. After ensuring their privacy she turns to face them.
"I have watched him put every Tom, Dick, and Demon in front of his own needs for years. He's got no woman, no life, and no end in sight. He deserves this time with his son. Even if it's not meant to be, why can't we let him have this?"
They all drop their heads in acknowledgement of Cordy's thoughts.
"Cordelia, you have to know that we agree with every word you say." Wesley began.
"Good!" Cordy interrupts. "So let's just put these away."
She begins picking up the books she knocked to the floor. Gunn watches her silently for a moment before walking to touch her shoulder.
"I haven't known Angel as long as you and I haven't worked with him half as well but we can't ignore the propensity of our demon friends to throw us every curve ball known to man...and other creatures."
"Right." Wesley agrees quickly. "We would only be doing Angel and his son a disservice if we choose to remain in denial."
Fred has been glancing through an old text absentmindedly while the others argue. She halts and lowers her head to study a particular page.
"I'm not in denial!" Cordy insists rising to face Gunn and Wesley.
"Then what would you call it?" Gunn asks.
"I'd call it being a friend! But obviously you don't know how that's done!" She snaps.
"Guys..." Fred says quietly still reading.
"Cordelia!" Wesley interrupts loudly. "Let's not attack one another here."
"Um...guys." Fred repeats still being ignored.
"Why don't you talk to your boy here?" Cordelia answers pointing at Gunn.
"I am nobody's boy." Gunn warns.
"GUYS!" Fred finally yells causing the three to turn in shock.
She cowers a bit under their direct glances.
"WHAT?" They all say simultaneously.
"I think you better look at this..."
Dawn looks at Buffy in complete fear. Buffy hesitates for a bit longer before shaking her head and lowering the stake.
"Dawn?" She mumbles.
"It's me." Stammers Dawn stepping back.
"I'm sorry." Pleads Buffy. "I thought you were a vampire."
"Yeah I got that." Dawn says looking down at the stake Buffy's holding. Buffy sticks the stake in her back pocket self consciously and turns to walk away.
"Buffy, what is going on?” Dawn runs after her.
"Nothing, I'm just taking you home."
"Something is wrong. I know it." Dawn argues. "When are you going to stop treating me like a kid?"
"Maybe when I stop finding you in cemeteries in the middle of the night." Buffy retorts.
"I was just looking for you, but that wasn't you I saw back there." Dawn says grabbing Buffy's arm.
They stop and face each other.
"Don't be absurd Dawn. Of course it was me because here I am." Buffy dismisses.
"No! Your eyes were different. It was like there was something missing. You were missing. Then you came back."
Buffy stares at Dawn for a moment before shaking her head and smiling.
"I think you've lived on the hellmouth for too long sis."
She grabs Dawn by the arm to pull her forward.
Pan to shadows and stop on dark tree. Spike steps out from behind it with a very confused and worried statement on his face.
"This doesn't mean anything." Cordelia says abruptly.
Wesley looks up from the book that Fred is still holding.
"Perhaps not." He says. "But it's possible."
"Anything is possible." Gunn enunciates.
"This is too out there." Cordelia argues.
"I don’t know Cordy." Fred begins quietly. "I would never have thought being sucked into another dimension and being treated as a cow would be possible either but five years go by and..." She sweeps her hand downwards over her body reminding everyone where they found her. "Here I am."
Wesley still stares down at Fred's petite frame where she led his eyes with her hand. He seems to have lost his train of thought.
"Okay." Gunn says loudly breaking Wesley's trance. "So the scenario goes a little something like this. Somehow, Angel and Darla created a 'thing'. But the powers that be couldn't let the 'thing' be born."
Wesley and Fred nod in agreement. Cordelia rolls her eyes.
"So then the book here gives an example of a demon being changed at the last minute to a vessel for a lost soul. Thus turning it from bad to...what?"
"Exactly!" Cries Cordelia. "This makes no sense. How could they steal someone else's soul just like that? As if they would risk someone somewhere turning evil just so Angel wouldn't sire the antichrist! It's ludicrous!"
The group of four hollers and jumps in surprise at the sound of Angel's voice.
Interior: Magic Shop
Anya, Willow and Xander are sitting around the table w/ dozens of books scattered about. Xander is obviously having trouble concentrating.
"Xander, could you please stop fidgeting?" Willow asks. "I can't concentrate."
"I'm sorry." He says standing up to pace. "I can't get the visual out of my head."
He begins to hit his head with both hands alternately. "Out damn pictures...out!"
He finally stops and starts rubbing the soreness. Anya stands up to walk and comfort him.
"We could have sex." She states bluntly. "You can't think about Buffy and Spike when we're having sex...can you?"
"Enough!" Willow cries standing up from the table.
Several books fall to the floor and the three friends watch helplessly. The sound of the door startles them and they turn to see Buffy and Dawn entering.
"What?" Asks Dawn noticing the expressions.
"Nothing." Buffy answers quickly.
"That means something." Dawn insists.
"Xander, Anya would you mind taking Dawn home and staying with her for a while? I need to talk to Willow." Buffy asks.
"Sure we can do that. Can't we honey?" Anya asks.
"Yeah." Xander agrees. "I've had all I can take for one night."
He glares at Buffy and she lowers her head to avert her eyes.
"That." Points Dawn. "What is that? What have you had to take?"
Xander walks to push Dawn out the door before she can continue. They leave and Willow stands still waiting for Buffy to speak.
"Any luck?" She asks finally as she walks to the table.
"Um..no...not yet." Stammers Willow. "But I won't stop until I find something."
Buffy bends to retrieve the books that Willow had knocked to the floor earlier as Willow continues.
"I know there's an explanation. And I'll find it. It may not even be as bad as we think."
"Really?" Buffy interrupts rising to look Willow in the eye. "Because I think I've been sleeping with my sworn enemy. I don’t think it can get much worse. And the scary part is, I'm starting to forget why Spike was ever my enemy. Like I'm forgetting all the years of hell I went going back and forth with Angel."
Buffy stops at the sound of his name and Willow's eyes widen slightly.
"Oh my God." Buffy whispers.
"What?" Asks a concerned Willow.
Buffy stares into space for a moment before turning her back to Willow.
"Nothing." She states. Willow hesitates before speaking.
"He doesn't know Buffy. He never has to know. We'll fix this and he'll never know."
Buffy looks like she wants to cry but the tears don't come.
"I think he already does." She whispers.
"That's crazy Buffy. You haven't seen him or talked to him in months. Not since..." She's unable to finish her thought.
"Not since the one time after you brought me back. We saw each other and..."
"And what? You never would tell us how it went. Did something happen?" Willow asks.
Buffy is silent for a split second before she shakes her head harshly.
"No! I won't. There has to be something that I save just for me. My whole life has been about helping others and protecting the innocent. What he said to me, what he might have seen in me..." Buffy pauses reflecting again before stepping towards the door. "No, that's for me."
Willow tries to stop her but Buffy runs out. Willow stands alone on the verge of tears before walking quickly behind the register. She pulls out the cordless phone and takes a deep breath before beginning to dial.
Wesley, Cordelia, Gunn and Fred are facing Angel as he steps down from the last stair.
"What's ludicrous?" He repeats.
"Nothing." Answers Cordelia sending a warning look to the others.
Wesley clears his throat nervously as they all scatter to appear nonchalant.
"Okay I may only have a few minutes before he starts crying." Warns Angel. "If you've learned something I want to know."
"Right." Wesley says cautiously. "Well Fred found an interesting reference in this book she was studying."
Fred smiles weakly when Angel turns to looks at her.
"It seems that there has been an instance where a being destined to be a demon was saved from its fate and given a soul." Wesley continues.
"So. A demon got a soul. That's not a big shock. Have we met?" Angel jokes.
"Good point!" Cordelia smiles. "Angel was a demon or vampire or whatever and he was cursed with a soul. Now he's all good. So your idea is proven to be a moot point."
"Actually the reference I found wasn't quite a curse. It was a blessing...a miracle." Fred defends.
"Yeah Angel." Gunn explains. "What those gypsies did to you was punishment. This thing was saved from that fate."
"Okay, so does your book tell us who did this?" Angel asks.
"Well the text isn't specific. It's a very old reference and the names of entities have changed several times since. But from what I can infer, it would seem that it was the powers that be." Wesley finishes haltingly.
"Powers that be." Angel repeats. "As in our powers that be?"
"It would seem." Wesley nods.
Before Angel can respond the phone rings. Fred runs to answer it and the familiar sound of a baby's cry is heard.
"Damn phone." Angel states.
"I'll help you." Cordy offers.
They walk up the stairs together and Fred calls Wesley's name.
"Who is it Fred?" He asks impatiently.
"I think she said Willow."
Wesley looks at Gunn before moving quickly to retrieve the receiver. Fred joins Gunn a few feet away.
"Is that the same Willow that told us Buffy died?"
Gunn nods his head silently.
"And is that the same Willow that told us Buffy was alive again?"
Gunn nods his head again.
"Why do I get the feeling that she only calls when its very important?"
Before she gets her answer Wesley's voice rises.
Gunn and Fred exchange a look.
"Yes, well you did the right thing." Wesley assures. "No I think we should discuss this in person."
They wait silently for Wesley to continue.
"No not here. I'll meet you in Sunnydale. No don’t tell anyone. This must be treated with the utmost discretion. Of course, I'll tell no one. Alright then, tomorrow."
He hangs up the phone and turns to face them.
"It would appear that we are not the only ones to have an interesting couple of months." Wesley informs them.
"I heard Spike." Gunn says. "Is that the Spike that showed up here looking for that ring a while back?"
"One and the same." Wesley confirms.
"So what's he done now?"
"I'm not quite sure but I intend to find out. I have to leave right away."
Wesley takes the book from Fred's hand before stepping to get his jacket.
"Hold up. Why are you taking that?" Gunn demands.
Wesley glances down at the book before answering.
"Again, I'm not quite sure. But I feel it's important somehow." He replies. "Don't tell Angel or Cordelia what's happened."
"That's easy." Fred smiles. "I don't know what's happening."
"Good enough." Wesley says absentmindedly.
Gunn and Fred watch him leave growing more and more concerned.
"And here I thought my news was big." Said Willow sitting back slowly.
Interior: Empty diner.
Willow and Wesley are sitting in a corner booth and he has just filled her in about Angel's son.
"Yes, well like I said, this has been an interesting time for us all." Wesley replies.
"I'd say. So what happens now? I thought maybe Angel could shed some light on Buffy's problem, but it sounds like he hasn't had time to give his visit with her a second thought." Willow complains.
"I'm not sure. He wasn't very forthcoming about their meeting when he returned. I must say I was just pleased that he didn't come back minus his soul if you know what I mean." Wesley insinuates.
"Yes. Well, something happened between them." Willow insists. "Buffy won't tell me anything but I know that she's terrified that Angel knows something about her."
"I assure you he doesn't know about Spike. Darla showed up on his doorstep only days after Angel saw Buffy and I don't believe he's had time to think of anything but his son since that day." Wesley reasoned.
"How am I going to tell Buffy about this?" Willow moans.
"What? Why would you tell her? At least not until we know how all this fits together." Wesley argues.
"Fits together? I don't think anything about Buffy and Angel will fit together ever again." Willow says harshly shaking her head.
"Perhaps you're right. But you said that you've been researching side effects of your resurrection spell. Have you found anything?" Wesley interrupts.
"I was up all night. I can't find anything about what might have occurred. The only thing I can come up with is what happened the night we did the spell." She replied.
"What happened?" Prods Wesley.
Willow looks down at her hands before answering.
"Nothing really. It's just...I didn't technically finish the incantation. We were sort of interrupted." She says weakly.
"You didn't finish the spell? How could you not have finished the spell? Buffy's back." Wesley demanded.
"I know! That's why it can't mean anything right? I checked all my books, and I found nothing...except..."
"Except what?" Hissed Wesley.
"It's got nothing to do with now. We already got rid of it." Willow explained.
"My patience aren't what they used to be Willow." Warns Wesley. "What did you get rid of?"
"The hitchhiker." States Willow calmly.
Interior: Baby's room
Cordy is strapping a snuggly around herself. Angel watches her holding the baby closely.
"You don't have to do this." He says.
"Enough already." Warns Cordelia. "My mom used to swear by this. She said that whenever I was fussy and nothing worked, she'd strap me on and take a walk outside. fresh air and all that you know. I would always be out like a light."
She finishes and reaches for the baby. Angel hands him over begrudgingly.
"What kind of father can I be? I can't even take my kid out for a walk in the sunlight." He whines.
"Stop it!" Cordelia instructs. "There's more to being a parent than sunlight. Besides, now I have a special job that I get to do. Since I haven't had a vision recently, I was beginning to feel useless."
"Cordy, you are not now nor will you ever be useless." Angel says softly.
They look at each other for a second longer than necessary when she abruptly turns to exit the room. Angel watches her leave and doesn't move for some time.
Exterior: Buffy walks into her front yard and is met by Spike.
"What do you want?" She asks.
"I want to know when you're going to stop running away form me. I'm not some bloody gigolo you know." He stresses.
"Gigolo? Oh Spike, you're really showing your age." Quips Buffy.
"Oh sod off!" He snaps.
"That's what I'm trying to do." Buffy says as she tries to step past him.
He grabs her arm and pulls her against him. She tries to struggle but stops after only seconds.
"I want to be more than this Buffy." Spike whispers.
"That will never happen. I don't know how to make this stop, but I will never let you become more than a passing phase. So why don't you save yourself just a smidgen of pride and walk away now?" She answers hotly.
"If I was worried about my pride, I would have left Sunnydale and you long ago. Unfortunately, my pride disappeared about the same time as my ability to feed."
"Oh just what I always wanted, to be lumped in with your primal vampire urges." Buffy sneers.
She shakes her arm loose and brushes past him. She stops at her door and turns to look at Spike.
"I don’t know me when I'm with you Spike." She says quietly. "I don't know me at all since I've been back but the one thing I do know is I don't like what I am."
"Who." Spike corrects.
"Who. You're a who not a what. I'm a what." Spike explains callously.
Buffy looks as if she wants to say something but turns and enters her house instead.
Spike looks at the closed door.
"So when Buffy came back she brought this 'hitchhiker' that was a demon from another dimension?" Wesley asks.
"Yes. I found in one of my books where it was the earths way of evening the score for giving me such an amazing gift. So then I did a spell with Tara and made the entity solid so Buffy could fight it. She chopped its head off and that’s that. So it has nothing to do with what’s happening now." Willow reasoned.
Wesley looks down for a moment and pulls his text from under the table. He opens it to the passage that Fred had found and reads through until he turns the page.
"What is it? What do you have?" Willow asks.
Wesley holds up a finger to quiet her and keeps reading. Finally he stops and looks up at Willow. His face is not pleasant.
"I don’t like that look. Giles used to get that look and it was never good." Willow begins.
"Yes, well it was usually for good reason." He says slowly. "And this my dear girl is very good reason."
"Okay, one don't call me that and two, what is it?" Willow pleads.
"If I'm reading this correctly, it would seem that your hitchhiker may not have been a demon. It may have been the part of the spell that you didn't get to finish." Wesley says.
Willow looks from him to the book with fear spreading across her face.
Interior: Hotel lobby
"Where's Wesley?" Angel asks when he comes downstairs.
Gunn and Fred look up from their food uneasily.
"Wesley?" Gunn repeats.
"Um, I don't think I know..." Fred begins.
"Okay, Fred, you are not a good liar." Angel accuses. He looks to Gunn. "Where is he?"
"He got a call man." Gunn replies. "He had to run an errand."
"Oh. Well when is he going to get back. I'd like to finish our discussion while Cordy has the baby." Angel explains.
"I don't think he'll be back that soon." Fred says.
"Why not? Where did he go?" Angel demands again.
"Depending on the rate of speed and traffic and highway conditions..." Fred begins mumbling incoherently.
"What is she doing Gunn? Why is she calculating? Its not that far to anywhere in LA from here." Angel speaks over the ramblings of Fred.
"Um...she...well I think..." Gunn stutters.
Angel rolls his eyes and turns to bend in front of Fred.
"Fred honey? Did you figure it out yet? Where did Wesley go?" He says sweetly.
Fred smiles as she slowly stops her calculations. She searches Angels eyes and Gunn see that she's about to say it.
"Angel..." Gunn tried to interrupt. Angel's glare shuts his mouth.
"Sunnydale is pretty far I think." Fred finally says.
Angel's face abruptly changes and he stands to face Gunn. Gunn takes a step back without thinking.
"Why did he go to Sunnydale?" Angel interrupts.
"I don't know man. That Willow chick called and said she needed to see him. That's all we know I swear." Gunn insists.
"Was it Buffy?" Angel inquires.
"No! I don't think so." Gunn says.
"Spike!" Fred exclaims from behind Angel.
He turns to look at her and repeats the name.
"What does he have to do with anything? And why did Wesley drop everything to run over there. Doesn't he realize what an important mission he should be on right now? He was on the verge of something. Now he just walks out of here to run to Sunnydale?" Angel is getting more and more irate by the second. "Fine, the hell with him. Fred, where's that book? I'll find the answers myself."
Fred opens her mouth but closes it as she looks at Gunn. He's shaking his head no and Angel turns to catch him.
"What? What's that about?" He demands.
"We don't have the book Angel." Gunn answers.
"And why not?" He prods.
"Wesley took it." Fred says quickly.
"Wesley took...why would he do that? What purpose could it serve in Sunnydale?" Angel waits for an answer but when none comes his face registers a new statement.
He looks from one to the other and then begins shaking his head.
"No." He begins backing away. "He's not going to tell her. He can't be the one to tell her."
"I don't think that's what he's going to do." Gunn says.
"Then what else could it be? Unless..." He stops again to reflect.
"No...he can't." Angel says growing louder and more angry until his face transforms to the vamp.
"My son has nothing to do with Buffy." He growls.
Gunn and Fred are starting to look frightened for their safety.
Interior: Buffy's house
Dawn is in kitchen with Anya and Xander. They look up when Buffy enters.
"There you are." Dawn says.
"Here I am." says Buffy.
Xander is searching Buffy’s face for something but never seems to find it before standing up.
"Alright, it's almost morning and we're leaving." he announces reaching for Anya.
"We are?" Anya asks surprised.
"Yes." Xander insists. "Buffy we'll see you tomorrow. I think we all need to spend the day together...preferably in direct sunlight."
Buffy doesn't miss his meaning and simply nods her head in silent agreement. She watches them leave and finally moves to the refrigerator after they have closed the door behind them. Dawn is just about to say something when the phone rings. She picks up the cordless off the counter and answers it.
"Hello? Yeah she's right here. May I ask who's calling?"
Buffy has turned to face Dawn and sees her statement change dramatically.
"What's wrong Dawn?" Buffy asks setting the drink on the counter. "Who's on the phone?"
Dawn takes the phone form her ear slowly and extends it at the same time she answers. "It's Angel."
Buffy’s face registers shock and trepidation as she takes the receiver. She has to will herself to speak.
Cut to Angel in hotel.
"Buffy, have you seen Wesley yet?" He asks coldly.
Back to Buffy "Wesley? No am I supposed to?"
Back to Angel: "I'm not sure. I just found out that Willow contacted him and they made plans to meet in Sunnydale."
"Buffy: "When? Why? I saw Willow last night or earlier tonight and she didn't say a word. And why do you sound angry?"
Angel seems to ponder what to say: "I'm not angry. I just want to find out what they're keeping from me."
Buffy: "And you think I'm in on it?"
"I didn't say that. Listen I'm coming down there. If you see them you tell them I said not to say or do anything before I get there." Angel instructs.
"Yes Sir. Is there anything else?" Snaps Buffy.
Angels face softens considerably at her tone.
"I'm sorry. I'll explain everything when I see you. I'm on my way."
He doesn't wait for a reply before hanging up. He spins around to find Cordelia standing there holding his sleeping son.
"You're going to see Buffy?" She asks.
"No...I mean yes." Stammers Angel uncomfortably. "Wesley went to Sunnydale with the book that had the reference he was studying and I have to know why."
"So you think Buffy has something to do with..." Cordelia absently reaches her hands up around the infant.
"No!" Gunn and Fred both say in unison.
They obviously don't want to see Angel in vamp face again. Angel looks at them a bit perturbed for their reaction.
"I don't know anything for sure except that Wesley is way off base. My life is no longer involved with Buffy's. We all need to accept that." He explains adamantly.
The three look at him in disbelief.
"So I'll stay with the baby." Cordy offers.
"Yes that would help, but not here." Angel replies.
"Gunn, you and Fred stay here and keep researching." Angel ignores Cordy's question. "If Wesley is as far off base as I'm sure he is, then we can't afford to lose more time. Cordelia, I need your help with my son but I want you w/ me. We'll all go to Sunnydale where I can protect us."
"Angel..." Cordelia begins.
"Cordy please!" Angel interrupts.
She looks into his eyes and sees there is no other option. She nod her head weakly.
Cut to exterior: Willow and Wesley are marching determinedly down a residential street.
"This can't be possible. It can't be real." Willow says to no one in particular.
"I'm afraid the more we talk, the more certain I am that it is." Wesley replies.
"Why would they do this? Those powers that be must have a sick and twisted sense of humor." She moans.
"I doubt that they see any humor in this situation at all. It would seem that this was what they considered their only option." Wesley reasons.
"Well this option sucks!" Cries Willow.
"My my Willow! I haven't heard such language from you in some time." Spike teases stepping from the shadows to block their path.
Wesley screams and stops in his tracks. Spike rolls his eyes.
"I don't have time for you Spike." Warns Willow.
"You don't have time? Why is it that when you and the Scooby gang need my help you never ask if I have time? How is your life more important than mine?" Spike accuses.
"My God, you have turned into a sniveling idiot." Wesley muses.
"Watch it friend." Spike warns menacingly.
"Yes I'll watch." Wesley agrees. "I'll watch you make idle threats."
Spikes eyes widen at him for a second before turning to face Willow.
"Must you ensure that everyone knows of my handicap?" He snaps.
"Can we do this later Spike? We're kind of in the middle of something. Big things going on." Willow mumbles as she pushes past him.
Spike watches them walk away with a bemused statement only to have it disappear and replaced by realization.
"Wait. That's the bloke from LA. He works with Angel." He says to himself.
He stands a bit longer deep in thought before he registers shock and strides purposefully after them.
Interior: Motel room
Angel watches silently as Cordelia places a blanket over the infant asleep on the bed.
"I just think it's best not to let them see him yet." He says.
Cordelia nods in agreement.
"If anything happens, call me." He says holding up his cell phone.
She nods and he starts to say something but stops short. Instead he reaches to rest his hand on her shoulder for a moment of silent communication. Finally he turns to leave.
Interior Buffy's house
Willow and Wesley walk in and Buffy meets them in the living room.
"There you are." She says sharply.
"Yes. Why don't you look surprised?" Willow asks.
"Maybe because Angel called demanding to know where Wesley was. Imagine my shock." She answers sarcastically.
"Yes, well Willow and I wanted to discuss some things before we informed anyone else." Wesley explains.
"I gathered. So Are you ready to explain why you've taken it upon yourselves to bring Angel to Sunnydale?" Buffy demands.
"Angel's coming to Sunnydale!" Willow exclaims.
Her and Wesley exchange a look but before Buffy can ask what it was the door bursts open. Spike is standing in the doorway.
"Angel's coming back!" He yells.
Willow and Wesley turn in surprise and shock and Buffy starts to crumble.
"Spike! What the hell are you doing here?" She cries. "Isn't it almost daybreak?"
"Nevermind bloody daybreak!" He yells. "I heard them say Angel's coming back!"
"It's not your concern!" Buffy cries.
"Not my concern? Are you bent love? Angels coming to Sunnydale to see you and it's not my concern! How is that not my concern?" He demands loudly.
"The better question might be how would anything I do be your concern?"
Spike wheels around to find himself face to face with Angel. Willow and Wesley are too shocked to move. Buffy seems too stunned to speak.
The group faces off for several moments...
Interior Buffy’s House
Spike and Angel are still staring at each other. Neither willing to be the first to look away. Willow and Wesley are still watching with mouths agape. Buffy is still as well until Dawn walks in and sees the scene. This breaks Buffy out of her trance.
"Dawn. Go upstairs." She says firmly.
"But..." Dawn begins.
"Now!" She says causing Dawn to almost run up the stairs. Buffy steps past Spike and faces Angel.
He's distracted by Buffy and lowers his eyes to hers. They stare at one another for some time not sure of how to react.
"Oh bloody hell!" Spike spats in disgust.
Angel looks back at him as he plops into a chair.
"What is your problem?" He demands.
Buffy reaches up to touch Angels arm and he forgets about Spike once again.
"I can't believe you're here." She says.
"It's me." He answers reaching up to his arm to cover her hand with his own.
Again there is silence as they stare at one another.
Wesley finally clears his throat nervously reminding them of their surroundings.
"Wesley." Angel says dropping his hand to step towards him.
"Hi Angel!" Willow says cheerfully as she steps in front of Wesley. "Long time no see."
Angel stops and nods at Willow briskly.
"Okay enough with the pleasantries." Buffy says stepping up to stand at Angels side. "We can visit after you two explain yourselves."
Willow and Wesley look at one another and around the room nervously. Spike sees them and raises an eyebrow but remains silent.
"Well, it's still not perfectly clear." Willow begins. "There's a lot of questions that we need answers to..."
"Fine!" Angel snaps. "So if you don't know what's going on yet, why are we here?"
"I didn't plan on you following me." Wesley defends. "We had no intention of..."
"Your intentions, however misleading, are irrelevant." Buffy interjects.
Wesley closes his mouth and looks to Willow for help.
"It's my fault." She stammers. "I called Wesley last night after you left Buffy."
"Why would you do that Will?" Buffy asks.
"I don't know really." She mumbles. "But after what you said about An..."
"You told him what I said?" Buffy accuses.
"NO! Not at first anyway. But I had to once he explained..." Willow tries to say.
"Wait!" Angel interrupts. "What did you say last night Buffy? And even more importantly, what did you explain Wesley?"
"I didn't say anything!" Buffy exclaims defensively.
"I only told Willow what was necessary!" Cried Wesley indignantly.
"And I guess I'm just the ex-boyfriend that's not important anymore right?" Angel demands looking at Wesley and then Buffy.
"Alright!" Spike says standing up. "That's my cue!"
Will sees Spike take a step towards Buffy and she snaps.
"NO!" She yells causing everyone to shut up and look at her. "Spike, you don't belong here. Not now. Buffy, I called Wesley to try and help you. Angel, if you weren't important then none of us would be here right now. So give Wesley and I a chance to tell you what we've found out before you all start attacking!"
Everyone is still for a moment while they contemplate Willows words. Finally Spike speaks.
"I'm not going anywhere." He states flatly.
Angel turns to him to say something but Buffy beats him to it.
"Spike go home." She says. Spike starts to say something but doesn't. Instead he mumbles another curse under his breath before exiting, making sure to knock Angel aside in his haste.
Angel starts to go after him but Buffy quiets him. She turns back to Willow and motions for everyone to sit down.
"The floor is yours." She says to Willow.
Willow hesitates and looks at Wesley. He gives her a nod of encouragement and she takes a deep breath.
"Buffy, you know you haven't been yourself lately." She begins slowly. "Not since I um...brought you back."
She seems to choke on the words and Angel glances to see that Buffy is obviously uncomfortable.
"You said that you felt like Angel knew something was wrong when you saw him but you wouldn't tell me anything else. I called Wesley in hopes that I could hear Angel's version."
Buffy snaps her head sideways to meet Angel's gaze.
"I didn't..." He begins
"No you didn't." Wesley interrupts. "I told Willow that you were also keeping those details to yourself. In turn Willow explained her concern for Buffy's recent actions."
"Actions?" Angel Asks.
"It's not important." Willow says quickly. "The point is she hasn't been right since she came back."
"So if Wesley couldn’t' tell you anything, why did he come all the way to Sunnydale?" Angel questions.
"Well her remarks struck a chord in me about your current situation as it were." Wesley explains.
"Situation?" Buffy asks.
"Without boring you with the details, Angel Investigations has taken a case of apparent immaculate conception, if you will, except the parents did have um...relations." Wesley continues.
"So it wouldn't be very immaculate now would it?" Buffy asks. "But what does this have to do with me?"
"Yes Wesley" Angel inquires. "What could that possibly have to do with Buffy?"
Wesley seems at a loss and turns to Willow.
"I think I can help with that." Willow takes over. "See, their case is involving a baby that was born from death and at least in part from evil yet seems to be very much alive and seemingly pure."
"Yay for it." Says Buffy tiredly.
"Exactly. But then there's you." Willow says. "You um...died months ago fighting evil. I thought you were suffering so I brought you back."
She stops searching for the right words.
"I know I'm not getting any older but some of you are." Prods Angel.
"Of course." Wesley agrees. "Willow was saying she brought her back from what she thought was a hell dimension. Unfortunately it has since been revealed that you were quite at peace wherever you were."
Angel turns back to Buffy to see her head lowered.
"So if that wasn't bad enough." Willow starts again. "I also allowed a hitchhiker to come with you to our world. Remember?"
"Yes." Buffy answers softly.
"What got lost in that was the fact that when we did the spell we were interrupted and I never finished the incantation. At the time I assumed since you were back that I had finished enough that it worked."
"That would seem obvious." Buffy says looking up finally.
"But Wesley suggested that our hitchhiker might not have been quite what we thought." Willow continues.
"Um I think you're mistaken. It was a demon from another dimension and it tried to kill me." Buffy interjects. "Hence the chopping off of the head."
"Yes, but if it truly hitchhiked on you and you weren't in hell, then how did a demon get in heaven?" Wesley asks.
Buffy doesn't answer and slumps down in confusion at the ramifications.
"So you're implying that Buffy killed an Angel?" Asks Angel.
"No! God no!" Cried Willow. "We don't think it was that kind of hitchhiker at all!"
Buffy stands up obviously distraught. She turns away from the others to hide her thoughts.
"Enough." Insists Angel standing to comfort Buffy. "Look what you're doing to her."
"I'm sorry Buffy. I really am." Cries Willow.
"It's fine." Buffy says turning into Angels arms. "Just finish."
Willow watches them holding each other and a tear spills over her lashes. She turns to Wesley pleading but he motions for her to continue.
"Buffy, I think the hitchhiker was actually a part of you. I'm not sure what, your soul, or your heart or something. It wasn't able to rejoin the rest of your being before the spell was interrupted. It tried to come along anyway but lost you in transition. Without the rest of you to protect it in this dimension, it turned evil. When I solidified it and you killed it, it went back to wherever it came from." She finally stopped and held her breath.
Buffy slowly rose from Angels chest and looked at Willow.
"Are you telling me that I killed myself or at least the best part of me? That’s why I'm doing these awful things?" She asked horrified.
Willow can't answer and instead just nods her head as more tears fall.
There is silence until Wesley finally speaks up.
"I'm afraid that's not all."
Angel sends him a warning glare.
"What else could there be? I can't fix this." Buffy mumbles. "I'll never be right again."
