Dreams of Forever by Cheri

 

This is unsheltered territory. Its not a continuation of my Two Cents fanfic but something completely different. Let me know what you think...



Interior: Cordelia's apartment

She's sleeping fitfully, tossing and turning.

{Cordy and Angel are training in the basement. They trade blows in basic hand to hand. He is backing her against the wall when something flashes in her eyes and she lunges with renewed energy. Angel smiles with pride at first but quickly realizes that her actions are not that of the same Cordy. Something else is behind her punches and its strength is greater than Angel has ever witnessed. He frowns when his retaliatory punch is deflected and is caught off guard by Cordy's guttural growl as she connects with a frighteningly solid roundhouse left. Angel falls backwards and Cordy pounces to finish him off.

Angel: Cordy!

She hears his voice and a glimmer of recognition passes over her features. She comes to a halt straddling him with her arms raised over her head. She studies his face for a split second.

Cordy: I always hated when you called me that...

She prepares to deliver the fatal blow when Angel suddenly vamps out...}

Cordy screams and sits bolt upright in bed drenched with sweat. The sound of water turning on in the bathroom is the only thing heard over her rapid breathing. The water shuts off and a floating glass of water appears next to her.

Cordy: Thanks.

She takes the glass from Dennis and sips it slowly, still shaking.


Interior: Willows room

She is sleeping as well though she appears to be perfectly calm.

{Willow is standing in a pitch black room searching for signs of movement. Without warning a forceful wind pushes her from behind and she spins to face it.

Willow: Oh God.

Cut to Oz standing in front of her.

Willow: Oz?

Oz: Kind of an obvious answer there isn't it?

Willow smiles at his typical remark and he grins back at her.

Willow: What are you doing here?

Oz: I was wondering that myself. I'm assuming with the darkness and all this could be either of us dreaming.

Willow: So you still have the issues too?

Oz: I left to learn to live with them. That's the only option. Issues kind of come with the territory.

Willow: Territory?

Oz: Werewolf...witch.(Oz points from himself to Willow)

Willow: Yeah.(Willow nods in agreement.) So why are we here?

Oz: I'll tell you that as soon as you tell me where here is.

Willow looks around the darkness again trying to find the answer. Confusion is evident on her features. Suddenly, a voice speaks out.

Voice: I brought you here.

Out of the shadows steps Tara. Willow and Oz look at her.

Oz: Didn't we already do the confrontation thing?

Tara: This isn't for you, it's for me. And Willow.

Willow: Tara, what is this?

Tara: This is what you did. This is what you've been doing since he left you. I've seen it but didn't understand it until now.

Oz: Once again, why am I here?

Tara: Because you did this to her. You left her because you had a dark side. One that you didn't want her to see. So she made her own. She kept that part of you for herself and turned it into hers. She created a dark side of herself to feel closer to you.

Willow: Tara that's crazy! I never wanted to...

Tara: Don't!

Willow stops and looks at Oz who is watching her intensely.

Oz: Is that true Willow? Did my leaving make you turn into this?

He swings his arms around the darkness.

Willow: No! I'm not dark! I stopped! Tara, I promise I stopped!

Tara shakes her head and looks past Willow. Willow turns around to see a mirror. But it's not her reflection she sees. Instead she sees the reflections of her friends watching her with pity. Buffy looks almost disgusted and slowly turns her back to her. The others follow suit.

Willow: Wait! What's wrong? I haven't done anything! Don't do this!

Willows voice begins to change from pleading to anger.

Willow: I'm tired of defending myself. You've all made mistakes! Why can't I? WHY CAN'T I?

She screams the last words and the mirror suddenly shakes uncontrollably for a moment before shattering into a million pieces.}

Cut to Willow opening her eyes still lying on the bed in the exact same position. Her eyes are the only thing that moves as they dart from side to side. Her breathing is slow and labored. She finally looks up above her to the ceiling. Her mouth opens slightly as she begins to speak.

Willow: Buffy.(Her first attempt is barely audible) Buffy! (this ones louder) BUFFY!

The door swings open and Dawn rushes in.

Dawn: Willow what's wrong?

Willow: Where's Buffy?

Dawn: Hang on. (She runs out and returns seconds later) She's not in her room. What's wrong?

Willow: Dawn, find Buffy. Call Xander and Anya...now.

Dawn: You're scaring me Willow. Get up.

Willow: Dawn call them.(When Dawn doesn't move Willow turns her head ever so slightly to look her in the eye) Dawnie, I can't move...

 

Interior: Xander and Anya's place-Xander walks to the door hearing loud knocking.

Dawn: Xander! Anya! Wake up!

He swings the door open to find a frantic Dawn on the verge of tears.

Xander: Have I told you lately how much I hate the late night chats? They never bring happy thoughts.

Dawn: (pushing past him into the room) Where's Anya?

Anya: I'm here. (Anya is sitting in bed with the covers over her)

Dawn: Oh...right. Get dressed! (She spins to face Xander) Have you seen Buffy?

Xander: No, you're the only Summers girl visit I've had tonight. Why?

Dawn: We have to find her and get back to Willow. I left her in bed. She needs help!

Xander: Willow needs help in bed?

Anya: (Walking around to stand by Xander while slipping a shirt over her bra) I don't think Xander can help with that.

Dawn: Not IN bed. She needs help getting OUT of bed. (The couple stares at Dawn in confusion) She's paralyzed!

Xander/Anya: What?

Dawn: She woke up screaming for Buffy a while ago and said she can't move. We have to find Buffy and help her. NOW!

Xander: Okay calm down. Anya, you take Dawn and get back to Willow. I'll find Buffy.

Anya: You know where she is?

Xander: I have an idea. Now go.

The three head out into the night.


Cut to LA

Exterior: Pier

Angel walks alone staring out at the ocean. The moonlight bounces off the water.

Voiceover:

Whistler: You can go either way friend. What's it gonna be?

Buffy: One of us has to walk away here.

Angel: What are you afraid of...me...us?

Buffy: When I kiss you, I want to die.

Angel: You deserve more than this freak show.

Buffy: What? Don't love you? Iím sorry I didn't know I got a choice in that.

Xander: Well its good to know when the chips are down and things look grim, you'll feed off the girl who loves you to save your own ass.

Angel: I'm not gonna say goodbye. When this is over, if we survive, I'll just go. There's just too much...

Doyle: Look High schools over, boy. It's time to make with the grown up talk.

A hand touches Angel's shoulder from behind and he startles. He turns to see Cordelia.

Angel: Cordy? What are you doing here?

Cordy: I couldn't sleep. Dreams.

She looks past him out to the shimmering waves.

Cordy: What about you? I know it's like your work day now and all but what brings you out here?

Angel: (Mumbles) Grown up talk.

Cordy: Excuse me?

Angel: Never mind. It's not important right now. So what kind of dream did you have that you couldn't go back to sleep?

Cordy: (looks at him strangely) Speaking of not important.

Angel: Hmm?

Cordy: Nothing. Can we just walk?

Angel: (looks at her in his own strange way) Sure.

Just as they step off the pier and onto the street. A womanís scream penetrates the silence. Angel takes off in its direction and Cordy only hesitates for a split second before she follows.


Interior: Cemetery

Xander is standing at the door to Spike's crypt.

Xander: I don't mind if I'm wrong you know.

He speaks to no one in particular before pushing the heavy door inward.

Spike appears out of nowhere stopping Xanderís entrance.

Spike: I may not be able to fight you people but can you tell me when I instituted the open door policy?

Xander: It must have been about the same time you instituted the 'I'm Buffy's new best friend' attitude. So where is she?

Spike: As much as I like the sound of your petty jealousy, she's not here. And I don't know where she is either. So if you'll excuse...

Xander: (Pushing harder against the door) Listen Spike, Willow's in trouble. If you know where she is or if you happen to run into her, could you please tell her we'll be waiting at her house?

Spike: What's wrong with Red?

Xander: I'm not sure yet. I'm going there now. Something about being paralyzed.

Spike: Paralyzed eh? That's new.

Xander: Um...yeah.

He turns away in annoyance and heads out of the cemetery. Spike closes the door and turns to see Buffy looking very angry.

Spike: What? I didn't let our little secret out.

Buffy: I don't have time Spike. Willow needs me.

She grabs her jacket and darts past him before he can respond.

Spike: (staring after her) And what do you need slayer?


Cut to Lorne in Hyperion

He's pacing the floor holding a fussy Connor.

Lorne: I've tried singing, I've tried jokes, how does your Dad calm you down in times like these?

Fred: He turns into a vampire.

Lorne: What? Now that I can't do.

Fred: (smiling) He doesn't do it often, just in emergencies. Here let me try.

She takes Connor and begins to shush him. After a moment, Connor stops fussing and begins to drift off.

Lorne: It's the womanís touch every time. And kid, that won't leave for the rest of your life.

Fred: (blushing) Lorne! Don't talk about those things to him! Angel wouldn't like it. He doesn't like s-e-x talk around the baby.

Lorne: Well s-e-x is what brought the baby here so...at least I think that's what brought it here.

Fred: Very funny.

Lorne: Any who, why don't you try singing to the little one? He'll go to sleep and I'll read your aura. I've been jonesing since I haven't had the club in months.

Fred: I don't think so.

Lorne: Come on, nobody's around and I'll never tell.

Fred thinks for a minute and when Connor begins to stir she gives in. A sweet song begins to escape her lips...

 

Exterior: Alley

Angel runs toward a girl lying on the pavement. He bends over her just as Cordy arrives.

Cordy: What is it? Is she dead?

Angel: No, she's unconscious.

He looks around for whatever caused the girl's state and sees nothing. He picks her up and begins walking toward the street. Cordy walks beside him.

Cordy: Where are we going?

Angel: I was thinking hospital.

Cordy: Right. We'll drop her so they can take care of her. I don't think she's been hurt by the dark forces. I'm not getting anything from her. She probably just got mugged.

Angel: Maybe. Let's just get her there and go home. Connor will be waking up soon.


Cut to Hospital

Angel and Cordy watch as a doctor looks at the girls bruised face. She begins to stir and they turn to leave.

Doctor: You're in the emergency room. You were in an accident. Can you tell me your name?

Girl: (moaning, then struggling to form the word) Tara.

Angel and Cordy are already gone.


Interior: Willows room

Buffy arrives and sees Willow laying on the bed perfectly still while Dawn, Xander and Anya surround her.

Willow: Buffy?

Buffy: I'm here Will. (She sits down next to Willow) Tell me what happened.

Willow: I don't know. I was sleeping, I woke up, I couldn't move. It's been over an hour now Buffy. What's happening?

Buffy: Don't worry. We'll figure it out. (Looks at Xander) You know what to do?

Xander: I'm guessing research.

Buffy: Yes. This has to be mystical. Anya, have you ever seen a demon do something like this?

Anya: I don't think so. There was one time I was able to freeze a guy, but it was only to ensure he got caught in the act if you know what I mean. It was pretty funny actually, this guy was sleeping with his boss' wife and when his girlfriend found out she didn't want to just leave him...

Xander: We get it honey. (He puts a hand on her shoulder to shut her up)

Anya: Oh, okay. Umm...no, this doesn't look like the work of a demon.

Buffy: Good enough. One less suspect group. So like I was saying, it has to be mystical. Xander, you and Anya go down to the magic shop and bring back all the books you can find on mystical forces and spells.

Xander: Sure thing. Back in a jiff. Hang in there Will.

Willow: That shouldn't be a problem.

Dawn: Buffy, what if its not in there?

Buffy: It will be. But just to be safe, I'll call for back up. Dawn, you stay with Willow. (looks at Willow) I'm calling Giles. He might know of something we don't.

Willow: Good idea. I'm all for back up. Even if it is all the way in England. (Buffy starts to stand) Um, Buffy?

Buffy: (Looking down at Willow) Could you maybe go fast? I'm really not liking the bedridden.

Willows eyes are tearing up and Buffy's face softens as she bends down to kiss her on the forehead.

Buffy: Slayer speed Will. (She smiles and exits the room)

Dawn takes her place on the bed beside Willow and smiles encouragingly.


Cut to LA

Interior: Baby's room

Lorne is listening to Fred sing to Connor when his face suddenly distorts and he becomes alarmed. Fred doesn't notice and finishes the song noting that Connor is sleeping.

Lorne: (Watches her lay Connor in the bassinet) I guess yours are the pipes of sleeping.

Fred: (Smiling at Lorne) Is that good or bad?

Lorne: (frowns) Let me get back to you on that. Will you excuse me, I have to go...do...a thing.

He doesn't wait for an answer before taking off.


Cut to Lobby

Angel and Cordy walk in the door just as Lorne races down the stairs. He almost crashes into them in his haste to get out.

Angel: (Putting up his hands to catch Lorne before he runs into them) Whoa there green boy. What's the emergency?

Lorne: (looking nervously between the two) Emergency? No emergency. Just dying for a taste of the hot stuff. (Sees Angel and Cordy aren't understanding) Mexican? Spicy food? Am I the only one that fancies themselves the rainbow coalition of the culinary arts? Some days its Chinese, others Italian, occasionally French, and very rarely Pylean. But I'm working on that. Any who, tonight it's the Mexican that's calling me, so...

Cordy: (Steps aside with a grand gesture) By all means. Wouldn't want to interrupt your (looks at her watch) 2AM feeding.

Lorne attempts to smile as he pushes past them.

Angel: Speaking of feeding...

Cordy: (Smiling) Go. I'll just be down here not sleeping.


Cut to Sunnydale

Buffy is on the phone in kitchen

Buffy: No, it's silly for you to come all this way now. I'm sure we can figure it out.(Pause) Okay, if Willows not fixed by morning, I'll call.(pause) What good would he be? (Pause) Alright, I'll mark that as a last, just before death resort. (Pause) I know Giles. I'm sure he's just as qualified as you. (pause) Well don't insist on my approval if you can't handle the concept. (Smiles) Okay, I think I hear Xander. (pause) I miss you too. Thanks.

She hangs up the phone just as Xander and Anya enter struggling to hold all the books they've returned with.

Buffy: So, I guess a quick search is out of the question.

Xander: This is just the books on mystical affecting the physical. Hey listen to me with the Dr. Seuss.

Anya: What?

Xander: Never mind.

Buffy: So these are all about physical manifestations of spells?

Anya: Pretty much. If we can't figure out what caused it, we should at least be able to find a spell to fix it.

Buffy: Good. Anya you look for cures. Xander you look for causes. I'll send Dawn to help. (Starts to head upstairs when thereís a knock on the door)


She opens the door to find Spike.

Buffy: What is it?

Spike: I'm not always here for you Slayer. I happen to be checking on Red. How is she?

Buffy: Still not of the moving. But thanks for caring.

Spike: Let's not get ahead of ourselves, love. I'm not sure if I like the sound of me and caring in the same sentence.

Buffy rolls her eyes and turns back towards the stairs.

Spike: It was a joke!

He calls after her but she ignores him and he shakes his head as he closes the door behind him.

A moment later Dawn descends the stairs and sees Spike sitting in the living room.

Dawn: Spike! (Spike stands and Dawn runs to him throwing her arm around him for comfort)

Spike: (Uncomfortable) There there Little Bit. Willows not dead or anything. No need for tears.

Dawn: (Raising her head to look at Spike) I'm glad you came.

Spike drops his hands and steps back from Dawn.

Spike: I didn't have any previous engagements.

Xander: Imagine that.

He has entered the room carrying a book and Spike levels a bored gaze at him.


Cut to LA

Exterior: Street in an East LA barrio

Lorne is scanning the darkened houses for something. After several seconds, he comes upon a single story run down home with a dim glow peeking through the curtains in the window.

Lorne: (Frowns) Now, what do you have to do with Fred?

He hesitates before taking a deep breath and tipping to the window to try and glimpse inside...

 

Interior: Willow's room

Buffy has taken a seat next to her on the bed. The two are holding hands.

Willow: Buffy, I'm so tired. I feel like I want to sleep forever.