"That's not exactly true." Wesley says quietly.
"Wesley you had better know what you're talking about." Angel warns.
Wesley looks at him and then the ladies before replying.
"I'm afraid I do Angel. I'm really afraid I do..."
Gunn and Fred are silently reading when Gunn stands up suddenly.
"I can't take it anymore!" He complains. "Since when am I the bookworm?"
Fred looks up concerned.
"Please don't be mad Gunn. I'm sure we'll hear something soon."
"That's not the point. We should be with them." He insists.
"Yes, well Angel said..." Fred begins.
"Exactly!" Interrupts Gunn. "Since when do we take orders from Angel? Wesley is the boss now and he never said anything about staying here."
Fred watches him as he turns to pick up the keys to his truck.
"Fred, don't you dare tell me what to do. I'm going to Sunnydale to find them. Are you coming or not?" Gunn asks.
"But you've never even been there before." Fred points out. "How will you even know where to look?"
Gunn pauses only briefly before leveling a bemused statement on Fred.
"Have you learned nothing in your time here Fred? When it comes to Angel, things always have a way of becoming painfully obvious." He quips.
Interior: Motel room
Cordelia is sitting in a chair watching the baby sleep. She stands to walk to the window and pulls back the curtains. She searches the empty street and then notices the sun peeking over the horizon. A look of fear spreads across her features as she realizes that Angel won't be able to come to them soon. She takes one step before a blinding vision consumes her. She collapses in pain.
Interior: Buffy’s house
Angel is still holding Buffy and Dawn has snuck down to the top of the stairs. She has obviously overheard some of the conversation.
"Wesley stop stalling." He demands. "You two have found a way to fix this yes?"
"I believe we have." Wesley replies.
Buffy finally straightens and faces the two across from her.
"Why are you hesitating? What haven't you told me" She asks.
Wesley looks from her to Angel.
"It would seem that your current situation is the cause of ours at Angel investigations." He says cryptically.
Buffy is confused and looks to Angel to find that he seems to have understood every word. He slowly releases her and she watches his face become more and more enraged. She's seen it before and knows that he will soon vamp out.
"Angel?" She says pleadingly.
He doesn't see her though. His face transforms and he growls one word. "No."
Willow takes a step back in fear and Wesley struggles to find words to calm him. Dawn hears the silence and steps down to peek around the corner. She sees Angel in vamp face and runs back upstairs.
Interior: Dawns room
She grabs the phone and quickly dials the number.
"Xander?" She says excitedly. "Yes it's Dawn. You have to get over here now!"
Cut to Xander in bed:
"Dawn we just got to sleep." He groans.
"Xander you have to wake up now!" Dawn cries. "Angel's here and I think he's evil!"
Xander sits straight up in the bed waking up Anya.
"Dawn, we're on our way! Stay there...no, get out...no, get Buffy...no, we're coming!" He stands up clumsily and trips over the bedding falling to the floor.
Interior: Motel room
Cordelia writhes in pain as the images burn through her mind. The baby begins to stir at the muffled noise. The visions finally stop and she slowly raises her head. She tries to process everything she has seen. A look of utter horror crosses her face as she turns to look at Angels son.
Interior: Buffy’s house
"Angel? What's happening?" Buffy repeats touching his arm.
He's breathing raggedly as he finally faces Buffy. He growls low once more before his eyes change and he transforms back to human.
"Buffy..." He begins painfully.
"Angel please let me finish." Wesley interrupts.
Buffy and Angel turn to look at him.
"I don’t know if you want to do that Wesley." Angel warns.
Willow steps up nervously
"We can't not tell her." She says.
"Tell me what?" Buffy asks "Why do I suddenly feel like the ex-girlfriend that isn't important anymore?"
Angel looks at her briefly before stepping away again.
"Buffy, let Wesley explain." Willow insists.
"Right then." Wesley begins forcefully. "Buffy we work closely with the powers that be. Shortened version...they guide us on our missions. Supply Cordelia with her visions, etc. They have enormous power and can do, it would seem, almost anything."
He pauses and then continues when no one says anything.
"I found a reference in my research for our case that suggested that the powers that be had granted a soul at the last minute to a being that was destined for evil. This caught my attention because the child in our case had been accused by a very powerful shaman while still in the womb of being 'not meant to be known'. So imagine our surprise when just before birth it was shown to have every attribute given to a human including a soul." Wesley stopped to take a break and collect his thoughts.
Angel's eyes narrowed to wait for him to finish.
"So you think that these powers that be decided to save this kid and give him a soul?" Buffy asks.
"Not exactly." Wesley answers.
"Wesley..." Angel begins menacingly.
"What Wesley means..." Willow interrupts. "is that we think they may have been trying to save someone else, not just the baby."
"Yes." Wesley agrees. "You see, what if they decided o kill two birds with one stone if you will?"
"What?" Buffy and Angel say in unison.
"Let me try." Willow offers. "Buff, Angel, we think that the powers that be were actually given a solution to an already existing problem when you killed the hitchhiker."
They both remain silent.
Exterior: Gunn and Fred are driving through downtown Sunnydale at sunrise. They cut through an alley between two buildings that hide it from the sun. Suddenly someone runs out in front of them before they can stop.
"Oh God!" Fred cries as Gunn stops and jumps out of the cab.
He kneels down by a person laying face down on the street. Suddenly they spring to life and roll away to jump up. Gunn watches as Spike faces him vamped out with blood running down his mouth.
His eyes widen as he jumps into fighting mode. Spike is unable to defend himself and is being pummeled.
Interior: Cordy in motel room.
The baby is fussing now and she dials the phone frantically.
Cut to Angel: Phone rings and he startles. Realizing who it must be he hurriedly answers it. He speaks briefly and hangs up.
"I have to go." He announces.
"You can't!" Cries Buffy.
"I have to. You don't understand." Angel replies.
"No you don't." Buffy insists pointing at the window.
Angel turns to see the sun shining through the glass.
"Oh no." He mumbles.
Wesley steps to grab his arm and pull him to speak privately.
"Is it the child?" He asks.
"Yes." Angel says. "Cordy's in a motel room out on the old highway. She had a vision about my boy. I have to get to them."
"Let me." Wesley offers. "You must stay here and finish this. You have to tell Buffy before I get back."
Angel nods grimly. Wesley turns and announces he must leave. Willow seems confused but he tells her she can finish. He doesn't wait for arguments before turning to leave.
Gunn stops hitting Spike when he realizes he's not fighting back.
"What kind of vamp are you?" He demands. "Why wont you fight me?"
"If only I could." Spike mumbles standing up in human face.
"Why can't you?" Gunn asks still weary of him.
"Long story short friend." Spike quips. "My human feeding days are over. Some friends of yours did some scientific mojo on my head."
"Then I guess they are my friends." Gunn agrees looking back at Fred still sitting in the truck. "And I thought a vamp with a soul was weird."
"Vamp with a soul?" Spike exclaims. "Do you know Angel?"
Gunn turns in surprise...
Interior: Buffy’s house
"Okay, can we please finish this?" Buffy asks out loud when Wesley leaves. "Willow, please just tell me everything without the drama."
Willow nods weakly and looks at Angel. She can tell he wonders how much she really knows.
"Alright. We're running out of time I guess." She says to Buffy's surprise. "Um...I guess the best way to say it is to just..."
"Willow!" Cry Angel and Buffy frustrated.
"Okay okay." Willow stammers. "Buffy, Wesley and I think that the powers that be took mercy on you after you killed your...well I believe your soul. They knew that it had all been a huge mistake that you could not be held responsible for. But then the problem became, how could they get your missing part back to you? That's where the baby comes in."
She looks at Angel and hesitates. He nods slightly and she takes another breath.
"They would have known that this child was going to be born. You know, omniscient and all. But how could they prevent this new evil from being brought forth? But then look! Buffy chopped her soul's head off! Now it's coming back." Willow tries to make light of the somber facts to no avail.
"Not seeing the humor here Will." Buffy warns.
"Oh...okay then." Willow stammers. "Anyway, they wanted to give you another chance at regaining your soul. But it had to have a vessel. So..." She stops and looks at Angel.
"So they placed Buffy's soul in the baby." He states with despair.
"It's not for sure or anything." Willow offers. "but it's pretty coincidental don't you think?"
"Wait." Buffy interjects. "Why would they choose this child? What was so special about it that they made Angel get involved?"
Willow doesn't answer and Buffy turns to look at Angel.
"I was already involved." he says quietly.
Buffy is about to ask something when the door bursts open again. This time it's Xander charging through with a raised cross over his head. He sees Angel and runs towards him.
"Back Angelus!" He screams thrusting the cross to Angel.
Angel jerks away in surprise and pain and Buffy knocks the cross from Xander’s hand.
"Ouch!" Xander cries turning to Buffy. "Hit your friends much?"
"Attack good guys much?" Buffy retaliates.
"What?" Xander says looking from her to Angel who has stood up to face him. "Angel? Why are you not a vampire?"
"I am, you moron. Why are you not a grown up?" He snaps.
"Okay that’s enough." Says Willow stepping around Xander to face him.
"What are you doing?" She demands.
"Dawn called and said that Angel was evil. I came to help." He says defensively.
"DAWN!" Buffy hollers irritated.
Dawn peeks around the corner and slowly walks into the room.
"I saw Angel turn into a vampire earlier. I thought you were in trouble. I was trying to help." Dawn reasons.
"Now I remember why I left. You people will never let me live that turning evil thing down will you?" Angel says to no one in particular.
"That's it. Dawn get back to your room and don't come down here again. Xander Anya, if you want to help then sit down and shut up. Angel, please don't let this distract us from the important point here. Willow, how is Angel involved in this?" Buffy asks.
"I think Angel would want to tell you that part." She says weakly.
Buffy turns to face an obviously pained Angel.
Interior: Motel room
Cordy jumps when there's a knock on the door. She opens it and is surprised to find Wesley standing there.
"I'm here to take you to Angel." He says. "Is the baby...?"
"Yes, the baby's fine...for now." Cordy answers going to pick up the infant. "I had a vision, something really bad is in store for all of us. I'll explain when we get to Angel. Where is he?"
She grabs the diaper bag and throws it over her shoulder.
"He's at Buffy's." Wesley says.
Cordelia stops to look at him. "Still?"
"I'm afraid so. It appears that Willow and I were justified in joining forces. We were trying to fill him and Buffy in when you called." Wesley explains.
"So does she know about...?" She nods to the child in her arms.
"Not when I left." Wesley answers. "But he knows that he must before we get there."
Wesley goes and calls Angel. He tells him that Cordy and the baby are safe and they are on their way. The three of them leave the motel and head to Buffy's.
"What did I tell you Fred?" Gunn asks. "When it comes to Angel, things always become evident."
Spike listens and rolls his eyes.
"Yes, Angel is so all consuming important in the universe that we all are merely caught up in his gravity." He snips.
"Okay, I sense major history here.' Gunn says to him. "But since I don't have the time, why don't you just tell me where I can find Angel?"
"How about if I show you? I was trying to find a way back there anyway." Spike offers.
"Find a way?" Fred asks.
Spike points up to the sunlit sky. "I can't exactly walk there. If you let me hide from that pesky sun in your truck, then I'll take you to them."
"Alright, but no tricks. You seem harmless enough but I've learned that I can't trust vampires no matter how personable they may be." Gunn says starting to get in the truck.
"Good theory." Spike agrees.
The three climb into the cab.
Interior: Buffy's house
"Angel? What is it? What's going on?" Buffy asks.
Angel searches her face before turning his back to her. He seems to be at a loss for words.
"Angel...Wesley will be here soon." Willow reminds him.
"Wesley's here?" Xander asks from the couch. "Well it's like we're having a high school reunion. All we're missing is Cordy."
Angel looks up at her name and Xander stops talking.
"Cordy's here?" He squeaks.
"Cordy? You mean, ex-girlfriend taker of my powers Cordelia?" Anya asks. "This makes me feel distressed."
"No worries." Xander assures her. "She'll be thrilled for us I'm sure."
"Can we stop losing focus please?" Buffy interjects. "Angel how are you involved with this baby? Is it just a case?"
"Not exactly." he says timidly.
"What's with the drama?" Xander asks. "I mean this baby or whatever, it's not like it yours or anything?" He jokes.
Angel freezes and Willow gasps. Buffy notices and begins to move past curious.
"Xander, shut up!" Willow hisses.
"What?" He asks innocently. "Angel knows vampires can't have babies. Right Angel?"
Angel closes his eyes against the words and Buffy watches him carefully. She opens her mouth but stops when she seems to realize what is happening.
"Oh my God." She mumbles. "Angel? Please tell me this isn’t your child. It can't be your child."
Angel painstakingly raises his eyes to look at her and she stares for a moment. The room is deadly silent while they stare.
Buffy suddenly breaks the silence by stumbling from the room. Xander and Anya sit on the couch with mouths agape and Willow fights back tears. Angel looks at all of them before racing after Buffy. The rest sit still until the door opens again and Wesley enters with Cordy just behind him carrying the baby.
Wesley: We're back!
Willow: Buffy. (She points)
Anya: Angel's baby?
Xander: Cordelia's baby?
Everyone stares for a moment before Xander starts jumping up and down pointing.
"Angel and Cordy's baby!"
"What?" Ask Cordy and Wesley in unison.
"The baby." Xander points again. "Who's baby?"
"Did you have a baby with Angel?" Anya asks bluntly.
"Are you crazy?" Cordy asks amused.
"Can everybody just stop for a minute?" Willow cries.
"Yes." Wesley says leading Cordy to sit down with the child. "Now I know this is all quite overwhelming but we mustn’t get carried away with wild ideas."
"Excuse me?" Xander says. "Angel just practically admitted to being a father and then took off after Buffy. Then you come strolling in with Cordy holding a baby. What are we supposed to think?"
"You're supposed to think about your friends and their feelings." willow accuses.
"And who exactly are these friends that I'm supposed to be thinking about. There's a few too many old friends here to keep straight." Xander defends.
Before anything else can be said, the sound of more footsteps running into the house are heard. They all turn to see Spike rush in covered by a smoking blanket. He whips it off as Gunn and Fred walk calmly through the door.
Everyone now is just scanning everyone else trying to take it all in. The room is filled with people and nobody seems able to process it all.
Cut to Buffy’s room
"Buffy please let me in." Angel is talking to a closed door. There is no response. "Come on, we both know that I can get through this thing easily. Don't make me damage the frame."
After a moment the door opens slowly and Angel is surprised to see a visibly unaffected Buffy.
"I can't even cry." She whines. "I want nothing more than to cry until I can't see, but I haven't been able to shed a tear since my return."
Angel watches her struggling to control his emotions. Just as he reaches out to her, a baby's wail is heard from downstairs. He stops and turns toward the direction of the sound.
"I guess that's where my tears went." Buffy whispers...
Interior: Buffy's room.
Angel has heard Buffy’s comment and he freezes. He can't bring himself to answer her.
"I think you better go." She says quietly.
Angel stares at her still not moving.
Cut to Buffy's living room. Cordy is pacing the floor trying to quiet the baby. The others just watch her amazed.
"Cordy a mommy? And I thought the hellmouth was bizarre." Xander quips.
"Nice to see that you haven't changed a bit." Snaps Cordy.
"Yes he has!" Anya defends. "Xander’s engaged. To me!" She holds up the ring for everyone to see. Cordy rolls her eyes.
"Yes, well congratulations then." Wesley dismisses. "Willow, have you told them?"
"Yes. Everything except suggesting what they should do. Buffy kind of left before I could get to that part." She answers slowly.
"Somebody better bloody well tell me what is going on!" Spike demands.
"I hate to admit it, but I'm with the vamp here." Gunn speaks up.
"Somebody should be." Spike insists.
"I don't think we've met." Xander says to Gunn and Fred.
"Hi." Smiles Fred.
"Excuse me." Interrupts Cordelia. "Can someone tell me where Angel is? I have to tell him about my vision now!"
"That's right. Willow said something about you getting visions." Xander says. "So what was it? Go ahead, share."
"I don't think it's any of your business." She replies.
"Why are you so hostile?" Anya asks in her blunt style.
"Okay, listen I'm putting my foot down now." Wesley says. "There's far too many people here to keep straight and far too much explaining to do. We must wait until Buffy and Angel return to get into all this."
"So where are they?" Spike asks sharply. "What are the two long lost lovebirds up to?"
"I don't think you need to be jealous about them Spike." Xander says. "Something tells me there's no love being shared between those two right now."
"Spike's jealous?" Cordelia questions curiously.
Cut to Buffy’s room:
"I'm not going without you." Angel finally speaks. "We have to figure this out together. That's obviously what they want."
"Yes, they meaning your powers that be." Buffy says evenly. "What about what we want?"
"I think we went past what we wanted a long time ago Buffy. You know that." He answers.
"Yes. You and I...fighters of evil, guardians of good, protectors of blah,blah,blah. Why don't they ever reward us for all the work we do for them? Why must we be continually punished?" Demands Buffy.
"It's not punishment. At least not for you." Angel offers. "They did this to help you."
"Oh, so does that mean you conceived a child with someone to protect me too? Because I don't think I need any more of that kind of protection." She replies.
Angel stops to swallow down the pain that Buffy’s words cause.
"Buffy, let me explain."
"What? I think it's pretty evident. You left me to give me a normal life and ensure that I could procreate and then you went and procreated yourself. Not too hard to understand. So who was it? One of those LA sluts that party until the wee hours of the morning when you're at your best?" She jabs.
"That's not fair. You know I'm not like that. It was a bad time and I had a lapse. It wasn't anything I was proud of at the time." He defends.
"So it was somebody you know? Is it somebody I know?" She asks.
At that moment Cordy calls from downstairs.
"Angel! I need you down here!" She yells.
Buffy recognizes the voice and her eyes become huge. She looks at Angel and before he can realize what she's thinking she pushes him away. Unfortunately, her slayer strength propels him backwards down the stairs and he falls to a heap at Cordy's feet.
"Angel!" She cries reaching down to help him up.
The commotion has brought everyone in from the living room, even Willow who is now holding the infant.
"That's my girl!" Spike smiles looking up at Buffy standing at the top of the stairs.
Angel is standing and catches his words.
"Your what?" He snaps harshly.
Buffy sees the exchange and charges down the stairs. She sees everyone as she steps off the last stair and stops short of saying anything.
"Hello Buffy. Problem?" Cordelia asks sarcastically.
"Would you like to be?" Asks Buffy raising an eyebrow.
"Alright that's enough." Gunn says stepping to Buffy. "Look, I don't know what's going on, but you can't just throw people down the stairs and then threaten their friends."
"And you would be?" Buffy asks.
"A friend." Cordy answers.
"Yes introductions quickly please." Wesley instructs.
Gunn: Gunn (points to Fred) Fred. (she waves and smiles slightly)
Buffy: Buffy. you know Xander?
Gunn: We met.
"Good. That should do for now." Wesley announces. "Now Cordelia, we're all in this together. So no time for secrets. Tell us about your vision."
Cordelia looks to Angel and he nods silently.
"The baby's in danger. I didn't see what or who, but it was like I was watching him have the life sucked out of him. He was crying and kicking but I couldn't help." She says.
"Did you see where this was happening?" Angel asks.
"No not really. It was like something was killing him from the inside." She mumbles.
Angel looks to his son in Willow's arms and walks to take him. Buffy watches silently in amazement.
"So what's the plan?" Angel asks. "I will not let any harm come to my son."
"Your son?" Spike asks. "Did I miss a vampire memo?"
"Glad to see I'm not the only one a bit confused." Xander agrees.
"It's not easy to understand for any of us." Willow says. "But Buffy and Angel have been brought together again for a reason. And Wesley and I think we know what it is."
"Do tell." Xander prods.
"There's really nothing to tell." Spike interrupts. "Angel has obviously moved past Buffy and chosen to have a family with...who exactly did you have the family with?"
"Cordelia." Anya announces.
Buffy grimaces and sits down on the stair behind her.
"Cordelia?" Cries Wesley. "That's absurd."
Buffy looks up surprised to see that Cordelia is nodding in agreement.
"Try Darla." She informs everyone.
"Darla?" Buffy says standing again. "Darla, your sire that you staked to save me Darla?"
"Sweet!" Spike quips. "That Darla never did cease to amaze me."
"Are you still here?" Angel questions harshly.
"Stop!" Buffy says. "Darla is his mother." Buffy asks again.
Angel only nods in admission.
"Can somebody help me here? Aren't vampires the undead?" Xander says raising a hand. "Undead as in not living, thus not being able to give life?"
"That's right honey." Anya agrees. "You know your stuff."
"Can we not discuss the impossibilities that this would appear to contradict?" Willow interrupts again. "Cordy had a vision, now last time I heard, they were usually followed pretty closely by the actual event. So I have to think that we need to get answers and quick. Angel, I never finished telling you what Wesley and I decided."
"What was that?" Angel asks.
"Well, I think you know." Wesley speaks up. "There's only one way to get the kind of answers you need."
Angel hesitates before answering.
"The oracles." He says simply.
"Yes, I believe they can be our only hope." Wesley explains.
"Oracles? Who are the oracles?" Buffy asks.
"There's not time I'm afraid." Wesley says. "Angel, can you contact them from here?"
"If I have the right equipment." He replies.
Willow steps forward.
"Wesley told me about the ritual. I have these things from the shop." She hold up a bag from the magic shop.
"Are those my things? Did you pay me for them?" Anya cries.
"Not now honey." Xander grabs her arm.
"I'm going with you." Buffy says when Angel turns.
"You can't. Humans can't cross over." He answers.
"Well, then it's a good thing I'm not altogether human then isn't it?" She retorts.
Angel starts to argue but decided against it. He looks at the child and hands him to Wesley.
"You watch him." He instructs.
"we all will." Willow offers.
Angel and Buffy start back up the stairs to find a private place. Spike takes a step after them but Gunn reaches out to stop him.
"I don't think we should get involved with this." he warns.
Spike wants desperately to say something but his mouth remains closed. Only the muscles in his jaw betray his calm demeanor.
Cordelia seems to be watching the pair with more than casual interest.
Cut to Buffy and Angel alone in a room. He finishes the preparations and looks at Buffy.
"Ready?" he asks.
"I suppose." She nods.
"Oh! I almost forgot." Angel says quickly. "I need something pretty."
Buffy looks at him in complete confusion...
Interior: Buffy's house
"So how long does this take?" Asks Xander.
"The time in the oracles dimension is not the same as here." Wesley explains. "It won't be more than a few minutes."
"Cool." Gunn says.
Cut to Buffy handing Angel an ancient marble statue. She starts to ask him why but he raises a finger to his lips. His finger drops and he intertwines his fingers with hers as he drops the powder into the flame. There is a blinding light and then the two of them are there.
The woman is different. The others have gone on.
"I know of you." The woman says to Angel.
He holds up the statue for her liking.
"I'm not impressed." She dismisses.
"But I am." The man steps forward removing the object with great care. "I like the cold." He says stroking his face with the piece. "Why is she here?"
Angel tightens his hold on Buffy’s hand. She covers both their hands with her own.
"She has a right." Angel says.
"What are rights?" The woman asks. "You people always refer to rights. There are none here. We are all the same."
Buffy starts to say something but decided against it.
"That's right. She doesn't belong here, she was brought back and her..." Angel begins.
"Yes, she was not meant to be back there." the man agrees. "She was denied her soul."
"Yes." Angel says. "We came to ask for a way to get it back."
"You came because you don't like the way you were already given." The woman corrects.
"So it's true." Angel replies.
"They wish for her to have herself restored." the man speaks up. "There was only the one way."
"And if it weren't made to be like this, what would have been my sons destiny?" Angel asks.
"You will never know that." The woman says.
"Why?" Buffy finally speaks. "Why did they choose this child?"
"Because this child chose you." The man says.
Buffy turns a confused eye to Angel. He seems to be at a loss as well.
"There are enemies that are created only for one another. Their purpose is only to mirror the other. Such was this child. It was conceived to bring forth your destruction." The man explains.
"Angel created a child to kill me?" Buffy asks slowly.
"Not Angel. The others. The ones we have fought against for eternity. They chose Angels sire to carry their evil force. Angel was only the soul that gave it life. Any soul would have done." The woman continues.
"So it has nothing to do with me?" Angel asks.
"They made it come to you." The woman begins again. "They alone had the power to send the missing part here. They could have chosen anyone. But they saw what the others were planning and they wished to stop it."
"So they used my son to save her." Angel says resolutely.
"To save us all. The slayer is needed. With one gone away to the others, she is the only one capable of carrying on. Your people need her." The man explains.
"So what will become of my son when he loses her..." Angel can't bring himself to say it.
"He will be done." The woman states evenly.
"Done?" Buffy asks.
"Then take mine." Angel says.
"What?" Asks Buffy surprised.
"You would give up your own soul to save your son's?" The woman asks. "Have you not asked this before?"
"Yes." Angel replies.
"Angel? You've asked them to take your soul before? When?" Buffy asks.
"This is her then." The man says calmly. "She's the slayer that you loved enough to face the memory alone?"
"What memory?" Buffy asks. "What are they talking about?"
Angel shakes his head no and Buffy looks to the oracles.
"You took his soul before?"
"No. It was not ours to take. We simply made his heart stop beating." The woman says.
"That shouldn't have been hard. It hasn't beat in a couple of centuries." She quips.
"You are mistaken. You just don't remember hearing the beats." The woman informs her.
Buffy stares at Angel as he avoids her glance.
"Is this necessary?" Angel asks.
"They believe it is." The man says. "You must know the truth before such a decision."
He turns to look at Buffy.
"He was alive, you were there...together. But he chose to give up his mortal life to save yours."
Buffy shakes her head in disbelief.
"It is a fact. Everything you've done to this point has been recorded by them." The woman says.
"It's not important now." Angel interrupts.
"Everything is important in your lives. The two of you were chosen and you stood up together against it all." The man continues. "All the enemies, all the trials they led you to this day."
"The powers that be wanted us to experience all the pain and suffering we've endured?" Buffy asks unaware of the tears that are welling in her eyes.
"They wanted you to be worthy. The fate of so many lies within you. How could they take that lightly?" The man asks.
Angel looks at Buffy just as the tears spill. She reaches her free hand up in shock at the feeling. Angel reaches up to wipe a tear away.
"How?" She says.
"Everyone is complete here. All souls...and all memories."
Suddenly, Buffy has the vivid images of her and Angel's time together in LA, she remembers hearing his heartbeat and then his impassioned explanation for giving it up. When she looks up, she sees Angel crying as well and knows that he just experienced it with her. They don't speak.
"You see, he gave up all he became for you." The woman says.
Again a flash of images, Buffy demanding that Angel feed. Telling him she wouldn't let him die, hitting him. Then he drinks, they fall and finally him carrying her in the hospital yelling for help.
"Each of you gave the ultimate sacrifice for the other. It was in preparation for this day. They knew of the fight for the key."
Buffy looks away from Angel finally with a tear stained face.
"They know it all and knew you would make another sacrifice. They intended to fix it, but another power tore you from their grasp."
Buffy knew they were speaking of Willows spell.
"They tried to send it with you but you denied it. You killed it. But it wasn't your doing. Again they knew."
Angel is still holding onto Buffy's hand but his is shaking now.
"Angel, they knew of your regression. They knew of your trials with the Darla creature. And they knew when the others planted the spawn within her. At every turn they were faced with a new complication, but they found a solution. they always do. You may not agree or understand, but this is your path. it will not be changed. You can not trade your path for that of the child’s." The man finally stops.
"So what do we do?" He asks.
"You must give her back her soul." He instructs.
"Why did they let him believe he had a son all this time? What was the higher purpose for that?" Cries Buffy angrily.
"They had to ensure that he would protect it at any cost. If he didn't truly believe it to be his, he wouldn't have treated it with such care. Perhaps you would have never been rejoined with it." The woman reasons.
"Well I don't want it." Buffy says. Angel looks at her in shock.
"What?" He says.
"I don't want it." She repeats. "I won't let them take this from you. I saw you with him. You never believed you'd be a father, I can't be the reason that it's not true. I won't."
"There's no other alternative!" cries the man. "If you don't rejoin with your soul, you will continue to plummet into evil. You will eventually give into the others."
"Plummet into evil?" Angel asks. "When did she plummet into evil?"
"I don't care!" Buffy cries interrupting his thought.
"The slayer without a soul will be destroyed. The powers can not allow such a powerful force to go to the others." The woman warns.
"So then destroy me." Buffy demands calmly.
"Buffy!" Angel cries. "What are you saying? I won't let you do it. I can't."
"He is not mistaken." Points out the man. "He won't allow it. If you go to the others, he will be the one to destroy you. The powers will see to it. The two of you are intertwined throughout eternity. Only one can end the other. Mirrors."
Buffy turns to look at Angel as he shakes his head no over and over...
Interior: Oracles chambers
"Wait." Angel says loudly. "you're not making any sense."
"Your confusion is not our concern." The woman dismisses.
"But you said the two of us were mirrors." Angel ignores her. "Earlier you said the child was the mirror."
"That's right." Buffy agrees.
"Some things are not meant to be known." The man insists.
"If I hear that one more time..." Angel begins but Buffy stops him.
"Please." She says. "I need to know everything."
"Very well." The woman steps closer. "But you were warned."
She nods at the man to continue.
"Each generation has a slayer. That is not only because of the passage of time in your world, but because the Others have made it necessary. For every slayer, there is a chosen mirror. One sent to destroy the slayer."
"Each slayer has a mirror thing after it?" Buffy questions.
"That is the way." The man replies.
"I was hers." Angel muses. Buffy looks at him in shock.
"That was how it was planned. But as with both your paths, there was an outside force that affected the way of Their will." The woman explains.
"The gypsies." Angel says.
"They restored your soul thus altering your path. Instead of searching out your mirror for destruction, your search resulted in love." The man finishes.
Angel and Buffy look at each other as if for the first time.
"You were made to kill me?" Buffy asks.
"And you me." Angel answers.
"The Others were thwarted. They could not create another until the slayer was replaced."
"Faith?" Buffy whispers.
"It wasn't necessary when she joined Them of her own volition." The man says. "So They have waited."
"For what?" Buffy asks.
"For me." Angel says without looking at her.
Buffy is lost again.
"You forgot your soul for a time." The woman continues. "It wasn't lost but you repressed it. The Others saw it and found a way."
"Darla." Angel mumbles.
"When another force brought her back to torment you, the Others uses its effects to their advantage."
"They gave me the impulse...they made me.." Angel stammers.
"Not even the Powers that be can control such urges."
Buffy looks a bit disgusted.
"The Others saw our indiscretion and took advantage." The man repeats. "It was an opportunity for a new mirror."
"So they brought forth another being to seek out my destruction." Buffy says finally catching on. "And who better to provide that being than the one who was taken off the path to begin with?"
She looks at Angel and begins to cry again. His face is pained as he reaches for her but she avoids his touch.
"We never have been able to get it right." She whispers.
"Buffy..." Angel pleads.
"This is why humans can't know the ways of us." The man speaks up. "You believe everything is fated to you. What you never realize is the fate you speak of is only what the Powers allow. You have indeed gotten everything right, just as the Powers foretold."
"So it was right to give us one night of being alive together?" Buffy spats.
"Would you want it not to be now that you know?" The man asks.
Buffy looks down knowing that she would give anything to keep that memory. Angel watches her knowing he feels the same.
"As well it should be." The man finishes.
"So how do we fix this?" Angel asks.
"You already have." The woman replies. "You both came."
"I..I don’t..." Angel begins.
"I'm complete here." Buffy whispers.
Angel looks at her still unclear.
The Oracles both nod silently. Buffy turns to Angel.
"I didn't know Angel." She says shaking her head desperately.
"What?" He asks still confused. He looks form Buffy to the Oracles. He finally begins to see.
"Oh no." He mumbles stepping back. His anger is evident and Buffy grows alarmed.
"That is not to be here." The woman warns.
Angel is breathing hard but he never transforms.
"Angel." Buffy begins again closing the space between them. "Please tell me you believe me. I didn’t know."
Before Angel can speak, the man responds.
"He knows." Buffy and Angel both look at him. "It is the way They chose for you. They knew you would find one another and they knew you would both come. This is Their plan."
"My son is gone." Angel says numbly.
"He was never your true son." Corrects the woman.
Angel groans and Buffy reaches her hand up to cup the side of his face. He looks at her intently before finally speaking.
"I would never wish you not to have this." He says.
"But I never wanted." Buffy begins.
"SShh." Angel places a finger on her lips to quiet her and her eyes close at the feel of him. "You didn't do this." He continues. "Neither of us did."
"That is correct. Now it is time to return. Your questions have been answered as well as they are meant to be." The woman instructs.
"What about the baby?" Buffy asks. "We left a baby when we came here. What will be there when we get back? What do we tell our friends?"
"That is not ours to tell." The man says.
"You know, I don't know what your deal is but..." Buffy starts but Angel stops her.
"You were not completely human when you entered here." The woman continues. "You are now."
Buffy looks at her a bit confused and then reaches for Angel. Just as she touches his hand a blinding light occurs and she closes her eyes.
A haunting melody by Enya is heard.
Who can say where the road goes,
Where the day flows- only time.
And who can say if your love grows,
As your heart chose- only time.
When Buffy opens her eyes, she is back in her room and Angel is not with her. She looks around and realizes he didn't come back with her. She opens the door and sprints downstairs.
"Guys? Where's Angel? Is he here?" She yells looking for the group she had left waiting earlier.
Who can say why your heart flies,
As your love flies-only time.
Who can say why your heart cries,
When your love lies-only time.
They are not where she left them and she starts calling frantically. She finds her way to the kitchen.
Dawn is sitting with Xander and Anya. They look up when Buffy enters.
"There you are." Dawn says.
"Here I..." Buffy stops when she senses deja vu.
"We're leaving." Xander announces. "Are you okay Buffy?"
"Umm...can you give me a minute?"
She turns slowly and walks back to the front door. She opens it to find Spike watching the house. He sees her and smiles slowly.
"Spike." She says. Eventually she returns a slight grin.
Who can say when the roads meet,
That love might be in your heart.
And who can say when the day sleeps,
If the night keeps in your heart.
Cut to Angel in his room in the hotel. He looks around in shock.
Night keeps all your heart.
"Buffy?" He murmurs.
Then a sound breaks into his thoughts. He opens the door and runs downstairs.
"It's about time." Cordy says holding his son. "I said I'd take him for a walk. I didn’t say you could sleep all day."
Angel is completely aghast at the sight of his son.
"Cordy?" He whispers.
"Yeah. What's with you?" She asks.
Angel doesn't answer but just begins to smile.
And who can say if your love grows,
As your heart chose-only time.
And who can say where the road goes,
where the day flows- only time.
Cut to the Oracles
"I have never seen two such as those." The woman says.
"They are more than the powers ever anticipated." The man agrees.
"The child will still be chosen." The woman continues.
"Most assuredly." The man confirms. "This will never be over for them."
Cut to Buffy staring at Spike. He sees something different in her eyes and his smile fade.
Who knows-only time
Cut to Angel holding his son in wonder. Cordy and the rest of the team watch in blissful ignorance.
Who knows- only time.
Interior: Buffy’s room Just before daybreak
She is tossing and turning obviously having a nightmare.
"Angel, I never meant to take him from you." She pleads.
Angel looks at her with seething hatred.
"You have taken everything from me. First my heart, then my soul, then my life and now my son. I will never forgive you."
Buffy cries hysterically trying to stop him but he walks away.
Cut to Buffy screaming and waking up in bed. She looks around frantically and then realizes it was just a dream. She's about to lay back down when something catches her eye.
"Spike, what are you doing here?" She demands.
Spike is sitting on her windowsill watching her. It is eerily reminiscent of when Angel used to come to her.
"I'm waiting for an explanation." Spike replies.
"And you thought maybe I would talk in my sleep?" Buffy asks sarcastically.
He doesn't answer right away and she begins to panic.
"Spike, did I talk in my sleep?" She asks.
He stands and walks over to stand at the end of the bed.
"No love, I didn't hear a word." He smiles sweetly.
Buffy rolls her eyes at his term of endearment and gets out of bed. She walks to stand mere inches from him.
They stare at one another for some time before Spike finally steps back clearing his throat nervously.
"So it's almost time for me to go, will you please tell me what happened so I can rest easy today?" He asks.
"I already told you, nothing happened." She says firmly.
"Why do you insist on being so bloody stubborn? Haven't you learned by now that I never give up?" He goads.
"What do you want from me Spike?" She questions suddenly. When he opens his mouth to answer she holds up a hand in warning. "Don't even think about it."
He closes his mouth and shrugs his shoulders.
"Seriously Spike, where do you see this going? Lets just say for the sake of argument that I actually had feelings for you on some level."
Spike eyes light up and he takes a step towards her before she puts a hand on his chest to stop him.
"IF I had feelings for you, where do you think that would lead?" She repeats.
"That's what I want you to let us find out love." He whispers. "But now I don't know if that's even possible."
"And that's because?" Buffy prods.
"Something happened to you last night. I don't know how and I don't know what, but you walked in this house and something happened. I saw you mere moments later and you weren't the same girl that had rebuffed me just before." Spike explained.
"Well, I'm doing it now so I must be back. Consider yourself rebuffed." Buffy tosses back at him.
Spike looks at her and begins to grow impatient.
"You know I'm beginning to think you like the rough stuff. I may be the sadist in this relationship, but I do believe you are the perfect masochist to suit me." He teases coming closer.
"Shut up Spike." Buffy dismisses moving past him and then she stops. She turns around changing her mind. "No, actually you can just shut up and hit me."
"What?" He asks harshly.
Buffy looks at him sweetly before backhanding him across the face.
"I said, shut up and hit me." She repeats.
Spike rubs his jaw and narrows his eyes ready to attack.
Cut to interior: Hotel
The group is returning from the hospital. Connor is sleeping as Angel pushes the stroller to a stop by the desk.
"Here, let me put him to bed." Cordy offers reaching to take the baby.
"No!" Angel stops her.
She looks at him hurt by his continual insistence on doing it all.
"Angel, we took him to the hospital and he's fine. I carried him in to see the doctor, you weren't there. And still he's fine." She pleads. "You let me put him in the stroller, why can't I take him to bed?"
Angel takes in the words before speaking.
"I was just going to say I'll take him but I could use your help." He says quietly.
"Oh." Cordy replies. "Okay, you carry him and I'll go ahead and fix the bed." She smiles.
Angel nods and smiles back as she runs up the stairs.
"So you think we're safe putting our guards down for the time being?" Wesley asks as Angel scoops Connor into his arms.
"I will never put my guard down where my son is concerned." Angel says facing Wesley and the others.
"Of course." Wesley says quickly.
"As it should be man." Gunn speaks up.
"I don't think he meant..." Fred stammers.
"It's alright." Angel interrupts with a smirk. "I know what you meant. Just give me a minute to put him down."
They nod and watch him walk away.
Interior: Baby's room
Angel enters and sees that Cordy is holding a blanket to cover the baby with. She smiles when she sees him.
Angel gently places him on his back in the makeshift crib and Cordy reaches to cover him.
He barely stirs and falls into contented slumber. They watch him for a moment in silence.
"I have a son." Angel says in awe.
"Duh." Cordy teases. He looks at her and she smiles. "Just kidding. It's amazing I know."
She puts a hand on his arm and he glances down at it. Something goes through his head but he doesn't say anything. Cordy also looks as if she wants to say something but refrains.
"We better let him rest." She finally speaks up. Angel hesitates and she reads his mind. "Angel, we'll be right downstairs. You can get to him in two seconds. You have to cut the cord."
Angel glances at her sharply.
"So to speak." She adds hastily.
With one last look at Connor, they both turn to leave.
Interior: Hotel lobby
"So Angel really believes that Wolfram and Hart will just heed his warning and back off huh?" Gunn asks impatiently.
"I'm sure he realizes that it won't last forever, but I believe he's hastened a temporary truce." Wesley reasons.
"I never thought we'd make a truce with those people." Says Fred. "They're not exactly peace loving you know."
"She has a point." Gunn agrees.
"That may be true but we have to give Angel some credit. now we must get some sleep. It's almost daybreak and I don’t think any of us have slept for almost 48 hours. And for some reason I feel like I'm more tired than even that calls for. We'll be no good to Angel or the child if we continue tiring ourselves out like this." Wesley reasons.
"Wesley's right." Angel announces joining the others with Cordy following.
"Angel!" Fred startles. "Did the baby go to sleep okay?"
"Of course." Cordy says. "He takes after his father. Sunrise means sleepy time."
The others suppress a grin while Angel scowls at Cordy playfully.
"I think I'll head up if you don't need me." Fred says looking at Angel. "I feel like I've been on the road for days."
"No. Go ahead Fred. Get some sleep." He replies.
"Alright. Only if you do the same." She smiles.
"Right then, well I'm off as well I suppose." Wesley announces.
"I'm right behind you." Gunn says. "You coming Cordy?"
She hesitates looking at Angel but he nods for her to go. She smiles and turns to follow the guys out without saying a word. She looks at him once more before walking out the door and sees he is already headed back up the stairs.
Interior: Xander’s place
"I swear I feel like I had a really strange dream last night, but I can't remember it." He says to Anya while they eat.
"I've done that. Dreams are so pointless. They do nothing but interrupt my much needed sleep. Running a store is hard work you know." Anya says firmly.
"I know honey. You're my little bread winner." He replies condescendingly. "Anyway, it was probably nothing." They eat in silence for a minute.
"I have to get to Buffy's...I mean we, we have to get to Buffy's." Xander says loudly finally remembering what Buffy had told them the night before.
"Oh yeah, we have to keep her in the sunlight today don't we?" Anya questions nonchalantly.
"Yes, and I do believe it's almost time for it to rise, so let's go."
He jumps up and hurriedly starts getting dressed.
Interior: Magic shop
Willow wakes up on the floor by the register. She looks around in a daze and rises to her feet.
"What...why did I sleep here?" She mumbles rubbing her eyes. "Something's not right."
She walks over to look at the books on the floor where Buffy had knocked them down the previous night. Something was ringing a bell but she wasn't sure what or where.
"I have to get to Buffy's." She announces to the empty room before running out the door.
Cut to shots of Wesley, Fred and Cordy sleeping fitfully obviously dreaming.
Cut to Angel sleeping next to the baby. His brow furrows as he too begins to dream...
Interior: Baby's room-Angel and Baby are sleeping. Angel is still dreaming
"Buffy where are you?" Angel calls into the Oracle's chamber.
There's no answer and he begins to yell louder and more persistently.
"She can not hear you." The woman appears suddenly.
"What did you do?" He demands.
"We did nothing. They only finished what was already destined to be." She replied.
"Enough with the riddles." He warns.
"Just because you do not understand our ways does not mean we intend to mislead you.” She continues. "This is your path, there is no other way."
"And what was her path? If I still have my son, what happened to Buffy?"
Just when the woman is ready to answer, a baby's cry pierces the chamber. The woman closes her mouth and Angel turns in surprise.
At that instant Angel awakens and realizes that Connor has woken up. It only takes a moment to forget what he was dreaming and everything else in the face of caring for his child.
Interior: Buffy’s room
Spike is still glaring at Buffy and she watches him to see if he will hit her. When he doesn't move fast enough, she sends a solid upper cut that connects with his jaw. He howls in pain and bends down. When he rises back up he is vamped out and growls.
"There's my boy." Buffy says with a smirk. "Now what are you going to do?"
"I'm not going to hit you pet." He smiles and his face morphs back into human form.
Buffy looks at him in surprise.
"Because I'm going to show you that what we have doesn't have to be about this." He points to his face.
"What we have is exactly this!" Buffy exclaims. "Now hit me damnit!"
Spike just looks at her and she begins to form a theory.
"You know." She whispers.
"What are you blabbing about now?" He asks.
"You said you knew something happened last night." She continues. "You know why I want you to hit me don't you?"
"Well apparently I hit it on the head when I said you were a masochist." He drawls and pushes past her.
"I don't think so." Buffy turns to face him. "You may not know how it happened or what exactly it was, but you're afraid to try and hit me and find out."
"The only thing I'm afraid of dearie." Spike snaps. "Is that if I hit you right now I may not be able to stop this time. I might actually kill you and save us both from this torment!"
With that he grabs a blanket off her bed and jumps through the window into the sunlight.
Exterior: Residential street
Xander and Anya are walking to Buffy’s when he sees Spike running from the house covered with a smoking blanket.
"Oh God, we're too late." he whines.
"Maybe not." Anya offers. "Maybe he showed up for some action and she kicked his biteless vampire butt out of her house."
"We could only be so lucky." Xander replies.
"Xander! Anya!" Willow comes running up behind them.
They spin around startled.
"What is this? See if we can make Xander jump out of his skin day?" Xander says trying to catch his breath.
"What?" Willow asks. "Oh sorry. Are you headed to Buffy's?"
"Why else would we be here?" Anya retorts.
"Right." Willow says weakly. "Say, did anyone else wake up in a strange place today?"
Xander and Anya both look at her in shock.
Wesley walks in the front door and sees Lorne drinking coffee in the lobby.
"Morning sunshine." Lorne quips raising his mug in acknowledgement.
"Not exactly morning." Wesley replies taking off his jacket. "So where are they?"
Lorne nods his head in the direction of the stairs.
"I didn't hear a peep from them all night...or morning. What time is it anyway? I tell you what, this crime fighter lifestyle is going to take some getting used to." Lorne remarks.
"Yes, well the all nighters can be a bit tedious. So did you get enough sleep?" Wesley asks.
"Oh yeah. I'm used to the all nighters by the way, I did have a club you know. It's the fear, tension, stress, etc. that is new to me." Lorne informs him.
"Afternoon gentlemen." Fred greets them cheerily from the stairs.
"There's a vision if I've ever seen one." Lorne compliments causing Fred to blush.
"I don't know about that. I had the strangest dreams while I slept. I could have sworn it happened, but I guess that's why they're dreams." Fred shrugs.
"That's odd." Wesley says quietly.
"What?" Lorne asks. "Last I heard dreams were pretty common among you human folk."
"Yes, that's not what I was referring to." Wesley corrects. "Fred, do you remember these dreams?"
"Not very well. Why?" She says.
"I'm sure it's nothing. But I myself had peculiar dreams while I slept. I woke up thinking of Sunnydale which is odd because I haven't been there in ages."
"Did you say Sunnydale?" Asks Cordy joining them.
"Yes." Wesley answers. "Why?"
"No reason." She says nonchalantly. "Except that I dreamed about Xander Harris last night and that hasn't happened in like never."
"How odd." Wesley repeats.
"Okay." Announces Lorne. "Color me clueless. What and who are you two babbling about? The vibe in this room is really beginning to fester."
"What's festering?" Gunn asks making the group almost complete.
"Hail Hail the gangs all here." Lorne adds.
"Wait!" Wesley interrupts. "Okay why did I just get a sense of deja vu?"
"I feel the same thing." Cordy says. "What's going on?"
"I don't know but you people are trippin." Gunn speaks up. "Lorne's festering, Wesley and Cordy are deja vu-ing and Fred why are you looking at me like that?"
"Can I just ask one thing?" Lorne interjects. "Does this kind of thing happen all the time, because my senses are really getting worked up here. This is supposed to be our safe time remember. I thought that meant no freaky stuff."
"What freaky stuff are you referring to Lorne?" Angel asks.
They all turn to see him coming downstairs with the baby.
"Hey sleepy head." Fred greets.
"Angel." Wesley acknowledges.
Cordelia smiles and walks to take the baby from him. He doesn't hesitate to turn him over.
"Okay, what's going on? What is Lorne talking about?" Angel repeats his question.
"I don't really know." Wesley begins.
"Man I just came in and saw all the drama." Gunn shrugs.
"So Wes, why the drama?" Angel turns to face him.
"I don't think it's drama really." He corrects. "Cordy and I just had a weird dream last night and then Lorne said something about us all being here and I got deja vu."
"So what was the deja vu about?" Angel prods.
"About us all being here, only you weren't here. Isn't that strange?" Wesley asks.
"I can't take the chance that anything that goes on now is just coincidence." angel says. "What were your dreams about anyway?"
Wesley and Cordy look at each other not sure that they want to bring it up.
"What's that?" Angel demands.
"What's what?" Cordy asks looking down at the baby.
"That look. You and Wesley looked...well you looked. And it was a secret look. I don't like secrets." Angel replies.
"You don't like secrets huh?" Cordy says looking at him. "You mean like keeping a secret about having sex with and then impregnating your mommy vampire?"
"Darla was your mommy?" Fred asks wide eyed.
""Now that's an invitation to therapy if I've heard one." Lorne remarks.
"Shut up!" Angel snaps. "She was my sire, not my mother."
"Oh excuse me." Cordy teases. "Big diff."
"Can we please not discuss this in front of the baby?" Angel asks.
"I’m sorry." Cordy says. "You're right."
"Thank you." he replies. "Now back to the dreams. What were they about?"
"It's nothing." Wesley tries changing the subject. "We were all tired and just had a fitful sleep. It's nothing."
Angel looks from Wesley to Cordelia and finally walks to Cordy.
"Please." He says quietly. "I have to know if there's any chance it might affect Connor."
Cordy begins to say something and then looks down at Connor.
"I think you're overreacting but if you must know, I dreamed about Xander."
"Xander?" Angel asks surprised. "As in high school boyfriend Xander?"
"Yes, but how about never calling him that again?" She replies sharply.
"Sorry." He answers. "But Xander? Has this happened before?"
Angels reaction isn't overlooked by Lorne. He raises an eyebrow and smirks.
"Can we get back to the point at hand?" Wesley interrupts. "I also dreamed of Sunnydale last night. I don't remember exactly what it was, but I find it rather disconcerting that Cordy and I would both dream of the past suddenly."
Angel looks down and ponders the ramifications of what might be happening...
Interior: Summers kitchen
Buffy enters and Dawn is cooking lunch.
"Lunch?" She asks.
"It's too late for breakfast and I was hungry." Dawn replies.
Buffy shrugs and walks to the refrigerator. She takes the milk out and pours herself a glass.
"Buffy I had the worst dream last night." Dawn announces.
"Hmmm." Buffy replies as she takes a drink.
"Yeah. I dreamed about that guy Angel. I've never seen him as a vampire before have I?"
Buffy's glass slides from her fingers and crashes to the floor. She doesn't blink an eye as Dawn wheels around in surprise. The back door bursts open and Xander, Anya and Willow charge in.
"What happened?" Xander cries in a defensive stance.
"Buffy?" Willow asks.
She doesn't answer and they all look at one another in wonder and concern...
Interior: Hotel Lobby
"Angel? Is something wrong?" Fred asks.
Angel realizes that he hasn't spoken in the haste of trying to put things together.
"Nothing." He replies dismissively. "I'm just trying to imagine any possible scenarios that would include this dream thing and my son."
"I don't see how there could be man." Gunn speaks up. "It was just dreams."
"Listen to your green friend, folks." Lorne says standing up. "If there's one thing I know it's whenever something is 'just' anything, that means that it will definitely mean pretty much everything."
The others look at him totally dumbfounded.
"What?" Lorne asks innocently.
Interior: Buffy's kitchen
"Xander?" Dawn asks. "It was just a glass. What's with the panic stricken?"
Xander makes an effort to relax and looks at Buffy.
"Buff?" He asks.
"What?" Buffy murmurs still looking rather worried.
"Buffy, are you okay?" Willow asks.
Buffy finally looks around and sees the crowd.
"Hey guys. Yeah I'm fine." She covers. "Dawn, are you about done?"
"Yeah, but why did you freak when I asked you about Angel?" She asks.
"Angel?" Xander asks abruptly. "Why is Angel being asked about?"
"Why does this seem familiar?" Willow mumbles.
"What?" Buffy asks her ignoring Xander.
"Is somebody going to clean that up?" Anya questions pointing at the glass. "Broken glass leads to broken skin. I don't want to bleed."
"I'll get it." Dawn replies going to get the broom.
"Willow what did you just say?" Buffy repeats.
"Excuse me?" Xander interjects. "Angel? Questions about Angel?"
"I have to mind the shop." Anya announces. "Ooh, I like how that sounds. So human. I'll be minding the shop." She says in wonderment.
Dawn returns and starts sweeping up the glass. Buffy shakes her head to clear it and looks around.
"Okay enough." She interrupts everyone's ramblings. "Anya, would you mind if Dawn helped out at the store? I need to take care of something."
"In the daylight?" Anya asks.
"What?" Buffy looks at her confused.
"Honey, why don't you go ahead with Dawn?" Interjects Xander.
"What if I don't feel like working in the shop?" Dawn asks dumping the glass in the trashcan.
"Please don't start Dawn." Buffy moans. "It won't be all day I promise and when I get there, we'll talk."
"About Angel?" Dawn asks.
Buffy's eyes close at the sound of his name.
"Again!" Cries Xander pointing from Dawn to Buffy. "Again with the Angel!"
"Okay Xander." Willow replies giving him a private 'shut the *!@# up' look. He gets her point and shuts his mouth.
"Xander, you're not coming with me?" Anya whines.
"I'll be there soon I swear." Xander says before bending to give her a kiss.
"Alright then. Come Dawn. Mustn’t be late for the people with the money." Anya instructs.
The two leave and Xander immediately turns to Buffy.
"Now Angel." He insists.
"Would you please stop saying that?" Buffy retorts.
"Would you please stop avoiding the issue?" Xander answers.
"Would you both just shut up?" Pleads Willow.
Buffy and Xander glare at each other for another moment before Buffy speaks.
"Willow, do I look different to you?" She asks.
"Umm...I don't think so. Should you?" Willow mumbles creasing her brow.
"Why would you look different?" Xander asks. "Oh God, I saw him running away. Did you and Spike..." Are you asking Willow if you have that post conjugal glow?"
"Xander!" Willow scolds as she hits his arm.
"What?" He asks rubbing the soreness.
"Can you say 'EEEWWW'?" Buffy replies. "Xander, what is your drama here?"
"My drama." He exclaims. "Forgive me for being a little overwhelmed. Last night you tell us you've gone horizontal with Spike and now Dawn's asking about Angel. What's a guy supposed to think?"
"That's it!" Willow announces loudly causing both to look at her in surprise. "Last night."
"Yes Willow?" Xander prods. "What about last night?"
"Buffy, I woke up this morning just where you left me last night. I don't know why. One minute we were talking and the next I'm waking up all groggy like."
"I'm not sure..." Buffy stammers.
"Angel!" Willow cries interrupting. "You were talking about Angel!"
"And we're back." Xander quips.
Buffy looks down not sure what to say.
Interior: Hotel lobby
"I have no idea what you just said Lorne." Angel accuses. "But Wesley I need to see you in your office."
"What's with the secrets?" Cordy asks. "I thought you said..."
She stops when she sees the look on Angel's face.
"Hey Angel." Gunn asks suddenly. "When do I get a turn?"
Angel sees him nod towards Connor.
"Fine. But you better watch it." He warns.
"Yeah yeah. Just cause you haven't held many babies in your time doesn't mean we're all useless." He teases walking to Cordy as Angel and Wesley exit.
Interior: Wesley's office
Wesley sits down at his desk and Angel stands opposite.
"What is it Angel?" He asks.
"I need you to do whatever it takes to remember that dream Wesley." Angel explains.
"My dream? Why?" Wesley questions.
"Because I don't think it was." Angel continues.
"You don't think it was what?"
"I don't think it was a dream." Angel replies again.
"What?" Wesley is utterly lost.
"I dreamed about Buffy last night." Angel answers.
"So the three of us all had dreams about Sunnydale or at least people there." Wesley muses.
"Yes, only I know that mine wasn't exactly a dream." Angel admits.
Wesley is completely puzzled but obviously intrigued as well.
"Go on." He tells Angel.
Angel looks around and then walks to close the door.
"First, this is between us only understood?"
"Of course." Wesley replies.
"Good." Angel says taking a seat in a chair.
Cut to Gunn holding Connor. Fred watches rapt with interest and Lorne smiles at the scene. Cordy has fixed a bottle and takes the baby when he starts to fuss.
"You sure do have that mama bear instinct down Cordy." Lorne informs.
"Are you calling me an animal?" Cordy teases looking up from Connor.
"No." Fred speaks up. "It's just so obvious he's taken to you. He trusts you completely...and so does Angel."
Cordelia beams with pride as she looks back to the child.
Interior: Buffy's kitchen
Buffy, Willow and Xander are sitting at the kitchen table staring at one another.
"Whoa." Xander finally says.
"You took the word right out of my mouth." Willow mumbles.
"I know it seems way past bizarre guys. But in the spirit of my recent honesty pact with myself, I had to tell you." Buffy reasons.
"So you're saying that time has stood still just long enough for us to have a reunion with Angel and his team." Willow asks.
"I guess that's the simplest way to put it." Buffy answers.
"So why do they bother with the time trick if they're going to let us remember it in dreams?" Xander asks.
"What?" Buffy asks.
"I had a dream last night...about this." Xander says. "At least I think I did."
"So I guess I know why I woke up so unsure of everything." Willow adds.
"I know this is a lot for you guys to take in, but I think you're missing the big picture here." Buffy warns.
"And that would be?" Xander prods.
"Something missing last night, today...hello?" Buffy snaps tiredly.
"Yeah right." Agrees Willow. "They said you lost your soul and They sent it back in Angel's son."
"Am I the only one with the heebie jeebies every time I hear that?" Xander interjects.
Buffy glares at him and he cowers.
"So the only thing you can do is call him." Willow finishes.
"Call Angel?" Buffy asks. "I don't know if I can do that."
"I don't know how you can't." Willow reasons.
"Why hasn't he called here?" Xander pipes up.
"What?" The girls say in unison.
"I'm just saying all this mojo has been done and all of our lives have been affected. So why hasn't Daddy called?" Xander explains.
Interior: Wesley's office
"Oh my." He says sitting back in his chair.
"I know." Angel replies. "This is why I need you to remember."
"Well obviously the Powers that Be don't wish us to remember." Wesley begins.
"No I don't buy that." Angel says standing to pace. "If they didn't want us to remember, we wouldn't. They're doing it this way for a reason."
"Well then I can think of only one thing to do." Wesley says reaching for the phone.
He doesn't get a chance to pick up the receiver before Angel slams his hand down over Wesley's.
Interior: Hotel Lobby
Cordy is feeding Connor when Angel's voice can be heard yelling no. Everyone looks up in surprise. Cordy takes the bottle from the baby’s mouth to follow Gunn who's already heading for the office.
"What's wrong?" Gunn demands swinging the door open.
Angel and Wesley look at him and notice the others crowding behind him. Angel straightens and removes his hand from the phone.
"Nothing." He says w/ obviously forced nonchalance.
"Nothing." Wesley agrees quickly.
"What was the yelling about then?" Gunn asks.
"It was nothing really." Insists Wesley standing up. "We were discussing furnishings for Connor and Angel was just expressing his rather adamant opinion."
"Furnishings?" Gunn asks.
"Yes, you know cribs, high chairs and such." Wesley adds.
"I'm sure whatever Angel chooses will be the very best." Fred smiles trying to calm everyone's nerves.
"Yeah, listen I have to get over to what's left of my club. I'm hoping there's something I can salvage in the ruins." Lorne announces. "It's a crime in and of itself that my collection of classic R&B tunes has been most likely burned beyond recognition in the inferno that your boy created."
Angel bristles slightly at the reference to Holtz.
"So I guess the crib discussion was much too private to conduct in the same room as us." Cordy finally says. "I mean it's probably smart to have such important talks in the privacy of Wesley’s office...with the door closed."
Angel looks at her and knows that she's not buying it. Wesley sees it too and hastens to push everyone out of the doorway.
"Listen, we'll only be a moment. Fred, why don't you get back to researching what might have brought forth this Holtz character? If he was indeed human over 100 years ago, then we need to find out what happened to enable him to show up in LA now."
"Yes Wesley." She says quietly turning to start her assignment.
"And what about me?" Gunn asks. "Don't even think about making me a bookworm."
Gunn frowns as soon as he says the words as if he thought of something but Wesley doesn't wait to find out what before closing the door again. He turns a level gaze to Angel.
"Ok, now please explain why you are so passionate about not calling." He instructs.
"Because I don't know what we'll find." Angel says simply. "I don't know if Buffy even remembers anything. They've done this before and I was the only one that remembered."
"Done what before?" Wesley asks. "Are you saying that Buffy lost her soul before?"
"No." Angel says frustratedly. "Just forget about that. I'm not ready to call yet and you won't either."
Angel searches Wesley's face for a response.
"Very well." He finally laments. "I will allow you to do what's right. But if we can't ask them for help perhaps you could ask the Oracles?"
Angel shakes his head harshly from side to side.
"I'm not doing that either. We have to figure this out on our own."
Wesley sighs uncomfortably.
"Then you must allow me to tell the others. I will need their help if we're to have any hope of piecing this together." He pleads.
"I'm sorry Wes. I can't let you do that." Angel replies.
"Strike three." Wesley quips.
Neither says anything else while they study the other's face.
Interior: Buffy kitchen
"I guess I haven't given it any thought." Buffy answers.
"What?" Xander asks. "You're telling me that you see the Angel, you find out the Angel has a kid, then find out the Angel's kid has your soul and then proceed to take said soul from said kid. And you haven't thought about calling him or him calling you since?"
Buffy shakes her head no while looking down at the table.
"I can understand that." Willow speaks up. Xander looks at her in shock.
"I'm just saying here Buffy wakes up possibly having her soul restored and knowing that if it is, she would have taken it from Angel's son. That could very possibly mean that she in essence killed him. I don't know if I'd be in a rush to get all the facts either." She reasons.
"Then we're back to my original question. Why hasn't your boy called here?" Xander asks.