Buffy: It's going on three in the morning. That's normal. Why don't you just try and get some rest. We'll keep working on it.

Willow: I'm afraid. I'm afraid if I go to sleep I might never wake up. I feel like this is my deathbed and my mind just doesn't know it yet.

Tears fall from Willows eyes and mark a path towards the pillow. Buffy reaches her free hand to wipe them away.

Buffy: Shh. Don't talk like that. I know you're scared but you're not going to die. Do you understand me?

Willow nods weakly trying to smile. Xander enters the room.

Xander: Willow, Anya's close to finding a spell to fix this. And Spike, Dawn and I are working on the why. I just wanted to check on you.

Willow: I'm good.

Buffy: Have you found anything at all?

Xander: Just a reference to sleepwalking.

Willow: Don't think anything to do with the walking is going to apply here Xander.

Xander: I know. It just had some comments about sleepwalking is often mistaken for possession or something like that. Someone has a dream that they can't move and then they really can't. I don't know, Spike's looking at it.

Willow: Look at you working with Spike. (She smiles)

Xander: What can I say? This is how much I love you. (smiles back)

Buffy: I'm going to stay here with Will for a few more minutes. Can you call me if there's anything new?

Xander: Sure.

He leaves and Buffy squeezes Willow's hand reassuringly.

Buffy: Okay, work is in progress, so do me a favor and close your eyes. You don't have to sleep, just try and relax.

Willow slowly closes her eyes and takes a deep breath while still holding onto Buffy's hand. Within minutes of watching her, Buffy's eyes become heavy themselves. Soon, her head drops onto the bed and comes to rest on their intertwined fingers.


Cut to LA

East LA-house

Lorne has made it unseen to a window on the side of the house where the glow is apparent. He raises on tiptoe trying to get a better angle between the narrow opening of the drapes.

Lorne: Why can't the bad guys ever leave a curtain open?

He continues trying to sneak a peek when suddenly the front door opens and someone exits the house. Lorne crouches down behind a hedge and waits.

Man: How did I let you talk me into this?

Woman: Because you know we're doing the right thing. This guys got some serious dark mojo on his side and its working for the righteous. What better to fight vampires with than another vampire?

Man: So we're going to convince this righteous vampire to come to the dark side.

Woman: Stop asking so many questions. You just need to worry about your assignment. Get the girl here. She's the best shot we have.

Man: Yeah, yeah. I'm going. And what about the rest of them?

Woman: Leave that to me. You see, they don't know it yet, but they've already started our work for us.

The woman begins to chuckle in a most sinister way and Lorne bristles at the sound. He waits till he hears the man footsteps fade and the woman return into the house.

Lorne: Okay, if I can't see what you're doing in there, then I guess I have to watch what you're doing out here.

He begins to follow the man that just left.


Cut to Sunnydale

Buffy's kitchen

Anya: Xander, I think you better see this.

Xander walks over to peer over her shoulder at the book she's reading.

Spike: Well? What is it? No secrets.

Xander: It's not a secret. It's a spell.

Dawn: What kind of spell?

Anya and Xander exchange a look.

Xander: There's a lot of spells that can be used for multiple purposes Dawn.

Dawn: And?

Anya: And just because one's used for one thing doesn't mean it would have the same result in a different instance.

Dawn stares at them blankly. Spike huffs and walks over to push the two aside to have his own look at the book. He reads and then raises an eyebrow as he looks at Anya and Xander.

Spike: A resurrection spell?

Dawn: What did you say?


Cut to Willows room

Buffy frowns in her sleep as she begins to dream.

{Buffy stands in a dark room and begins moving slowly searching for anything to help her find her way. She stops and looks down when she hears a noise. She sees that she has stepped on broken glass.

Buffy: So I'm guessing this is a symbolism thing.

Voice: It's whatever you choose it to be.

Buffy startles and spins around in the direction of the voice. Doyle stands before her.

Buffy: I know you.

Doyle: Just a little. Nothing like I know you.

Buffy: You worked with Angel.

Doyle: With, for, its all semantics. You're right though, I knew Angel.

Buffy: And you died.

Doyle: Right again. You're one smart slayer.

Buffy: Not getting that right now.

Doyle: Oh, I guess you must be wondering.

Buffy: Little bit.

Doyle: Nutshell, I got something to show you.

Buffy: Bigger shell please.

Doyle: They want me to show you what's happening to your friend. (He points behind Buffy)

She turns to see Willow sleeping as if lying on the bed except there's no bed. She's just floating.

Buffy: (turning back to Doyle) You know what's wrong with her?

Doyle: Pretty much. You trust me?

Buffy: Wait. I don't understand. You have nothing to do with us. Why are They sending you?

Doyle: Good question. I was hoping you'd ask that. I've been dying to tell you for like ever and after you went and jumped into the abyss and all, I wondered if I would ever be able to. But here we are.

Buffy: I'm going to refrain from asking all the other questions I have after that info, so please just tell me. Why you?

Doyle: It's a funny thing. I was part demon on earth, don't really know what I am now. But on earth, I had this present from the Powers that Be.

Buffy: The visions.

Doyle: You remember? Good. Anyway, I had a thing for Cordelia the minute I saw her. She's some piece of work, you know.

Buffy: Definitely a piece of work.

Doyle: Hint of Antagonism. I hear it, but moving on. When I chose to go all heroic or Angelic if you get the double entendre there.

Buffy: (smirking and nodding her head)

Doyle: Yeah. Anyway, I kissed Cordy to say good bye and my visions were mistakenly passed on to her.

Buffy: I heard about that.

Doyle: Yeah, I guess you did. Anyway, what isnít so well known is that she gave me a present of her own.

Buffy: That's new.

Doyle: Was for me too believe me. This 'present' provided me with a first class ticket to Sunnydale.

Buffy: You mean you've been her since...

Doyle: Yep, since then. It took me a good while to figure it out. They don't like to make things easy on us you know.

Buffy: Us?

Doyle: Yeah, us. Let me put it this way. It's not so much about the who with me but the why.

Buffy waits for him to continue.

Doyle: You haven't spoken to Cordy much since your visit to LA.

Buffy: Can't say that I have.

Doyle: Well she's not the same girl you knew here. She's a fighter that one. A lot of hard choices have crossed her path. She's managed to make all the right ones. And that's in large part to my present.

Buffy: Can we move this along? Not to be rude or anything.

Doyle: Of course not. When my visions got passed onto Cordelia she had to lose something in exchange. Lucky for her the biggest part of her was Sunnydale baggage. So off it went. She doesn't know it consciously. In fact, she wasted no time after receiving the visions trying to pass them off on any Tom, Dick or Angel that would take them.

Buffy doesn't like the Angel reference but keeps her mouth shut.

Doyle: Of course it was all for not. So now Cordy is a crusader for good and I'm the proud owner of Issues a la Sunnydale.


Buffy: I get it. You took the bad qualities of Cordy so she could become a better person. Not an easy burden to carry I'm sure. But I still don't understand how you came to know so much about me. That was never an issue of Cordeliaís.

Doyle: That you knew of. (Buffy stares at him dumbfounded) Buffy, you must have known the affect you had on those around you in high school. Cordelia was the queen of everything until you came along. But Buffy arrives and the focus isnít on beauty and fashion and money, it's on demons and vampires and this amazingly brave, pretty girl who caught the eye of every Tom, Dick and Angel in Sunnydale. Sure she hid it well, that's what Cordy did best. She played a part. But deep down, she knew.

Buffy: Knew what?

Cordy: That she could never be you.

Buffy: Cordy never wanted to be me.

Doyle: Not in the strictest sense, but in some small way, yes.

Buffy: Okay, even if she did or sort of did, she left. I wasn't in her life anymore. Sunnydale should have been the last thing on her mind.

Doyle: It was until she met up with Angel at that party. What do you think she thought of when she saw him?

Buffy: Oh.

Doyle: Oh. So, I have been here watching you and your friends since I got dead. Trying to piece together my purpose here and thought it was lost forever when you got yourself dead. But then there was her.

He points to Willow again and Buffy looks to see she's still floating in her deep sleep.

Doyle: She brought you back. Now I still haven't worked out all the kinks but there's one thing I'm sure of. You being here is directly tied into your friends current coma like state, Cordelia's current sleepless state, and my current There's no place like Sunnydale state. So if you've heard enough explanation we can get going.

Buffy: Don't know if thereís ever going to be enough explanation for this one.

Doyle: Point taken.

He grabs her arm and pulls her with him past Willow into the darkness.


Cut to LA

Angel walks downstairs.

Angel: Whereís Fred?

Cordy: I don't know. I assumed she was sleeping it being pre-dawn and all.

Angel: She's not in her room and she's not with Connor. If she wasn't here why would Lorne be running out? He didnít know we were coming. Was he going to leave Connor alone?

Cordy: Lets not pass judgments here Angel. Maybe Fred is on the patio or downstairs. Where is Connor?

Angel: He's sleeping.

Cordy: Then it's not all bad. Let's just look for her. This is a really big hotel in case you've forgotten.

They spend the next half hour searching every nook and cranny of the hotel with no sign of Fred. Just as they're meeting back up in the lobby, Lorne rushes in.

Lorne: Where is she?

He's breathing hard and his jacket is dirty.

Angel: Where's who? And what happened to you?

Lorne: Fred and never mind that. Where's Fred?

Cordy: We were going to ask you the same thing.

Angel: Yeah, like how could you leave Connor alone to go look for Fred?

Lorne: What? I wasn't looking for Fred. She was...oh no. You mean...

Cordy: Lorne, Fred is not here. Connor is sleeping and we've spent the last half hour looking for Fred. So believe me when I say, she's not here.

Lorne: Then he got her.

Lorne collapses in exhaustion on the stairs leading to the lobby.

Angel: Who got her? Somebody got Fred?

Lorne: I followed him but he took off. He must have seen me. I tried to run after him but some uncouth human attacked me. I thought the normal people were supposed to be sleeping this time of night? Usually the humans that I let see me at night aren't even bothered. I'm just one more freak in LA. But tonight, I have to run into a freaking normal. If that's what you want to call him. Shoot if you ask me, attacking someone because of the color of their skin is pretty abnormal in my book.

Cordy: LORNE! Focus please! What happened to Fred?

Lorne: (Looking up in surprise) Oh Fred. Poor thing must be beside herself.

Angel: Okay that's it. One large order of abnormal coming right up. (He steps menacingly towards Lorne)

Lorne: Okay okay! (He stands up with a hand up defensively) I'm not sure of the whole deal yet, but I saw someone when I was reading Fred earlier and I went to check it out. I never found him, but I think his minion came to bring Fred forth if you know what I mean.

Cordy: Rarely...

 

Interior: Rundown house

Fred is handcuffed to a chair in the middle of the room.

Justine: So can I get you anything?

Fred: I don't suppose you'd consider giving me the key to these. (Holds up her handcuffed hand)

Justine: I knew you were smarter than that.

Fred: That's me. The smart one. (wriggles her hands uselessly for a second) What are you going to do with me?

Justine: Nothing...yet. I'm giving the vampire a chance to save you. That's what he does right? Saves people?

Fred: I'm more than just people you know. He brought me here from Pylea and I'm part of the team. You'll be sorry if you don't let me get back to them.

Justine: (bending down in front of Fred) I know you're trying to put on the brave face, but you're really not that convincing. Don't worry though. You won't have to be brave unless he never shows. I'm counting on him being all 'knight in shining armorish'. But in case he screws up, well I wouldn't want to be you.

Fred: (Trembling slightly and then raising her chin defiantly) Funny. I was just thinking how much I wouldn't want to be you.

Justine smiles slightly before standing to walk away. Fred watches her leave and then begins to tear up as soon as she's alone.

Fred: (Whispers) Where are they?


Cut to Buffy and Doyle walking through the dark. Finally they reach a window and he motions for her to look through it.

Buffy: Where are we?

Doyle: Just look.

Buffy slowly inches forward until she can see through the window. It's a hospital room and Tara is laying on the bed unconscious.

Buffy: Tara?

Doyle: Looks like it.

Buffy: Where is she? Is this Sunnydale? What's wrong with her? When did this happen?

Doyle: Whoa, slow down! Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Buffy spins to face him.

Buffy: Ahead of ourselves? How can I be ahead of myself when I don't even know where I am? And what does this have to do with Willow?

Doyle: I'm afraid I can't answer that.

Buffy: Which question can't you answer? Is this really happening? Or is this just part of a dream? Whose dream is it?

Doyle: Buffy, listen to me. You have to find her. You don't have a lot of time. He'll be here soon.

Buffy: Who is he? What are you saying?

Doyle suddenly disappears and Buffy is left alone. She's too stunned and confused to move until a hand takes her by the shoulder from behind. She screams and then she's awake.

Spike: Buffy?

Buffy: (Opening her eyes and realizing she's back in Willow's room) What?

Willow is awake and looking at her wide-eyed. Buffy looks to her shoulder and sees the hand. Raising her eyes, she sees Spike looking at her with concern.

Spike: I didn't mean to startle you. I was coming to get you and heard you asking who he was. Who were you talking about?

Willow: Buffy? Are you okay? What's happened?

Buffy: I had a dream.

Willow: You too?

Buffy: You had a dream?

Willow: It's kind of how this got started. I had this really weird dream about Oz and Tara and then I woke up. That was when I realized I couldn't move. Then just now, I dreamt that I was sleeping and someone was there but I couldn't see who.

Spike: I don't mean to interrupt, but I came to tell you that Anya has the spell. She can fix you Red.

Willow: Really? So where is she?

Spike: She's getting the ingredients. Xander and her went to the shop. They'll be right back and we can get you moving again.

Buffy: I don't know if we want to do that.

Willow: What? Why? Is it the magic thing? Cause I'm not doing it.

Buffy: It's not that Will. I just think that I better figure out my dream first.

Spike: You want to keep Willow paralyzed so you can analyze your bloody dream?

Buffy: It's not like that. (Stands up defensively) What business is it of yours anyway? (Turns to Willow) Listen, you were in my dream. And you were like this. Then Doyle...

Willow: Doyle?

Buffy: Yeah, Doyle. The half breed demon that used to work with Angel.

Spike: Angel? So you had a dream about Angel did you?

Buffy: No Spike. I had a dream about Doyle. He showed me something.

Willow: What was it?

Buffy: Willow, can you just give me a little more time to figure this out. It may be nothing and if it's not, then we'll do the spell and fix you right up. But if I don't at least try and work through this in my head, then we could hurt you.

Spike: If you don't work through your dream, you could hurt Willow? I'm not getting it.

Willow: It's okay Buffy. Do what you need to. I trust you.

Buffy: Thanks. (Bends to kiss her forehead) I'll be back.

Buffy leaves the room and Spike follows.


Cut to LA

Angel, Cordy and Lorne are standing in the lobby when Gunn and Wesley burst through the doors.

Gunn: Did you find her?

Wesley: Is she okay?

Lorne: Slow down boys! We haven't found her. I thought we should wait on you.

Gunn: Fine, lets go. Lorne, take us to her.

Angel: I admire your sense of urgency Gunn, but we have to do this carefully.

Wes: I agree. I say we very carefully go to that house and very carefully destroy every living or non living thing standing between us and Fred.

Cordy: Way to ask for serious bodily harm Wes. I thought you were the voice of reason for our little group.

Wes: (Snaps)I don't think reason is an option in this instance Cordelia.

Gunn: Wes is right. Fred can't handle this. She's not ready to be a kidnap victim. You've been there done that Cordy, we could take the time if it was you, but not Fred.

Cordy: I donít know if I like what you're implying Gunn. Are you saying that if I were kidnapped, you wouldn't be in a rush to do the saving?

Lorne: I don't think that's what he meant Cordy.

Cordy: So correct me Gunn. What did you mean?

Angel: Enough! Cordelia, I'm sure he only meant that you've proven yourself to be a strong, exceptionally skilled fighter who could easily withstand what a kidnapper might throw at you. However, none of us would want you to be in Fredís place, right guys? If it was you I wouldn't even be here. I would have gone after them without even thinking.

Cordy: It's good to know that someone here still cares enough to protect me. (She glares at the men) But how many times have I told you Angel that I can take care of myself?

Wes: See? This is why...

Cordy: (Interrupts) What? This is why what?

Lorne: People! Can we get back to the matter at hand? This guy has Fred and he's waiting for you Angel. I heard the woman say that they wanted the righteous vampire. Last I checked, you were that man.

Angel: So they want me, they'll get me. Take me to them.

Gunn: What about us?

Angel: Are you a righteous vampire?

Cordy: You should all go.

Wes: Cordelia's right. Angel, you can't go in there alone.

Lorne: He has too. At least that's what they have to think.

Angel: Is that a plan I hear Lorne?

Lorne: Don't get too excited. I'm just thinking of the best way to keep myself and my horns in one piece. If you go in there, Wes and Gunn should be there to launch a surprise attack should anything go wrong. While at the same time, ensuring my safety in the interim.

Wes: That's our Lorne. Always thinking of the best way to not be involved.

Lorne: Hey, I'm taking you there aren't I? Not to mention, I went there by myself in the first place! Can I get some brownie points for that at least?

Gunn: Okay, let's do this. I'll get the weapons.

Angel: Cordy...

Cordy: Yes, I'll stay with Connor. Just go get Fred.

Wes, Gunn and Lorne are heading out the door when Angel grabs his weapon and starts after them.

Cordy: Angel!

He stops and looks back at her.

Cordy: When I say go get Fred, I mean in the sense that you come back with her.

Angel looks at her for a second and then grins slightly before heading out the door.

The phone rings and Cordy jumps in surprise. She is laughing at herself when she picks it up.

Cordy: Hello?

Voice: Is this Cordelia Chase?

Cordy: Yes, and this would be?

Voice: I'm calling from Long Beach community hospital. You brought a mugging victim in here tonight.

Cordy: (Thinking for a sec) Oh yeah, the girl from the alley. How is she?

Voice: She's stable. I was wondering if you might be able to help us.

Cordy: I doubt it. We didn't know her.

Voice: That's what I thought you said, but I was under the impression I heard you call the gentleman that you were with Angel.

Cordy: Yes...Yes I did. But he's not responsible or anything. He carried her in. I told the nurse my name because he's from out of town.

She didn't know why she felt the need to protect Angel, but it was hard to explain some guy that didn't exist on paper and didn't even have a last name.

Voice: He's from out of town? Well, then she must have known.

Cordy: Known what? Why are you calling me?

Voice: The girl was awake for a short time when she first came in. She's since lapsed into a coma. However, before she lost consciousness, she told us her name was Tara.

Cordy: (Thoughtful) Tara?

Voice: Yes, and when we asked her if she was from here, she said no. Before I could ask her where she was from, she began to lose consciousness. but right before she did, she called out one word.

Cordy: And?

Voice: She called out the name Angel.

Cordy froze trying to fathom what this might mean.

Voice: Miss Chase? Are you there?

Cordy: Um...yes I'm still here. But I have to go.

Voice: But...

Cordy: I'll be right there.

She hangs up the phone and begins to climb the stairs to get Connor. Suddenly she stops and begins to remember something.

Cordy: Tara...Tara. I know that name. How do I know that name?

Cut to Buffy's house.

Spike and Buffy are in the kitchen when Xander and Anya come in the back door.

Xander: How is she?

Buffy: She's the same.

Anya: Well not for long. I've found the perfect spell.

Buffy: We won't be needing that.

Xander: What?

Spike: Buffy here has asked that Willow stay as is because she had a dream.

Xander: One more time, what?

Buffy: I know it sounds crazy, but there's something more to this than some random mystical goof. Tara is in the hospital. At least I think she is.

Anya: When did you see Tara?

Spike: That would be in her dream.

Xander: You had a dream Tara was in the hospital and now you want Willow to stay paralyzed. If Tara's hurt, then she'll want to be with her. It's all the more reason to do the spell.

Buffy: No! I think Willow's like she is because Taraís in the hospital. If we use magic to fix Willow, it might have serious repercussions on Tara.

Xander: So we go to Sunnydale General and see what's up with Tara. I can handle that, but we have to go now. I'm not going to let Willow suffer like this for much longer.

Spike: Don't think you have a choice in that friend.

Anya: What does that mean?

Buffy: It means, we just called Sunnydale G. and Tara's not there. I don't know where to find her.

Xander: So why are we sitting here? It was just a dream Buffy. Let's not punish Willow because you're still hanging onto the prophecy girl thing of the past. That was high school. It hasn't happened for years.

Buffy: I know. I'm not saying I understand what's happening Xander. But Willow trusts me, why cant you?

Xander: It's not that Buffy.

Spike: Enough with the vows of friendship and love. Let's get on with finding this girl so Red can walk. It's seems pretty obvious to me what we need to do.

Xander: By all means Spike, bestow your vast knowledge on us.

Spike: Buffy needs a nap.

 

Interior: Hospital

Cordy walks through the halls carrying Connor. Finally stopping at a nurses station.

Cordy: Hi. I'm looking for the woman that was brought in here earlier tonight. I think she said her name was Tara.

Nurse: And you are?

Cordy: Cordelia Chase. I brought her in. My friend and I found her.

Nurse: Oh yes. The Doctor said he had called you. Your friend's name was Angel?

Cordy: Yes. But he's not with me. I came to see if maybe I could recognize her.

Nurse: Well, I'm afraid we don't allow infants in the ICU.

Cordy looks down at Connor in her arms.

Nurse: Would you like me to take him for a moment so you can see her?

Cordy: No! (Harshly and then backtracking) I mean, he's really attached and all. Can't you just bend the rules for a minute?

Nurse: I don't know. (She looks around nervously as Cordy gives her a silent pleading look) Um...okay. But just for a minute.

Cordy: That's all I need. Thank you.

She goes in the direction the nurse points out and enters the room to see Tara lying on the bed. Besides a bruise, she looks almost serene.

Cordy: Okay Connor, I'm going to test these newfound visions. See, before I would have had to put you down so as not to drop you during my violent convulsions. But now because your Aunt Cordy has a bit o' demon in her, she doesn't have convulsions anymore. So, you just relax and I'm just going to walk over here and...

Her voice fades as she scans Tara's face to see if she recognizes her. When nothing looks familiar, she reaches her free hand out to place it on Tara's forehead. The vision comes quickly and Cordy begins to see flashes of what Tara's dreaming in her coma.

{Tara is walking slowly through a dark room. Without warning, Willow appears before her, floating in mid air and apparently asleep. Tara reaches out to her but a flash blinds her and Willow is gone. But in her place is Oz.

Oz: What happened to Willow?

Tara: I don't know. She was fine and then I had to leave. I just got back, what did you see?

Oz: Nothing. One minute I'm talking to you both and the next I'm alone here. Then Willow comes back all Copperfield like and she wont wake up. Now you're back and what's that on your face?

Tara: (reaching up to feel the bruise on her forehead) Oh. I can't remember. (She frowns trying to make sense of it) Wait. It was him.

Oz: Gonna need more than that.

Tara: I was in the alley looking for a hotel. Something came at me from behind. Then I was here.

Oz: Here?

Tara turns around and sees herself lying in the hospital bed.

Oz: So you're out too.

Tara: I guess. But he was there. I found him, but I couldn't tell him.

Oz: Found who? Tell him what?

Tara opens her mouth and there's another flash. Angel is carrying Tara and instead of Cordy beside him, it's Oz. Oz watches without saying a word.

Tara: That's him.

Oz: Angel. That's Angel. You were looking for Angel?

Tara nods. Another flash and Cordy is standing in front of Oz and Tara. They see her but before she can say anything, another flash.}

Cordy opens her eyes and removes her hand from Tara's head. Connor stirs and then seems to fall asleep. Cordy looks back at Tara.

Cordy: You came for Angel. But why? And what does Oz have to do with anything?


Exterior: East LA house

Gunn, Wes and Lorne are crouched behind a car in the street.

Gunn: I don't like this.

Lorne: What's not to like? You're here, Angel's going in. You get the signal and rush in all commando like. It's a good plan.

Gunn: No, a good plan would involve me getting Fred myself.

Wes: I don't think you rescuing Fred is much of a plan Gunn. It's a good ending to a plan, but not a plan.

Gunn: And I suppose if you rescued her, that would be a great plan?

Wes: Well...

Lorne: Hey boys. Can we make with the silence so as not to miss my previously mentioned signal? If we do this right, then you can both rescue Fred and prove your devotion.

Gunn: Devotion? This isn't about devotion.

Wes: I don't remember mentioning any thing close to devotion.

Lorne: uh-huh. My miss. (Rolls his eyes) Now SShh!


Interior: House

A vampire is standing in front of the door with his back to it. Suddenly a knock causes him to turn to face it.

He looks back over his shoulder to see another vamp nodding at him to open it. He opens it slowly and sees nothing there. He steps on the porch and a stake emerges with lightening speed from the side. He is still turning to dust when Angel walks through the cloud vamped out.

With a loud growl, the second vamp rushes forward.


Interior: Room

Justine hears a commotion and smiles looking at Fred.

Justine: Your Sir Vampsalot has finally arrived. You must be breathing a sigh of relief right now.

Justine goes to a door and opens it to pull a frightened homeless person out.

Another door opens from the opposite side of the room but no one comes out.


Interior: Living room

The second vamp gets in a good punch before Angel kicks him backwards and into a wall. He walks calmly to the vamp as he struggles to get back to his feet.

Angel waits until he is face to face before charging. The vamp sidesteps and Angel crashes headfirst into the wall. Before he can recover, the vamp grabs a stake from his back pocket and raises it above his head. Angel sees it and bends down while at the same time raising his leg up. The vamp doesn't see it coming and the stake is knocked from his hand.

Before it even hits the ground Angel has reached a hand out to catch it and in one swipe he pushes it up and into the heart of the vamp. Dust falls over his head and back.

He stands up shaking himself off and looks around. There's a strangled noise from another room and he walks that way. He enters and sees Fred sitting handcuffed to the chair in the middle. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees another coming at him and he doesn't look before ducking low to miss the charge. He rolls forward in a tuck position and into the legs of the aggressor.

Fred: Angel No!

She's screaming because Angel is unaware that this is the homeless person that Justine has thrown at him. He's not realizing that it's an innocent in the confusion.

Angel hears Fred's scream and stops just as a bone breaks in the man's leg. He cries out and falls to the floor. Angel looks unsurprised at what he's done.

Before he can understand, Justine comes running towards him ready to attack. He scoots out of her path and presses himself against the wall as she misses her mark and falls past him.

In a flurry of movement, Gunn and Wesley having heard Fred's scream rush in the room. Wes trips over Justine and falls on top of her. Gunn hurdles the pair and rushes to Fred's side.

Angel begins to move but balks at the sight of several more humans rushing from the open door that had been standing empty until now. They are hollering combat cries and two head for Wesley as the other three come for Angel.

Gunn hacks the handcuffs loose from the chair with an axe and helps Fred stand. She watches the people attacking Wes and Angel and screams at Gunn to help.

Gunn starts grabbing bodies as fast as he can off Wes and gets in a few good punches while taking some of his own.

Wes climbs off Justine and the floor and rushes to pull Fred by the arm.

Wes: Gunn, Angel let's go!

Angel: Kind of busy here. (busy deflecting blows from the humans when one pulls out a cross and presses it to the side of Angel's face) AArrghh!

Smoke rises from his skin as the cross burns his flesh. He collapses and just as the three move in for the kill, Lorne charges in screaming like a madman.

Lorne: Hey over here! Look at the green demon guy!

All movement stops as the humans turn to look at him and then look at Justine in confusion. Gunn grabs Angel off the floor and drags him out pushing past the people.

Wes and Fred rush past Lorne and he turns tail and runs away behind them.

The group is left behind in stunned silence. Justine stands to face them and smiles.

Justine: That is why we need you. We've all seen what vampires can do. We've all lost people we love. But never before have we seen one with this power. He has convinced these humans that his intentions are honorable. but we know better don't we?

She points at the homeless man still lying on the floor moaning in pain. The group looks from him to Justine and begins to nod in agreement and anger.


Interior: Kitchen

Buffy, Spike, Anya and Xander are sitting at the table.

Buffy: I donít think a naps going to do it this time Spike.

Spike: So what do you suggest love?

Xander: Ahem. (He clears his throat to acknowledge his disdain for Spike's use of the word) If Taraís not in Sunnydale G. then where could she be?

Anya: Did you tell Willow what you saw in your dream?

Buffy: No. I don't think she could handle this right now. She needs to concentrate on maintaining her own sanity. We have to figure this out without her.

The phone rings and Xander picks it up.

Xander: Summer's.(pause) Cordelia?

Buffy, Anya and Spike all look up in surprise.

Buffy: Let me see that. (She takes the phone) Cordelia?(Pause) Yes, she's Willow's girlfriend. How did you...(pause) Oh God. What happened?(pause) She didnít say why? (pause) I don't know. We just now realized she might be hurt. (pause) I had a dream.(pause) Yeah whatever. What's that in the background? Is that a baby? (Pause) No, don't worry. I'll come there. (pause) No Willow isn't available. (pause) Oz? What does he have...? (pause) Yet me having a dream is not believable? (pause) You're right. We don't have time. (Pause) No, don't say anything to anyone. Just tell me where Tara is. (Pause) Got it. Oh and Cordelia...thanks.

Buffy hangs up and the others start shouting questions at her.

Buffy: Hold up! Slow down! Let me think. (She sits down and puts her face in her hands for a moment) Tara's in Long Beach Community Hospital. She was mugged or something and is currently unconscious. Cordelia said that before she went out, she asked for Angel.

Xander: Angel? Tara doesn't even know Angel.

Spike: Well she knows of him. I'm sure of that.

Buffy: Spike's right. Willow's filled her in, but that still doesn't tell us what would make her go to LA to find him.

Anya: Maybe she's not gay anymore. Maybe after hearing all those romantic stories about Angel she decided he was the one for her.

Xander: Anya. (Exasperated)

Anya: What? It makes about as much since as anything else.

Spike: I don't think Tara would choose Angel to test the straight waters with.

Buffy: What does that mean?

Spike: Are you actually asking me that?

Buffy: I just don't know what you meant by...

Xander: Are you people insane? Am I really hearing this conversation?

Buffy: Sorry.

Spike: You should be.

Buffy: (opens her mouth and Xander puts his hand over it)

Xander: So when are we going?

Anya: Going?

Xander: To LA? Someone has to go get Tara. If we leave now, we can be there just after sunrise. Oh I guess that means Spike has to stay here with Willow and Dawn.

Spike: I'm not letting you go to LA by yourself.

Xander: That's funny. I could have sworn I said 'we' but you still think Buffy will be going by herself? That's odd.

Spike: you know what I meant.

Buffy: Both of you stop it. I'm going to LA to bring Tara home. That is it. Xander you come with me, Anya you stay with the shop. Spike, you have to watch over Dawn and Willow. The less people that go, the faster we get back.

Spike wants to argue but decided against it. Xander smiles in self-satisfaction. spike gives him a dirty look.

Buffy: Xander let's go. Anya, can you stay until its time to open the shop?

Anya: Yes. I'll go explain to Dawn.

Buffy: Good. But don't tell Willow yet. She doesn't need to worry about this too. Just tell her that we're close to figuring everything out. Xander, now.

The two leave the house and Spike and Anya exchange a look before heading upstairs.

 

Interior: Hyperion Lobby

Cordy enters smiling down at Connor.

Angel: (Furious) Cordelia!

Cordy looks up in surprise.

Cordy: Angel...you're back. Where's Fred?

Angel: (Strides to remove Connor from her arms) Yes I'm back. We're all back. Where in the hell were you?

Cordy: I'm sorry Angel. I didn't expect you to get back so soon. We were just out walking.