"I don't know Xander!" Buffy exclaims standing up. "I'm trying to deal with one thing at a time here. I think my first order of business should be to find out if I do have my soul back or if this is all some really weird non drug induced trip!"
"Good point!" Willow agrees. "So what do you want to do? How do we find out for sure if your...you know?"
"Well my first idea was to get Spike's help." Buffy replies.
"Spike?" Xander questions.
"Yes." Buffy says. "He's been able to hit me recently if you remember correctly, that's because I was off. But when I tried to instigate this morning he ran out of here. So I'm back to square one."
"Well I can get to the magic shop and research spells that might make souls visible to humans." Willow offers.
"A spell?" Buffy raises an eyebrow at the suggestion.
"Oh." Willow whispers remembering her promise about magic.
"Oh? What oh?" Xander asks.
"I kind of promised I wouldn't do any more magic after I went a little overboard and almost killed Dawn?" Willow mumbles.
"Oh." Xander replies. "So where does that leave us?"
"I'll meet you guys at the shop in a little bit. I have to go...I have to go." She cuts off before telling them where.
They watch her leave and it's obvious they know exactly where she's going.
Buffy comes in quietly this time and sneaks up on Spike sleeping. She watches him for a moment before he senses her and wakes up. He opens his eyes and rolls off the bed in surprise at the sight of her.
"Are you trying to give me a bloody heart attack?" He accuses standing up holding his chest.
"That would be a neat trick." She quips. He rolls his eyes and drops his hand.
"What is it? You never let me sleep anymore." He asks.
"I want to finish what we started this morning." She says.
"What about what I want?" He asks. "I'm getting real tired of being your punching bag."
"You never seemed to mind before." She insists. "Why is that?"
Spike doesn't answer and starts to push past her. She reaches out just when he steps to her side.
"I need you Spike." She says quietly.
He closes his eyes to the words and the muscles in his jaw belie the intensity of the affect of her words.
"I'm here. I'm not going anywhere and I need to find out what is happening to me." Buffy continues. "I've told you more about my feelings these past couple of months than I've told anyone. I don't know what made me do it, but I'm not sorry."
Spike snaps his head around to look at her and finds they are only a hairsbreadth away from one another.
Cut to Holtz watching the girl train in front of him. She is grunting with every exertion but doesn't relent. She finally breaks the board she has been kicking and turns to face him.
"Now I think it's time I introduced you to someone." He smirks.
Interior: A demolished building-Lorne enters and it becomes clear that it is what's left of his club.
"Oh Baby." He moans climbing over various piles of debris. "What did he do to you?"
He surveys the damage for only a moment before he senses someone and spins around. A distinguished looking gray-haired gentleman is standing before him.
"I don’t know what you're used to, but by the looks of things I think the grand opening was cancelled." He quips.
"I'm not here for the place, I'm here for the messenger." The man says in a British accent.
"The messenger? Look I'm grieving here in case you hadn't noticed, there's been no messenger or anyone else stopping by for that matter believe me." Lorne dismisses.
"Aren't you the messenger for Them? Do you not hear the music and voice and read the being?" The man prods.
"Um...I don’t think I like the significance here, but yeah, I can see certain things. Why? Do you want to sing? I'm sure if you help me, we can find my beloved karaoke somewhere around here. Although being able to have it function will be another story altogether." Lorne warns.
"I do not wish to sing my good man." The man assures. "I merely wish you to give a message to someone for me."
Lorne appears insulted.
"That's not the type of messenger I am friend." He insists.
"Perhaps you could indulge me then." The man offers.
Lorne studies him before finally shrugging his shoulders.
"Whatever. It's not like I have pressing matters here."
"Very good then." The man continues. "I believe you have made an acquaintance by the name of Wesley?"
"Wesley? Yeah, he's a cool enough cat. We go way back...so to speak." Lorne brags.
"How...delightful for you." The man says uncomfortably. "Would you please tell him that the Council is in town and needs to see him right away." He hands Lorne a card and Lorne looks down to read it.
"No problem, but why don't you just..." He looks up to tell him where he can find Wesley but finds the man has already disappeared. "The fun just never stops with Angel Investigations."
Interior: Spikes Crypt
Spike and Buffy look at one another briefly before Buffy steps back.
"What is it Spike?" She asks disconcertedly.
"You said you needed my help. That you needed me. Well if I'm to help you, then I need something from you." He insists.
"That would be?" Buffy questions.
"The truth." Spike replies.
Buffy looks confused and he continues.
"I know something happened last night, something to make you think things have changed. I don't know if I want to help you because I don't know what I'll be helping you do." He explains.
"And if I tell you something you don't want to hear, does that mean you won't help me?" Buffy asks.
Spike searches her eyes and then finally turns his back to her. "It would seem we've reached a stalemate."
"Then I'll tell you." Buffy whispers.
"What's that?" Spike's head cranes to hear her better without actually looking at her.
"I said I'll tell you what I think happened and then you can help me prove if I'm right or not. But no matter what you have to help me. Do we have a deal?" She asks.
Spike doesn't answer at first and she reaches up to spin him around to face her.
Interior: Hotel lobby
Cordy stares at the closed door of Wesley's office with growing frustration.
"That's it." She says firmly walking to hand the baby to Gunn.
"That's what?" He asks.
"I'm tired of their little secret meeting. Something is going on and I'll be damned if I let those two shut me out." She states.
"You go girl." Gunn congratulates.
Fred looks up from her book.
"I'm sure they won't be much longer." She offers.
"I know that." Cordy says smoothing her skirt. "Because I'm going in there."
At that moment the door swings open and Angel strides out with Wesley close behind. He walks past Cordy to retrieve Connor from Gunn.
"How su doin?" He squeals in a pitiful attempt at baby talk.
Gunn looks to the others to see if they have noticed the saccharine sweetness in Angels voice. It's obvious they have.
"So I guess the emergency furniture conference is over?" Cordy asks harshly.
"It would seem that someone is jealous." Teases Wesley.
"Jealous? Ha!" Cordy replies. "I just wish you two would stop acting like I'm stupid or blind or..." Without warning she collapses in the throes of a vision. Everyone is caught off guard. Most of all Angel who is unable to catch her due to the baby.
When it finally stops and she begins to form a thought, Cordy glances around to see Gunn, Fred and Wesley surrounding her. Angel is still holding the baby and she struggles against the disappointment of not feeling him behind her.
Angel seems to know what she’s thinking and tries to show his own remorse in his eyes as they look at one another.
"Are you okay?" Angel finally asks as the others pull Cordy to her feet.
"Yeah." She nods looking away from him.
"What was it Cordelia?" Wesley asks.
She walks to the table and writes down something on a piece of paper. She hands it to Wesley and he starts reading it.
"I don't think it has anything to do with us." She says to Angel.
"Good. Then I can take care of it myself." He says walking to take the paper from his hand.
"What about Connor?" Cordy asks. "I said it's not important. Just a run of the mill bad guy. Let Wesley and Gunn take care of it."
"No. I want Wesley to work on the other thing." Angel insists.
"What other thing? The furnishings emergency?" She asks raising an eyebrow.
"Cordelia, let's give Angel a break. He's been taking care of his son non stop and he hasn't been outside. Perhaps he needs the side bar to refocus himself." Wesley suggests.
"Wesley's right. Can I just do this?" Angel asks Cordy.
She looks at him briefly before taking the baby from him. He smiles slightly and motions to Gunn to follow him.
Gunn is still not used to the smell and struggles to keep up with Angel.
"What's the hurry man?" He asks. "Connor's in good hands."
"I know. I just want to get this done." Angel replies.
Gunn is about to say something else when he's jumped from behind. Before he can yell he is thrown against the wall with painful force. Angel spins around at the noise and comes face to face with Cordelia's vision.
"Well?" Buffy repeats more insistently.
"So if I promise to help you, you'll tell me about last night?" Spike asks.
"Right then." He agrees. "But you first."
"Spike I..." Buffy begins.
"Do you want my help or not?" He interrupts.
She glares at him for a second before walking to the opposite side of the room. She doesn't look at him when she starts to talk.
"I think the reason you've been able to hit me since I've been home is that Willow's spell wasn't completed when she brought me back. We all assumed that it was okay because I was here so it couldn't be important." She explains.
"I told them this would happen." Spike interjects angrily. "I told them that magic always had a way of coming back to bite the ass of the idiots involved."
"Yes, well it would seem that you were right." Buffy continues. "But that's not the issue. I have reason to believe that I was given the answer to my problem last night."
"And that would be in the three minutes that you were in your house?" He asks. "Not very likely love."
"It wasn't exactly three minutes." She says quietly.
"Really? And where was I then?" He smirks.
"Spike, I don't have time to go into every detail of what happened but just trust me when I say, I think I may be back to my old self. Whatever that means." She adds.
"I'm afraid that won't be good enough to warrant my help pet." He replies. "I'm going to need a little more than that."
"What?" Snaps Buffy. "Do you want money?"
"Don't insult me." He retorts. "We're way past that. I feel like you're keeping an important bit of info from me and I intend to find out what it is."
"If you're so sure I'm not telling you something, then why don't you tell me what you think I'm omitting?" Buffy asks.
"Nice try." He quips before walking to stand in front of her. "You are different. I don't know if that's a bad or good thing right now, but I'm in no rush to find out until I know what I'm up against."
"Up against?" She asks confused. She thinks for a moment in silence before realization slowly creeps across her features. "You remember something."
"What?" He asks.
"I should have guessed." She reasons. "Xander said he dreamed about it and Willow woke up in a daze. Of course you would have known something. You never even went to sleep."
"What are you babbling about?" Spike remarks innocently.
Buffy starts to smile and shakes her head.
"I can't believe I didn't see it." She mumbles pushing past Spike. "You know everything!"
"Listen to me Buffy." Spike interrupts harshly. "All I know is that one minute you're all over me like a mad woman, the next you're pushing me away and insulting me, and the next you're smiling at me in your front yard like you've bloody well seen me for the first time! Yes! I knew something happened and though I'm not clear on what it was, I've learned to tell when continuity has been screwed with. I've been around the block a few times over the years and have seen forces unknown play havoc on your pitiful human lives on more than one occasion."
He finally stops his tirade and stares at Buffy.
She seems surprised by his words and unsure of how to react.
Exterior: Sewer tunnel
"Gunn!" Angel yells just as the demon attacks him.
Angel blocks the demons arm in mid swing and kicks his feet out from under him. The thing falls in a heap and Angel drops to one knee to hold the blade of his long handled axe against it's neck.
Gunn gets to his feet and stands on the other side of the terrified demon.
"So is there anything I need to know before I kill you?" Angel asks. "Are you part of someone's master plan or just an ugly demon with nothing better to do?"
"I am my only master." The thing growls.
Angel pushes down violently on the axe and the head rolls away from the body.
"Nice technique." Gunn praises as Angel rises to his feet.
"Thanks. I try." He smirks.
They walk away from the corpse and head back to the hotel.
Interior: Magic Shop
Willow and Xander arrive to find Dawn and Anya playing jacks on the counter in the empty shop.
"Jacks?" Xander asks raising an eyebrow.
Anya startles and jumps back.
"I was just doing it for Dawn." She defends. "Like I would ever enjoy bouncing a ball and picking up silly pointy things."
"You were the one that pulled them out." Dawn argues.
"Hush Dawn. Where's Buffy?" She changes the subject.
Willow smiles as she sits down.
"She had an errand. She'll be here shortly."
"You left her alone?" Anya asks Xander.
Xander shrugs dismissively. "I should have known better than to think I could control anything the Buffster does."
"Did you find out what happened with Angel?" Dawn asks.
"What?" Willow says.
"Angel." Dawn repeats. "I mentioned him this morning and she freaked. Remember broken glass? Xander panic?"
"I didn't panic!" Xander defends. "And haven't we reached our quota of Angel references for the day?"
"Calm down honey." Anya says quietly.
"I'm calm. Why does everyone always assume I'm not calm?" He protests.
"Geez, I can't imagine." Willow teases. "Listen, let's just try and kill time until Buffy gets here okay? Dawn, she'll answer all your questions then I'm sure."
"Yeah like I really believe that will happen." Dawn replies facetiously. "I never get told anything until it's too late or already happening."
"Don't worry Dawnie." Xander offers. "I feel the same way 90% of the time."
"By the way Willow." Anya announces. "I don't plan on cleaning up your mess over there." She points to the books strewn about the table and floor.
"Oh right." Willow murmurs. "I'll get them."
She walks to the table and begins collecting the books. Xander walks over to pick up the ones on the floor and hands them to her. Willow notices the one on top and stops everything she's doing as she looks at it.
"What is it Will?" Xander asks.
"I'm not sure." She answers slowly. She opens the cover of the book and reads the name written there. "Oh God."
"What? Don't say that. I hate it when you say that." Xander warns.
Willow looks up at him and hands and holds the book out to him to read. He looks down and says the name out loud.
"Wesley." He says. "So it's Wesley's book. No big. I'm sure he has some of Giles books too."
"I don't think so." Willow says. "I think he left this here very recently..."
Interior: Hotel Lobby
Lorne walks in to find Cordy and Fred hunched over the computer. Wesley walks out form his office.
"Oh it's you." he says.
"Yeah it's me." Lorne answers. "Try not to squash your enthusiasm."
"Sorry Lorne." Cordy says looking up. "We were trying to research this Holtz guy."
"Oh yay. Just the man I want to throw an incendiary object at." Lorne quips. "Where is everyone?"
"Cordy had a vision and Angel and Gunn went to take care of it." Fred replies.
"Was it about the Council?" Lorne asks.
"What?" Wesley exclaims in surprise. "Did you say Council?"
"Yeah, I think so." Lorne smirks. "What's the dire?"
"I was a watcher for the Council a lifetime ago." Wesley says.
"More than a lifetime." Cordy adds walking around the desk. "How do you even know about them?"
"I don't." Lorne assures pulling the card out of his pocket. "One of them came to see me at the pile of rubble formerly known as my club and told me to tell you they're in town."
Wesley takes the card and Cordy peers over his shoulder to read it.
"What could they want with you?" She asks. "You don't even associate with the Slayer any more."
"It would seem that is why I am obliged to go meet with them. It must be important to have them come all the way here. I didn't leave on very good terms you know." Wesley reasons.
"Ooh! Do I sense juiciness here?" Lorne asks. "You know I'll miss the gossip mill more than anything at my club. I haven't heard any good stuff in months."
"I'm sure it's nothing um...juicy." Wesley stammers. "Can you all wait here for Angel and Gunn? I better go."
"Is that a good idea?" Fred asks. "I don't like the idea of anyone going anywhere without back up." Fred suggests.
"Thanks for your concern Fred." Wesley smiles graciously at her. "But the Council is not the bad guys I assure you."
"Don't worry. I'll stay here with the ladies Wes." Lorne offers.
Wesley nods before exiting the lobby. It's only a moment before Gunn and Angel walk through the doors.
"Where is he?" Angel demands.
"It's nice to see you too." Cordy teases. "He's sleeping upstairs."
Angel doesn't miss a step in his haste to climb the stairs to check on his son. The others smile as they watch him leave.
"I don't have time for this. You're either going to help me or not." Buffy says. "So either hit me or I'll find another way."
"Why must it always get violent with us love?" He pleads.
Buffy exhales harshly and begins to leave the crypt. Spike watches her to see if its a bluff and stops only when she opens the door. He runs to stop her and accidentally steps into the sunlight.
"Bloody hell!" He yelps in pain as his arm begins to burn.
Buffy watches him calmly while he collects himself.
"What was I thinking?" She asks.
"What's that supposed to mean?" He accuses.
"I don't know. Maybe it just means that it must be a sickness with me." Buffy whines. "I lose my vampire lover because we can't make it work and here I am two years later watching my other one burn. This can't be what I was brought back here for."
She doesn't give him a chance to reply before she leaves knowing that he can't run after her.
Cut to Angel watching the baby sleep.
Cut to Willow still staring at the book in her hands.
Cut to Lorne the rest of the gang working silently on research.
Cut to Wesley arriving at a nondescript building and checking the address on the card before opening the door slowly.
Interior: The headless demon is laying dead on the concrete. Two people emerge from the shadows.
Holtz: That my dear girl was Angelus.
Girl: I'm not sure what you're trying to show me. He killed a demon, that makes him okay in my book.
Holtz: That is precisely why you need me.
He steps over the corpse and follows the path previously taken by Gunn and Angel. The girl follows reluctantly.
Girl: Listen, I think I've been pretty patient thus far. I don't have time to help you if you can't be straight with me. You said you were going to introduce me to him, not play peeping tom on his battles.
Holtz: You will face him soon enough, but not until you're ready. This creature is more powerful than even he realizes. We must wait for the opportunity to present itself so true vengeance will be served.
Girl: Vengeance. Now you're speaking my language...
Interior: Magic Shop
Willow is trying to explain what she thinks the significance of the book is.
"So the book is left over from our not so completely forgotten rendezvous with the gang from LA?" Xander asks.
"Yes." Willow replies. "At least that's what I believe. I'm not sure but this was definitely not here yesterday. I just can't figure out how it got here. If it is from last night, then shouldn't it be at Buffy's?" She asks.
"Shouldn't what be at Buffy's?" Buffy asks as she enters the shop.
"Buffy!" Dawn exclaims. "You're back."
"Yeah. I told you I would be." She smirks. "Now what was supposed to be at my place?"
"Willow found one of Wesley's books." Xander explains. "She thinks it was left here last night during the..."
He hesitates unsure of how much to say in front of Dawn.
"Why are you doing that?" Dawn asks standing up. She turns to Buffy. "Buffy what is going on? You said you would tell me what was going on."
"And I will." Buffy assures. "As soon as I figure it out myself."
"Buffy this book wasn't here before. And it looks so familiar to me, like I'm supposed to know what to do with it." Willow reasons.
"Then maybe that answers that question." Buffy says.
"Huh?" Xander asks confused.
"If the book was left here for Willow to find it could only mean that she is supposed to do something with it. Maybe there's something in there that you missed last time." Buffy explains.
"I don't even remember what I found last time." Willow complains. "How am I supposed to know what I missed if I don't know what I found?"
"Good point Will." Xander agrees. "Confusing, but good."
"Listen guys I know this doesn't make any sense, but we can figure it out. We always do." Buffy offers.
"What about what you found out?" Anya speaks up. "Xander said you went to do something. Was it about this? Did you find something?"
"No." Buffy says dejectedly. "I just wasted my time. But it showed me what I have to do. I shouldn't have been afraid of it before."
"Afraid?" Dawn asks.
"Don't worry Dawn. You just hang out here and maybe try and help Willow figure this out. I have to go somewhere." She explains.
"Again?" Dawn whines.
"Where to this time?" Xander asks.
Buffy looks at every person in the room before answering.
Interior: An abandoned warehouse. Wesley enters and waits for his eyes to adjust to the dim lighting.
"I...I'm here." He calls out nervously. "Wesley that is. You called for me?"
There is silence for a moment before the gray haired gentleman finally steps into view.
"You're looking well chap." The man says in greeting.
"Um...thank-you. As do you." Wesley says and extends his hand for a handshake. "This was quite a surprise."
"Really?" The man says releasing Wesley’s hand. "I would think that you've become accustomed to surprises in your line of work."
"Yes well that's true I suppose." He stammers. "To what do I owe this one though? And how did you know where to find me?"
"We're the Watcher's council my dear man." He answers. "We tend to watch more than just slayers you know."
"Of course." Wesley says quickly. "I didn't mean to imply..."
"I know." The man interrupts. "Listen to get to the business at hand, we are aware of the recent addition to Angel investigations."
"Recent...oh right. You mean the baby." Wesley says.
"Why would that be of interest to you?" Wesley asks.
"How could it not?" The man argues. "A vampire with a soul impregnates a soulless vampire and the child is carried to term only being nourished by human blood? And upon birth it is discovered that it is a human child with every attribute any other child is born with? This is not a common occurrence Wesley. Surly you haven't lost sight of the magnitude that such an event could create?"
Wesley sees that he is more than just passively interested in Angel's son and wonders what it could mean.
"We have not overlooked the possible consequences. We're still researching anything that might arise. I have not forgotten my training I assure you." Wesley defends.
"That's good." The man commends. "It won't be hard for you to do what is necessary then."
"What is necessary?" Wesley mumbles.
"Yes. I will be staying in Los Angeles for some time. The Council plans to be involved in this predicament until a sound conclusion is reached." The man continues. "I contacted you because we would hope that all prior differences can be set aside in the interest of an amicable resolution."
"I don't see how that would be a problem. But if you intend to use me, then I must ask you to tell me what you know." Wesley says.
"You must remember that the Council still looks upon you as a deserter." The man replies.
"Very well." Wesley says stepping back. "Then I'm sure I could be of no help."
He turns to walk away but the man clears his throat loudly and stops him.
"I will tell you everything we've learned thus far." The man offers. "But only on the condition that you keep any Council information to yourself. The others in your...business cannot be privy to Council matters."
"That is absurd!" Wesley argues. "You're talking about preventing a father from learning possibly crucial information to the well being of his son!"
"Need I remind you of who this father is." The man says calmly. "The Council is aware of the good work that Angel tries to do. However at the core he is still a vampire. A vampire that has created a living human child. He was given this child for a reason and your concern should be first and foremost how it might affect the lives of all you care about not to mention the very existence of good and evil in this world. Do you not remember anything of your Watcher life?"
"I remember it all very plainly." Insists Wesley. "But things have changed and I don't know if you can expect me to..."
"This will be the only way." The man interrupts. "I will tell you nothing of what we know if you're not prepared to meet my demands."
Wesley's eyes narrow at the ultimatum.
Interior: Hotel Lobby
Cordy is holding Connor on the sofa and Angel is sitting next to her. They look like a happy family and this is the picture that greets Buffy as she opens the door behind them.
She doesn't say anything and looks positively pained by the sight of them. She doesn't see Connor at first. She only sees Angel with his arm around Cordelia.
A tear falls past her lashes before she can stop it. She doesn't see Gunn walk in from the office and he seems surprised to see her.
"Can I help you?" He asks.
Angel turns to see who Gunn is talking to and jumps up from the sofa. Cordy turns to look behind her and sees Buffy.
No one speaks.
Wesley is staring at the man trying to decide how to answer.
"It's quite simple really." The man begins. "If you wish to help your friends, then you should be willing to sacrifice their trust in the face of such enormous events."
"It is most certainly not that simple!" Wesley exclaims pacing in front of the man. "In our business and with the kind of people we deal with on a daily basis, trust is the most important thing we have."
"I can see your time away from your watcher duties has created frightening lapses in judgment." The man announces. "You have forgotten who guided you in your training for years and what that training was all about. What Angel does is only because of the Gypsy curse that he acquired. If not for that, you must realize that he would come after you and every one else around him showing no mercy. You have witnessed Angelus before, no? I find it rather unpleasant to see that you put his feelings before that of humans."
"You don't know me or what or whom I put in front of anything. Perhaps you don't remember the reasons I left my post as Watcher in the first place. You knew how we could make Angel better when he was run through with the poison arrow. Yet you chose to look away and refuse to help the one that had fought alongside your slayer for months." Wesley accuses harshly stepping ever closer to the man. "You were the reason that Buffy turned her back on the Council. You were the reason that she turned her back on me. All of the training that I endured in my quest to become a watcher did nothing to show me how to be a human being. I didn't learn that until I fought alongside Angel and the others in Sunnydale and then here in Los Angeles. You and your council sit back watching and judging without ever getting your hands dirty. While Angel and my team here in LA is on the streets and in the gutters every day and every night fighting for what's good and right and just. So don't you dare presume to know anything about me or my associates. You could only be so blessed as to have the friendship and loyalty and TRUST that we have built together!"
Wesley finds that he has inched forward during his impassioned speech and now is nose to nose with his former superior. His shoulders are heaving from the effort to catch his breath and a small sweat has appeared on his brow. He doesn't back down and waits for the man to respond. Finally the man takes a step back and brings his hands up to begin a polite clap.
"Bravo!" He smiles. "I told them you would be perfect for this."
"What?" Wesley is confused and looks around in a stupor.
"I will tell you everything and then you can decide exactly how you want to proceed." The man continues.
Wesley still looks puzzled but tries to cover . "That's better then. I'm waiting..."
Interior: Hotel Lobby
Nobody has moved and Gunn looks a bit concerned.
"Do I know you?" He asks Buffy.
"Buffy." Angel says quietly.
"Buffy?" Gunn asks.
"Buffy!" Fred exclaims running down the stairs.
"Buffy." Cordy adds without moving.
"Buffy?" Lorne asks walking in from outside. "Who's Buffy?"
Still Buffy stares into Angel's eyes trying to make sense of what she walked in on. He returns her stare equally silent.
"Buffy." Fred answers Lorne. "You know, dead then not so much. Angel's soul mate before..."
"Before?" Buffy finally speaks. "Before what?"
"I'm sorry." Fred says. "I didn't mean...I don't think sometimes...I'm kind of..." She makes a motion with her finger making circles beside her head.
"Loopy?" Buffy replies sarcastically. "How endearing."
"Whoa!" Gunn begins. "You can't just...wait."
"What?" Lorne asks.
"I just got deja vu." He says.
"Not this game again." Lorne quips.
"Shut up." Gunn says.
"Game?" Buffy asks. "I've got a game. Let's play who's sweet on who?"
She glares at Cordy and then back at Angel. Before Angel can respond, Connor begins to fuss. Everyone stops and looks at Cordy. Buffy still can't see anything and she slowly takes a step towards the sofa. Just as she gets close enough to see, Cordy stands up with the baby. Buffy freezes.
"Here." Cordy says handing Connor to Angel. "Buffy! How are you?" She smiles.
“I don't think that question has ever been more inappropriate." Buffy answers in a daze still watching the baby with Angel.
"I don't think she's very happy." Fred whispers to Lorne.
"And I thought I was the only intuitive psychic type here." He responds teasingly.
"Can somebody tell me why she looks so familiar?" Gunn asks nobody in particular.
"Angel?" Buffy says quietly ignoring everyone else in the room. "What's going on?"
Angel looks up at Buffy and Connor starts fussing again.
"SSHHH." He says soothingly to Connor. "It's okay. You're okay little man."
Buffy begins to tear up again at the sight.
"Do you want me to take him?" Cordy asks Angel.
"I think...I don't know." He stammers helplessly.
"Here...let me." Gunn offers noticing the tension. He takes Connor and the baby begins to calm down. "You know he can sense your mood."
"Right." Angel says weakly. "Can you take him upstairs?"
"Sure. But only if I get my answers soon." Gunn replies.
"Sure." Angel says dismissively.
"I'll be back Buffy. Good seeing you...again." Gunn throws over his shoulder.
"Again?" Fred asks as he steps past her. "She was here before?"
"Okay friends, unless you need me here, I'm going to go before my head explodes." Lorne announces rubbing his forehead. "Man how can you people live like this?"
He walks away obviously suffering the effects of feeling all the varied emotions moving throughout the room.
All that is left is Buffy, Angel and Cordelia. Buffy looks over to find Cordy watching Angel.
"Don't you have somewhere to be?" She asks her.
"I don't think I do." Cordy retorts a bit angrily.
"Buffy." Angel speaks when he sees that Buffy is about to let loose on Cordelia.
"What?" She snaps. She sees the look on his face. "Are you kidding me?"
"What is your miss Buffy?" Cordelia asks.
"Cordelia." Angel interjects sternly.
"What?" Cordy snaps. "Why are you defending her? After everything you've been through, you're worried about Buffy? Obviously she's not too worried about you. She didn't even bother to ask about your son. Yes, Buffy Angel has a son in case you didn't notice."
"I noticed." Buffy replies turning to face her. "So maybe you could notice that I need to talk to Angel in private. Or did I interrupt something that I should be aware of?"
"You noticed?" Cordy echoes. "You see Angel holding a baby...his baby and all you can say is you noticed? Man this isn't right. I'm missing something here."
"Aren't you always?" Buffy remarks.
"Enough!" Angel interjects moving to Cordelia's side. He takes her by the arm and leads her to the bottom of the stairs. "Can you just give us a minute?"
"I guess some things will never change will they?" Cordelia asks Angel softly. She is obviously hurt and turns to climb the stairs.
"Cordy." Angel begins.
"Angel?" Buffy interrupts.
Cordy looks at Angel for a second before walking up the stairs. Angel takes a deep breath before turning to face Buffy. He can see the pain in her eyes and doesn't realize that his are mirrors of the same. He walks to her.
"Buffy. Why didn't you call?" He asks.
"I would have but I might never have seen what I just did. Maybe it's for the best." She answers.
"There was nothing to see. She was helping with Connor." He explains.
"Connor? Is there meaning?" She asks.
"Yes, but I don't think that's important right now." He begins.
"You're right." Buffy agrees straightening her shoulders. "I guess we should just get to the business at hand. So who goes first?"
"I'm not sure..." Angel begins again.
"That seems to be the theme of the day." Buffy jokes pushing past him. "Willow woke up not sure of how she got there. Xander woke up not sure of what he dreamed and I woke up not sure if I had come back whole."
"So you remember?" Angel asks.
"Do you?" She spins to look at him.
"Yes." He answers reluctantly.
"And the others?" Buffy asks. "I guess Cordelia doesn't judging by her reaction."
"I don't think so, but she did say she dreamt about Xander last night. Wesley said he dreamed of Sunnydale and Gunn and Fred are acting like they're still waking up." Angel informs her.
"So then what is...Connor still doing here?" She asks. She notices the pain that her bluntness seems to cause. Her shoulders drop and she strides to stand in front of him. "Oh Angel, I didn't mean it like that."
He doesn't look at her.
"You have to know that I am happy that your son was spared." Buffy pleads reaching up to touch his face. "I truly am."
Angel reaches up and covers her hand with his briefly before pulling it away from his skin.
"I know." He says. "I just can't stand the thought of what it means for you. Have you learned anything?"
"No. I woke up this morning and tried to pick a fight with Spike." She begins.
"Spike? You woke up to Spike?" Angel's voice raises a couple of decibels.
"I know you are not trying to play jealous boy after what I just walked in on." Buffy warns.
"You walked in on nothing!" Angel cries.
"Really? So the whole episode with you guiding her to the stairs as if she was a lost puppy had nothing to do with some kind of emotional tension that my appearance caused?" Buffy demands.
"Buffy..." Angel closes his eyes trying to collect his thoughts.
Neither speaks for some time...
Interior: Magic Shop
"Willow, it's going to take you a week to read that stupid book." Xander complains
"It's going to take even longer if you keep interrupting me." She argues.
"Why don't you just do a smart spell?" Anya asks. "You could read that book in five minutes and tell us what is going on?"
Willow looks up to find Dawn watching her intently.
"I can’t do that Anya." She says. Dawn smiles in return.
"So I guess none of you are going crazy wondering what's going on in LA." Xander announces.
"We'll find out as soon as Buffy gets back." Willow replies.
"I hate that!" He exclaims. "I hate being the one that has to wait to have everything explained to them. I say we just go. We have a right to know what's going on."
"And we will honey." Anya soothes walking up to put her arms around him. "Would you like me to take your mind off things for a while?"