Angel: Walking? You went for a walk at daybreak? And you couldn't leave a note at least? You know Fred's been kidnapped and we've gone to find her. You're alone and without backup and you decide to go for a walk?

Cordy: (Looks around the room to see Gunn, Fred and Wes cowering behind the counter obviously trying to stay out of the line of fire) Angel, I said I was sorry. Connor was fussy and I was stressing so we went to watch the sunrise. That's all. He's fine see?

Angel looks from Connor to Cordy and back to Connor.

Angel: I guess he is. (Reluctantly) Can you just please never scare me like that again?

Cordy: I swear. (makes a cross over her heart) Now tell me what happened. How did you guys get Fred back here so quick? And should we be expecting company?

Lorne: I don't think that's an issue.

Gunn: How can you be so sure?

Wes: I believe that Lorne has realized the same thing I have.

Angel: And that would be?

Wes: Fred was never the intended target tonight.

Cordy: Really? Funny how the person who's NOT the target is the same person who WAS the target.

Fred: Wes is right.

Angel: What?

Fred: She only took me to make sure that you came. You were who she wanted all along.

Angel: Then why did she give up so easily?

Wes: That is a very good question.

Lorne: So who's going to come forward with the very good answer?

Gunn: Fred, what did she say to you before we got there?

Fred: (thinking) Um, she mentioned Angel being a knight in shining armor or something. She said she would only hurt me if he failed to rescue me. It was like she wanted to see him in action.

Wes: Exactly. And if my theory is correct, she wanted the others to see you in action as well.

Angel: But why? What could seeing me fight do for her?

Lorne: I don't think it was for her, I think it was for the friendly humans that attacked you.

Cordy: Humans attacked you?

Fred: Only after Angel attacked one of them.

Cordy: What? (spinning to glare at Angel) You attacked a human?

Angel: (Clutching Connor closer and holding a hand over his ear) Can you please not say things like that in front of my son? (Looks down at Connor) Your daddy doesn't attack humans...as a rule.

Cordy: As a rule? So you did?

Fred: He didn't do it on purpose Cordelia.

Cordy: And yet I don't feel any less disgusted.

Angel: (Looks up at Cordy hurt) I disgust you?

Cordy: People who attack my fellow humans disgust me...as a rule.

Lorne: Whoa! I think we're venturing into dangerous territory here. (Walks to stand between Angel and Cordy) Fred, you were there when it happened. So explain to us what it was.

Fred: She dragged that man out of some room when she heard Angel arrive. The poor thing was scared to death. When Angel came in and saw me, she threw the guy at him. Angel didn't have time to take stock, he just reacted to what he thought was another threat. I called out to him and he stopped. Unfortunately it was too late and his leg broke. At least I think it was his leg. That's when Wes and Gunn burst in and the others came running out.

Cordy: Others?

Fred: (nodding) Yeah, more humans. They came out after all of us then. We barely got out of there. Don't you see what they did to him?

Fred points at Angel and Cordy notices for the first time the burns on the side of his face. She walks closer and sees that they form a cross.

Cordy: (reaching up too touch him) Oh Angel, your face.

Angel moves away from Cordy's touch still hurt from her earlier reaction. She drops her hand and looks away in remorse and guilt.

Lorne: Now lets not let things said out of context affect our feelings. We can't afford to be sidetracked. We all need to be focused here.

Cordy and Angel glance at each other without saying anything.

Angel: So if she wanted me to attack a human, she must have wanted the others to think I did it out of natural tendencies.

Wes: Exactly. I believe you were meant to be portrayed as a common vampire. But I just can't reason why she would want this and what purpose it would serve.

Gunn: I don't believe for a second that she's running the show herself. She's got to be working for somebody.

Fred: I think you're right. I heard her in the hall before you got there talking to someone. She mentioned that 'he' wanted the vampire.

Cordy: Who's 'he'?

Wes: That's what we have to figure out.

The phone rings and Cordelia jumps to answer it. Wes takes note.

She speaks quietly ensuring no one can hear her and hangs up.

Angel: Who was that?

Cordy: Um...nobody. I mean, it was my doctor.

Angel: Your doctor? thought...

Cordy: Everythingís fine. It's just a check up. I have to get to the hospital.

Angel: I'll come with you.

Cordy: No! (then calmly) You need to stay with Connor. I can take care of it.

Angel: You're not going alone. Too much is at risk right now. I can't afford to give them the opportunity to take someone else I care about.

Cordy softens at his words.

Cordy: Fine. Gunn, are you free?

Gunn: Always.

The two walk to the door. Angel reaches a hand out to stop Gunn when he passes.

Angel: (Quietly) Bring her back.

Gunn: Absolutely.

They leave.


Interior: Hospital corridor

Xander hangs up the phone and sits down next to Buffy in the hall.

Xander: She's on her way.

Buffy: Good. We need to find out if she knows anything about why Tara's here. (Absently rubs her stomach)

Xander: You still feel barfy?

Buffy: It's not barfy Xander. I told you.

Xander: Right. We cross over the city line into LA and suddenly you get all tense like and have trouble breathing. You won't eat or drink anything and keep rubbing your belly like it might do I don't know what if you stop making with the soothing circles. But my bad, it's not barfy.

Buffy: I'll be fine. I just want to see the doctor, talk to Cordy, get Tara and get out of here.

Xander: So you're not going to even admit that there's something else bothering you?

Buffy stops rubbing and looks at him.

Xander: It's me. I know its been a while and I'll admit I was never one to bond with you over the guy. But I know Angel angst when I see it.

Buffy: (looking down at her lap) I don't know what it is. I thought I was way past this. But it's like I'm back in high school and I can feel him you know? I used to sense when he was there. It's stupid and even more so now after...well everything. But I feel him Xander. How is that still possible?

Xander: I don't know Buff. You and him had something I don't think anyone will ever fully understand, not even the two of you. But you're right. A lot has happened and it's better this way. You not bringing him into this is the right thing.

Buffy: I know. (Leans back and rests her head against the wall) I know. (Starts rubbing her stomach again as Xander looks on)


Interior: Willows room

Dawn is sitting on the bed and Spike is in a chair on the other side of the room.

Dawn: I have to use the restroom. Can you stay with her?

Spike: It's daylight now Little Bit. I won't be going anywhere.

Dawn smiles nervously and glances toward the drawn shade before standing to leave.

Spike looks at Willow and straightens in his chair when he sees her frown in her sleep.

{Willow is standing in the dark place. Tara and Oz are both gone. She steps on broken glass and flashes back to her previous dream. Buffy and the others turn their back on her and she screams at them. The mirror shatters. Back to Willow bending to retrieve a piece of broken glass. She stands slowly studying the shard in her fingers.

A noise startles her and she drops the glass and turns to see Cordy.

Willow: Cordelia?

Cordy: (looking around in apparent frustration) What is this?

Willow: I thought it was my dream but why would you be here?

Cordy: I don't know. Perhaps your subconscious misses me.

Before Willow can answer there's a flash of light and suddenly Cordy is fighting Angel. She watches in silence at first and sees Cordy get the better of Angel and bring him down. Angel suddenly vamps out just as Cordelia raises her arms to strike.

Willow: Cordelia no!

Cordelia stops and turns to face Willow. Her features are distorted and it becomes obvious that she's a demon of some sort.

Willow: Oh God Cordelia...}

Willow wakes with a start and opens her eyes in fear. Spike jumps up and comes to stand over her.

Spike: You alright Red?

Willow: (Straining to move but still unable) Spike? Oh Spike we have to get Buffy. Somethingís wrong with Cordelia.

Spike: Cordelia?

The doorbell rings and Dawn hollers that she'll get it. Spike hesitates before leaving to make sure that Dawn is okay.

Downstairs, Dawn swings the door open and stops at the sight of the person on the porch.

Spike descends the stairs rapidly and steps up behind Dawn.

Spike: Who is it Bit?

He finally sees the visitor.

Spike: I know you.

Oz: I was about to say the same thing. Although, you're the last person I expected to find here.

Spike: I get that a lot.

Dawn: And you know each other how?

Spike: This is Oz Dawn. You've heard of him.

Dawn: Oz? Oh! Willow's Oz? I know you.

Oz: Again, I could say the same thing. You're Buffy's sister right?

Dawn: (nodding) And you're the boyfriend that turned Willow into a lesbian.

Oz: I get that a lot.

Dawn opens the door wider to let him in.

Oz: So where is everyone?

Spike: You got a while? You picked a helluva time to show up.

Ox looks on at Spike and Dawn in confusion.


Cut to Hyperion

Angel, Fred, Wes and Lorne are discussing the possible suspects.

Angel: I can only think of one person that could be using humans to fight me.

Wes: Holtz.

Angel nods.

Fred: That makes sense. He hunted you for years as a human. Maybe he's trying to forge an army of innocents because he knows with your soul, you won't want to fight them.

Angel: What better revenge than to make me kill again now that I have the soul to punish me?

Lorne: My you must have really done a number on this guy back in your heyday.

Angel: You could say that.

Wes: So how do we prevent this army from coming after you?

Fred: Can't we just set them up like she did Angel?

Wes: I'm not sure I understand.

Fred: I just mean that if they want these people to believe that Angel's an evil vampire, we just have to make sure they see he's not. We have to make sure they see him fighting the evil just like they do.

Angel: That's a good idea Fred. I just don't think there's any way they'll RSVP if we send out invitations to watch me kill...demons or not.

Wes: Yes, well we just have to find a way to trap them into seeing you in true action. We know where they meet now. That has to give us an advantage.

The phone ringing interrupts them and Angel rushes to answer it.

Angel: Hello? (Pause) No there must be some mistake. (Pause) My son is here with me. (Pause) She what? When was this? (pause) No, I'm on my way. I'll get it myself.

He hangs up the phone and stares at it in silence.

Wes: Angel? What was that?

Angel: (irritated) That was the hospital. Cordy and I took that girl we found there earlier. Apparently, Cordy took Connor for a visit while we were gone.

Fred: But she said they just went for a walk.

Angel: Well she lied. (Strides past them and grabs his leather jacket) Fred, can you keep an eye on Connor? He's still sleeping upstairs.

Fred: Sure. Where are you going?

Angel: They called because Cordy left a blanket in the girls room. They're holding it at the nurses station.

Wes: I'll go with you.

Angel: No. You stay here and keep working on this. Lorne, you check with every contact you have and find Holtz. I don't care what it takes. I'll be back.

Wes: Don't be upset with Cordelia Angel. I'm sure she has her reasons.

Angel: (under his breath) She always does.

He exits the Hyperion, his jacket almost catching on the door.

 

Interior: Hospital Corridor

Cordelia walks through the double doors and heads for Taraís room. She slows when she sees Buffy and Xander sitting outside the room. They don't see her at first and Cordy seems to study Buffy as if she's seeing something new. Finally Buffy glances up and sees Cordelia pick up her pace.

Buffy: Cordelia. (Cordy stops in front of her as Xander stands up)

Cordelia: Buffy...Xander. Thanks for coming.

Xander: (Forcing a smile) You look well.

Cordy: (Noticing Xander's apparent awkwardness) Thanks, so do you.

Buffy: So what can you tell us?

Cordy: Not much. Angel and I were out by the beach last night and heard a girl scream. We ran to try and help but whatever happened was already over by the time we got there. She was unconscious and bleeding. Angel carried her here and we dropped her off.

Buffy: Did you say you were on the beach?

The ladies look at each other in silence for several seconds trying to read the other's meaning.

Xander: (noticing the tension) Okay, so you didn't know it was Tara?

Cordy: (Breaking her staring contest with Buffy and facing Xander) No. I've never seen her. Willow mentioned her name once so when the hospital called me and said who she was, it rang a bell. But I didn't know anything for sure until I got here and had the vision.

Xander: Vision?

Cordy: Yeah, it was really weird too. Not like most of my visions. It was almost like I was in her dream. She was there with Willow and Oz.

Buffy: Oz? Tara was dreaming about Oz? I think you got your visions crossed Cordelia.

Cordy: (Snapping) Not likely Buff.

Buffy: I'm not trying to imply that your visions are somehow unworthy Cord. (Buffy emphasizes Cordelia's shortened name in a sarcastic tone)

Xander: Hello? Issue at hand? Remember? Cordelia, did Tara's dream show you anything about what might have happened to bring her to LA?

Cordy: Not really. She told Oz that she was looking for a hotel. I think she meant Angel's hotel.

Buffy: Why would you think that?

Cordy: Because she said that she was looking for him but got attacked. Then Oz asked her who and suddenly Angel was there carrying Tara. But I wasn't with him, it was Oz. He said 'Angel" and she said yes. (Cordy frowns trying to remember anything else she can) Oh! Tara said that she didn't get to tell him!

Xander: She didn't get to tell Angel something?

Cordy nods.

Buffy: What could she possibly have to tell Angel?

Cordy: That's what I was hoping you guys would know. But I guess that was hoping too much.

Xander: We've been kind of sidetracked over in Sunnydale.

Cordy: Sidetracked? How?

Xander: Well, while Tara was getting herself unconscious here. Willow was getting herself paralyzed back home.

Cordy: Willow's paralyzed!

Buffy: SShh. Let's not get hysterical here. Willows not paralyzed, she's just...not moving at the moment.

Cordy: (Sarcastic)Oh, well that's much better. I see how Xander could have overreacted.

Xander: I'm going to have to ask that you both cease and desist with the verbal swordplay. It's not helping and my head is starting to ache.

Cordy: Don't blame us for your achy head. That happens when you do simple addition.

Buffy: I see you haven't changed much since high school.

Cordy: Don't you dare say that! You don't know me! (Loud enough that several people look up) I've changed more than your Slayer mind will ever comprehend!

A bell goes off in Tara's room and interrupts Buffy's reply. The three rush into the room to see that Tara is awake and ringing for the nurse.

Xander: Tara!

Tara: Xander? Buffy? Where am I?

Buffy: You're in a hospital in LA. They found you in an alley. Do you remember what happened?

Tara: They?

Cordy steps forward and faces Tara.

Tara: It's you. You were in my dream.

Cordy: You knew I was there?

Buffy and Xander look at each other in stunned silence.


Cut to Sunnydale

Interior: Willow's room

Spike and Dawn enter to find Willow grunting helplessly from the effort of trying to move.

Spike: Hey Red, you have a visitor.

Willow: (Looks out of the corner of her eye) A visitor? Who? Is it Tara?

Oz: (Stepping into her view) Not even close.

Willow appears speechless and Dawn and Spike watch her struggle to accept who's in front of her.

Willow: Oh God, you can't see me like this.

Oz: (Sitting down next to her) Shut-up. (Smirks) I've seen you worse.

Willow: I guess you have. (Tries to smile)

Spike: (Clears his throat) Well Little Bit, how about some chow? What do you say we go see what kind of eatery you Summers girls keep on hand?

Dawn: Um...(looks at Willow)...will you be okay for a minute?

Willow: (Smiles) Yeah, I'm fine. Go on.

Dawn nods and allows Spike to lead her out of the room.

Oz: Check that out. (Looking at where Spike just exited) He did the very human tactful exit and all. What's up with that?

Willow: Spike's a changed man, sort of. It's a long story. He can't bite anymore being the gist of it.

Oz: That's pretty gutsy. I wish we had time to fill me in, but I'm kind of hoping you know why I'm full of dreams lately. by the looks of you, I'd venture that you know the answer.

Willow: What do you mean?

Oz: Spike and Dawn told me you hadnít been able to move for almost 24 hours and that was about the time my dreams started. Then on the way here, I pulled over to rest my eyes and dreamed that you were sleeping and couldn't wake up. then Tara...

Willow: Tara?

Oz: Yeah, Tara was there, and she showed me that she was hurt.

Willow: (Obviously upset and getting very excitable) Tara's hurt!

Oz: I don't know. I mean I wasn't sure until I saw you. I thought maybe this was all meaningless, but now I'm not so positive. Tara was hurt and she told me that she was trying to find Angel.

Willow: Angel?

Oz: Yeah, I saw Angel carrying her with Cordelia beside him. Then it was me beside him and I asked Tara if Angel was who she was looking for and she said yes, but she never got a chance to tell him.

Willow: Tell him what?

Oz: That's why I'm here. I don't know anything else. It's all pretty bizarre. Though typical Sunnydale stuff.

Willow: (Hollers)Spike! Dawnie!

She doesn't say anything else until the two have raced into the room.

Spike: What is it?

Willow: Dawn, call Anya. Tell her she's doing the spell...now.

Dawn: But Buffy...

Willow: Listen to me Dawn, I don't have time to wait on Buffy. She's trying to help, but Oz knows more than she does. If we have any hope of figuring this out, then I have to be upright and mobile. Now call her.

Dawn leaves the room to make the call.

Willow: Spike, where's Buffy?

Spike: I don't think...

Willow: I already know you're hiding something. Is it about her dream?

Oz: Buffy had a dream too?

Willow: Yeah and so did I. Something tells me this isn't accidental. I think we're all seeing each other's dreams for a purpose. We have to find out what it is. And we have to know if Angel is experiencing it too.

Spike: (Shocked)Angel? So Buffy's dream was about Angel? She told me it was Tara.

Willow: It was both.

Spike: Splendid.

Oz: (Taking note of Spike's obvious emotion) Am I wrong for getting the feeling that you're jealous?

Willow: Not important right now. Where is Buffy Spike?

Dawn runs back in the room.

Dawn: Anya's on her way. But she's not happy about closing the shop.

Willow: She'll get over it. So can you call Buffy and tell her to get home?

Dawn looks at Spike uncomfortably.

Spike: I'm afraid we can't do that Red.

Willow: Why not?

Oz: Let me guess. Buffy went to LA to find Tara.

Willow: What? No, she wouldnít' have done that without telling me. Right?

Dawn: (Looks away from Willow) Um...

Willow: Oh God. Buffy knew what was happening and she didn't tell me?

Dawn: She got a call from that Cordelia girl.

Willow: Cordelia!

Spike: Settle down. She got the call and went to get the scoop. She planned on filling you in when she got back with Tara.

Willow: So Tara is there?

Dawn: Yeah. I'm sorry Will.

Willow: Never mind. We have to call Angel.

Spike: Can't we do this without him?

Willow: No! Dawn, the numbers in my book. You hold the phone and I'll talk. Go now...


Cut to LA-Hospital

Cordy, Xander and Buffy are surrounding Tara's bed.

Tara: I don't understand why you got dragged into this.

Cordy: Maybe we could figure it out if you told us why you came to LA in the first place. Was it Angel?

Tara glances at Buffy and looks down.

Buffy: Tara, you have to tell us the truth. We can't help Willow if you don't. So far, we know that Willow, you, me, Cordy and possibly Oz are having the same dreams. There has to be reason for this. If you came to LA before the dreams started, then maybe that's the key. So why did you come to LA? Why would you try and find Angel?

Xander: It doesn't make sense. You never knew Angel. What could he possibly have to offer?

Cordy: I don't think like the implication there.

Xander: I don't think I like the implication of your implication.

Cordy: What?

Buffy: Would you two shut up?

Cordy: Speaking of not changing...

Buffy glares at Cordy before turning back to Tara.

Buffy: Tara, please. You left Willow weeks ago. Why would you end up here of all places?

Tara: I never really left Willow.

Xander: Okay help me out here. Are we talking newfound stalker status or just hypothetically?

Tara: I'm talking about mystically. I did a spell a couple weeks ago to try and find the source of Willow's addiction.

Cordy: Addiction? Willow's on drugs?

Xander and Buffy roll their eyes but don't reply.

Tara: Not that kind of addiction. I went back to before we met. Back to high school. It was like I was watching a movie. I could pause and rewind and fast forward and zoom in.

Xander: Can't really zoom in on movie playback. (The others all look at him like he fell out of a tree) Sorry. Go on.

Tara: Willow found the dark magic there. She studied them, practiced occasionally, but it was Angel and his curse. That's where she got her first taste of how powerful it was.

Buffy: When she restored his soul.

Tara: Yes. I watched everything after that. There were other occasions that she used dark forces to save innocents or protect them. But I always came back to Angel. See, Willow thought that she had crossed a line with that curse. She believed that even though she gave Angel his soul, she hadn't saved him. He still went to the hell dimension and even worse he went with a soul.

Buffy: Oh God.

Cordy: I never thought of it like that.

Xander: Lets not get carried away by the memories ladies. Angel's back, he's fine, he's good. Move on.

Tara: Right. I know that. But I believe that Willow couldn't let it go. She never admitted her worst fears, not even to herself. She just used the pain as an excuse to continue down the path of Black Magic. She had to atone for what had happened to Angel and to you Buffy. She knew the guilt you felt over having to do what you did.

Buffy: But this was all worked out along time ago.

Tara: For everyone else it was. but Willow never worked through it. She just worked over it. She continued her studies and found more and more reasons that the dark forces could be used to do good. She wanted to prove to herself that it hadn't been a mistake.

Buffy: Okay I get what you're saying and maybe even agree that the possibility is there that you're right. but I have to ask what this has to do with now. Why would seeing this in retrospect give you the idea to come search for Angel?

Tara: Because I believe that thereís a chance Willow's original spell isn't everything she expected it to be. That any of you expected it to be. Not even him.

Cordy: So you think Angel didn't get the right curse?

Xander: What?

Tara doesn't answer and the others look at each other in confusion.

Buffy: I spent all that time with him after. Until prom, we were together. If there was any problem with the curse, we would have known about it believe me.

Xander: Now I'm getting a visual.

Cordy: (Not getting it at first and then realization) Ewwww.

Tara: That's not the kind of problem I'm talking about.

Cordy: Wait! If this really is about Angel and his curse, then he has a right to know.

Buffy: No! We don't know what we're sure of yet. I don't want to get Angel involved right now. I can't.

From the doorway Angel speaks.

Angel: And I guess what you want is all that matters...


Cut to Hyperion

Wesley hangs up the phone and turns to Gunn and Lorne.

Wesley: Where's Fred?

Gunn: Connor was fussing. She went to check on him. Who was that?

Wes: That was Willow Rosenthal. A friend of the Slayers in Sunnydale.

Gunn: As in Buffy the Slayer? Angel's Buffy the Slayer?

Lorne: Angel has a slayer?

Wes: One and the same. It seems we're to expect a visit from said Slayer and now the rest of her group will be joining her. They're on their way as soon as...

Gunn: As soon as what?

Wes: (Rubbing his forehead) As soon as they perform a spell to rid Willow of a mysterious paralysis that has consumed her.

Lorne: Huh? Did you say slayer? Did you say spell? Did you say paralysis? (looks at Gunn) Can you say uh-oh?

 

Interior: Willow's room

Anya is standing closest to Willow holding a wooden bowl above the bed. Oz is at the foot of the bed and Spike and Dawn are standing in the doorway. Spike protectively in front.

Anya begins to recite the words of the spell and as she does she waves the bowl over the length of Willow's body. She begins the incantation for the third time and slowly tips the bowl downwards. A liquid spills over the side and falls to Willow's still form. It hits her chest first and a strange light emanates from the point of impact. Anya continues chanting and moves the bowl downward spilling the contents evenly over Willow's body. Soon, the light darkens and seems to disappear into Willow's skin and clothing. Just as Anya finishes speaking and lowers the now empty bowl to her side, a sickening aroma expels itself from Willow and the others all cover their noses. Willows eyes open and she looks around the room. The smell fades and the others drop their hands to watch for any signs of success.

Willow takes a deep breath and without any effort, snaps to a sitting position. She throws her legs over the side of the bed and stands up. She and Anya exchange a smile.

Anya: Yep, I've still got it.

Spike: Congratulations. Now if we can just all jump in a vat of Lysol, we should be fine.

Oz: I don't remember magic being quite so...aromatic.

Anya: Don't be such babies. The smell is gone now, get over it.

Spike: Right then. So we're off to LA then right?

Willow: Yes, we are. But it's kind of on the sunny side out there, don't you think?

Spike: I can't believe you still think the bloody sun can stop me.

Dawn: I thought that was pretty much the rule.

Spike: Have you learned nothing since I've been around? Sure, we vamps don't look to play in the sun, but we can certainly find ways around it when necessary.

Willow: Fine, let's just go. Who's driving?

Oz: I guess I will.

Anya: We'll find Xander first right?

Dawn: No, we find Buffy first.

Willow: Guys, I'm pretty sure, we find one, we'll find the other.

Dawn/Anya: Oh. Okay.

Spike: So who's got a blanket I can use?


Cut to LA

Interior: Hospital

Buffy doesn't move as Cordy, Xander and Tara all turn to see Angel standing in the doorway.

Cordelia: Angel! I was just...

Angel: Don't. (He steps inside the room scanning the faces and noticing Buffy's back still facing him) So what was that Buffy? You don't want me to know what?

Buffy closes her eyes trying to gather her thoughts and finally moves to face him. She appears to forget everything as she meets his eyes for the first time.

Angel too seems to lose track of his anger for an instant upon looking into her eyes. None of this is missed by Xander and Tara. And more importantly, by Cordy.

Tara: (Whispers) It's you. You're him.

Angel: (Still looking at Buffy but speaking to Tara) It's me. Forgive me if I don't know you in return.

Tara: Oh, well how could you? (Smiles weakly) We've never met.

Cordy: Angel, this is Tara. She's Willow's...friend. I just found out when I came up here to see my doctor, I happened by and ran into Buffy and Xander.

Angel: (Finally looking away from Buffy to face Cordelia) Do you really want to do this? Where's Gunn?

Cordy: Gunn? Oh yeah, he was with me. Right. Well, I dropped him in the waiting room. I didn't see the point in him coming into the doctors office with me.

Xander: (Confused) You went to see a doctor?

Cordy: (Smiling) Of course silly. I told you two that when I ran into you, remember?

Buff, you want to help me out here?

Buffy: (Still looking at Angel) Yeah, sure. Xander, how do you stand upright under the weight of your own stupidity?

Xander: (Shock and surprise)What?

Cordy: It's okay. Angel understands right? (Looking at Angel) I mean, he was there in high school. He saw you in action or should I say inaction.

Xander: Now wait one damn minute!

Buffy: Cordelia! (Interrupting Xander) Why don't you and Angel go find this Gunn person. We'll stay here and finish up with Tara. I appreciate you stopping by but we can take it from here.

Cordelia: (Glad to leave) Sure. It was so good seeing you guys again. I'm sorry about the mugging thing Tara. Hope you get to feeling better. Let's go Angel.

She takes Angel by the arm and tries to push him out but he doesn't budge and Cordy merely runs into his shoulder with her face. She bounces off and looks up at him.

Angel: (Deadpan face on Cordy) Why are you doing this? After the last time you lied to me and nearly got yourself killed? I thought we had an agreement.

Buffy watches the exchange noting how there was more to the words than Angel was saying.

Cordy: We did. We do. I'm not doing anything.

Angel: Really? (Reaches into his jacket to pull out the receiving blanket he had just picked up from the nurses station)

Cordy: Where did that come form?

Buffy: Is that a baby blanket?

Angel hears Buffy's question and startles a bit. he pushes the blanket back into his jacket and concentrates on Cordy.

Angel: They called to say you left it here when you came by to see her earlier.

Cordy realizes she's caught and drops her head. Xander seems lost and Tara frowns sensing the tension.

Buffy: Angel, was that a baby blanket?

Cordy: (Looking at Buffy) I was babysitting. I do it for extra cash sometimes. This fighting evil gig doesn't pay so well at times.

Buffy: (Nodding) Tell me about it.

Xander: Cordelia Chase a babysitter? That's odd, I didn't hear that hell had frozen over.

Angel: Shut up Xander.

Xander: And hello to you to Angel. My how time flies when you're not with you.

Gunn: (From doorway) What the hell is this?

Buffy: Who the hell are you?

Cordy: That's Gunn. And don't talk to him like that.

Tara: (Showing signs of exhaustion)Can I just talk to Angel please?

Buffy: Tara, I don't know...

Angel: (Annoyed) What is your problem Buffy? If she came here to see me, then I think I'd like to hear what she has to say. Last I checked, you didn't have the last word here in LA.

Buffy: (Snaps) I never said I did. I just don't think what Tara or anyone else in my life does is any of your concern any more.

Cordy: Maybe you should talk to the people in your life again Buffy. I don't think Angel asked Tara to come here.

Gunn: Buffy? This is...

Xander: Yep, it's Buffy. The slayer. The girl formerly known as Angel's midnight snack.

Angel lunges for Xander snarling at the same time but Buffy is too quick. She steps in front of Xander just as Angel has his hands extended and she raises her own to deflect his blow.

Buffy: (holding Angel's hands in her fists) I don't think so.

Angel: (Ripping his hands loose and straightening) Of course not.

Gunn: She's good.

Xander: (Still staring at Angel) The best.

Cordy: Okay then, let's just go Angel. Gunn?

Angel: I'm not leaving until I hear what she has to say. You must think it's pretty important to lie to me again.

Cordy: I wasn't lying. I was protecting.

Angel: And since when do I need your protection?

Cordy: Since you've turned into a raving lunatic these last couple months! You're so wrapped up in Connor that you...

Angel sends her a murderous look and she realizes what she said and stops suddenly.

Buffy: What? What's that? Who's Connor?

Angel: Everyone out while I talk to Tara.

Tara: Yes, thank you. I have to figure out if...

Buffy: I'm not leaving you alone with her.

Angel: What is that supposed to mean?

Xander: I only see one way to take that.

Buffy: Xander shut up. I mean that whatever Tara thinks she knows has to do with me and my friends. I don't want any surprise. Xander, you can wait outside.

Xander: But...

Buffy levels her gaze and Xander exits.

Angel: Cordelia, Gunn, you do the same.

Gunn: Sure. (Cordy doesn't move so Gunn pulls her out by the arm)

They're finally alone and Buffy and Angel turn to face Tara.


Cut to Hyperion

Interior: Lobby

Lorne: I don't know about you kids, but this waiting is killing me.

Fred: I'm with you. I feel all nervous inside like we're about to learn something huge.

Wes: We can't let this distract us from our mission. Holtz isn't going to stop because we have company form out of town. Lorne, you need to be working on his exact location. Someone in this town knows and we're counting on you to find out.

Lorne: Sure thing. I'll get on it.

He leaves and Fred looks to Lorne.

Fred: What about me?


Wes: I need you here with me and Connor. When the Sunnydale troop arrives, I'll be busy trying to ascertain why this is happening. Connor must be kept out of sight. We can't risk opening up a maylay with that information.

Fred: Got it.

The phone rings and Fred answers it. She speaks briefly and hangs up.

Fred: That was Cordelia. She's at the hospital with Gunn and Angel.

Wes: Are they okay? What's happened?

Fred: She just said that Buffy was there and Angel and her are talking to that girl Tara. Something about dreams and visions. I really didn't understand.

Wes: Dreams? So the dreams that willow mentioned may have also occurred with Cordelia. That makes sense. That must have been why she went to the hospital. Angel must have found her with Buffy.

Fred: Oh my.

Wes: My sentiment exactly Fred. I believe that whatever is going on at that hospital might very well be the key to all of this.


Cut to Hospital

Tara is getting weaker and seems to want to fall asleep.

Buffy: Tara? Please stay with us. We need to hear what you have to say.

Tara: I'm just so tired all the sudden. (Struggling to keep her eyes open) Angel...test...

Angel: What? (Bends lower to hear Tara) What did you say?

Tara: (Barely audible) Curse.

Buffy: What was that?

Angel: Tara, what about my curse? What do you know?

Tara: (Opens her eyes with great effort and looks at Angel hovering inches in front of her) Will...not strong then...didn't know.

Buffy: Did she say 'didn't know'? (Angel nods) Didn't know what Tara? Is it the black magic? She didn't know it well enough then?

Angel: (Rising to stand) You know what she's trying to say?