"Would you two just get a room already?" Dawn teases.
"I think I found something!" Willow interjects excitedly.
"What is it?" Xander asks pushing Anya to the side in his haste to get to Willow.
"This is the example of the being that was given a soul. This is the reference that brought Wesley to Sunnydale!" She smiles.
"Great. But what does that mean? And how does it help us now?" Asks Xander.
"It means that I remember why he came. Now all I have to do is figure out why his book didn’t go back with him. And why it showed up here with all these instead of at Buffy's house where we last saw it."
Willow points to the books piled beside her on the table. As she points, one levitates and falls to the floor.
"Willow!" Dawn scolds loudly.
"I didn't do it Dawn, I swear!" She defends.
"No harm, no foul. You just have to watch where you point that thing." Xander quips while bending to retrieve the book. Before he can grab it, it scoots along the floor to stop at Willows feet. "Willow?"
Willow shrugs her shoulders helplessly and bends to pick up the book. She looks at the over and then back to Wesley's.
"Oh my...I can't believe I didn't see it last night." She mutters.
"See what last night?" Xander questions. When she ignore him he persists. "Willow, what didn't you see last night?"
Interior: Abandoned Warehouse
Wesley is reeling from what he has just been told by the Council man.
"If what you're saying is true, the cruelty of their choice of vessels for Buffy's soul has just been surpassed by what they left us with." Wesley says coldly.
"You must realize that this is all speculation at this point." The man defends. "Albeit very educated speculation if I do say so."
"Of course. You and the Council are obviously intellectually superior to every being on earth." Spats Wesley angrily.
"Don't waste your moral indignation on me Wesley." The man replies. "You don't have to believe a word I just said. You can walk away from here tonight and go back to your associates with no new information to report and I won't bother you again."
Wesley doesn't reply so the man continues.
"However, I know that you're intelligent enough to realize that we both could use the other's help if we're to correct this situation."
"I'm not sure of anything right now." Mumbles Wesley. "If this is everything you know and I believe you when you say it is, I only have one question."
"And is this the part where I'm supposed to be concerned with giving you an answer?" The man quips.
"This is the part where you give me an answer and pray it's one that I like." Warns Wesley.
"Right then." The man says straightening his tie. "What else do you want to know?"
"I want to know why you and the Council is involved in this. Buffy hasn't worked for you in years. Nor have I. How does anything that happens with us or Angel affect you?" Wesley questions.
"My dear man, we have never stopped watching the Slayer." The man corrects. "We only stopped letting her know we were doing so. She cut ties with us but we will never truly cut ties to her. She is a slayer. Yes, there have been more since her and will continue to be. Such is the way of things. But this Slayer is special. She has survived well past her prophesied time. She has actually been deceased on two separate occasions yet she is here...still. This is most intriguing."
"Intriguing? You have come all this way and done all this work because you're intrigued?" Wesley says confused.
"Don't concern yourself with our reasons. You should be concentrating on the case at hand. Buffy is back and that can mean only one thing for the child." The man reiterates.
Wesley shudders at the thought of everything he has learned in his brief visit.
"You don't know that..." He whispers.
"Precisely my point." The man agrees. "So will you do what is necessary or do I find another more harmful way?"
"Don't do that!" He cries. "Don't threaten me or anyone else! I will do it! Not because I think you're right but because I want to prove you wrong."
"Whatever makes it easier." The man shrugs.
Wesley laughs harshly. "Do you even know what that word means?"
Interior: Magic Shop
"Okay Willow, you have our attention." Xander prods. "So stop with the suspense."
"I'm sorry." Willow says softly still looking from one book to the other. "Look at this."
She holds the books out for Xander to see and he walks to take them from her. He searches them for a moment before looking back at Willow.
"Okay, I'm feeling pretty stupid now." He says. "What am I supposed to be seeing?"
"Are you serious?" Willow asks.
"It's hard to tell sometimes isn't it?" Anya interjects.
"Not now sweetie." Xander pleads.
"Look!" Willow exclaims pointing at the corner of Wesley’s book.
Xander squints his eyes and bends closer to the cover. "Oh yeah, it's symbol."
"Now here." willow instructs pointing in the corner of the other book.
"Same symbol." Xander says after squinting again. "And this means...?"
"It's the Watcher's symbol! The symbol given to them by the Council!" Willow announces.
"Oh!" Xander cries. "So Wesley and Giles both had a book that held the symbol of the watchers, of which they both were. Man you did flake out. Anyone would have seen that."
His sarcasm is evident as he smirks and looks back to Anya and Dawn still watching curiously.
"No Xander." Willow corrects irritably. "This symbol is only on one book. It's kind of like the Watcher's bible. It's given to each Watcher when they are first initiated by the Council. It leads them to their first slayer."
"I'm really trying to catch up here Will." Xander replies. "but I still don't get why this is such big news for our current situation."
"Don't you see?" Willow insists. "Wesley was brought here by the one link he has to his past as a Watcher. Giles left without taking his, as if he knew it would be needed here. Now what are the odds that these two books would end up here together?"
"Probably about the same as me ever understanding what you're telling us." Xander says self-deprecatingly. "Can we just get to the part where my light bulb gets turned on. Cause I'm still stumbling around in the dark here."
"Honey, Willow is saying that the Council is responsible for this." Anya suggests.
"Thank you!" Willow says breathing a sigh of relief.
"The council is responsible for what?" Dawn asks loudly. "Would somebody please tell me what's going on?"
The others look at each other unsure of how to answer.
Interior: Hotel lobby
Buffy and Angel are staring at one another still searching for words.
"Angel, I don't understand. I saw you with her. I know what that familiarity means. At least I used to." Buffy speaks up sadly.
"Don't do this." He pleads. "You have no right to do this. Not after Spike..."
"Don't you dare bring Spike into this!" She demands. "You didn't find me cuddling up next to him last night."
"No I didn't did I?" He replies. "But I wonder if that's only because my timing was off. I saw how he reacted to me Buffy. He wanted to take my head off and not in the usual hating me kind of way. It was more like a 'get away from my woman' way. And how twisted is that?"
"Don't turn this around on me Angel." Buffy says quietly. "I held you last night. We were together. I felt you and you felt me. More so than we have in months. So why did I find you with your arm around another woman less than 24 hours later? And not just any woman, but Cordelia Chase? What is that?"
"I told you it wasn't like that." Angel repeats stepping away from Buffy.
"Really? So why aren't you happy to see me? Why haven't you come near me since I got here? Why do I feel farther away from you now than all the years I've been in Sunnydale and you've been here?" Buffy questions painfully.
"It's called surprise." Angel answers. "I didn't expect to see you."
"That's a good point. Why were you surprised? If you remembered everything that happened, why would you be in any way surprised to see me? And even more, why would you not want to see me? Or at least call?" Buffy asks.
"I...I wasn't sure. I didn't...know if..." Angel stammers.
"You saw your son and didn't know if I was still here. You didn’t know if I had my soul back. I guess we're past the whole caring about the other more than ourselves phase?" She spats.
"Don't you do that!" Angel yells. "After everything you learned last night, how can you even say that?"
He steps back to her and they stare again. Buffy has flashes of the memories from their time together in LA. She remembers what Angel did for her.
"Yes, that's right. You’re the martyr here because you got to know what you gave up. I'm the bad guy because I wasn't pining over you every second, only I didn’t know there was something to be pining over did I? You told me to go home and stay out of your life. Do you remember that? So I did what you asked. Are you trying to imply that you're somehow better than me because you've suffered more? There's only one problem with your logic Angel. Anything that might have happened to me or with me and another man was because I didn't know any better. But Cordelia? Well you knew everything and still you chose to..." She can't make herself say it and turns in disgust.
"I haven't done anything." Angel insists harshly.
"Really?" Buffy asks spinning to face him. "So let me ask you something. Do you now or have you had feelings for Cordelia?"
Angel doesn't answer and averts his eyes from Buffy's.
"Oh my God." She mutters.
"Buffy..." Angel begins to say something but never finishes.
Instead, Buffy backhands him across the face sending him flying against the sofa. She seems appalled by her actions and begins to get teary eyed. Before the first tear falls, Angel is up off the sofa and tackles her.
They land in a tangle of arms and legs on the floor. Buffy has the wind knocked out of her and struggles to grasp what has happened. Angel's face softens at the sight of her pain.
Suddenly he's violently uprooted and tumbles sideways. In a flash Buffy has him pinned and now she is on top. Gravity does the work for her and her tears fall to his chest dampening his shirt.
Neither can move...
Exterior: Street in front of Hotel
"Looks like somebody's taking care of your problem for you." The girl says.
"No." Holtz corrects. "This is unacceptable. It's not time."
"Well you might want to let her know you're on a schedule." The girl replies pointing through the window at Buffy straddling Angel.
Angel is silently watching the tears fall.
"Buffy, you're crying." He mumbles.
"No I'm not." She insists. "I'm kicking your ass."
With those words she jumps to a standing position in one fluid motion. She stands with one foot on either side of Angel and her hands on her hips. She glares down at him ready for anything.
"I don't want to do this Buffy." He warns.
"Fine." Buffy replies lifting one foot to step aside. "Then are you ready to answer my..."
Before she finishes Angel begins to stand. He sweeps one leg outward in an attempt to kick Buffy's feet out from under her. She sees it coming and instinctively jumps raising both feet off the floor and Angel struggles to get to a standing position before she does the same.
"Nice try." She smirks. "Is that the best you can do?"
"I'm warning you..." Angel threatens.
"Oohh, you're warning me?" Buffy mocks. "I think you talk too much. I feel strong Angel. Stronger than I have in a long time. Maybe its about last night or maybe its seeing you with Cordelia. But whatever it is, I'm alive. And I don't feel like talking. So do you want to play? Or should I go back and find Sp..."
Angel raises his hand with lightening speed to cover her mouth before she says the name. Buffy swings a hand up and under his to knock it away. Before she can react his other hand finds it's way around her throat. She is caught off guard and brings both her hands up to pull his away. But he doesn't budge. When she begins to squeeze with all her strength his face changes.
Buffy sees the vamp appear and it spurs her into action. She brings a knee up and connects with a kidney shot. Angel releases her with a growl of surprise and doubles over. Buffy runs to the front desk and jumps on top of it.
Angel recovers and when he rises again he is still vamped out. He reaches the desk in two strides only to have Buffy kick him in the face spinning him into the computer which falls to the floor with a crash. He doesn't hesitate to grab both Buffy's ankles and pull. She lands flat on her back on the counter and immediately extends one hand to send the heel of it into Angel's nose. He falls backward. Neither of them notices the crowd gathering on the stairs.
"Man she's kicking his ass!" Gunn announces in awe.
"Shut up Gunn." Cordy hisses. "Fred here."
She hands Connor to Fred and starts to step down the stairs.
"Whoa there miss thing!" Lorne says quietly grabbing Cordy's arm. "I don't think you want to interfere with those two. There's some major issues there if you get my drift."
"I don't care what's there. I'm not going to let Buffy do this again." Cordy insists.
"Again?" Fred asks. "You mean they've done this before?"
"And then some." Cordy informs her. "She's killed him once and I'm not going to let her do it this time."
"Killed him?" Gunn asks confused.
"I don't have time to explain this to you right now." She snaps.
"Maybe you should just give them one more scooch to try and work it out." Lorne reasons using his thumb and forefinger to demonstrate what a scooch is.
They all turn back to the action downstairs.
Interior: Magic Shop
"Don't make me ask again." Dawn warns.
"I tell you what Dawnie. How about if you take a road trip with me?" Willow offers.
"Road trip?" Dawn replies.
"Road trip?" Xander echoes.
"Yes. We're going to LA." Willow announces.
"We can't go to LA." Anya interjects. "I have to stay here and take the people's money."
"Fine, but I'm going." Willow says. "Xander?"
He looks from Willow to Dawn to Anya.
"I can't let them go alone." He informs Anya.
"Oh, but it's fine to leave your betrothed alone?" Anya demands.
"No!" He corrects adamantly. "Can't we just close early this one time? The money will be here tomorrow."
"How do you know that?" Anya asks. "What if they think we're closed for good and never come back?"
"Anya, they'll be back." Willow says. "It's the only magic shop in town. Believe me, they'll be back."
"That's right honey." Xander agrees. "You've got the monopoly."
"I don't sell board games." Anya replies evenly.
All three of the others roll their eyes.
Interior: Hotel lobby
Buffy drops down from the counter and starts moving towards where Angel has landed. He raises up on one elbow and makes a concerted effort to transform back to his human face. He finally succeeds.
"Oh what's wrong?" Buffy smirks. "Are you giving up?"
She raises an arm preparing for another strike when Angel notices something out of the corner of his eye.
"Cordelia no!" He hollers.
Buffy turns just as Cordy reaches her and extends a side kick to her gut. Buffy collapses.
Cordy bends at Angels side.
"Are you okay?" She asks softly.
He ignores her and rolls to Buffy's side.
"Buffy?" He turns her over and she stares up at him in shock.
"Nice move Cordy." Gunn congratulates as he and the others join the group. "Your training with Angel has certainly paid off."
"Training?" Buffy whispers.
Angel doesn't have time to respond before Connor starts fussing. Soon it's a full blown wail. Angel leaves Buffy's side to go see to him. Buffy sits up and glares at Cordelia before standing.
"This is better than a movie." The girl quips.
"No my dear girl, this is a tragedy." Holtz corrects. "I don't like new players that I'm not aware of."
"It looks to me like she might be on our side." The girl offers.
"I think not." Holtz replies. "Something tells me she is definitely not on our side."
"Well she's definitely not on his I'd say." The girl adds.
"SShh...someone's coming." Holtz interrupts and pulls her back into the shadows.
Buffy watches Angel trying to sooth his son. Instinctively she walks o his side.
"Can I try?" She asks. She touches Connor's face but he only wails louder.
"Nice touch." Cordy jabs.
"Shut up." Buffy hisses. She looks down at Connor again trying to sooth him.
"Step away from the child Buffy."
Everyone looks up to se Wesley has returned.
"What?" Buffy asks.
"I said, step away from the child." He repeats sternly.
When she doesn't move, Wesley looks to Angel.
"Angel listen to me. Get your son away from Buffy...now." He instructs.
Angel seems unsure and looks at Buffy. She seems pained by Wesley's words and Angel turns back to face Wesley. Connor is screaming hysterically now. Slowly Angel turns away from Buffy and steps toward the stairs.
Wesley begins to walk closer and with every step Angel takes, Connor quiets a bit. By the time he climbs the first stair, it's lowered to a whimper. Cordy looks at Buffy almost tauntingly before joining Angel.
"Would you like me to take him?" She asks.
Angel looks at Buffy briefly before nodding. Cordy takes him and Connor is quiet. Buffy watches before her emotions get the best of her. She cries out inaudibly and runs out of the room.
Everyone is silent waiting for Angel to speak.
"Wesley, what the hell is going on?" He finally asks.
Exterior: Outside magic shop, the sun is down
Anya locks the door and the group starts walking
"I really hope this answers all our questions." Xander announces.
"It's the only way I can figure." Willow says. "If Wesley can figure out why the Council might have brought us together and how they knew what was happening, then maybe we can figure out exactly what took place last night."
"I don't understand what Angel has to do with anything." Dawn says. "It was just a dream."
They walk off in silence as Spike steps from the shadows.
"I'd say it was more than a dream Little Bit." He says out loud to no one. "And I intend to be there when it all comes about."
He begins to follow them.
Exterior: Outside Hotel
"Why are we leaving?" The girl asks persistently. "This keeps getting better and better."
"This mellow drama is not my concern." Holtz explains. "Now that the girl has run away, I can move forward with my preparations."
"Listen I think I've wasted enough time here." The girl says.
"I promise you your time spent with me will be anything but a waste." Holtz interrupts. "Now come."
She reluctantly follows.
Interior: Hotel Lobby
"Wesley, I want an answer." Angel demands.
"Shouldn't you...?" Wesley nods in the direction that Buffy disappeared.
"I'm not going anywhere until you tell me what that was about." Angel insists.
"Connor doesn't like Buffy. It seems pretty clear to me." Cordelia speaks up. "I can't really say as I blame him."
"Cordy." Warns Angel.
Maybe I should check on our feisty friend." Lorne suggests. "I'm pretty good at lending an ear."
"Maybe we should just let her chill for a minute." Gunn adds. "Girl looked pretty freaked if you ask me."
"That's just normal Buffy." Cordy interjects. "She's all about the high stress."
"Who could be like that all the time?" Asks Fred. "I'd blow a gasket or something if I had that much..."
"Enough!" Angel interrupts harshly startling Fred.
"Gunn...Fred you don't even know her. You have no idea the...you just don't." He finishes.
"But I do, don't I Angel?" Cordy asks.
"Actually you don't." Wesley answers.
"What?" Cordy and everyone else says in unison.
"Lorne..." Wesley begins. "I think you're right. Could you please check on Buffy? I think she went to the basement. Gunn, can you check the perimeter? I swore I felt I was being watched when I walked in. Angel can I see you in my office?"
"Hold on!" Cordy interrupts. "You guys aren't going in there to discuss furniture. So what's with the hush-hush?"
Connor begins to stir. Gunn and Lorne exit silently.
"Fred, can you please tend to a bottle for the boy?" Wesley asks.
"So we're just the nannies?" Cordy continues. "You men folk are going to handle all the hard stuff and leave us to watch the baby?"
"Cordy..." Angel begins.
"No!" She interrupts. "I went to bat for you Angel. With my leg! And you don’t even care. I'm still not good enough to be on the inside. Is that it?"
"Stop acting like a child Cordelia." Wesley accuses. "I don't know what I missed, but I need to discuss something with Angel. Now if you want to help just give us some space."
Angel starts to say something but Wesley pushes him towards the office. They close the door behind them.
"I can't believe this." Cordy sighs looking at Fred. "I risked serious bodily injury to defend Mr. Mom over there and this is the thanks I get."
"For what it's worth, I think you could have taken her." Offers Fred.
Cordy smiles slightly. "Damn Straight."
Interior: Jeep Cherokee
Willow is driving with Dawn in the passenger seat. Anya and Xander are sitting close in the back seat.
"How much longer will it be?" Dawn asks.
"Probably about 5 minutes less than we told you when you asked five minutes ago." Xander replies.
"I can't help it." Dawn defends. "We're going to see Angel. Where Buffy already is. Am I the only one that is dying to see what we find?"
"It's not that kind of visit Dawnie." Willow says. "This isn't a social call."
"It never is with those two is it?" Anya says bluntly.
"My future Mrs. has a point." Xander agrees as Anya smiles her appreciation. "If what Buffy thinks happened really happened, then the only thing happening right now is not like anything that's ever happened before."
"You've got to be bloody killing me!"
"AAARRGGGHHH!" Everyone in the vehicle screams and jumps when Spike suddenly pops up from the rear of the vehicle. Willow jerks the steering wheel causing the jeep to veer wildly off the highway. Xander jumps forward from the back seat to help Willow regain control.
The car finally straightens and Xander releases his grip on the wheel. He sits back and spins around to face Spike.
"Are you trying to kill us all?" He yells. "I know you haven't got much to live for anymore Chip-guy but do you have to take us all with you?"
"How was I supposed to know you people would crack up at the slightest provocation?" Spike retorts straightening the collar on his leather jacket. "Sure, you can fight demons to the death but God help if someone speaks out of turn!"
"What are you doing here Spike?" Willow asks sharply.
"Just coming along for the ride until I heard soldier boys tongue twister about Buffy and..." He stops short. "So who's going to tell me why the Slayer's running back to Angelus?"
"Angel!" Dawn corrects loudly.
"You say tomato..." Spike quips tiredly.
Interior: Basement-Angel's training room
Lorne comes down the stairs to the sounds of kicks, punches and muffled grunts and groans. He rounds the corner to see Buffy working out on the heavy bag.
"Something tells me Cordelia and/or Angel should be glad they're not here right now." He says jokingly.
Buffy freezes in mid kick and slowly lowers her leg to face Lorne.
"Nice horns." She says.
"These old things?" He replies reaching a hand up to touch one.
"So how did you end up with Angel?" She asks.
"I don’t think you have that kind of time sweetie." He smiles. "In one word...karaoke."
"Karaoke? As in singing? Angel?" Buffy asks in amazement.
"What can I say? He's a renaissance man." Lorne replies. "But you should know that."
"I'm starting to see there's a lot I don't know that I used to think I did." Buffy mumbles.
"Ouch." Lorne says sympathetically.
"What?" She asks.
"I can feel your pain." He offers.
"I doubt that." She dismisses.
"No really." He reaches a hand up to his head and then drops it to his heart. "That's my specialty. That's how I help Angel. I sense things."
"Are you sensing my doubt?" She retorts.
"Loud and clear." He states. "Any who, I just wanted to check on you. There was some wacky stuff going on up there. It's pretty common since the bundle of joy arrived."
"I can see how that's true." Buffy admits. "And I guess my being here only made it worse. I never meant..."
"Don't even bother." Lorne says raising a finger. "I have a feeling you're not the type to ever purposely cause this kind of strife. And don’t worry...he knows it too."
Buffy realizes how well he really does understand and smiles slightly.
Interior: Wesley’s office
"It would appear that I've missed quite a lot of excitement." Wesley comments as he rounds his desk.
"Can we do that later?" Angel asks. "Why did you tell me to get Connor away from Buffy? And why did he stop crying when I did? And where have you been?"
"Let's take one thing at a time." Wesley begins. "The Council is in town."
"The Council? The Watcher's Council?" Angel Asks.
"Yes." Replies Wesley. "They sent a message for me earlier and I went to meet with them."
"Why didn't you tell me this?" Angel questions.
"Because I didn't know what it meant." Wesley explains. "It could have been just a pleasant visit with former associates or something about my Watcher resignation. There was no need for undue alarm."
"And now?" Angel asks.
Wesley sighs. "Now it would seem there is cause for alarm."
"I don't think I like the sound of that Wesley." Angel warns.
"Nor do I" Wesley agrees. "Nor do I."
Gunn enters the lobby
"Hey! Where'd everybody go?" He asks loudly.
"SHHH!" Cordy says impatiently. She stands to take the sleeping baby upstairs.
"She is worse than a mama bear with her cub." Gunn tells Fred when they're alone.
"I think it's beautiful." Fred gushes.
"You would." Scoffs Gunn. "So where is everybody?"
"Lorne is still downstairs with Buffy and Wes and Angel are in there." She nods at the closed office door. "Did you find anything?"
"Nah." Gunn shakes his head. "If there was anyone watching Wesley, they're not there now."
"Good." Fred exhales.
"So Mr. Loud mouth, you should consider yourself lucky that you didn't wake up Connor or I might have had to put a serious hurt on you." Cordy announces as she descends the stairs.
"I'll do that then, especially after seeing you in action earlier tonight." Gunn teases.
"Don't remind me." Cordy moans. "I can't believe I attacked Buffy like that. Angel obviously had no interest in my help."
"Don't be so hard on yourself." Gunn offers.
"Yeah." Fred agrees. "Angel would be crazy not to see why you came to his defense like that."
"Really?" Asks Cordy. "Then I must be crazy too because I sure as hell don't know what possessed me to do it."
Fred opens her mouth to speak but stops before she says anything. Instead she looks back down at the monitor and smiles.
Interior: Wesley’s office
"Okay Wesley. Stop with the stalling." Angel says. Just tell me what you found."
"Fine." Wesley sighs. "The Council wished to obtain my help in getting a final answer to something they've been watching."
"Go on." Angel prods.
"They knew about Connor Angel." Wesley blurts.
"They knew? What do they knew...I mean know?" Angel stammers.
"They know a child was born to two vampires. Your child. They believe Connor is the creation of evil sent to destroy the Slayer." Wesley explains.
Angel doesn’t respond right away and Wesley continues.
"I didn't tell them that we seem to have already been through this. It would appear that what the Oracles told you and Buffy was correct." Wesley finishes.
"But they said the Powers that Be fixed it. They sent Buffy's soul to change his destiny. The Council doesn't know about that do they?" Angel argues.
"No." Wesley assures. "They have no idea what has happened since Buffy came back. He told me they have continued to track her and are intrigued by her apparent return from the dead. But they are completely in the dark about the events that transpired just recently."
"So they only assume that Connor is evil. They have no proof?" Angel demands.
"No...not yet." Wesley says quietly.
"Not yet?" Angel asks. "What does that mean Wesley?"
"That's why they called on me." Wesley explains. "They want me to find the answer. They want me to perform a test of sorts."
"A test?" Angel says confusedly. Suddenly he seems to realize what Wesley is getting at. His face darkens as he steps closer to the desk. "Test who Wesley?"
Interior: Training room
"I think I see why Angel needs you." Buffy says.
"Really?" Lorne asks. "Why again with the snap judgment?"
"No snap." Buffy replies "You said just what I needed to hear. If you can do that for Angel, it would be the perfect reason to keep you around."
"Ok, I don't know if that's bad or good, but I'm going to take it." Lorne says. "At least you're not pummeling me. I gotta take what I can get."
A loud crash of metal startles Buffy before she can respond and she turns to see the door leading to the sewer tunnels swing open.
A large red faced being growls viciously and charges. Buffy pushes Lorne out of the way and he flies back against the wall. She isn't fast enough to block its first strike and she finds herself on top of Lorne.
"Why is this the only way I can get a pretty lady on top of me?" He jokes.
Buffy springs to her feet and delivers a roundhouse kick to the things torso. He stumbles back in surprise.
"Get Angel!" She yells at Lorne.
When he stands the thing steps towards him.
"Oh no you don't." Buffy says and grabs its arm to swing him against the tunnel door. He growls again before heading back into the tunnel.
"What?" Buffy calls after it. "Don't you want to play?"
She looks back to see that Lorne is gone and quickly follows Big Red. She spies his foot as it disappears up a manhole. She follows it onto the street.
Lorne runs in out of breath
"Angel!" he yells. "Where's Angel?"
"He's still in there conferencing with Wesley." Gunn remarks tiredly.
"What's wrong?" Fred asks.
"Bad guy!" Lorne says before running to beat on the office door. "Angel!"
Angel swings the door open instantly.
"What?" He asks looking around. "Cordy, where's Connor?"
"He's sleeping." She assures him. "Lorne's freaking out about something else."
"What Lorne? Where's Buffy?" Angel demands.
"She's downstairs fighting a big red ugly." Lorne informs him.
"You left her alone?" Angel snaps.
"Hey! She told me to come get you." Lorne defends. "It's not like I had something to offer in the way of defense. How many time have I told you people? I'm a lover..."
Angel pushes past him before he finishes and runs downstairs. Lorne hits the wall and slides down helplessly.
"That's enough wall love for me guys." He mumbles.
Exterior: Street outside of hotel
Buffy emerges from the manhole only to find Big Red waiting for her. Before both feet are planted it kicks her in the midsection. She stumbles backwards but somehow regains her footing.
She punches and they exchange blows for almost a full minute. Suddenly she loses her advantage and the beast takes hold of the opportunity.
He tackles her and she falls back striking her head hard on the concrete. She loses consciousness. The thing bends over her and sees that she is helpless. He raises a foot and places it over her throat. He presses farther and farther down.
Out of nowhere he is pushed away. He spins to see Angel vamped out facing him. The two circle only briefly before attacking. They fly together and Angel spins to approach him from behind. He places his arms around the beings head and twists violently. It's neck snaps and it falls in a heap at Angels feet. Angel steps on him as leverage to get to Buffy quicker.
"Buffy?" He falls to his knees at her side.
He brushes her hair from her face gently and sees that her eyes remain closed. His face transforms back to human and he cradles her head in his lap.
Headlights appear on them as the sound of a car screeching to a halt is heard. Several doors open and slam shut.
"Angel?" Willow calls out.
"Willow?" Angel glances up.
"Buffy?" Dawn calls coming closer. "What did you do to her?"
Angel shakes his head pathetically as Xander, Anya, Dawn and Willow drop to surround the still form of Buffy.
"What have you bloody well done to my slayer Angelus?" Spike demands from behind.
"What did you say?" Angel snaps at Spike.
"You heard me." Spike snaps back stepping closer.
"Don't even think about it." Angel warns menacingly.
"I smell testosterone." Anya remarks.
"I smell my own bile." Xander adds.
"What happened to her?" Willow asks touching Buffy’s face. "Buffy?"
"It was trying to kill her." Angel answers.
"You mean, 'I' don't you chap?" Spike interjects.
"It wasn't me." Angel defends looking up at Dawn. "I swear."
"I know." Dawn assures him.
"What?" Spike exclaims. "Are you serious Little Bit? How could you..."
Dawn raises an arm to point to the heap of Big Red lying in the gutter.
"Oh." Spike says defeatedly.
"You two crazy kids can't have a simple reunion without inviting an army of demons to join the party, can you?" Xander asks facetiously.
"It wasn't an army." Angel corrects. "It was just a demon okay Mr. Blow everything out of Proportion guy?"
"Check your math." Xander suggests.
Everyone turns to see at least 20 Big Reds charging down on them.
"Get inside now!" Angel yells scooping Buffy into his arms.
Willow grabs Dawns hand and follows Xander and Anya to the front entrance of the hotel.
Interior: Hotel lobby
Cordy, Gunn, Wesley, Lorne and Fred all look up when there's a commotion and a clatter of footsteps at the front door.
Xander, Anya, Willow, and Dawn tumble inside and stop in their tracks when they see who’s in front of them.
"Now this is more than just deja vu." Gunn says insistently.
"Xander?" Cordy says.
"Hey Cordy." He answers with forced nonchalance.
"Hello Cordelia." Anya adds taking hold of Xander’s hand.
"Where's Angel?" Wesley speaks up.
"What are you waiting for Spike?" Angel demands when Spike doesn't move.
"For you to drop the chivalry bit." Spike replies. "It's not your job anymore."
"And I suppose you think it's yours?" Angel questions.
The first beast has reached them and heads for Angel. Spike sees that Buffy will be hurt in the process and spurs into action.
He blocks the first blow surprising Angel and then head butts the red faced thing knocking it to the ground.
"Move!" Spike hollers.
The two run into the hotel.
Angel runs through the door carrying Buffy and Spike follows just behind slamming the door closed.
"Oh my God! Spike?" Cordelia asks completely aghast.
"What is it now?" Spike snaps searching for the owner of the voice.
"What happened to Buffy?" Lorne asks rushing to Angel's side.
"You're the only one here that shouldn't be asking that question." Angel smirks walking to gently lay Buffy on the sofa.
"Is she...?" Fred whispers.
"No!" The Scooby gang yells in unison.
Wesley walks to check Buffy's pulse. Just as he finishes, Buffy begins to moan painfully.
"Buffy." Angel says softly.
Buffy's eyes flutter open and she searches Angel's face groggily.
"What took you so long?" She teases dryly.
Angel's shoulders relax and he smiles for the first time in a good while.
"That's better." Buffy smiles back. She struggles to a sitting position with Angel's help and looks around.
She sees Cordelia, Gunn, Wesley, Fred, Lorne and finally her friends. Shock registers on her face.
"How long have I been out?" She muses.
"Not long." Angel replies. "So do you have any idea who our red friends are?"
"I was hoping you'd tell me." Buffy answers. "We're on your turf remember?"
"Right." Angel admits sheepishly. "Wesley?"
"I didn't see them. Who can give me a good description?" Wesley asks.
Everybody starts calling out their own versions at the same time and it's so loud that nobody hears Spike open the door just enough to slip out.
"Hold on...please!" Wesley yells. "I can't listen to everybody at once. Now Lorne, you were the first to see it with Buffy. Tell me what you remember."
"How about if you see for yourself?" Spike offers instead.
"Oh no." Buffy mutters slowly turning in her seat. "Tell me it's not."
"Fraid so pet." He quips.
He has returned to the lobby and everyone sees that he is holding the twisted neck remains of Angel's kill by the collar.
"Way to save time Spike." Xander congratulates.
"Right." Wesley agrees walking to study the creature.
"Fred can you retrieve the large leather bound volume from my desk that has the hieroglyphics on the cover?" Wesley asks.
"Sure." She runs to get the book and Wesley meets her halfway to take it.
Everyone is silent while he flips through the pages until he finds what he's looking for. He reads for several moments getting more and more distressed with each word.
"Enough already Wesley." Cordelia sighs. "Fill us in."
"Yes." Anya adds. "What Cordelia says."
Xander looks at her in shock.
"What?" She shrugs. "I just am the only one that spoke up. You all were thinking it."
"I'm going to have to agree with Cordelia on this one as well." Buffy says standing slowly.
Cordelia looks at her in even more shock.
"Perhaps we should go..." Wesley looks at Angel.
"No!" Lorne cries holding his head. "I'm not letting you make me suffer any more. Just spill it already Sir Hides-a-lot."
Angel nods his agreement and Wesley takes off his glasses.
"Very well then." He sighs. "Angel, they were here for Connor."
"Connor?" Xander asks. "As in Angel's son? As in Angel still has a son and his name is Connor?"
"Angel has a son!" Dawn exclaims.
"You knew?" Cordelia asks Xander.
"Of course they knew." Gunn mumbles. "You brought him?"
"Brought him where?" Cordy asks. "What are you on Gunn?"
"Everybody just shut up!" Angel says.
"I see you're still King bossy bloke!" Spike announces.
Buffy spins to glare at him and he shrinks.
"Wesley please." Buffy prods when she turns back.
"Yes." Wesley says and clears his throat. "I don't think you understand Angel."
"It seems pretty simple to me. They were coming for my son." He repeats. "I better go check on him."
"Wait!" Wesley interrupts. "They weren't coming to harm him. I believe they were coming to protect him."
"Protect him?" Angel stops. "From what...or whom?"
Wesley takes his eyes from Angel's to the person standing next to him.
"From her." He nods to Buffy.
A hushed silence falls over the entire group.
Interior: Hotel Lobby
"What did you say?" Buffy asks.
Wesley can't bring himself to repeat the words and instead looks to Angel.
"Are you sure?" Angel asks Wesley.
Buffy looks at Angel in shock.
"Are you kidding me?" She asks obviously hurt.
"What is your problem man?" Xander asks as he steps closer to Angel. "You seriously think that Buffy would ever come after your...your...geez, I can't even say it without..."
"Xander." Angels warns.
"Wait a sec!" Cordy interrupts. "Can we go back to the part about everyone in Sunnydale knowing about Connor?"
"We didn't know for sure." Willow speaks up. "We didn't exactly remember..."
"Willow." Angel interrupts. "It's not important right now."
"What's not important?" Cordy asks.
"I'm gonna have to disagree with you man." Gunn announces. "I'm thinking this is all pretty damn important."
"You know what's going on Gunn?" Cordy asks. "Why am I the only one here that doesn't know what's going on?"
"Ahh, just like old times." Xander chimes in.
"Shut up!" Cordelia snaps.
"If it makes you feel any better Cordelia, I'm not real sure what's going on either." Fred offers.
"Oh yay." Cordelia says sarcastically. "I'm the only one besides cave girl here that doesn't know what's going on."
"Cordelia!" Wesley scolds loudly.
Cordelia looks to see that she has hurt Fred's feelings.
"Sorry Fred." She apologizes. "I didn't mean it like that."
Fred shrugs and tries to smile.
"Maybe we could all just give Wesley a chance to explain." Willow interjects bringing an appreciative smile to Wesley's face. "I'm sure he has good reason to say such an awful, mean, jerk-like thing."
"Don't shoot the messenger." Gunn instructs when Wesley’s face falls.
"Alrighty then!" Lorne professes jovially. "I've always taken offense to that cliché if you don't mind."
"Sorry man." Gunn offers. "None intended."
"No harm no foul." Lorne smiles. "But before we go any further could we maybe dispose of the carcass?"
Everyone turns to look at Spike still holding the dead red thing in his hand. He looks down at it in surprise having forgotten about everything once Wesley had spoken the words.
"Oh right." He says offhandedly.
he turns and open the door and sees the group of beasts still watching the building from outside.
"Here you are boys." He calls as he drops the thing on the steps and shuts the door once again.
"All better then." He says looking at everyone and wiping his hands.
"Much appreciation my undead friend." Lorne thanks him.
"No problem mate." Spike says before turning to Cordelia. "Would you PLEASE stop looking at me like that?"
"Sorry." Cordelia says looking away quickly in fear.
"You don't have to do that." Anya speaks up. "Spike's harmless now. We could all jump on him and he couldn't do a thing about it."
"What?" Asks Cordelia in amazement.
"Long story." Says Xander tiredly. "Science thing, no more biting, Spike's a big lap dog."
"Do you mind?" Questions Spike hotly.
"Can we please get back to the issue at hand?" Buffy finally interjects. "Wesley, why would you think that I would ever hurt Angel's child? And Angel how could you even ask if it was true?"
Before anyone can answer Buffy starts to sway and reaches a hand up to her head to try and steady herself. Its too late though and Angel reacts instantly to catch her when she falls. They fall backwards onto the sofa and Buffy's eyes flutter closed.
"See what you did?" Spike demands of Wesley. "The girl gets knocked out and you accuse her of coming here to harm the child. Now she's bloody loopy!"
Spike strides to look down at Angel holding Buffy's head in his lap.
"Get up." He commands.
"What?" Angel asks looking up at him.
"You heard me." Spike warns. "I said get up and leave her alone. Don't let the Scoobies fool you. I'm only prevented from hitting humans, of which you are not one. So get up and get away from Buffy...now."
"Spike..." Willow begins.
"No Willow." Angel interrupts. He gently lifts Buffy's head to slide out from underneath it. She doesn't waken and Angel stands to face Spike down.
"Here I am Spike." He taunts. "What do you want to do?"
"Angel I don't think this is the time." Wesley says.
"I think this is the perfect time." Angel offers still looking at Spike. "I don't know what happened recently and I don't care. If you want to help Buffy then I suggest you sit your broken ass down and shut up. She came here for a reason and I don't think it had anything to do with you."
"That shows how much you know." Spike retorts. "The Slayer came to me first. She came to me for help and when I wasn't forthright, she decided to come to you. You're nothing but sloppy seconds chap."
Spike doesn't even see the blow coming. His head snaps back as Angel's right hand connects loudly. Neither man hears the startled cries and deep intakes of breath from the others.
Spike stumbles back slightly and then smiles as blood trickles from his lip. He moves with almost as much speed as he lunges forward to encircle Angel's throat with his hands.
"Angel!" Cordelia screams helplessly.
The pair falls and Spike lands on top of Angel. Angel rolls Spike off of him and kicks him in the gut as he stands. Spike is holding his ribs as he rises a bit slower than usual to his own feet.
"Is that the best you have Angel?" Spike smirks. "I'm a bit disappointed."
"I could say the same Spike." Angel retaliates. "Have you resorted to talking people to death?"
Buffy's voice causes Angel to look down at her. Spike takes advantage and kicks him in the jaw. Angel drops to his knees from the impact and lands only inches in front of Buffy. She opens her eyes and sees blood on his cheek.
"Angel?" She raises a hand weakly to touch the scratch.
"I'm okay." He insists. They look at one another for some time.
Spike watches briefly before turning away in disgust. Everyone else is still unsure of how to react.
"Angel, I would never hurt him. Please tell me you believe me." Buffy begs softly.
"I believe you." He whispers covering her hand with his. "But we have to know what this means."
Buffy nods and slowly rises to a sitting position. Angel sits next to her and looks at Wesley.
"No more secrets Wesley." He says "We're all here and it's time we were all on the same page."
"Here here!" Xander says emphatically.
"Are you certain?" Wesley asks.
"Yes." Buffy answers for everyone.
"Very well." Wesley concedes. "The creatures that attacked you Buffy are called Legna. They are an elite soldier like group of beings that are trained protectors."
"Protectors of what?" Buffy asks.
Wesley looks down at the text again to verify before answering.
"It isn't always clear." He replies. "From what I can see here and without further research, I would have to say it depends on who calls them."
"Who calls them?" Willow asks.
"Yes." Wesley replies. "You see the Legna spend their entire existence in training in another dimension. They never learn the concept of good and evil. They only know that when they are called, it is to the ones that call them that they must be loyal."
"So you're saying they don’t know if Buffy is good or evil anymore than they know if Connor is?" Angel asks.
"Precisely." Wesley says.
"Not hearing the precise part yet." Xander announces raising his hand.
"Let me finish." Wesley says. "The Legna don't attack to kill. They only attack in defense of the one they were sent to protect. So since they attacked Buffy, one can only assume it is her they are protecting from."
"Do they not know that she's the Slayer?" Cordelia asks. "Can't you just tell them they're protecting from the protector?"
"Watch out." Warns Gunn jokingly. "Now you're beginning to sound like the one that got knocked in the head Cordy."
"I think the more important question is why would they think Connor needs protection from Buffy in the first place?" Fred speaks up.
"Yeah." Willow agrees. "If the baby needs protection, then Buffy is the best one for the job. She's never let anything happen to a baby. Especially Angel's baby."
"Isn't that just sickeningly sweet?" Spike snaps.
"Can anyone say 'unresolved issues'?" Lorne quips.
"So what does this mean?" Angel asks ignoring Spike. "Are those guys going to stay out there forever?"
"It would seem." Wesley replies. "At least until they know the danger is gone."
"And when will they know that?" Cordy asks.
"When I'm gone." Buffy answers quietly.
"Easy enough." Spike states. "Let's go."
Angel looks at him menacingly.
"Spike has a point." Xander agrees. "Did I just say that?"
"It's okay honey." Anya encourages.
"So we'll just go then." Dawn speaks for the first time in some while. "Everything will be better once we get home. Things will be back to normal."
"I don't think it's that easy Dawn." Willow corrects. "Is it Wesley?"
Wesley opens his mouth but Buffy interrupts him.
"Yes it is." She announces standing up. "It's me that always makes it hard. I shouldn't have come here. I'm going home."
Angel stands to stop her.
"You can't just leave now. We have to figure this out together...all of us." He pleads.
Buffy looks at Wesley and he gives her an almost imperceptible nod. She closes her eyes briefly before turning to Angel and shaking his hand off her arm.
"There is no together for us. For any of us...not anymore. You have a son and you have your friends." Buffy looks form him to Cordy and back again. "I'm not a part of this. We're both moved on, we just haven't known how to admit it. Whatever has happened to us is because we've been hanging on to something dead. It's been dead for a long time. Don't come after me and don't check up on me. Concentrate on your son and your life here. That's all you have now."
Angel is too stunned to speak and watches helplessly as Buffy walks to take Spikes hand and heads towards the door. The Scoobies are all in shock and follow the pair mindlessly. The Legna watch from outside as they climb into the jeep and drive away.
After several moments, the Legna follow the jeep leaving two behind.
Inside the hotel the others have still not moved. Gunn finally walks to look out the front.
"Looks like they're following her." He announces.
"What?" Angel asks walking to stand behind him. "Wesley, Gunn's right. I have to go."
"But Buffy said..." Fred begins.
"That was before. She didn't anticipate them following her." Angel reasons. "Watch Connor. I'll be back."
"Angel you can't go." Wesley says.
"Don't start." Angel warns heading for the weapons closet.
"I'm afraid I have to." Wesley continues. "If you want your son to live, you have to let the Legna find Buffy."
Angel stops in his tracks and turns back to face Wesley.
"What are you saying?" He asks between clenched teeth.
"I'm saying that it is time for you to choose...again." Wesley explains. "Your son or Buffy."
Interior: Hotel Lobby
"Tell me you're kidding." Angel instructs Wesley.
"I should hope you would know me better than that." Wesley replies.
At that moment, Connor's cries can be heard from upstairs.
"I'll see to him." Fred offers.
"No." Angel stops her. "I'll go."
He walks up the stairs quietly and quickly. Gunn walks to the counter and exhales loudly. Fred sits back down at the computer and Wesley doesn't move.
"What in the hell just happened here?" Cordelia asks confusedly.
"Mellow drama 101." Gunn answers.
"We're at least two states over from simple mellow drama here dears." Lorne says walking forward. "I didn't have to hear that girl sing to know that her drama is anything but mellow."
"That's our Buffy." Cordelia replies. "I just don't understand why she brought it here. I'm usually not this slow but I feel like I've been absent from class and nobody told me."
"That's not it Cordelia." Wesley assures. "If anyone should be able to understand the not so understandable it should be you."
"What does that mean?" Cordy snaps.
"Alright, I'll tell you everything. But first I have to make a call." Wesley says before shutting himself in his office.
"I swear if I see this side of that door one more time today..." Cordy muses out loud.
Exterior: Jeep on highway
Seating arrangements are the same except Buffy sits in the cargo space with Spike. He's staring at her but she’s avoiding his eyes.
"Are we not supposed to speak?" Anya asks suddenly.
"SSHHH." Xander says taking her hand.
"How about music?" Willow suggests. "Dawnie, why don't you find some music?"
"That's just asking for trouble." Spike warns.
"How is music asking for trouble?" Dawn turns to question.
"I've been around quite a while Little Bit. And if there's one thing I've learned its that whenever music plays at a high intensity moment, it never ends well." Spike explains.
Dawn rolls her eyes and turns to switch on the radio. The song blares loudly.
Memories are just where you laid them,
Dragging waters till the depths give up their dead,
What did you expect to find,
Was it something you left behind?
They all shift uncomfortably in their seats trying to ignore the words.
The music cuts off when Willow finally hits the button. No one moves or speaks.
"Never ends well." Spike reiterates.
"Can everybody please stop with the eggshells?" Buffy implores.
"No problem." Xander replies. "Our pleasure."
"How can you say that?" Anya asks. "This is not pleasure I'm feeling."
"Its a figure of speech Anya." Willow says tiredly. "When are you going to get that?"
"So-rry!" Anya spats.
"Is anyone else wondering why Buffy was holding Spike's hand when we left?" Dawn blurts.
"Dawn!" Willow exclaims.
"Don't jump on Little Bit." Spike warns. "I myself would like to hear the answer to that."
He looks back to Buffy as she lowers her head in avoidance.
Interior: Wesley’s office
"It's me." Wesley says into the phone. "Yes well I didn't get the chance to perform the test before we had company."
He's quiet while he listens to the voice on the other end.
"Yes, that's right. They were Legna. How did you...? Never mind. They came for Buffy. Yes, she came to see Angel."
Wesley listens again and rolls his eyes several times.
"So you will have to agree that the test isn't necessary. (pause) No! This is too cruel! (pause) She left. The Legna went after her. Angel tried to give chase but I stopped him. (pause) Then I will do it myself. Angel need not be involved. (pause) I'm doing the best I can. Perhaps you could use your energy to find out who called them in the first place. (pause) Very well. I'll call you from there."
Wesley hangs up the phone and takes a deep calming breath. He moves behind the desk and puts some things in a bag. He zips it closed and throws it over his shoulder before exiting the office.
Interior: Magic Shop
The gang enters and Buffy holds Spike outside.
"I need you to give us some space Spike." Buffy says.
"Oh." He replies. "So I guess the holding hands bit was just for show. I knew that."
"Its not that simple. But we don't have a lot of time." Buffy informs him. "They'll be here soon."
"Who?" Spike asks confused.
"The Legna. They won't rest until I'm dead. That's the only way they'll go back to their dimension. When their duty is fulfilled." Buffy explains.
"You knew this? And you chose to leave LA where we had help." Spike demands.
She doesn't answer and Spike begins to realize what happened.
"Bloody hell." He mumbles. "You chose to leave to protect him. You did it for Angel...and his boy. It's always about Angel isn't it?"
Buffy doesn't answer and Spike turns to walk away. Buffy almost goes after him but at the last minute goes into the shop.
Interior: Hyperion Lobby
Wesley joins the others.
"What's with the bag?" Gunn asks.
"I have to run an errand." Wesley answers.
"You are not leaving without telling me what's going on." Cordelia insists.
Wesley walks to stand in front of her and takes her by the shoulders.
"Listen to me Cordelia. I have to go and if you care about Angel at all, you will let me do this my way." He reasons. "I need you to stay here and keep things under control. Do you understand?"
Cordelia searches Wesley’s face and sees that his resolve is unwaverable.
"I understand." She finally agrees.
"Good then." Wesley says turning to Gunn. "I need you to come with me."
"You got it Boss." Gunn answers.
"What about me?" Fred asks.
"I need you here to help Cordelia. Angel mustn’t know where we've gone." Wesley explains.
"That should be easy." Fred smiles. "I'm just the simple cave girl still very much in the dark."
"Don't say such things." Wesley scolds lightly.
"I told you I didn't mean that Fred." Cordelia assures.
"Can I get some help up here?" Angel hollers from upstairs.
"I'll go." Cordy tells the others.
"I'll just stay here and watch the ladies backs." Lorne offers.
"Good. Thank you." Wesley nods. "Gunn?"
"Right behind you." He replies.
They head out the door.
Interior: Magic shop
"So we left LA to protect Angel and his son, except they weren't the ones that needed protecting; you were?" Xander asks.
"Yes." Buffy answers.
"And now we have to fight these Legna guys except they won't give up until you're dead...again." He continues.
"Don't say that!" Dawn cries. "You're not going to die again Buffy!"
"Don't worry Dawn." Buffy assures her. "I'm not interested in dying right now either. We just have to figure out a way to get rid of these guys."
"What if we made them think you were dead?" Anya asks. "Willow can't you make Buffy pretend dead?"
"NO!" Dawn exclaims.
"Calm it Dawn." Willow urges. "I'm not messing around with any magic especially where Buffy's life is concerned."
"Then what's the plan folks?" Xander asks. "Last I heard the Legna didn't give up without completing their mission."
"Wesley said they're only loyal to the one that calls them." Buffy says. "I think we should concentrate on finding out who that is."
"And when they show up to kill you, what then?" Dawn asks.
"If we do this right, it won't be an issue." Buffy replies.
"Okay then, let's go back to work." Willow says walking to the bookcase. "We can do this."
The others reach for books.
The two Legna that were left behind are on their knees looking up at someone.
"Nothing is to happen to the child. Only the child matters. I may have called you here, but it is the child that drives you to stay. You will not leave until he is safe...with me."
The Legna grunt in agreement as Holtz smiles his approval.
"You wanna tell me what we're doing here man?" Gunn asks Wesley.
Wesley is searching through his bag and finally pulls out a vial.
"This." He answers handing the vial to Gunn.
"What is this?" Gunn shakes the object.
"Don't shake that!" Wesley scolds and bends back down to the bag. "I'll have to ask you to trust me on this one Gunn."
"Let's not go there." Gunn warns. "I think you know I trust you. But you have to tell me why we're standing behind Hyperion. I thought you said you had an errand."
"I do...we're doing it." Wesley says sliding a dagger from the bag.
Gunn sees the dagger and looks around worriedly.
"Alright, I'm gonna have to stop you now." He begins nervously. "I'm not sure what you're up to, but it just got serious."
Wesley looks from the dagger to Gunn and stands slowly.
"Very well then." He replies. "Though I must ask for your discretion before I explain."
"Discretion?" Gunn says raising an eyebrow. "Why don't we start with attention? You definitely have that."
"Gunn, the Council came to me because they believe Angel's child will have a direct impact on the Slayer. The problem is that Buffy rejected the Council years ago." Wesley watches for Gunn’s reaction and when there is none, he continues. "They no longer have authority over her. But they still watch her. For reasons beyond my understanding, they still feel an obligation to protect her."
"And they think Angels son poses a threat to her protection?" Gunn muses. Suddenly his face changes. "They sent those Legna dudes, didn't they?"
"No!" Wesley defends. "No, they're currently working on trying to figure out who was behind that. However, they wish to find the answer to a very important question."
"Don't keep me in suspense." Gunn says.
"It would appear that Connor might very well have been created to destroy the Slayer. But the Powers that be tried to change his destiny by sending him Buffy's soul."
Gunn is completely aghast. Wesley goes on.
"Unfortunately, Buffy was brought back from the dead and needed it back. When Angel and Buffy discovered this they went to see the Oracles who in turn informed them that Buffy's soul would be restored."
"Wait!" Gunn interjects. "Angel and Buffy did this together. So I wasn't crazy! All the weird stuff and deja vu I kept experiencing, that all really happened?"
"Yes." Wesley admits.
"Cool!" Gunn exclaims. Wesley frowns. "I mean cool that I'm not losing it, not cool that...just go on."
"Right, well if Buffy's soul was restored, then it would leave the child without...well you know." Wesley stops.
Gunn nods slowly.
"All of this is not clear because of the time fold that the Oracles created." Wesley goes on. "So in order to know what to do, we have to be sure that what we think happened really happened. We have to test the theory."
"Test the...?" Gunn finally catches up. "You want to test Connor to see if he's got a soul?"
"So the dagger would be..."
"The vial in your hands is an ancient gypsy potion. It's much like the ingredients that were used to curse Angel, except in this instance, we're using it for a soul search." Wesley explains. "The Council gave it to me. If it's poured over the dagger and applied to human flesh, it will show us the truth."
"I don't get it." Gunn says.
"If it penetrates the skin, there is a soul, it will bleed. If there's no soul then..." Wesley fades.
"No blood." Gunn finishes.
They both look at the objects in the other's hand.
Interior: Baby's room
Cordelia is holding Connor as Angel watches.
"You're really amazing with him. He says.
Cordy looks up at Angel and smiles.
"Thanks. You're just as amazing though. Don't get discouraged. Gunn was right you know." She says.
"Babies can sense their parents moods. If you're tense then he's going to react to it." She explains.
"Well, then we're in for a long haul. Because in case you haven't noticed, this seems to be the epicenter of all things tense." Angel mumbles.
"It doesn't have to be." Cordy argues. "Yeah, I know in our business, tension can be tough to avoid, but there are some things we can."
"What do you mean?" Angel asks.
Cordy puts Connor in the cradle and sits down next to Angel.
"You know I'm your friend. You've saved my life like a dozen times or so and that means you must know that right?" She questions.
Angel nods not sure what the point is.
"She's not good for you." Cordy continues. "I'm not saying it to hurt you or make you angry, but you have too much going on right now to fall back into that trap again."
"Cordy..." Angel tries to stop her.
"No you let me finish." Cordy says standing up to turn her back to him. "I know there's the history, probably more than I can ever imagine, but that's all it is...history. I don't know if what Wesley thinks is true and I don't care. Regardless of how Connor came to you or why he's here and Buffy's not. I don't think it should be a choice really. I mean, she said it herself, it's dead. So maybe you should just let this thing be dead finally. Maybe it's the whole undead thing you've got going on that prevents you from seeing it, but we've got...I mean you've got something here. Something substantial and you did it without her right? So why bring her into it now?"
She finally stops and turns to look at Angel. He doesn't say anything and finally stands to look her in the eye. They face off for a moment before he silently leaves the room.
Cordy looks after him dismayed.
Interior: Magic Shop
The group is studying separately in silence. Dawn keeps glancing up from her book to search the others faces.
"So nobody's going to say anything huh?" She asks.
"What?" Willow replies.
"Come on!" Dawn cries. "Buffy, you just pretty much told Angel to go to..."
"Dawn!" Buffy warns.
"Sorry." Dawn shrugs. "But you can't just sit here and expect us to act like nothing happened. That was Angel, remember?"
"I personally vote for forgetting." Xander raises his hand.
"You are such a man." Anya remarks.
"What is that supposed to...you know what? I don't even care. If I'm the bad guy because I want to support Buffy in her decision to finally put the Angel issue to rest, then so be it." Xander defends.
"Is that what you did Buffy?" Dawn asks.
"It's not that simple." Willow answers.
"I remember when I used to make it that simple." Anya muses. "I remember when a girl broke up with a guy and wished them gone or dead or hurt or sick and I could do that. Now look at me."
Xander looks at her questioningly.
"I mean look at me!" Anya smiles. "I'm a much better person and I've got my own man that I love very much."
"Nice save." Dawn quips.
Buffy has been listening to all this and stands to leave the room. Willow follows her and motions for the rest to keep looking.
"I always miss the good stuff." Whines Dawn sitting back down with her book.
Interior: Stock room
Buffy stares blankly at a shelf.
"Are you okay?" Willow asks.
"Sure. Aren't I always? Isn't that my job?" Buffy replies.
"No. It doesn't have to be." Willow offers. "Not with me. I know you must be totally...well it must have been excruciating. And now you have to worry about these Legna creeps and they aren't even coming after the right person. But they don't care about that and then you had to see him again and with his son and Cordy and then Spike shows up. What could be more stressing right? Plus we're there to witness it along with Angel's team of you know teammates. And then stupid Wesley announces you're a threat to Connor, that's his name right? but then I don't get what you did. I mean I know you had a reason for that speech and hurting Angel and then getting Spike. And you'll tell me when you're ready but I just thought maybe you'd like to tell me now or...not. You're overwhelmed right? How could you tell me anything, when you might not even know yourself what it means. I'll shut up now, just know that I'm here and we'll do this together, like we always do. Okay?"
Buffy tries to smile her thanks but it doesn't work. Willow touches her shoulder in reassurance and then leaves. Buffy is still thinking when she hears a commotion in front.
She runs out to find Spike battling a Legna at the front door. The others are all cowering in the corner.
Buffy looks around and sees her crossbow on the floor behind the counter. She picks it up and aims.
"Spike down!" She calls. Spike ducks as the arrow shoots pat him and into the forehead of the beast.
It falls to the floor instantly.
"That's gotta smart." Spike mutters.
Buffy walks over and picks the thing up and opens the front door. She throws it out and screams outside.
"I don't want to kill you guys! I know you don’t understand what you're doing. Why don't you just tell me who called you and we'll all go home."
No answer comes and Buffy closes the door.
"I guess they're not interested." She smirks. "What are you doing here?"
"I came to help." Spike replies.
"Thanks." Buffy says. Spike seems surprised by her response. "What?"
"I don't think I'll ever get used to hearing you say that." He says softly.
"I can't concentrate." Xander announces slamming his book shut. "Honey, let's take a break."
"Where are you going?" Willow asks. "We have to figure out what to do about these guys."
"I don't think it's in these books Will." Xander offers. "I don't know where it might be, but it's not in these books."
"He has a point." Buffy says. "But Xander, I don't know if you should go out there."
"They're not after us remember? They've only got eyes for you. Buffy-dare so to speak. Maybe if we watch them, we can get a clue as to who their caller guy is." He reasons.
"That's actually a good idea." Buffy comments.
"It happens sometimes." Xander shrugs.
"Why don't I take Dawn home?" Willow offers.
"What?" Buffy asks.
"We'll meet you at the house." Willow says.
"What?" Dawn asks. "Oh."
Everyone leaves and Buffy and Spike are left alone.
"The Scoobies not the epitome of subtlety are they?" Spike asks.
"Not quite." Buffy shrugs stepping away. "But they have good intentions."
"Hey no complaints here." Spike assures. "I never thought they'd even be willing to leave you in the same room with me again."
"People change." Buffy says quietly.
"Speaking of..." Spike begins. "I didn't mean to go all human earlier. I haven't felt like this for some time and it doesn't exactly sit well. I did some thinking or brooding or whatever while I was gone. You know I think the whole Angel thing is..."
"Spike." Buffy warns.
"No, I can do this. I need to do this. Angel is in the past like you said in LA. And I'm here. I don't know what you were trying to prove when you took my hand and led me out of there, but I don't rightly think I care. I told you once, I may be love's bitch but at least I will admit it. Now at the time, it was in totally different context and I sure as hell never thought it would apply to us, but here we are."
"Spike I really..." Buffy begins again.
"Would you just shut up?" Spike demands. "Listen, Angel will never be back. Do you understand that? You can keep him and what you two had up on this bloody pedestal for as long as you want, but the fact is, he left you. Do you hear me? He didn't have the brass to stick it out and see what could work, he left. Sure he tried to make it seem like this big selfless act, but truth be told, Angel was scared and he left. I came back here to figure things out. I didn't know what it was at the time, but I knew I had to come back. Because that's what I do. I fight. Whether it's for love or hate or pain or pleasure. I fight. So just promise me you'll think about what I'm saying. It might not be what you want to hear or admit, but it's what you need to think about. Got it?"
He stops and searches Buffy's face. She doesn't respond and instead just stares back. Finally she pushes past him and leaves the shop.
Exterior: Fire escape
Gunn and Wesley are watching the baby's room and see Cordelia finally exit. The baby is sleeping in the cradle.
"You know if he catches us, he'll kill us." Gunn asks.
"Yes, well if he doesn't then we've saved him an immeasurable amount of pain. He could never do this himself." Wesley reasons.
"You got that right." Gunn agrees.
They both take a deep breath and open the window. Wesley enters first.
Interior: Hyperion Lobby
"Where's Angel?" Cordy asks walking downstairs.
"He headed underground." Lorne answers. "And not with the happy face either."
"Did something happen?" Fred asks.
"Just me and my big mouth." Cordy mumbles walking to retrieve a water from the mini frig.
"Don't be so hard on yourself. Boyfriend just needs some breathing room." Lorne quips. "He's had quite the eventful time of late."
"Lorne's right." Fred agrees. "I thought I had a tough time until I came here. Angel's had to deal with his long lost love dying and then coming back to life. Then Darla shows up carrying his child, who in turn brought every evil force including this Holtz guy into Los Angeles. Now he's found out that his son was carrying the soul of his previously dead...Buffy. Then she takes the soul back supposedly and shows up unannounced. Next the Legna come after her so Angel fights them only to find out that they were protecting Connor. And what does Buffy do? She tells him that whatever they had was in the past and dead and he's wasted his time loving her. Then she takes off with some new vampire guy. And all Wesley can say is, 'you have to choose between Buffy or your son'. I'm surprised the guy is still standing."
Cordelia feels awful after hearing Fred and slumps against the counter. No one sees that Angel has returned and heard everything that Fred said.
"I'm the worst friend ever." Cordy whines. "I was so wrapped up in my own drama with Buffy and the old gang, I forgot exactly how much Angel must be hurting."