Buffy: No. I mean, she said something before you got here about Willow not being strong enough for the spell or the guilt about the spell. She said that she began trying to prove that black magic could be used for good. that's how she came to be in her current state. Tara said she's been studying the things that happened back then. She thinks Willow's dark forces manifested themselves then. When you were Angelus and I...

Angel: (Cuts her off)I got it. But why would she want to see me? I don't know anything about Willow's magic.

Buffy: That's why I said you didn't need to be involved.

Tara moans and tries opening her eyes again.

Tara: Test...(frowns and stirs under the sheets)...curse.

Buffy: (Eyes widen as she begins to understand what Tara came for) Oh God.

Angel: What? What is it? Did you hear her?

Buffy: (Tears well in her eyes as she nods silently) She said she thought Willow didn't do the right curse.

Angel: What? Of course she did. I'm here. Tara's obviously out of it. She's not thinking straight.

Buffy: (Tear spills) You're right. It's crazy talk. We would have known...all those months...we would have known.

Angel: (Walks around the bed to grab Buffy by the shoulders and force her to look at him) Buffy, what are you saying? What would we have known?

Buffy shuts her eyes against Angel's words and shakes her head harshly.


Cut to Hyperion

Willow, Dawn, Anya and Oz followed by a blanket covered Spike run through the doors.

Wes: Willow! And everyone?

Willow: Yeah, we all came. Where's Buffy?

Wes: She's at the hospital with your friends and Angel, Cordy and Gunn.

Anya: Xander? Is Xander there?

Wes: yes, I believe so. I was waiting for you to arrive so we could join them. I'll just call and make sure they're still there.

Wes heads for the phone as Fred descends the stairs holding Connor.

Fred: Hey Wes, you should see Connor. He's making the cutest face.

She stops when she notices the group watching her.

Wes hears her and turns to see who she's holding. He slams the phone down and rushes to her side.

Wes: Fred! I don't think this is the best time.

Lorne descends as well and Spike and the others all stare at his green face and horns. Spike steps in front of Dawn and Oz steps in front of Willow and Anya.

Spike: What in the bloody hell is that?

Lorne: (Looking at Spike) Oh like you have room to talk Mr. smoking blanket around the feet.

Spike looks down to see the smoldering material and sneers.

Wes: Lorne, I was just telling Fred that it wasn't the best time to bring Connor down.

Lorne: You gotta see this face this kid makes. (Laughing) I swear it puts his dad's vamp face to shame!

Willow and the others all gasp collectively at Lorne's words.

Oz: Did he just say...?

Wes: Lorne please take Fred and Connor upstairs. I have to go to the hospital and find the others. Keep inside okay?

Lorne: Sure. I'm waiting on a call back form a friend anyway. I think he may have a lead on Holtz or at least tell me where I can find one.

Wes: Excellent. You stay on that and we'll be back shortly.

Wes comes back to the group and ushers them out the door.

Willow: Wes, who's baby is that?

Wes: Now now, let's focus on the issue at hand shall we? Something very Sunnydale-ish is happening here and we need to concentrate on figuring it out. That Lorne is quite a character. Always making jokes and such. Come now...

He manages to push them along but Spike moves slower as he readies his blanket. He is still staring up at the stairs where the baby was when Wes grabs him and forces him into the sunlight.

 

Interior: Hospital waiting room

Gunn, Xander and Cordelia sit in chairs far apart from one another. Cordy stands up.

Cordy: I donít understand why we had to leave. They act like we're still in Sunnydale and they call all the shots.

Xander: Well I don't know about here, but in Sunnydale we tend to let Buffy run things. It prevents a mess. We weren't as effective without her you know.

Cordy: Somehow that doesn't surprise me.

Gunn: So when she was dead, you guys tried to keep fighting.

Xander: First if all, we don't like to use the D word in reference to Buffy. But yeah, we kept fighting. Someone has to.

Gunn: I feel you. (Nodding appreciatively) I was on my own for years until I crossed paths with Angel. I never would have believed that I would be working for a vampire I'll tell you that.

Cordy: Gunn, I'm sure Xander's not interested in tales of Angel Investigations.

Xander: Angel Investigations? Man, you guys really went for the legit sound didn't you?

Gunn: We are legit.

Cordy: You don't have to explain anything to him Gunn.

Before Xander can reply, Willow, Wesley, Dawn, Oz and Spike come in.

Cordelia: My God. (Stares in amazement) Talk about the past coming back to haunt you.

Willow: Good to see you too Cord. Where's Tara?

Spike: More importantly, where's Buffy?

Cordy: Spike? Aren't you supposed to be trying to kill us all about now?

Spike: Yeah, so you better watch it or you're first.

Gunn: (Stepping in front of Cordy) I really hope that's just your twisted sense of humor guy.

Spike: You're new.

Xander: This is Gunn. He works with Cordelia and Angel. Hello Wesley.

Wes: Xander. (Wes nods then looks around) So where's the rest of our party?

Dawn: I want to see Buffy now.

Cordy: Well, she's locked herself in the room with Tara and Angel. Nobody is allowed in. But feel free to interrupt if you like.

Spike: Don't mind if I do. (Starts to head for the door that Cordy is pointing to)

Willow grabs his arm.

Willow: Spike no. We can't go rushing in there like crazies. The faster we talk this out the faster we can leave. And something tells me, that it will never be fast enough.

She exchanges a look with Wesley.

Xander: So what's the plan then Will?

Anya: (Walking to stand in front of Xander) Aren't you even going to say hello?

Xander: (puts his hands on her face and looks straight at her) Hello Anya. (Looks back at Willow) So what's the plan Will?

Anya: Thanks a lot.

Willow: (Ignoring Anya) I came here because of my dreams. Oz found me because he was having them too. Cordelia, I understand you were in on them as well?

Cordy: Well I...yes. I don't know what any of it meant though.

Willow: That's what we're here for. Wesley, you should stay out here with everyone. I say all the dream people come with me and we'll join the others.

Oz: I guess that's my cue.

Cordy: And mine. I'm ready to go.

Spike: Well I'm going too damn it.

Dawn: No. Willow's right. If Tara's hurt, she doesn't need a big crowd. They'll come out soon. Right Willow?

Willow: Right. All of you just give us a few minutes and then we can all go to our respective homes...away from here.

Wes: I concede.

Cordy: Wes! Where's Fred and...

Wes: Lorne's with her. They're fine. (He emphasizes the 'they're' and Cordy nods in understanding)

Willow: Are we ready?


Cut to Hospital room

Tara is sleeping again and Angel is still searching Buffy's pained face for an explanation.

Angel: Buffy? What is going on? What are you not telling me?

Buffy: (Stops shaking her head and takes a deep breath trying to push back the tears) She think...she wants you...I can't do this now.

Angel: (Releases Buffy and steps back) You can't do this anymore Buffy. You can't come here and lay this on me and then not explain it. What can't you do?

Buffy: (Raises her face to meet his gaze) Angel...have you thought about me? Since I saw you last?

Angel: What? I don't understand what you're asking. Of course I've thought about you.

Buffy: Well, I haven't been able to.

Angel seems a bit hurt.

Buffy: I came back from seeing you and I couldn't talk about it. I didn't want to. There was so much...

Angel: I know. I didn't want to either. It's okay.

Buffy: No it's not. See nothing's been okay since I came back. I think you sensed it. But I couldn't share it then. I wasn't ready.

Angel: Buffy, what does this have to do with now?

Buffy: Were you happy when you found out I was back?

Angel: Yes! How could you even ask?

Buffy: But not happy enough to...

Angel: Wait...are you trying to ask me why my curse didn't take effect? That's not how it works Buffy, you know that.

Buffy: Do I? Do you? I mean, you didn't know about the clause when you got cursed the first time. That was centuries ago. But that one night changed everything. So Willow was able to reinstate the curse, but did we ever really take the time to research the exactness of the curse? No, because you were all about Acathla and I had to stop you. So I told her to try and she did. She said herself that she couldnít' remember after a certain point. It was like something took over her body. Some force...some dark force. What if that dark force wasn't exactly the same as the gypsy used all those years before?

Angel: You're grasping here. If it was some other energy that she created, the curse wouldn't have worked. It's not a five and dime spell.

Buffy: So then have you tested it?

Angel: What?

Buffy: I mean has there been anything in the last two years that would have been considered a test of the curse? Other than my return.

Angel: I'm not doing this with you Buffy. (He shakes his head and backs up uncomfortably)

Buffy: (Begins to get his meaning) Oh. Well, it's not like I should be surprised. We haven't been together in years. I've had boyfriends, you know that. You beat one up.

Angel: I didn't beat him up. I defended myself.

Buffy: And you did say that I wasn't part of your life anymore. I guess I can't expect you to...but you couldn't have had sex right? I mean if you had sex and didn't go evil then there would be no reason for us to be apart anymore. (Pauses watching Angel's reaction) Unless, you're still with the person you had sex with. Is that it? Did you just find something better? Oh God, this isn't what I wanted to hear right now.

Angel: What are you doing? You're having an entire conversation with yourself and I haven't said a word. Now you've convinced yourself that I've taken a new lover and don't have the curse anymore because this girl had a dream! Do you hear yourself Buffy?

Buffy: You're right. I'm way jumping the gun. You tell me. What's happened to make you think that the curse still stands? How can you be so sure that your soul is still intact because of the curse and not because of something else? You have to know something.

The door suddenly opens and hits Angel in the back. He jumps out of the way and finds Cordelia entering first followed closely by Oz and Willow.

Buffy: Willow! You're walking! And Oz?

Oz: Yep, walking as well. Thanks. (Looks at Angel) What's up man?

Angel: I have no idea.

Oz nods in agreement as Willow rushes to Taraís side.

Willow: (leaning close to Tara) Tara? Baby? Can you hear me?

Buffy: She's just sleeping Will. She was awake until just a few minutes ago.

Cordy: So did you figure out what the big was? Why did she have to see Angel?

Willow: I don't understand. My dream had nothing to do with Angel.

Oz: Mine didn't at first either. But then when you were floating about, I saw Angel with Tara...and Cordelia.

Angel: I was in your dream? Cordelia, did you know about this?

Cordy: Sort of. I saw the dream when I visited Tara earlier. I saw Oz watching you carry Tara in here.

Angel: But he wasn't there.

Willow: I think that all these dreams we're having are tied together somehow. We're meant to find out together. Buffy, you said that you dreamed about Tara being hurt?

Buffy: Yeah. She was hurt and Oz was there.

Angel: You dreamt the same thing as everyone else.

Buffy: Not exactly. It's like we were all having the same dream but each of us only got to see a portion.

Willow: Wait. Angel, are you saying that you didn't have a dream?

Angel: No. I haven't even slept in the last 24 hours. I went for a walk last night and was thinking about things when I ran into Cordy.

Buffy: That must have been the beach.

Angel seems surprised that Buffy knows this but continues.

Angel: Yeah. She said she couldn't sleep and then we heard Tara scream. I brought her here and we went home. I got kind of tied up with something else earlier and didn't see Cordy except for a minute when she first came back with...from the hospital.

Willow: I don't understand. I was sure that Angel would be having the dreams as well. Why would he be in them if he wasn't experiencing them?

Buffy: I think I can answer that.

Oz: I always like that about you. You have all the answers...most of the time.

Cordy: That's sweet. (Fake smile) Can we get back to the point please?

Willow: Buffy, what do you know?

Buffy: Willow, Tara said something to us about doing a spell on you to find the source of your problem.

Willow: So she paralyzed me?

Buffy: No! Well not on purpose at least. I think she was dream walking with you in her spell and was trying to show you something when she was attacked. Because she was never able to lift the spell, you couldn't wake up so to speak. Your eyes were open but you couldn't move.

Willow: So I wouldn't have gotten better until she woke up.

Buffy: It makes sense if you ask me. I bet if you had waited it out, you would have been awake right now and mobile all on your own. Speaking of, how did you?

Willow: I forced Anya into doing the correction spell. Is that what Xander was talking about when he said Spike was researching the sleepwalking thing?

Angel: Spike? research?

Cordy: yeah Angel. Spike is out in the hall, he's part of the Scooby Gang now.

Angel: You've got to be kidding me. (Smiles)

Buffy: Can we discuss that later? Tara came here to talk to Angel about your first foray into the black magic.

Willow: My first...? (Sudden realization) The curse?

Buffy: She seemed to think it was the beginning of your downward spiral.

Willow: But in my dream she told me it was Oz.

Oz: I can vouch for that. (Raises hand) Same dream. Although she did show me Angel as well and said that she had to tell him something.

Cordy: That's when I saw you.

Willow: I saw you too Cordelia.

Cordy: You did? When?

Willow: When you were fighting Angel.

Buffy/Angel: Fighting who?

Willow: Cordelia was fighting with you.

Cordy: That was my dream. That was before any of this started. That was before the beach.

Angel: You had a dream we fought?

Cordy: We were training.

Buffy: You two train?

Willow: But something changed Cordy. You know it. I saw you...I saw your face.

Cordy: I don't know what you're talking about. this isn't about me. Stop trying to make this about me.

Willow: Unless you want us to stay here forever, you have to be honest. Cordelia, you were going to kill him.

Angel: Huh?

Cordy looks at Angel panic-stricken and begins to shake her head backing up.

Cordy: No. It wasnít like that Angel. It wasn't me. It was...

Angel: What? It was what Cordy?

Cordy turns back to Willow.

Willow: I saw it Cordelia. You may not have yet, but I did. And you know why I did don't you?


Cut to waiting room

Spike, Wes, Gunn, Xander, and Dawn all stand abruptly when they hear a scream from the other room.

"No!"

Cordelia bursts from the room as Angel gives chase calling her name.

Buffy emerges in shock and sees the others looking at her. Spike tries to read her expression but she looks away.

Gunn: What happened to Cordy?

Buffy: I don't know. We were talking about these dreams and she freaked.

Oz: (Coming up behind her) Something tells me we're going to be here for a while folks...

 

Interior: Hospital

Willow is sitting at Tara's bedside.

Tara: Why can't you see that this all comes back to you?

Willow: Tara, I know you're trying to help me, but why did you have to bring Angel into this? Not to mention Oz?

Tara: I didn't bring them into anything. They've always been there. I just made you see it.

Willow: Even if that's true, you shouldn't have come here. Now it's not only me that's at risk. Buffy could get really hurt here.

Tara: Buffy? I don't understand. (eyes widen) Oh, you mean Buffy seeing Angel again. You're right. But I never intended for her to be involved. I just wanted to come here, talk to Angel and find out once and for all if my theory was right.

Willow: I don't see how it could be. If Angel knew that the curse wasn't intact, he would have run to Buffy. It's the only reason he left in the first place.

Tara: What if he doesn't know? If he never had reason to question it, he would never have taken the chance of finding out the truth. Willow, you wanted to prove that black magic could be used for good. It just got out of hand. But if you knew for a fact that your magic didn't do it then you could see that your power didn't lie with the dark forces. The strongest magic in you is good Willow. I want you to see that.

Willow: Oh Tara. I'm so sorry I've caused you such pain.

Tara: (Frustrated) No! Don't do that! Don't do that to yourself! (Beginning to tire) Willow, your guilt is what's feeding your problem. You have to stop shouldering all the resp...responsibil...(Can't finish the word)

Willow: (Bending closer to run a hand across Tara's forehead) SShh. Just rest Tara. Everything's going to be fine...I promise.

Willow watches Tara's eyelids flutter closed and turns to look at the closed door behind her.


Cut to Stairwell

Cordy is rushing down the stairs as fast as she can pushing back the tears when Angel grabs her arm from behind.

Angel: Cordelia would you wait!

Cordy: (Shaking her head not looking at him) No Angel. I want to get out of here. Let me go.

Angel: Not until you tell me what's going on. It was a dream Cordy, I know it was just a dream. Please...

Cordy: (pulling her arm loose and stopping on the stairs) How can you be so sure?

Angel: What?

Cordy: (Turning to face him) Angel, I'm vision girl. That's what I do. I have visions of things that are going to happen so we can stop them.

Angel: Yes Cordelia, you have visions. But this was a dream. Can't you see the difference?

Cordy: I thought I could. But this dream was different. It was so real. (Her eyes well with tears and she looks away) Willow was right. I was going to kill you...I wanted to kill you.

Angel: (Stepping down to force her to look at him) Cordy, look at me. (Raises her chin with his fingers) Whatever is happening here is not real. These dreams, maybe they're trying to tell all of us something, but it doesn't make them real. I need you to help me. I can't figure this out without you. Please...

Cordy: (Searches his eyes for a moment before stepping back so his hand drops) Buffy's here. She can figure this out better than any of us. That's what she does. She figures things out and tells the rest of us what to do. You don't need me for that.

Angel: That's what she did in Sunnydale. When you were in high school. This isn't high school anymore Cordelia. Everythingís different.

Cordy: Is it?

She seems to be asking more than what Angel understands. He doesn't answer at first.

Angel: I want them to go home. They have to go home Cordy. I can't let Buffy find out about Connor. We have to figure this out so she'll go. Will you please come back with me and help me?

Cordy: (Seems to be a bit hurt by his words but covers) She'll find out someday Angel. You can't hide it forever.

Angel: I know. (Looks down) But not now, not like this. If you help me now, maybe that dream you had will make sense. Or at least not seem so real anymore. (He holds out his hand to lead her back up the stairs)

Cordy looks from his face to his hand and back again

Cordy: You're right. But can you just give me a minute? (Angel drops his hand awkwardly) I just don't want them to see me all tear-stained and stuff. I'll meet you up there.

Angel: (Hesitates) I guess. You swear you're coming back?

Cordy: (Forcing a smile) Stop being such a baby! Don't I always follow you into the unknown?

Angel: (Smiling) It's a waiting room Cordy. Not the inquisition. Just hurry up.

Angel leaves and Cordy watches until the door closes behind him.

Cordy: I'm thinking the inquisition would be better.


Cut to waiting room

The group's uncomfortable reunion I beginning to take it's toll

Xander: So who else is longing for the days of the mayor's ascension? Call me crazy but this is all way surreal.

Oz: I think I'm with you on that one Xander. At least there's new faces this go round.

Oz looks from Spike to Gunn.

Spike: And the newest face isn't even here.

Buffy: What?
Spike: I think our old boy Angel would has brought the newest of new faces into the mix.

Buffy: Spike, what are you talking about?

Wes: I can't believe you're even here. (Trying to interrupt the topic of conversation) When did you cross over?

Oz: Yeah, I'd be interested to hear that story.

Xander: As fun as discussing Spike and all his charm would be guys, I'm thinking maybe a good Army style need-to-know-basis for any future discussion might be best here.

Gunn: Were you in the Army?

Xander: (Rolling his eyes at Gunn) Miss the point much?

Tara's door opens and Willow calls out to Oz. He goes to her and Buffy says that she'll be right in. The door closes again.

Buffy: (Looking at Gunn and Wes) So do either of you want to venture a guess as to where Cordelia and Angel went?

Gunn: Who knows? Those two have heart to hearts more and more these days. I've stopped asking.

Buffy seems a bit bothered by this revelation.

Wes: I'm sure they'll be back soon Buffy. Angel knows we need to expedite this matter so we can all get on.

Spike: I bet Angel wants to expedite this more than any of us, wouldn't you agree? I bet he's praying that this 'matter' will be resolved ever so quickly before any other 'matters' come up. Am I right mate?

Wes: Spike, I'm sure I don't know to what you're referring.

Spike: (Smiling and looking to make sure that Buffy is listening) Do you hear this one love? He's all respectable and such. I can't imagine why he wouldn't want you to know about Angel's other 'matters', can you?

Buffy: (Confused) I don't think I know what you're getting at Spike. We're here about the dreams. If Angel has other things going on in his life, that's none of my...our business. What do you think you know?

Angel: (From doorway) Yes Spike, what do you think you know? Oh wait, I forgot, you couldn't know anything. You couldn't think you know anything either, because you don't think.

Spike: (Turning in anger) That's what you'd have her believe isn't it? You are the only one worthy enough to have anything to offer, right? But I was at your place a bit earlier friend. And I saw exactly what you have to offer now. Who was that again Wes?

Angel looks past Spike at Wes to see him obviously unsure of what to say.

Xander: (Looking from Buffy to Angel and then Spike) Um...oh yeah that green guy. What's with the demon Angel? That was a demon right? Boy he was something else.

Spike: What are you bloody talking about? That demon was nothing compared to the girl walking in with...

Wes: (Interrupting loudly) Did you find Cordelia Angel?

Angel sees what Wes is doing and nervously shifts his feet watching Spike closely.

Cordy: I'm here! (Walking in smiling) So let's make with the dreamscape so I can go home already. (Notices the tension) What? What did I miss?

Buffy: For once, I'm with you Cordelia. (Looks at Spike and then Angel) What's the what?

Anya: I told Xander about the people we saw at the hotel. Right honey? Spike's just blabbing to hear himself speak. (To Xander) That's good huh? I helped cover up, did you see that?

Xander: Yes Anya. That's my stealthy betrothed. (Pats here hand on his arm)

Cordy: Betrothed?

Buffy: So Angel has a demon living with him. So what. It's not the first time and it probably won't be the last.

Cordy hears Buffy's innocent words and takes them as a personal attack.

Cordy: Who are you to talk? You hang out with evil vamps and witches not to mention ex-demons. (Points at Anya)

Anya: Are you attacking me? Are you trying to insult me? I can't help what I used to be you know. We all change and grow and morph into the people that we eventually become. If I wasn't ever a vengeance demon, I would never have ended up here and never have found my Xander. We all make choices in life and sometimes their not the best ones, but if it weren't for the bad ones, we'd never get to the good ones...

Buffy: Anya! (Anya snaps her mouth shut) Kind of losing sight here. Cordelia, I didnít intend to offend you or Angel or any of your associates, I just want to get this done. Are you finished with the hasty exits?

Angel: Cordelia's fine. (Buffy is surprised to hear him answer for her) Let's just get back in there and finish this.

Spike: You only wish it were that simple Angel.

Angel: (Walks to stand in front of Spike) Would you like it not to be?

Xander: Look, it's just like old times.

Buffy: (Touches Angel's arm and he looks at her) Don't. We need to go.

Angel looks back at Spike threateningly before nodding and allowing Buffy to lead him into Tara's room.


Cut to Hotel

Connor is crying hysterically and Fred is trying everything she can to calm him. Lorne stands to the side rubbing his temples.

Lorne: That is not the cry of a happy baby.

Fred: I don't know what else to do. He's not wet, he's not hungry. Nothing works.

Lorne: Maybe we should call for reinforcements.

Fred: We can't! Wes said to keep Connor away from all those people no matter what.

Lorne: Well that was before Connor here started wailing incessantly. What do you say I call Wesley and let him hear what we're going through. Maybe he'll have some ideas.

Fred: I guess calling him would be okay. Just make sure no one else hears you.

Lorne: Yes ma'am.

He leaves to make the call as Fred shushes Connor for the thirtieth time.


Cut to Hospital

Tara's room

Cordy, Buffy and Angel enter the room to find Oz and Willow talking quietly at the side of Tara's bed. She's still asleep.

Buffy: Okay, let's see if we can go through this again.

Willow: Are you okay Cordelia?

Cordy nods and Oz stands up.

Oz: Willow and I have been talking. This spell that Tara did seems to have somehow overlapped into all our dreams. We think it has to do with Willow's magic. She's used magic in our names so to speak. At least most of us. Angel, she started with you and the curse. The, she did the will spell after I left.

Buffy: But that didn't affect you. It affected Xander, Giles, me and...well me. So why wouldn't the others be having these dreams.

Willow: It's not about who it affected. It's about reasons for doing it. I cursed Angel trying to save him. I did the will spell trying to get over Oz. I did the forgetting spell on Tara so we wouldn't fight. I did the resurrection spell to save you Buffy. That's why all of our dreams have been intertwined.

Cordy: But what about me? I haven't been around you for years. Why am I seeing these dreams?

Willow: That's what we need to figure out. You're the one thing I can't figure. Why would you suddenly be in my dreams? It has to have something to do with what we saw. It has to involve why you were fighting Angel. Why you changed.

Angel: You said that before. What do you mean she changed?

Willow looks at Cordy waiting for her to answer. Buffy watches the look of panic cross over Cordy's features.

Buffy: Something's happened.

Angel: What?

Buffy: Cordelia, something's happened to you. I know that look. I've had it myself since I've been back.

Angel: What are you talking about? Buffy, you don't know anything about what might have happened with Cordelia. You haven't been here. This isn't Sunnydale High. Am I the only one that sees that?

Buffy: I didn't say it was Angel. I know you know Cordy better than I do now. I'm not implying otherwise. But you don't know this. There's just some things that you couldn't know. Willow?

Willow: (Standing up) Right. Oz, Angel, we need to give Buffy and Cordy a minute.

Oz: Huh?

Angel: What? I'm not going anywhere.

Cordy: (Still looking at Buffy) It's okay. Angel, give us a minute.

Angel doesn't want to move but Cordy waves him out. He looks at Buffy and she gives him a silent nod. The three exit the room.

Buffy: You two have gotten pretty close.

Cordy: It was bound to happen. We work together.

Buffy: Yeah, I remember that...


Cut to Waiting room

Wes is speaking quietly on his cell when Angel, Willow and Oz walk in.

Xander: (Standing up) What happened? Are we done? Where's Buffy? And Cordy?

Willow: They're having a girl talk.

Xander: What?

Oz: Don't ask us. (Shrugs and sits down)

Angel: (Walks to Gunn) Who's Wesley talking to?

Gunn: I think it's Lorne. He's trying to keep it on the down low so I'm not for sure.

Angel walks to Wes just as he hangs up the phone.

Angel: Was that Lorne? Is something wrong?

Wes: No. (Looks around to ensure their privacy) Connor's putting them through their paces is all. Fred can't calm the boy.

Angel: Should we go?

Spike: (Striding from across the room) Going to check on the lass are we?

Angel spins to face him.

Wes: What are you going on about now Spike?

Spike: It's alright. Nobody else heard you Wes. You've been around Angel too long. You've forgotten the basic rules. We tend to have the keen sense of hearing. Almost as keen as smell. Isn't that right angel? So tell me, can you hear your boy crying from here?

Angel growls and grabs Spike by the collar. Everyone in the room stands instantly aware of the events.

Xander: Spike! Angel, back off.

Angel: (Still looking at Spike) Tell me Xander, why is it that for three years, I could do nothing right in your eyes. And now suddenly you're defending the one person who proved themselves to be worthy of your hatred?

Spike: (Smirking)I guess you just don't have any people skills.

Angel shakes Spike forcefully and Gunn and Wes step in between them forcing Angel to let go.

Angel: I'm warning you Spike. You have no idea what you're risking here. Stay out of my life.

Spike: Nothing would make me happier. Unfortunately, I don't go without the Slayer. So you're stuck with me. Maybe you should concentrate on keeping your life away from us, hmmm?

Willow: This isn't going to accomplish anything. Angel, I think we all agree that the best thing here is to take care of this as quickly as possible and us all to go our separate ways. Buffy's been through enough this last year and I think you have too.

Angel seems surprised that Willow knows so much but doesn't argue.

Willow: Spike, the sooner we get this done, the sooner we leave. Something tells me this might be the last time any of us will cross paths for a very long time. I want the pain to stop.

Spike: We agree on that Red. I won't be the cause of any more pain for Buffy. So what about you Angel?

Angel: (His eyes narrow at the obvious emotion in Spike's tone) The only thing that's important is putting this all to rest. Once and for all.

Wes: Good then. So let's all try and keep things in perspective while Buffy and Cordelia finish what they started.


Cut to hotel

Lorne walks in as Fred is rocking Connor. He's slowed to a whine.

Lorne: (Whispering) You seem to have made improvements.

Fred: (Whispers) Don't jinx it.

Lorne: (Holds hands up) Understood. Wes said they might be while. He said if things get too bad to call him back and he'll figure something out.

Fred nods and looks down at Connor sucking on his fingers. She begins to hum softly and Connors eyes grow heavy.

Lorne listens and begins to smile before it fades to a look of concern. He raises his hand to his temple as another reading begins.


Cut to Tara's room

Buffy and Cordelia face off in silence as Tara sleeps.

Buffy: I've been trying to find a missing part of myself since I came back. It wasn't until recently that I realized that maybe nothing was missing. Maybe something had been added.

Cordy: I'm not sure I follow.

Buffy: I think you do. You've had the visions for a while now. See, you got something from Doyle. But what you donít know is that he got something from you.

Cordy: You don't know Doyle. You can't talk about him.

Buffy: But I do Cordelia. I thought it was just a dream, but it wasn't. He was showing me something and I didn't figure it out until now. He said that he's been watching me since then.

Cordy: What? Why would he watch you? If he watched over anyone it would be me...or Angel.

Buffy: This isn't a contest Cordelia. It doesnít mean that he loves you any less. He had no choice. You got his visions and he got your Sunnydale.

Cordy: What?

Buffy: He told me that you had issues with Sunnydale, with high school. He said to make room for the visions, they took it away and gave it to him. It wasn't meant to be, but it happened. Just like the visions weren't supposed to, but they did. He tried to tall me, but I was interrupted. I woke up. But you know the answer don't you?

Cordelia: Buffy, you have no idea what you're talking about. No offense to your mental stability but have you seen a therapist since your back from death escapade? Because I think you have some issue that...

Buffy: (Walks to grab her by the shoulders) Shut up Cordelia. Don't be afraid. It's just me and you. Doyle wanted you to know something, he wanted me to tell you. But I can't figure it out if you don't tell me everything. What's happened? I saw your face when Willow was talking. Something has happened and I'd say pretty recently to make you scared to death of your dream about fighting Angel. Something has happened to make you think it could be real. Something to make you wonder if it could come true. What's happened to you Cordelia? What have you done?

Cordelia begins to cry again as Buffy shakes her by the shoulders and she shakes her head trying to block out the truth...

 

Interior: Connor's room

Lorne drops down to his knees as Fred lays Connor down in his crib.

Lorne: Oh no.

Fred: (Turning to shush him but seeing his face stops short) Lorne, what is it? You look...well do you get flushed?

Lorne: (Taking a ragged breath) If ever there was a time to start, this is it. We have to call his daddy...now.

Fred: You're scaring me. What is it? What's happened? (Realization) You read me again didn't you? Oh my, am I going to be kidnapped again?

Lorne: (Clumsily getting to his feet) Don't you fret Pumpkin. This is all about Connor. I guess you singing with him in your arms allowed me to catch his frequency. And the news isn't good. Now, come with me. We have to make a call.

He pulls her out of the room.


Cut to Hospital

Buffy's hands drop from Cordy's shoulders when she begins to cry.

Buffy: Cordelia, you're crying.

Cordy: (Sniffling) Ya think?

Buffy: Cordelia, you don't cry. You haven't cried since, well let me think.

Cordy: That's great Buffy. Twist the knife.

Buffy: I'm sorry. I...I didn't mean...but why are you crying?

Cordy: (Takes a deep breath and tries to control her voice) Let's see, maybe it's the fact that I had this horrible nightmare about killing my boss, or maybe it's the impromptu reunion we're having or maybe it's finding out Xander is engaged and I'm still...well...not. Or maybe it's the killing Angel part.

Buffy: You already said that one.

Cordy: See! (Cries again) I can't even think straight anymore.

Buffy: Okay, okay. (Pats Cordy awkwardly in an attempt at soothing her) We'll get through this okay? Let's just start at the beginning. You had a dream about fighting Angel and it turned ugly. I had a dream that Doyle came to tell me that he had been watching me since his death. Thanks to you. He told me that you got his visions and he got your issues.

Cordy looks confused but Buffy continues.