"Your drama is Angel's drama and vice versa." Lorne corrects. "I don't know a lot about the life you two had in Sunnydale, but I know that whatever affects one of you affects the other now. If you were wrapped up in anything, Angel was right there with you. Trust me."
Cordelia doesn't respond and instead looks down. Fred and Lorne exchange a secret look. Angel pauses slightly before making a concerted effort to announce his entrance. Cordy jumps up at the sight of him.
"Hey big fella." Lorne greets. "Feeling better?"
Angel doesn't answer and Fred speaks up.
"You look better." She smiles. "You must feel better cause you look great!"
Angel gives her a sideways glance as he moves past Cordy.
"Angel, I..." Cordy begins.
"Don't." He interrupts stopping at her shoulder. "Let's not."
"Sure." She agrees weakly.
Interior: Baby room
Wesley and Gunn stand over the baby.
"So how do we know if this is even the right potion?" Gunn asks as Wesley opens the vial.
"You're welcome to test it on yourself." Wesley teases.
"No thank you. You've seen me bleed. I think it's obvious I have a soul." Gunn replies. "By the way, how are you going to explain the cut to Angel?"
"I hadn't thought that far ahead I'm afraid." Wesley admits.
"Well maybe you should." Gunn offers. "I don’t know about you but I don't look forward to being on the receiving end of Angel's reaction to his son being sliced."
"Perhaps he won't be." Wesley muses.
"Oh great." Gunn mutters. "Either he gets us for attacking his boy or he gets us for proving his boy is not what he hoped. Tell me again why I'm helping you."
Wesley glances at Gunn briefly before pouring the vial along the blade of the dagger. Steam begins to rise.
Xander and Anya duck behind some bushes trying to avoid being seen.
"What are they doing now?" Anya whispers.
"Pretty much the same thing they were doing the last time you asked." Xander whispers back tiredly.
The group of Legna stand in formation as if waiting. Suddenly another man arrives to stand before them.
"Where is the one?" He asks.
Xander sees one of them point in the direction of the magic shop.
"Good. The others will join us shortly and we can begin." The mans says.
Xander motions for Anya to follow him and they quietly head to Buffy's house.
Interior: Magic Shop
Spike goes after Buffy
"Where do you think you're going?" He asks taking her arm.
"Away." Buffy answers pulling her arm loose.
"You won't be going far if you walk right into your new friends trap." Spike comments.
Buffy remembers the Legna and stops.
"I have to check on Dawn." She argues.
"Fine. I'll take you to her." Spike says. "We'll go my way."
He begins to head for the sewer tunnels.
"Oh boy. My knight in not so shining vampire." Buffy jabs.
"I should be right up your alley then." Spike retorts.
Interior: Buffy's house
Willow and Dawn are in the kitchen when Xander and Anya arrive.
"Where's Buffy?" He asks.
"She's not here yet." Willow answers.
"She's still with Spike." Dawn announces.
"So it could be a while then." Anya remarks.
"Anya!" Willow scolds.
"What?" Anya shrugs.
"They're trying to protect me still." Dawn explains. "For some reason everyone refuses to accept that I'm not a kid anymore. I know all about sex."
"You know all about what?" Buffy asks walking in with Spike.
"Out of context." Willow defends.
"There should be no sex context where Dawn is concerned." Buffy argues.
"Maybe you should try telling that to Spike and...well...you." Anya comments.
"Excuse me?" Buffy demands.
"Okay let's deal with one thing at a time." Xander interjects. "Buffy I think the creep who called the creeps is in town."
"You saw him?" Buffy asks.
"Yeah. Some guy wearing an old duster. Looked like he just walked out of an old B western flick." Xander replies.
"Western?" Buffy questions. "That doesn't sound like the average run of the mill bad guy."
"He wasn't." Xander says. "He said something about the one, which I think was you. And then he said the others would be here soon and they could begin."
"Western...duster did you say?" Spike speaks up.
"Yeah, one of those long cowboy trench coats." Xander explains.
"What is it Spike?" Buffy asks. "Do you know something?"
"I don't...no." Spike mumbles. "It couldn't be...it isn't possible."
"Spike, it's me." Buffy quips. "Its not supposed to be possible to bring people back from the dead either but...let me introduce myself. Now what's with the confusion?"
"It was over 200 years ago." Spike begins. "Angel and Darla killed a family."
"I just love hearing these sweet old Angel tales." Xander quips.
"All except the man." Spike ignores Xander and continues. "He hunted them for years. But he was human, he couldn't be here now."
"Hello?" Xander prods. "You were human once too. Maybe he's a vamp."
"Not this one. Not bloody likely." Spike assures. "He hated us...everything about us. But he had a special thing for Angel. He wore this cowboy getup that we always had a good chuckle about."
"So this cowboy is back and he's called the Legna. But why not send them for Angel? Why me? How does he even know me?" Buffy wonders aloud.
Angel and the others are still standing around.
"Where's Gunn?" Angel asks suddenly. "And Wesley?"
Before anyone can answer, there is a horrible crash upstairs.
Angel jumps and runs as fast as he can taking the stairs two at a time. The others follow.
Various noises can be heard from the baby's room. Angel swings the door open to see Gunn and Wesley battling with two Legna. They are standing in front of the crib and its obvious the Legna want past them.
Angel rushes the first one and grabs him from behind. They tumble backwards against the wall.
"Get Connor!" Angel yells at anyone who’s listening.
Cordy steps toward the crib and at the same instant a new person jumps through the already broken window.
She kicks Cordelia in the back pushing her into the wall where she slides to the floor unconscious.
Angel flips the Legna over his shoulder and turns to face the woman who has been working with Holtz.
"I don't want to hurt you." She warns.
"You already did." Angel says glancing at Cordy.
They go after each other exchanging several blows.
Wesley uses the dagger to defend himself and cuts the Legna. No blood appears and he takes note of it before the Legna shoves it again Wesley slicing his arm.
Gunn is stepping toward the crib when the Legna picks him up and throws him across the room into Fred and Lorne. They all crash to the floor.
Angel gains the advantage over the girl and punches her in the stomach with all his strength. Her feet come off the floor as she doubles over in pain. She falls to the ground trying to catch her breath.
"Wesley!" Angel calls heading for the last enemy standing. "I thought they were here to protect him!"
"As did I!" Wesley calls out before the dagger is knocked loose and flies into the crib.
"No!" Angel yells vamping out. He grabs the beast and is about to snap its neck when he is staked from behind.
He loses his grip and begins to fall.
"Angel!" Wesley hollers.
The girl has missed the heart but Angel is still writhing in pain. The Legna punches Wesley in the mouth and the girl rushes the crib.
"We must hurry. They'll be waiting." She says before bending to gather the now screaming infant.
"Connor." Angel moans trying to stand.
The girl looks around the room for a split second before running to escape out the window. The two Legnas follow.
Wesley stands first and looks into the crib. The dagger is lying on the blanket with blood on it. Angel rises and looks over Wesley’s shoulder.
"Is it his?" He asks.
Interior: Baby's room
"Wesley, answer me." Angel demands. "Is it Connors blood?"
"No I don't think so." Wesley replies picking up the dagger. "I believe that's mine."
Wesley shows Angel the cut on his arm where the Legna attacked him. Angel nods and turns when he hears Cordy's moan.
He runs to her side as she regains consciousness.
"What happened?" She asks rubbing her head.
"They took Connor." Angel answers grimly.
"They got him?" Gunn asks standing slowly with Fred and Lorne.
"Yes." Angel answers still looking at Cordy. "You okay?"
She nods and struggles to her feet with Angel's help.
"I'm going after them." Angel announces.
"You don't even know where they went." Wesley argues.
Angel turns to face him.
"I can track them." He replies. "They have my son. Don't expect me to do this your way...or the nice way."
He doesn't wait for a reply before he vamps out with a growl and jumps through the window.
"Don't worry about us!" Calls Cordy sarcastically.
"He's not trying to ignore us." Wesley says. "Connor is the most important thing right now."
"I know that." Cordy snaps. "But why won't he even consider that we could be of help to him right now?"
"Maybe because between the five of us, we couldn't even defend against two measly Legna guys and some random girl." Lorne offers.
"Who was that girl anyway?" Gunn asks.
"I have no idea but she better watch her back when I find her." Cordy warns. "She totally blindsided me."
"Kind of like you did with Buffy when she was attacking Angel." Fred comments.
"That was so not the same thing!" Cordelia defends.
"Fred didn't mean anything by it." Wesley interjects. "Let get downstairs and form a plan of action. Perhaps we can be of help to Angel after all."
He exits the room and the others follow hurriedly.
Interior: Buffy’s house
"So if this guy...Holtz or whatever is after Buffy then he must be doing it to get to Angel right?" Willow questions.
"Buffy and Angel haven't been together in forever." Dawn replies. "How would he even know about them?"
"Little Bit's right." Spike agrees. "Holtz wouldn't know about the slayer and Angel. Because that would mean he knew about the curse."
"That doesn't make sense." Buffy reasons. "If he's calling the Legna to protect Connor then he would have to know about Angels soul and what that might mean for Angels son."
"So if he knows about Angels curse, then he must know that you're the only threat to it after all these years. Maybe he called these Legna boys to erase that threat." Xander offers.
"Maybe." Buffy wonders aloud. "If he wants to get back at Angel then he wouldn't want him to lose his soul. Right now Angel's suffering and Holtz would enjoy that."
"But that doesn't explain why Wesley said you were a threat to Connor." Anya says.
"Maybe because Wesley’s a ninny." Spike interrupts. "The boy couldn't cut it as a Watcher and now he's hanging out with Angel trying to feed his own ego. He doesn't know what he's talking about."
"I don't think it's that simple." Willow argues. "Wesley may be a bit non-impressive in the manly kind of way but he knows his stuff. Being a watcher is not easy. The studies alone are unbelievable. Giles was constantly pulling out facts that I couldn't imagine anyone ever remembering. If Wesley thinks Connor is tied into this somehow, then he has good reason, trust me."
"So how do we find the connection? And how do we handle the arrival of our new friend? He's waiting for someone to join him remember?" Xander questions.
"That's right." Buffy says. "You said after they arrive then something would begin right?"
"That's what I heard." Xander answers.
"So do we wait and let him make the next move?" Dawn asks.
"No. I've never been one for the waiting for them to come to me." Buffy replies.
"That's a policy that I've always agreed with." Xander says. "Let's stick with that."
"Willow, call Wesley." Buffy instructs. "Don't mention anything about this Holtz guy being here, but just see if you can find out everything he knows. Don't let Angel know you're calling. Do you understand?"
"Sure." Willow says leaving the room.
"What about me?" Dawn asks.
"You stay here." Buffy replies. "Xander, Anya can you go back to recon duty? Watch them until the others arrive, whoever they are and see if you can find out what their plan is. But don't get caught. I don’t have time to save you and myself at the same time."
"We'll be careful." Xander answers before taking Anya's hand to leave.
"I suppose you want me to leave you alone right?" Spike asks tensely.
"No." Buffy corrects. "I need you here with me."
Spike seems more than pleased and Buffy looks as if she wants to say something. Instead she tells Dawn to go upstairs and make sure there are no unlocked windows or any other means of entry for the visitors.
"I don't think a lock is going to stop them." Dawn suggests.
"I'm not looking for stop, I’m looking for slow down." Buffy explains.
When Dawn leaves Buffy turns back to Spike.
"I'm not going to respond to your earlier speech, but I have to know one thing." She says.
"Anything." He replies.
"Will you help me? And by help I mean whether I'm fighting for me or you or Angel or his son or anybody else. Will you help me? Because if it's a problem, then you should leave now. I don't have time to..."
She's interrupted when Spike bends to kiss her harshly. He finally pulls back and Buffy stares at him in shock.
"Is that answer enough for you love?" He asks with a smirk.
"I guess it will have to do." Buffy says and then manages a smile in return.
Anya and Xander are watching the Legna and Holtz.
"How long is this going to take?" Anya asks. "My legs are beginning to cramp."
Xander reaches to massage her legs.
"Not much longer sweetie. It looks like they're growing impatient themselves." He replies.
"Where are they? They should have been here by now." Holtz complains.
At that moment, the woman appears carrying the baby who has quieted.
"Sorry for the delay. You wouldn't believe the traffic." She quips.
Holtz reaches to take the infant and she pulls back protectively.
"Not so fast." She warns. "I'm not in the business of kidnapping especially from a very angry vampire. So until you tell me why you need this kid so bad, I'm not giving him up."
"Is that Angel's baby?" Anya whispers excitedly.
"SShh." Xander scolds. "I have to hear this."
"First of all, this is not just a kid as you put it." Holtz corrects. "His parents were vampires. That in itself should tell you that nothing good could come of that union."
"All that tells me is nothing should have come of that union at all, much less bad or good." The woman reasons.
"Smart girl." Holtz praises. "I must admit, I'm not completely sure myself of how it came to be. All I know is that this child is my first class ticket to vengeance over Angelus and every vile thing he ever did."
"Vengeance." The woman repeats. "You know you really like that word but I haven't seen anything too impressive in the way of actions. Granted, kidnapping is pretty hefty in the vile department, but why did we come here? The vampire is in LA. So why bring the brat to this little hole in the wall town?"
"My dear girl, when will you learn to trust me?" Holtz smirks. "We are here with the child and the Legna because this is where the destruction of Angelus will be completed. You see, I've learned some very important things since my return. Not only was Angel cursed but he came here to Sunnydale only to find the one thing in over two hundred years that eluded him. Love. He had to leave this place to escape the prison that his love became. And now he has something in LA that he loves. The boy. What better way to exact my revenge than forcing him to choose between those two loves?"
"Oh God." Xander murmurs.
"Wait." The woman says. "You plan on killing one of them? You plan on making this guy choose which one dies?"
Holtz doesn't answer and the woman begins to smile.
"Now that's vengeance."
Xander grabs Anya and pulls her behind him to run back to Buffy's.
"Yes, are you sure that was all you needed then?" Wesley says into the phone. "I don't see how all this could be of help. (pause) Very well then. Please keep me informed."
He hangs up the phone and the others watch him.
"Who was that?" Gunn asks.
"Willow." Wesley answers.
"What did she want? Hasn't Buffy done enough damage for one day?" Cordelia asks.
"It would seem that they're trying to find the best plan of attack for the Legna. They followed them to Sunnydale and don't appear to be giving up easily." Wesley says.
"Forgive me if I don't weep." Cordy quips.
"My goodness!" Lorne remarks. "There is some major shiraz going on with you and this girl isn’t there?"
"What in the hell is shibazz?" Cordy asks.
"And that my friend is what we call avoidance." Lorne replies.
"Shut up." Cordy snaps.
"Alright." Wesley interrupts. "Let's get back to the problem at hand. Connor is missing and Angel will not return until he has found him and destroyed the people who took him. We have to figure out who this woman was. I don't believe she was the one that called the Legna here, so who is she?"
"She fought allot like that Buffy girl if you ask me." Fred suggests.
"Another slayer?" Gunn asks.
"No." Wesley answers. "Another slayer can't be called until the current is gone. Faith is still in jail and very much alive...I think. Cordelia can you verify that please?"
"Sure." She replies and heads for the computer.
"So assuming that she is not a slayer, then who else could she be? She obviously has extensive training. Someone had to have helped her." Wesley reasons.
"Call me crazy, but I can think of only one person of late that might have enough knowledge to train a slayer wannabe." Gunn suggests.
"Holtz." Wesley answers.
"Angel said he hunted them for years and killed tons of vampires on his path. Who better to train in the art of slaying than hunter from way back when." Gunn explains.
"You make a good point." Wesley agrees. "So why would he bother taking the time to train this girl? He's already had the opportunity to kill Angel himself and he didn't take it."
"Listen, maybe it's the after affects of him blowing up my bar, but I think this guy is not so much about killing Angel as making him suffer." Lorne offers. "He saw that Angel wasn't in the bar that night, but he knew that we were. Maybe he likes the idea of killing off all Angels friends and leaving him to live with it."
"Good point." Gunn agrees. "So if that's the case then he would take Connor just to add to Angel's suffering. But that still doesn't explain the girl."
The phone rings and Wesley answers it. He speaks briefly before hanging up.
"Faiths still tucked away in her special place." Cordelia announces standing from the computer. "Who was that Wesley?"
"Angel." Wesley answers.
"What did he say? Is he okay? Did he find Connor?" Cordelia questions excitedly.
"He's fine." Wesley mumbles and then looks at the group. "He didn't find Connor yet, but he thinks he's close. He's tracked him back to Sunnydale."
"Sunnydale?" Gunn asks.
"As in Buffy's Sunnydale?" Lorne asks.
"Yes, that's the one." Wesley replies.
"I should have known." Cordelia mutters defeatedly.
"So what's the plan?" Lorne asks.
"We're going." Wesley says. "I told Angel we'd go to Buffy's and find out is she knows anything. He doesn't want to let her know he's there."
"Good for him." Cordelia boasts. "She doesn't deserve his time of day."
"Okay, let's focus." Wesley prods. "We can't allow Buffy and Connor to be together. If this woman is working for Holtz then that means he's there as well. I can only deduct that his intentions are to force Angel to choose one or the other."
"So that's what you meant when you said Angel would have to choose!" Fred exclaims.
"Not exactly." Wesley answers. "But I'm afraid that my scenario is even worse than Holtz's."
"You're just not much with the good new are you there Wes?" Lorne quips.
Interior: Buffy's house
Xander and Anya come rushing through the door
"Buffy!" Xander yells urgently.
"She's upstairs with Little Bit. But I'm sure she heard you." He says covering his ears.
"Why the frantic Xander?" Buffy asks walking downstairs with Dawn. "What happened?"
"They have Angel's baby." Anya blurts.
"What? Who?" Buffy questions.
"The guy, the cowboy guy." Xander says still trying to catch his breath.
"Holtz." Spike offers.
"Yeah him." Anya replies.
"Holtz has Angel's son?" Buffy repeats. "In Sunnydale?"
"So I suppose Daddy won't be far behind." Spike snaps.
Buffy sends him a warning glance and he hold his hands up defensively.
"How could he have gotten him. Angel would kill anyone who tried to take Connor." Buffy wonders aloud.
"Unless they got to Angel first." Anya remarks offhandedly.
"Anya!" Xander scolds.
"What? Why do I always get reprimanded?" Anya complains.
"Angel's fine Buffy." Willow speaks up walking from the kitchen. "I just spoke with Wesley, they're on their way."
"Who?" Dawn asks.
"Wesley, Cordelia, Gunn and that green guy." Willow answers.
"And Angel?" Buffy asks. "Where is he?"
"Wesley didn't say. But he insisted that he wasn't with them." Willow answers.
"That doesn't make sense." Xander muses. "Why would Angel not come after his boy?"
"Just because he's not with them doesn't mean he's not coming for his son." Buffy replies. "Willow, how did Wesley know that Connor was here?"
"Angel." She answers quietly.
Buffy nods knowingly and turns to Xander.
"Where were they when you left them?" She asks.
"In the park across from the magic shop." He says.
"Okay, Spike I need you to get the others to the Magic Shop. Take them through the tunnels. I don't want anyone out on the street until we figure this out." Buffy instructs.
"And that means you too right?" Dawn asks. "You're the one they're after."
"I know, but I have to do something first. I'll be fine." Buffy assures.
"Have to do everything on your own right?" Spike comments.
"No, I can't protect all of you, I'm asking you for your help Spike. Is that okay? Can you do this for me?" Buffy demands.
They exchange a silent look before Spike finally relents and starts moving towards the door.
Buffy turns to Willow.
"I need you to find anything you can on defeating the Legna or this other guy. Get everyone to help you. We don't have a lot of time and I need you to have it when it's needed. Dawn, you help Willow. Xander, secure the shop. Anything necessary to prevent any outsiders entrance. Wesley will know to come to the shop right Will?" Buffy questions.
Willow nods and Buffy pushes them toward the door.
"It won't be long." She advises and shuts the door behind them.
Buffy goes to her room and begins rummaging through her drawers. After some time she pulls something out and shoves it in her pocket. She climbs out her window into the darkness.
Angel stalks two Legna walking through an alley.
"I knew I smelled something." He remarks to get their attention.
They spin around and Angel pounces. Within seconds, the first is dead at his feet.
He picks up the dead one and throws him into the one left standing. They both fall to the ground.
Angel drops to his knees and holds the dead ones face against his counterpart.
"I've never been one for talking things out and I don't plan on starting now. So you have two choices. You can die right now looking at your buddy here or you can take me to the girl. What's your pleasure?" He questions menacingly.
The beast starts shaking his head and Angel rises to let him stand.
"Thought you'd say that. Now lets move quietly." He instructs.
Exterior: Sunnydale Park
Buffy is crouching behind bushes and finally sees Holtz holding the baby.
"Where did they go? I just wanted them to make sure we were alone." Holtz complains.
"Maybe them not coming back is your answer." The girl shrugs. "Let's just do this and get it over with. I don't like the babysitting gig."
"All in due time. I suggest you save your strength, you will have quite a fight on your hands when we find her." He warns.
"I'm not worried. I was trained by the best right?" She quips.
Suddenly there's a noise. Angel appears holding the Legna by the neck.
"Angelus." Holtz remarks.
"If you don’t give me my son this instant, I will be." Angel threatens.
"What does that mean?" The girl asks.
"Angel is trying to warn us that though he has a soul, if we harm the child, he will stop abiding by it." Holtz smiles. "Isn't that right?"
The Legna writhes around trying to extract himself form Angels grasp.
"Oh yeah, I guess you want me to let you go now?" Angel says to him. "You did what I asked and now I need to keep up my end of the bargain right?"
The thing seems relieved that Angel remembers their agreement and seems to relax. Suddenly Angel grabs his throat with both hands and vamps out.
Buffy watches her eyes growing wide with fear.
Angel drops down to the ground taking the Legna with him. He takes a dagger that the beast has in his belt and stabs it so far into his throat that it's impaled on the ground.
The Legna doesn't make a sound and only trembles once before it is dead. Buffy blinks hard still not moving.
Angel stands slowly and looks to Holtz.
"Very impressive." Holtz says. "Now that's the Angelus I hate."
"I'm just getting started." Angel assures taking a step towards Holtz. "Now you can either give me my son now or I'll have to go to my bad place."
"Does he mean he's not there yet?" The girl whispers to Holtz.
With a flurry of movement, several Legna jump on Angel. He fights them off admirably for several minutes before they begin to get the better of him. Buffy sees him tiring and springs into action.
She vaults over the bushes and rushes to his aid. Holtz and the girl are surprised and watch with interest.
Buffy slays the first beast easily and Angel sees her for the first time. He doesn't have time to react before another is on top of him. They work effortlessly as a team for several minutes before Buffy too begins to tire. She kicks one away from her and punches the one attacking Angel.
It spins and seems to enjoy the sight of her. He begins to advance and Angel tries to follow.
"Angel no!" Buffy cries. "Get Connor!"
Angel stops and turns to see that Holtz and the woman have disappeared with his son. He whirls to help Buffy.
They both fight for a bit longer until there are only three Legna left. Two are holding Buffy while the third fights Angel.
"Buffy!" Angel hollers while defending himself against the beasts blows.
Buffy does a back flip and evades the Legna for several seconds. She glances to the Magic Shop and sees a light go on.
"Angel!" She calls as he annihilates his adversary. He turns to help Buffy again. "No! Magic Shop!"
Angel stops and looks around confusedly. He sees the shop across the street.
"Not without you." He answers trying to move closer to the two beasts who have begun pummeling Buffy again.
"I've got this! Go get Willow. She knows what to do." Buffy screams.
Suddenly she breaks free and runs away from Angel. He watches as the Legna follow her. He seems to hesitate wondering what to do and then finally heads for the shop.
Buffy runs only several yards before the Legna drag her down. She flips over to her back and they each grab an arm and a leg to pin her to the ground. She closes her eyes to await the blows but they don't come.
"Well, it's so nice to finally meet you." Holtz says.
Buffy opens her eyes to see Holtz smiling down at her with Connor still in his arms.
"Come, bring her to the place." He instructs.
Buffy allows herself to be pulled up and led away from the park.
Interior: Magic Shop
Angel breaks down the front door and falls inside.
"Nice job with the securing Xander." Dawn teases. "Where's Buffy?"
Angel stands and looks at everyone watching him.
"Oh God, where's Buffy?" Dawn repeats with growing concern.
At that moment, the back door swings open and Wesley and the others arrive looking worried.
Buffy is led through the door of Angel's former home. She stops struggling in the Legna's grasp as she looks upon the place where Angel almost died years before.
"I see you recognize it." Holtz smiles.
Connor is crying and has been since Buffy joined them.
"What's wrong with that kid?" The woman snaps. "Why won't he shut up already?"
"I wonder." Buffy remarks. "Hey why not tell your buddies here to let me go and I'll help with the baby?"
"I'm insulted." Holtz answers laying the baby on a broken table top lying on the floor. Connor screams louder and struggles against the blanket wrapped around him. "Do you really think so little of me?"
"Yes actually." Buffy shrugs. "But that's beside the point. Your girlfriend here obviously isn't much with the motherly instinct and its gonna be hard to concentrate with all that noise."
The Legna still hold on to Buffy as Holtz listens to her.
"Listen I'm not going anywhere." Buffy continues. "I have this pesky conscience thing that won't let me take off without him." She nods in Connors direction. "So give me a few minutes to calm him and then we'll get back to business."
Holtz pauses but finally nods to the Legna. They release Buffy and everyone braces for her attack. She looks at them and then calmly walks to Connor. He screams louder and louder as she nears.
"Not much with the motherly yourself are you?" The woman asks.
Buffy turns her back to them and bends over Connor. She reaches in her pocket and pulls out something without anyone seeing. She slides her hand deep into the blanket and then pulls it tighter around Connor.
She stands and watches for a second before taking a step back. He begins to quiet. With every step she takes away he is quieter until his eyes flutter closed.
"Impressive." Holtz congratulates.
"That's me." Buffy says nonchalantly. "Maybe we could move him away from the point of impact?"
"What?" The woman asks.
"I agree. He will only hinder us there." Holtz nods to one of the Legna to carry the sleeping child away.
Buffy waits until Connor is safe but still in her line of sight in the corner of the room.
"So what now?" She asks.
"Now we wait for your demon lover." Holtz smirks.
Interior: Magic Shop
"So is it just me or does anyone else feel like we're playing musical towns?" Xander asks the group of people staring blankly at one another.
"Not now Xander!" Dawn snaps. "Angel where is Buffy?"
"She's with Connor." Angel replies evenly.
"Buffy's with Connor!" Wesley exclaims in surprise.
"You mean she saved Connor and is hiding with him somewhere right?" Willow asks.
"Not exactly." Angel answers.
"Why aren't you with them?" Cordelia speaks up.
"Yes Angel." Spike adds. "Why aren't you with Connor yourself?"
Angel glares at Spike before turning to Cordelia.
"Holtz took Connor, the woman is with them. Buffy and I were fighting the Legna and she told me to come here." Angel explains.
"And you listened to her?" Dawn accuses. "She would never leave you like that."
"But that's what our boy here does best." Spike sneers. "Isn't that right?"
"Shut up Spike." Angel threatens walking to Willow. "She told me that I had to come here because you'd know what to do."
Willow doesn't answer right away.
"I don't know if I can." She mumbles. "I hadn't had time to find much."
"That’s not what I want to hear right now Willow." Angel warns.
"Back off man." Xander says stepping in front of Willow. "Don't blame Willow if you lost not only your kid but now our Buffy."
Angel starts to say something but Wesley interrupts.
"Let's stop with the useless banter." He suggests. "Willow what were you trying to find before we arrived?"
"I'm not sure. Buffy said to find a way to defeat the Legna and this Holtz guy. The only thing I came up with was a spell. A kind of 'back to where you belong' thing." She offers.
"And what exactly is that?" Angel asks.
"Well it's supposed to send everything back to where it came from. Any being not meant to be here, that arrived through unnatural forces would be instantly pulled back to their point of origin." She explains.
"So the Legna would go back to their dimension?" Xander asks.
"And Holtz would go back to his time?" Cordelia asks.
Willow nods. "In theory."
"So do it." Angel instructs.
"I don't think you want her to do that." Wesley says.
"Why?" Angel asks.
"Angel listen to me." Wesley reasons. "If Willow casts the spell then not only would Holtz and the Legna disappear but very likely Connor as well."
"You're wrong." Angel insists. "Connors my son. He belongs here. He was born here."
"No, no he wasn't." Wesley corrects. "He wasn't born at all. And as far as getting here, I think you'd agree his conception was quite unnatural. So do you really want to risk this spell?"
Angels shoulders slump defeatedly.
"Hello?" Dawn questions. "When are we going to save my sister?"
"Its not that simple Dawn." Willow says.
"No it isn't is it?" Dawn admits. "Nothings ever simple and now because you're here..." Dawn points at Angel. "it's even less simple."
"Come now Little Bit." Spike consoles walking to comfort Dawn. She turns and puts her face in his chest.
Angel seems more than a bit upset by the scene.
"I think the first order of business should be to find where Connor and Buffy have been taken." Wesley announces.
"That's great." Xander quips. "I'm so glad you're here to state the obvious."
"Lay off man." Gunn demands calmly.
"If you ask me it should be pretty easy you figure out where they are." Fred offers.
"Well no one did but please enlighten us." Xander replies.
"Could you stop being King Sarcasm for just five minutes?" Cordelia snaps.
"Don't talk to my Xander like that!" Anya cries.
"Fred, what is your suggestion?" Angel asks ignoring the others.
"I just mean that Holtz is out to make you suffer right?" Fred begins. "You killed his family. His child, his wife, now he has your child, your..."
"Don't even say it!" Spike exclaims.
"He knows about Buffy." Fred continues. "And if he knows about her then he probably knows about your time in Sunnydale. That's why he came here. So where else could he want to go that might add to your suffering? Where in Sunnydale was the sight of your best moments but at the same time your worst?"
"Fred that's really quite perceptive." Wesley says. "But Sunnydale is the Hellmouth. Angel and Buffy and the rest of us fought all over town. It just isn't easy to narrow down one specific..."
"The school!" Cordelia exclaims. "It has to be! You know Prom-good times. The mayor-bad times. It was the last time you two saw each other before you left."
"That's great Cordelia." Xander adds. "Except they built a little strip mall thing where the school was after we blew it up! Something tells me Holtz isn't one for public appearances."
"Excuse me for having a life outside of Sunnydale!" Cordy snaps. "How am I supposed to keep up with new construction from LA!"
"I know where they are." Angel says quietly.
"I sense that it's not only Buffy and Angel who have unresolved issues." Lorne remarks.
"What does that mean?" Anya asks.
"Can we please stay focused here?" Willow asks.
"I know where they are." Angel repeats as the others continue to ignore his words.
"I am so glad I left Sunnydale." Cordelia comments.
"Finally, something we agree on." Xander quips.
"I KNOW WHERE THEY ARE!" Angel yells.
Everyone startles and Dawn looks up from Spikes shoulder.
"You know where Buffy is?" She asks.
Angel nods. "Willow get the things you need for the spell. Be ready to do it on my signal."
"Angel..." Wesley begins.
"I'm not technically doing magic anymore." Willow announces.
"What?" Angel and his team ask in unison.
"Long story." Willow replies.
"Willow just get the stuff." Dawn says. "I don't care what you promised Buffy, we have to get her back."
"I think Dawns right Will." Xander agrees.
Willow looks around before finally nodding. She leaves to get her things.
"Okay I need everyone to work together on this." Angel says scanning the faces before stopping on Spike. "Can we do that?"
Buffy is having a flashback. Her and Angel laying in bed cuddling. They begin to kiss.
"I hate to interrupt your trip down memory lane." Holtz says snapping her back to reality. "But we'll have company soon and I want to be ready."
"Who are you?" Buffy asks coldly. "Why are you doing this? If you know so much about Angel, then you must know he has suffered more than you'll ever realize. He's not the same vampire that you knew back then."
"I agree." Holtz says. "He has suffered, for that I am grateful. But I wasn't the one to cause it, for that I am bitter. But I plan on making up for that now. What I have in store for Angel will make the last 100 years of atonement seem like a vacation."
"You know that you've far surpassed Angel's evil side with your own don't you?" Buffy asks.
"I can only hope." Smirks Holtz.
Before Buffy sees it coming the Legna grab her again and the woman runs forward to kick Buffy in the face. She collapses unconscious and falls to the same floor that she had last fallen saving Angel's life.
Buffy is chained to the wall as Holtz and the woman watch her stir from her sleep.
"I was beginning to think you were trying to miss all the fun." Holtz taunts when Buffy finally opens her eyes.
"I wouldn't dream of it." Buffy answers. "So what's with the bondage? You didn't strike me as the type."
"Don't worry. It's only until Angelus arrives." Holtz replies.
Buffy notices the Legna forming a circle around them. They're watching her with unwavering attention.
"How much longer is this going to take?" The woman asks. "That brats not going to sleep for much longer and then we'll be forced to listen to the screaming again."
"It doesn't look like you two planned this very well." Buffy remarks. "He'll be hungry soon. Did you think to have a bottle handy? And what if he needs his diaper changed?"
"I would think that finding yourself in shackles would be of a bit more concern than the welfare of the child of Angelus and his @!#$." Holtz suggests.
"Just goes to show how much good it does for you to think." Buffy snaps.
"Can I please hit her now?" The woman asks bluntly. "My patience is really wearing thin. You said that I would fight the vampire loving freak. When is that going to happen?"
"Is she really the best you could find?" Angel asks emerging from the shadows.
Buffy turns in surprise along with the others. The Legna begin to move towards Angel.
"Halt!" Holtz demands. "He is not the one to whom you are concerned with."
The Legna stop and turn back towards Buffy. Angel sees her and she nods towards the still sleeping Connor. Angel looks at him wrapped in the blanket lying on the floor.
"Don't worry." Holtz comments. "He is well protected thanks to me."
"Why doesn't that make me feel any better?" Angel asks sarcastically. "So what's the play here? You've got my attention and obviously you wanted them here." He nods towards Buffy and the woman. "So what's next?"
"No need to rush." Holtz says. "I've learned a lot about you since my arrival. I know about the gypsy’s curse and I know about your pathetic mission of atonement. Unfortunately, I was not impressed. Call me what you will, I can't seem to accept any form of vindication for my family's death unless its my own. So spare me the 'I've changed' speech. I'm not that easily fooled."
"So you think I'm going to let you do what you want here?" Angel asks. "You honestly believe that I will stand by and watch you play whatever sick game you've created? It doesn't work that way Holtz."
"I thought you might say that." Holtz admits. "So I invited my friends here to help me out."
Holtz motions to the Legna and they swiftly extract various instruments as they surround Angel. Before he can react the first raises a cross into Angel's face. He cowers involuntarily and two others come from behind to grab his arms.
Two more produce thick ropes of their own and knock him to the floor. Angel struggles valiantly but is no match for the swarm of beasts and their strength. Buffy watches in horror as they hog tie him and leave him thrashing about the cold floor.
She stands and strains against her own bonds but can't free herself.
"Angel!" She calls.
Angel hears her and stops his fight. He scoots enough to lie on his side and meet her gaze. They exchange a silent look that only the two of them can understand.
"Buffy, it's okay." He says quietly.
"Actually, it's anything but okay." Holtz interrupts. "But you'll find that out soon enough."
He nods to the woman and she approaches Buffy with a smile.
"So you're the freak that likes to get it on with vampires?" She asks.
Before Buffy responds, she backhands her across the face.
Suddenly, there's a crash as Spike and Gunn come barreling through the door. Buffy is still trying to recover from the blow when the first of the Legna attack.
Spike is the first to strike. He delivers a mean left hook to the first Legna and it spins to the ground. Gunn swings a battle axe downward and it rolls away from the blade at the last possible second. The second Legna vaults over Angel still tied on the floor and tackles Spike.
They fall to the floor and Spike vamps out as he rises to battle. Gunn sees him change and steps away to confront the one he missed on his own. After taking several blows himself, he manages to trip the Legna and it falls next to Angel.
The blade is raised again and this time finds it's mark. The Legna is dead and Gunn uses the blade to cut Angels hands free. Angel sits up and quickly releases his feet.
Holtz sees this and rushes silently to Connor.
Spike snaps the neck of the Legna he has been fighting and rushes to Buffy's aid. The woman comes after him but he picks her up and hurls her across the room viciously. He tries to pull Buffy loose but the chains are too strong.
"Where's the bloody key?' He asks excitedly.
"Do you think if I knew that I would still be locked up?" Buffy asks calmly.
"Angelus!" Holtz' scream interrupts everything and everyone looks his way.
He has picked up Connor and is cradling him in his arms.
"You see, there's an interesting plus to calling the Legna." He begins as everyone stops to listen. "They only wish to do the bidding of the one that called them. To protect the one that needs them. In this case, they will do anything to prevent your child from coming to harm. Even if that means killing his father."
Angel's eyes narrow as he contemplates what Holtz is saying.
"However, being as I'm the one who called them, they can never harm me. interesting loophole don't you think?" Holtz remarks grimly tightening his grip on the child.
"Holtz..." Angel begins menacingly.
"Spare me the worthless threats." Holtz interrupts. "You have only two options here. You can either instruct your friends to let me finish what I came for and leave us alone. Or you can continue to fight the Legna while I dispose of your demon seed."
Connor begins to thrash about in the blanket and Angel looks from him to Buffy and Spike and finally to Gunn.
"Spike, let me do this." He says calmly.
"You must be bleeding insane!" Spike replies. "If you think for one second that I'm leaving her here, you're positively bent!"
"Spike, I asked you if you would help." Angel reminds him.
"Yeah, and what is it that you think I'm doing right now?" Spike demands. "How can I help if..."
"Spike, you already helped." Buffy speaks up. "You're here and that's what's important."
"Try telling that to daddy dearest over there." Spike points at Angel.
"Holtz, you have to let her go." Angel instructs. "They won't leave if she's not at least able to defend herself."
Holtz looks at Buffy for a second before nodding to the woman who has only just risen from the impact of Spike's toss. She walks slowly to Buffy and pulls a key from her pocket.
Spike steps clear so she can remove the chains. The woman holds onto both of Buffy's arms after she's free and waits for Holtz to continue.
"There." Holtz announces. "She's free and able to defend herself. So kindly ask your friends to leave us alone while we finish our business."
"Angel, I don't think..." Gunn begins.
"It's fine." Angel interrupts. "You and Spike go ahead, we'll be fine."
"Angel's right Spike." Buffy adds. "We'll get this taken care of ourselves."
Spike seems to want to argue but allows Gunn to pull him away and out the door.
Spike and Gunn walk away from the front of the house and join the others waiting in the bushes.
"What happened? Where are they?" Cordelia asks.
"They asked us to leave them alone." Gunn answers.
Spike is pacing furiously in the background.
"What do you mean?" Xander asks. "Is Holtz gone? Do they mean alone as in...alone? Or do they mean leave us to fight the bad guys all by ourselves and you two just said alrighty then?"
"We were only supposed to be getting the layout remember?" Gunn reminds everyone. "We only went in because it sounded like someone was getting pounded."
"And were they?" Willow asks. "Getting pounded?"
"Angel was all tied up like a bloody goon and Buffy was being attacked by that new broad." Spike spats. "So we go in to help and Angel ends up sending us packing. He's so worried about that tot he doesn't give a flying fig about Buffy!"
"You don't know what you're talking about." Fred says. "Angel cares about everybody in his life. You can't expect him to choose one over the other."
"Don't tell me you're on the Angel love train too. What is it with this guy?" Spike demands.
"Shut up Spike!" Cordelia snaps.
"You know I liked you a lot better when you were afraid of me." Spike replies.
"So what else did you find out?" Wesley interrupts. "What can you tell us?"
"Angel is surrounded by what, three or four Legna guys. We took out two while we were in there." Gunn offers. "The girl is watching Buffy and seems to be itching to go at her. And Holtz was holding Connor when we left."
"So the spell can't possibly be performed when that's occurring. Even if the spell were to overlook Connor, it would take Connor with Holtz wherever he went." Wesley reasons.
"So one of us needs to stand watch and signal when the go is good." Xander remarks. "Anya and I can find a way to see in and then let Willow know when Connor is clear."
"What about Buffy?" Dawn asks. "Who's going to watch and make sure that Buffy's clear?"
"Don't worry Little Bit." Spike answers. "I'll not let anything happen to the Slayer."
"Alright then, Cordelia you stay with me and when I give the signal, you and I will retrieve Connor. Fred, you stay with Willow and begin the preparations for the spell. Gunn, you must ensure that Angel gets out of there and meets up with us where we planned." Wesley barks orders. "Are there any questions?"
"Yeah, what's the back up?" Anya asks. "Don't we need a back up if this doesn't work?"
"I'm afraid we don't have time for that." Wesley says.
"So it's all or nothing." Gunn adds.
"Great." Xander quips. "I love it when it's do or die."
He rolls his eyes as him and Anya head out to find a spot to watch Holtz.
Spike leaves to scale the fence on the side of the mansion and Dawn follows him.
Fred begins taking the supplies out of the bag as Willow sets up her spell.
Wesley and Cordelia inch their way behind Gunn to follow him onto the darkened patio leading into the mansion.
Buffy is released by the woman and thrown against Angel. Angel stumbles backwards but catches her and prevents them both from falling.
"Angel." Buffy says quietly looking up at him.
"It's fine." Angel assures her in a whisper. "They're all watching."
Buffy nods her understanding and turns to face Holtz and the woman.
"I must say you two make quite an attractive couple. I can see what you saw in this one Angelus." Holtz remarks.
"Yeah, but what did she see in him?" The woman adds. "You know I've seen a lot since my sister was killed by one of your kind, but I never thought I'd see something this pathetic. A woman actually choosing to love this evil? Man, I know there's the whole daddy abandonment issue but really? What were you thinking?"
"I get it." Buffy replies. "Your sister got herself bitten and now you think you're life's work is to kill vampires? Sorry babe that's not how it works."
"Shut up." The woman threatens. "You don't know anything about my sister."
"Buffy, I really don't think it's a good idea to piss her off." Angel begins.
"Listen to your boyfriend." Holtz taunts.
Buffy turns to face Angel and whispers quietly and quickly.
"Don't let the blanket come off him. No matter what?" She says.
Angel is confused as she turns back to Holtz.
"I guess you missed the part where he's not my boyfriend anymore." She shrugs. "He dumped me, took off, left town. Have you ever heard that old saying, 'Hell hath no fury...'"
Before she finishes Buffy leans her head down and snaps it back up with all her strength to ram the back of her head into Angel's nose. He stumbles back and cries out in shock and pain.
The Legna catch Angel and hold him as Buffy rushed forward to attack the girl. She connects with her first punch but is quickly knocked to her knees by a swift kick. Before she can rise, the woman grabs the back of her head by her hair and snaps her neck upwards.
"I've been waiting all night for this."
Holtz grins and lays Connor back down on the floor. Angel sees him kicking and one corner of the blanket comes loose. He looks from Buffy back to Holtz.
His attention is taken away by the sounds of punches and grunts from the women as they begin to fight. He watches with growing concern as the two seem to be equal in strength and skill.
Exterior: Outside Mansion
Fred watches as Willow sets up the last of her ingredients for the spell.
"I've never seen a real witch up close before." Fred gushes. "It must feel so great to have such power. Being able to help people like this."
"The power is the best and worst part of magic." Willow explains. "I haven't practiced recently for that very reason. Do you see them yet?"
Fred strains her neck trying to find Xander or Anya. Suddenly she sees Xander waving his arms frantically.
"There he is!" Fred points excitedly.
Willow looks up and sees him giving the all clear signal. She lowers her head to begin.
"Keeper of time, Watchers of Space I call on thee..." She says.
Fred watches in awe.
"What now?" Anya asks. "Do we go down and join the others?"
"Not yet." Xander replies. "I want to see if I can get a glimpse of Buffy."
He begins to move towards the opposite end of the roof. Anya steps after him.
"Please don't do a stupid thing." She remarks.
"Thanks honey!" Xander quips. "So love your confidence in me."
Gunn, Wesley, and Cordy are hiding behind the stone fountain.
"Do you see anything?" Cordy whispers.
"I see the Legna standing in some sort of holding pattern." Wesley answers. "They're surrounding Angel."
"Is he in trouble?" Cordy questions. "Does he need help?"
"It doesn't appear so." Wesley replies. "I believe they’re watching something. Gunn do you see anything?"
"Looks like Buffy and that chick are throwing down." Gunn informs them. "It looks pretty intense."
"Why isn't Angel helping her?" Cordy asks.
"It must have something to do with Holtz' plan for them." Wesley reasons.
"And what about us?" Gunn inquires. "What's our plan?"
"We have to wait for Willows spell to take effect." Wesley answers soundly. "And pray that Connor will be safe."
Buffy and the woman spar for a couple of minutes. Angel is still reeling from Buffy’s earlier actions and just watches them numbly.
Buffy slams into a wall for the third time and barely rolls under the next attack.
She springs up behind the woman and connects with a solid uppercut.
"I really don't want to do this." She warns.
The woman ignores her and tries to lunge at her again. Buffy spins and the woman stumbles forward with nothing to break her fall.
"You have no idea what you're really involved in do you?" Buffy asks.
The woman sweeps her leg across Buffy’s midriff and pulls her to the floor. She retrieves a stake from her pocket and raises it over Buffy’s head.
"Nice stake." Buffy comments. "But if you do that, I'm not going to turn into a nice pile of dust and disappear. It could get messy. Trust me, I've seen it."
"Seen what?" The woman stops.
"I've seen a human staked." Buffy answers. "Another slayer made a mistake once. The fallout was beyond complicated."
"Another?" The woman asks lowering her weapon. "Are you saying...you're a slayer?"
"Oh man." Buffy says in surprise. "He didn't tell you the whole story did he?"
Buffy stands and looks at Holtz with a smirk. The woman rises as well.
"Holtz how could you keep your girl in the dark like that? You didn't even tell her who I was?" Buffy taunts.
"Is she telling the truth?" The woman demands looking at Holtz.
"Are you really going to listen to one who you've seen defend a vampire?" Holtz asks sharply.
"You said she was evil." The woman announces. "You said she was against us."
"I said she had sympathies for a vampire." Holtz corrects. "You inferred the rest."
"Oh my God." She mumbles.
"Yes. You've been fighting against someone who was born to be on your side." Buffy adds. "And the kicker is so is he."
Buffy points at Angel.
"That's the problem with riding someone's coat tails." Angel finally speaks. "You never know where the ride is going to take you."
"Enough!" Holtz yells.
The Legna sense the aggression and move closer to Angel.
Buffy sees them and glances around the room finally seeing that Connor is stirring and has kicked half the blanket loose.
She rushes towards him knowing the Legna will come after her. They charge after her.
"Buffy!" Angel yells frantically.
"I didn't sign on for this." The girl mumbles and pushes Angel aside in her haste to get out the door.
Willow is furiously chanting a mantra in Latin as Fred watches stunned. She notices a glow in the bowl that the powder from Willows fingers has been falling into.
Fred's eyes squint against the glow that is turning brighter and larger with each word. Suddenly it begins to rise as Willows voice grows louder and more insistent.
Cut to Rooftop
Xander and Anya are knocked off their feet by the force of the rising ball of light and energy. They raise their hands to shield their eyes.
"What is that?" Anya asks.
"I'd say that's Willow doing what she does best." Xander answers. "Come on."
He leads Anya down the fire escape and they land next to Spike and Dawn.
"You scared me!" Dawn cries grabbing her heart. "What's that weird light?"
"That's the color of magic Little Bit." Spike says trying to see what's happening in the mansion.
Cut to patio
Gunn, Wesley and Cordy cower under the fountain.
"Id say Willow has been successful." Wesley muses.
"So how are we supposed to sneak in when her spell just turned night into day?" Gunn asks.
"I've been through this kind of thing before." Cordy comments. "These things always work themselves out. Just sit tight and protect your retinas."
Buffy has stopped and the Legna do the same. He is only inches from Connor when the light surrounds the room. Holtz glances around in confusion and grabs Buffy by the arm.
"I've run out of patience." Holtz snaps.
He pushes Buffy closer to Connor and the child begins to scream again. Buffy notices the blanket slipping more and spins to extract her arm.
She dives across the gap and lands on top of Connor. She rolls into a fetal position cradling the screaming infant in her arms.
"Connor!" Angel yells running across the room.
The Legna see Buffy with Connor and become enraged. The first reaches her and strikes just as an enormous crash echoes throughout the room and the all encompassing light shrinks to only encompass Holtz, the Legna, Buffy and Connor.
Spike, Xander, Anya and Dawn bust through a window in an instant.
Gunn, Wesley and Cordy charge from the patio wielding weapons.
An unintelligible scream reverberates within the mansion and then travels outside to startle Willow and Fred.
A scattering of the groups yells and screams join the first sound as another crash followed by a black cloud appears and covers the ones who don't belong.
Exterior: Outside Mansion
The sky is black when several lightening bolts streak across the night. Thunderous claps are heard that seem to shake the earth with their intensity.
Willow and Fred are paralyzed with shock when a sudden downpour soaks them. Willow jumps up and pulls Fred by the hand.
"Come on!" She hollers over the noise. They sprint towards the mansion.
In the confusion and fast unfolding events, everyone has forgotten about Lorne in the background. He emerges after the ladies leave and looks up into the persistent rain.
He watches for a moment until the shower comes to a blinding halt. He finally moves to follow the others into the mansion.
The light finally disappears as the sound of the pounding rain stops echoing through the room.
Cordy, Wesley and Gunn slowly lift their heads to face the reality of what has happened.
Xander reaches a hand out to Anya and helps her stand as he shakes his head to clear the confusion.
Dawn stands as well and sees Spike staring into the emptiness where Buffy had been only seconds before.
Willow and Fred come running into the room and everyone turns to stare at them.
"Did it work?" Willow asks.
"Is everyone okay?" Fred adds.
No one is sure how to answer and still hasn't spoken when Lorne enters the room.
"Angel?" He asks immediately.
The entire group turns to where they had last seen the others.
Angel is lying face down on the floor not moving.
Holtz, Buffy, Connor and the Legna are nowhere to be found.
"Oh God." Cordelia mutters rushing to Angels side.
She bends down beside him and touches his arm hesitantly.
"Angel?" She asks managing to roll him onto his back. "Angel say something."
His eyes open slowly and he sees her looking at him.
"Cordy?" He struggles to sit up. "What happened?"
Cordy isn't sure how to answer and turns to look at Wesley and Gunn behind her.
"Where's Buffy?" Dawn asks loudly.
Angel hears her and seems to remember everything all at once. He jumps up and spins to look at the floor where he had last seen Connor and Buffy.
"Connor." He whispers.
"Angel don't panic." Cordy says reassuringly. "We'll figure this out right Wesley?"
"Of course." Wesley agrees. "Um, Willow the spell, it went smoothly yes?"
"Yes." Willow replies. "I mean as far as I could tell it was fine."
"As far as you could tell?" Angel snaps harshly.
"Don't do that!" Xander steps forward. "Don't you do that to her!"
"It’s okay!" Willow cries. "Look Hotlz and the Legna creepies are gone right? The spell must have worked then."
"Buffy's gone too if you haven't noticed." Dawn points out.
"And what about Connor?" Cordy adds.
"Was Holtz holding Connor when the spell happened?" Fred asks.
"He wasn't supposed to be." Xander accuses looking at Angel.
"No." Angel replies. "Buffy had him."
"So if Connor went back to whatever place he came from then he bloody well took Buffy with him!" Spike exclaims.
"Shut up Spike." Angel says quietly.
"What if Buffy took Connor with her?" Gunn speaks up. "Last I heard, girl wasn't even supposed to be alive."
"Shut up!" Dawn cries.
"I'm sorry if you don't like it mate." Spike continues. "But your boy and Darla were never meant to procreate. There's nothing more unnatural than that brat. So help me if Connor..."
Angel lunges at Spike and cuts his words short.
"Don't say his name!" He yells holding Spike by the collar. "Don't you ever talk about my son!"
Cordelia Gunn and Wesley pull Angel loose and Dawn screams for Spike.
Lorne finally steps forward.
"Okay kids, I think I have an idea." He announces. "I don't know about the rest of you but when the laser show started I couldn't stand to watch."
Everyone stops and looks at him in confusion.
"I just mean that I can only imagine it was pretty hard to see anything once the spell kicked in with all the lights and such." Lorne reasons. "Angel what did you see last?"
"Buffy had dived to cover Connor." He says looking at the empty space in front of the fireplace. "Holtz was a few feet away and the Legna went after Buffy. I tried to stop them but before I could get to her, everything went black."
"That's when we came running." Wesley says.
"We came in through the window." Xander adds. "I heard a scream. I didn't recognize it."
"We heard several screams. "Willow offers. "Just before the rain started."
"Okay so it sounds like we all may have missed the finale." Lorne suggests.
"What does that mean?" Fred asks.
"It means Buffy's a fighter right?" Lorne reasons. "Maybe she was able to sneak Connor out in the maylay. Maybe she's not sure its safe to return. Before we recreate the fight scene from West Side Story, why not do a search?"
"That's a good point." Willow agrees. "All except the feuding gangs reference. Buffy might have taken Connor somewhere safe or at least somewhere that she thinks Holtz can't find them. Just because they're not here doesn't mean they're not anywhere."
"So what are we supposed to do?" Gunn asks. "Just walk around Sunnydale calling their names?"
"We'll split up." Wesley takes charge. "Gunn you and Fred can go with Willow and check Buffy’s house. Cordelia..."
"I'm staying with Angel." She interrupts.
"No." Angel says stepping away from her. "I need to be on my own."
Cordelia nods and tries to hide the hurt.
"Cordelia, you go with Xander and Anya." Wesley continues.
"With me?" Xander questions. "I mean us?"
"Yes, the three of you can check the shop and park." Wesley instructs.
They don't reply before making their way out after the others.
"What about me?" Dawn asks. "I want to help find Buffy."
"Good." Wesley replies. "Spike will you and Dawn come with me? I'm afraid I don't remember Sunnydale as well as I used to. You two should know better than anyone where Buffy would feel safe."
"Damn straight!" Spike says firmly. "Buffy and I share things no one else does. I'm your man. I'll find the slayer if its the last thing I do."
Spike glances at Angel to ensure that he has heard the meaning behind his words. When its clear he has, Spike leads Wesley and Dawn out of the mansion.
Lorne watches Angel as he turns to head out on his own.
"Not so fast big guy." He warns.
"What?" Angel asks stopping to face Lorne. "I have to find them."
"I think we both know they're not out there." Lorne answers quietly.
"What are you talking about?" Angel demands. "You said..."
“I said what I need to diffuse the situation." Lorne corrects. "How many times have I told you I'm a lover not a..."
"Lorne." Angel interrupts impatiently.
"Okay I get it." Lorne assures. "Just one more thing. Call it my life lesson for the evening."
Angel seems more perturbed by the second.
"Love is what brought you here Angel." Lorne begins. "Holtz screwed up when he came here. You know why? Because underneath all the drama and all the pain, there's love. I can't believe I'm the only one that can feel it."
Angel still doesn't respond and Lorne continues.
"Holtz thought he could make you choose one love over the other. But he didn't count on Buffy taking that choice away from you. She went to Connor and protected him. Out of fear? I think not. It was love. People change, their paths can be altered, but love remains."
Angel raises an eyebrow as if waiting for the important part but still transfixed by what Lorne's saying.
"It may not make sense to you. Shoot, it doesn't even make sense to me and I've got the gift!" Lorne reasons. "You're a vampire that's capable of love! Don’t you see how amazing that is? The Powers that be, Fate, Karma, whatever you want to call it, they chose you for this. As they did for Buffy and now it would seem for Connor. Don't let the outside evil forces blind you to what’s real."
Lorne steps back and raises his arm outward and sweeps around the room.
"They're here." He explains. "Buffy and Connor are here. But they won't be for long. If you don't bring them back, you'll lose them forever and even worse, this world will lose them."
Angel is stunned and seems unsure of how to react.
"That's why I sent the others away." Lorne says. "You just have to let yourself find them Angel. Let them find you. No one else no matter how much they claim to care and probably do, can do this. Not me or Cordelia or anyone else."
Lorne turns and leaves Angel staring after him in shock. Angel struggles to comprehend what he's been told and turns to look again at the empty space where Buffy and Connor had been taken. He steps closer to the fireplace and begins having flashes of the past.
(Scenes flash quickly)
The first time Buffy and he kissed, her seeing him vamp out.
The night in the bronze when he explained the curse, Darla shooting him, fighting Buffy, him staking Darla.
The night they slept together, him waking up without a soul, fighting Buffy.
Willows spell, regaining his soul, kissing Buffy, her stabbing him.
Him coming back, training with Buffy, fighting together against demons.
Faith shooting him, Buffy saving him, the final silent goodbye after graduation.
Him in LA with Doyle and Cordy, Doyle dying, Cordy's visions
Darla coming back, firing the team, sleeping with Darla, epiphany.
Him seeing Willow in the lobby, after Buffy died, coming back from grieving and talking to Cordy.
Darla pregnant, biting Cordelia, him feeling baby’s heartbeat.
Darla's death, baby lying in rain, the group leaving hospital with Connor.
Cut to Angel as he lowers his head and drops to his knees under the weight of emotions. A small beam of light appears overhead without him noticing.
Him standing in Buffy’s doorway, seeing her and Spike, arguing with them.
Him and Buffy visiting Oracles, learning the truth.
Buffy realizing what happened in LA, they hold each other.
Angel waking up in LA alone, seeing Connor and Cordy downstairs.
Buffy seeing him and Cordy together, their fight, Cordy defending him against Buffy.
Buffy learning she was a danger to Connor, Angel taking him away, Buffy running out.
Fighting the Legna in the street, Picking Buffy up and carrying her inside
Fighting Spike, falling in front of Buffy when she opened her eyes
Buffy cruel words to him, leaving with Spike
Cordy's speech about letting go, him walking out
The woman taking Connor, Buffy helping him fight in the park, Him leaving her alone
Walking into the mansion, seeing Buffy and Connor safe, Buffy head butting him and fighting the woman.
Finally he hears the words Buffy said to him about the blanket.
Cut to the beam of light as it grows until it shines on Angel breaking into his thoughts. The spotlight is centered on the empty floor where Buffy had cradled his son.
A tear falls down his cheek as he stares blindly at the light. The tear falls to the floor unnoticed. Just as it hits the ground there is another loud noise and the light illuminates even more.
Angel raises a hand to cover his eyes as Buffy appears as is falling from thin air. She is still curled in a fetal position and hits the ground with tremendous force as the light dissipates.
Angels hand drops from his eyes and he focuses on the trembling form in front of him.
"Buffy?" He whispers.
She doesn't answer and he moves to touch her hair. She startles at his touch and raises her face to see him.
"Angel?" She murmurs.
"It's me." He assures her.
Suddenly Buffy's crying and rolls onto her back. She unfolds her arms and legs to reveal Connor still wrapped in the blanket. Angel is completely stunned.
"My God." He mumbles taking his son gently in his own hands.
Buffy watches him and continues to cry as she raises herself painfully. He looks back at her.
"I don't understand." He says honestly.
Buffy tries to smile through her tears and reaches a hand up to touch his face.
"That happens a lot with us doesn't it?" She asks weakly.
Angel smiles and looks up at the ceiling from which she'd fallen. Neither of them realizes it is exactly as he came back to her once before.
They stand slowly not taking their eyes off each other. Connor is quietly watching his father and begins to kick playfully. The blanket around his legs finally falls open.
The sound of metal hitting the floor distracts both Buffy and Angel. They look down. The Claddaugh ring has fallen from its resting place. Buffy bends to retrieve it.
"Is that..." Angel begins.
"Yeah." She answers holding it up for him to see.
"Where did you...I mean I thought it was lost." Angel stammers.
"I found it here after you left." Buffy replies.
Angel doesn't respond and Buffy squeezes the ring tight in her palm before continuing.
"After graduation, after you left, I needed to feel close to you." She explains. "I came here and found this. I never told anybody. I tucked it away someplace safe and only looked at it when I needed you most."
"How did it end up with Connor?" Angel asks.
"I brought it with me to the park. When Holtz brought us here I managed to tuck it away in his blanket without them seeing." she answers.
"But why?" Angel prods. "Why would you even think of that?"
"I'm not really sure." Buffy reasons. "When Willow told me that you were here and I already knew that Connor was with Holtz, something told me it could help. It brought you back to me once before and I thought maybe it could do the same for you and your son. No matter what happened I wanted you and Connor to have each other. Does that make any sense?"
"Actually it does." Angel smiles. "Thank you."
"For what?" She asks in surprise.
"For protecting my son. And for coming back to us." He finishes quietly.
"There's still so much we don't know." Buffy says. "This isn't over you know?"
"SShh." Angel reaches up to cover her mouth with his fingers. "It is tonight. We can deal with the other stuff later."
"Shouldn't we find the others?" Buffy asks. "They'll be worried. Cordelia..."
Angel bends to cover her mouth with his own stopping her thoughts. They fall into their love as they rediscover one another anew. Buffy winds her arms around his neck and stops only when she feels Connor squirming against her.
She pulls away smiling to look down at him.
"I think we're hurting him." She says.
"Never." Angel comments.
The meaning behind his words is clearly not literal.
"Buffy, when we leave here, things will never be the same." Angel insists.
"I know." She nods looking into his eyes. "You have to go back to your life."
"And you will do the same." He agrees.
"Something tells me that we'll be seeing each other again someday." Buffy suggests.
"No doubt. I wouldn't want it any other way." He smiles.
"So we're going then?" She asks softly searching his eyes.
He holds up his free hand and she takes it as they turn toward the door.
"We're going." He states.
The three of them exit the mansion together.