Buffy: He brought me here. At least he showed me Tara in the hospital, I just didn't know where she was. He told me I had to find her. (Strains to remember) He told me that he would be here soon!

Cordy: Who's 'he'?

Buffy: I don't know. But that has to be why you got involved. You must know something about all of this.

Cordy: Buffy, I swear I don't. I had a bad dream, it happens all the time.



Buffy: So you've dreamed of killing Angel before?

Cordy: No! Of course not. This one was different that way. (Turns her back to Buffy) He's been teaching me to fight. To protect myself. I've dreamed of that before.

Buffy bristles at the visual.

Cordy: This time I was stronger than him. He didn't know how to handle it. He changed.

Buffy: How? Wait, you mean he vamped?

Cordy nods still hiding her face.

Cordy: I only did it when he changed. Something took over me, I don't know if it's real. I don't know if it was the real me.

Buffy: You lost me Cordy. Either it was you or it wasn't.

Cordy: (Turns to look at her) If I tell you something Buffy, will you swear to keep it between us?

Buffy: I swear I'll try. You know if it means harm for any of the others, I won't be able to keep that promise.

Cordy: I understand. (Deep breath) I was given a choice. If I kept the visions, they would kill me. If I got rid of them, it would mean that the last two years had never happened.

Buffy: Who could give you a choice like that?

Cordy: The Powers that Be.

Buffy: Doyle's Powers that Be?

Cordy: One and the same.

Buffy: Go on.

Cordy: I wanted to live. I chose to go back.

Buffy: Back?

Cordy: I saw how it would have been if I had never met up with Angel and went to work for him. My life was perfect, but then I found Angel. He was dying. He had been given the visions instead and it was killing him. (Begins to cry again) I couldn't see him like that. I had to fix it...fix him.

Buffy shuffles her feet under the emotion in Cordy's words.

Buffy: But you said you would have died. If you took them back, why are you here?

Cordy: They gave me a loophole.

Buffy: (Sarcastically)They always do.

Cordy: Doyle was able to withstand the visions. You know that?

Buffy: Yeah, he didn't have a problem because he was half...oh Cordy.

Cordy: I didn't have a choice Buffy. It was this or watch Angel slowly die or worse because I was too selfish to help him.

Buffy: And you chose to help him. You became...

Cordy: Yes. I'm part demon.


Cut to Waiting room

Angel: I can't do this anymore. I'm going back in.

Spike: Not without me you're not.

Willow: Guys! We have to let them finish this. Buffy knows what she's doing.

Gunn: Why is it that this girl inspires such blind devotion? Man I thought the stories about Angel were bad, but you guys take the cake.

Xander: You've heard stories? I bet I have better ones.

Angel/Willow: Xander!

Xander: What? (Points at Angel) You don't get to scold me anymore! Last time we met, I believe I was the key guy.

Angel: (Smirking) You've got to be kidding me.

Anya: I thought the last time you met was Thanksgiving when he came to rescue B...

Xander: Not much for the helping are you An?

The door opens and Buffy sticks her head out.

Buffy: Willow? Can you and Anya come in here for a sec?

Angel: What about me? I want to know what's going on in there Buffy.

Spike: Yeah! What he said!

Buffy: Almost done I promise. Willow??

Willow: Coming! (Grabs Anya by the arm and pulls her across the hall)

Anya: Why do I have to go...(the door closes and Anya's sentence is cut off)

Cut to Hyperion

Lorne hangs up the phone.

Lorne: They never answer when it's an emergency. Why do they even bother with cell phones?

Fred: Maybe they had to turn them off in the hospital. Can it wait? I'm sure they'll be home soon.

Lorne: Sure Fred. It can wait, but I don't know if Connor can.

Fred: What did you see Lorne? What is going to happen to Connor?

Lorne: It's not a matter of what will happen so much as what won't happen.

Fred: You like playing the secret-reading, I-know- something-you-don't card don't you?

Lorne: Sorry pet. Tell you what, I'm going to run over to the hospital to see if I can speed things up. You stay here with the...baby.

Fred: If he's in danger, why should we stay here?

Lorne: It's not that kind of danger sweets. You'll be fine, just don't overfeed him.

Fred: Huh?

She watches dumbfounded as he scurries out the door.


Cut to Tara's room

Willow: Cordelia's a demon?

Buffy: You've already said that Will.

Willow: I think I'm allowed a repeating here.

Cordy: Yes, well as long as you don't repeat it to the wrong people. My co-workers arenít privy to this information just yet.

Anya: So what am I supposed to do?

Buffy: I thought you could help us figure out what kind of demon she is.

Anya: Well she's not a vengeance demon. I can guarantee you that, I can spot one a mile away. Although it would be kind of poetic-justicey if she were. I mean, I lost my power because of her and now she has to live as one. But it's not like that here. She's not a vengeance demon.

Cordy: (Confused) And I guess I have joy?

Buffy: Okay Anya, we know what she's not. Now how about helping us figure out what she is? Its the key to this whole thing, I'm sure of it. Doyle said...

Willow: Doyle told you Cordelia was a demon?

Cordy: Hello? I'm not a demon, I'm part demon.

Willow: Forgive me.

Buffy: Doyle didnít tell me she was a demon, he said I had to find her before 'he came.

Anya: 'He'?

Buffy: I don't know yet. But I thought he was showing me Tara because she was who I had to find. But I think now he was just showing me that she would lead me to her. Her being Cordelia. So now that I've found you, I'd say that 'He' is not far behind. So if we have any hope here, I'd say your demon part, however small, is the key to finding out who 'he' is.

Cordelia: I suddenly remember my urge to make with the hasty exit from Sunnydale those few years ago.

Willow: It doesnít sound like LA's been much better for you. At least you never turned into a demon in Sunnydale.

Buffy: Horrendously off topic guys. Anya, there has to be something you can do.

Anya: Um...well...(lunges at Cordy hysterically reaching for her throat)AARRGGHH!

Buffy and Willow both yell out in shock as Cordyís eyes widen and she begins to back up in fear. Suddenly her face changes and an eerie red glow covers her eyes. She screams and in the next second, her face is transformed into the same demon appearance that Doyle had. Before anyone can react, the door burst open practically coming off the hinges.

Angel: Cordelia!

Cordy collapses to hide her face and Buffy, Willow and Anya form a tight barrier between her and Angel.

Buffy: (Holding up a hand) Whoa there act-before-you-think guy.

Angel: (Stops and notices Cordelia cowering) Cordy? I heard you scream. I heard all of you scream. What happened?

Spike: (From behind and in the hallway) Yeah! What in the bloody hell is going on in there?

Xander: Right Spike. Like they would ever tell us.

Dawn: Buffy! Are you alright?

Buffy: I'm fine guys. Angel's just being...well Angel. Give us another minute.

Angel: I'm done waiting Buffy. What did you do?

Buffy: If I wasn't so secure in your honorable intentions, I might be tempted to think I'm your version of the villain here.

Angel: Buffy...

Buffy: You want to speak up now Cordy?

Cordy: (Softly) I'm fine Angel. Just saw a mouse. What kind of hospital has mice? We're good. Now please give us a minute.

Angels' eyes narrow as he contemplates what to do.


Cut to Waiting room

Lorne rushed in from the stairwell with a ball cap slung low over his head.

Lorne: Wes! Gunn!

Gunn: (Seeing his panic) Why are you always the over-the-top guy?

Lorne: Excuse me for being about the forewarn. How about I just go home and let you be surprised?

Wes: Stop being so dramatic. What's wrong? Is it Connor?

Lorne: Not in the sense you think.

Gunn: So he's not in crying mode still?

Lorne: No he's sleeping like a...why do I keep doing that?

Wes: (Prodding)So why are you here?

Lorne: Cause what I saw tonight is far worse than any silly crying episodes we've experienced. Where's Daddy?

Wes: Can you please stop calling him that in mixed company?

Lorne: (Whispers forcefully)Fine! Fine! (Turns to face everyone else) ANGEL!

The holler reaches the group in Tara's room and Angel hesitates.

Buffy/Cordy: Go!

He finally rushes out and the three ladies turn to stare down at the quivering, still demon appearing Cordelia...

 

Interior: Tara's room

Cordy slowly stands up reaching up to touch her face. The others say nothing as she walks to look at herself in the mirror.

Cordy: Oh God. (Hands start to shake as she feels the texture of her new skin) It's Doyle.

Willow: What's Doyle?

Cordy: This. Me. I'm the same kind of demon Doyle was. This is how he looked.

Buffy: Interesting.

Anya: I've seen this before. Your kind aren't known for their good intentions where I'm from. You're going to have big problems I'm afraid.

Willow: What does that mean Anya? Are you saying this kind of demon is strong enough to hurt her?

Anya: No! She is this kind of demon. If there's one thing demons are it's self-preserving. No, Cordelia is safer than any of us right now.

Cordy: Are you saying I'm immortal now?

Anya: No. All demons have weaknesses. I'm just not familiar with what yours is.

Willow: But we'll help you figure it out Cordelia.

Buffy: I think that we should concentrate on the current situation first. We don't have much time. Something is coming Cordelia. And you're the one that can figure out what it is.

Cordy: (Turning from the mirror to face Buffy) How many times do I have to tell you? I don't know what you think I'm supposed to know, but I don't know anything. This all just happened and now I see my other face and you want me to worry about some mysterious guy that Doyle warned you about. How about me needing to figure out how to change back before Angel comes back in here again? Hmmmm?

Buffy: I know you're having issues right now Cordy so I'm going to ignore that insanely selfish comment.

Willow: Buffy...

Cordy: Do you really think it's a good idea to piss off the unfamiliar demon in the room?

Anya: I think I've done all I can here. (Starts heading for the door) I'm going to wait with Xander.

Cordy: (Glares at Anya stopping her in her tracks) Not so fast. You did this to me, so you are going to fix it.

Anya: I can't fix it. It's you. I just helped it become visible. It never would have worked if you had any control over your emotions. I suggest you work on that or else you'll be showing your other self at the drop of a hat and you might as well forget keeping it our little secret.

Cordy: (Begins to make noises deep in her throat)

Buffy: (Stepping forward)Alright let's not get excited here Cordelia. (Steps in front of Cordy and diverts her attention from Anya)

Cordy: Excited? (Her voice changes and becomes deeper) You want to see excited?

Without warning Cordy backhands Buffy and sends her hurling into the wall. Buffy doesn't make a sound as her head hits the hard surface with a vicious crack. Willow is beside her before she hits the floor. Buffy is unconscious.

Willow: Oh my God, what have you done? (Pats Buffy's face) Buffy, wake up. You've taken worse hits than that, come on, wake up.

Cordy: (Her face changes back to normal and she looks on in horror) It wasn't me.

Anya: It sure as hell wasn't us. (points from herself to Willow) Yep, you've got a lot of work ahead of you missy.

Cordy: This is all your fault! Why don't you shut up?

Willow: (Angrily) Both of you shut up. Help me move her into the chair.

Anya and Cordy exchange a look as they move forward to help.


Cut to waiting room.

Angel, Lorne, Wes and Gunn are whimpering heatedly in the corner.

Xander: Why is it that we never have anything secret to talk about? Buffy has her secrets in there and now Angel has his in here. And we just sit here like meaningless pawns in this good vs. evil game.

Dawn: Um Xander, I think you've been quiet for too long. Your brain's short circuiting.

Spike: He's right Little Bit. We're being treated like outsiders here. And I for one am tired of it.

Dawn: Welcome to my world. You guys do this to me all the time. Maybe now you won't be so quick to dismiss.

Xander: We never dismissed you Dawn. But I'll go on the record as saying that after this, I will make every effort to include you in everything we do.

Dawn: I hope that's not the short circuit talking.


Cut to Corner

Angel is not liking what he's hearing from Lorne.

Angel: You're telling me that my son might die.

Lorne: Did I say that? (Looks at Wes and Gunn) Did either of you hear me say that?

Wes: Might I suggest you lessen up on the righteous indignation?

Lorne: (Huffs) Alright I'll try this one more time. I read Connor. He has some serious work ahead of him. I don't know what and I don't know why, but I know the when. It's soon. As in days. And let me just say, Connor will not be the same when its over.

Angel: So my infant child is about to be put to work that I can not prevent and he will not be the same when it's done. Is that it?

Lorne: You got it Big Guy. Now you have to be ready. This isn't going to be easy to watch. You can't interfere though.

Gunn: So Angel's got to stand by and watch his kid suffer?

Angel: That's not an option.

Lorne: You don't get to choose the options here.

Angel: I made a promise. Nothing will harm him.

Lorne: Angel, if you don't let it play out like it's meant to be, then you could alter his very existence. Do you get it?

Wes: What are you saying Lorne?

Lorne: (Levels his gaze on Angel) I'm saying it would appear that his daddy's not the only one with a destiny.

Gunn: Man, it just gets better and better with you people.

Spike: (Appearing behind Gunn) What gets better?

Lorne: (Jumping) I hate it when you guys do that!

Spike: Who? What?

Lorne: Vamps. With the stealth.

Gunn: He's a vamp? Why did I not know that he's a vamp?

Wes: I'm sure I mentioned it.

Gunn: No Wes, I think I would have remembered you saying that we were chillin with a vamp. (Looks at Spike) So what, you got a soul too?

Angel laughs haughtily.

Spike: I don't think I like your tone An-gelus.

Angel: (Stops laughing) It's Angel and I don't really care what you like.

Wes: Spike has no soul Gunn.

Gunn: Then why ainít he trying to have us for lunch?

Angel: That's a very good question. Something tells me I'm not going to like the answer am I Spike?

Spike: Nothing would make me happier than to tell you exactly what you've missed. But I don't like to kiss and tell.

Angel growls at the insinuation and Wes senses aggression.

Wes: I don't think this is the time or place.

Lorne: So Spike, you got pipes or what?

Gunn and the others roll their eyes just as Anya comes running in the room.

Xander and Dawn stand up and she runs to them.

Angel: What's wrong?

Anya: I'm not supposed to tell.

Gunn: Are you serious?

Xander: Anya is always serious.

Spike: What can't you tell? Where are the others?

Cordy walks in casually.

Cordy: Are you guys ready? We're done here.

She tries pushing them out the door but Angel shakes her hand off his arm.

Angel: Where's Buffy?

Cordy: She's hanging out with Willow and Tara. They can take it from here. Let's go. I'm sure you're needed at home.

Lorne: You don't know the half of it sister.

Cordy: What? Did something happen?

Wes: We'll explain it on the way home. Let's get going Angel.

Angel: (Staring at Cordy and then looking towards the room) Lorne, you said days right?

Lorne: I said within days. Maybe less.

Angel: So I have a few hours?

Wes: What are you getting at?

Angel: You all go ahead and keep watch until I get back. I have to do something first.

Cordy: Angel, I really don't think...

Angel: You finished what you had to do here Cordelia. Now let me do the same.

She starts to say something but realizes he's not talking about the day's events any longer. He wants to finish something completely irrelevant.

Gunn: Maybe we should all go back and get on this...what Lorne said.

Angel: I will be there before anything happens to him. I'll feel it if I'm not. Just go back and research. Lorne, you keep looking for Holtz. We can't ever forget him. He's waiting for us to let our guard down.

Cordy: Angel...(He glances at her)you do what you have to do and come home, okay?

He nods and Cordy looks at Anya with a pleading look. She nods slightly and the group leaves.

Spike: (Moves to stand between Angel and the door) So what is it you reckon you have left to do here?

Dawn: (Worried) Xander...


Cut to Room

Willow is holding Buffy's hand wiping her face with a cold rag.

Willow: Buffy, can you please wake up now? Everyone's gone. Cordy, Anya, they're all gone. Cordy said she'd take her team with her. Angel isn't here anymore. You don't have to worry.

{Buffy is standing in the now familiar dark room. She calls out for Doyle but he doesn't come. In the distance she hears Willow's words. She hears Angel's name and turns.

Angel stands before her seemingly unsure of his presence.

Buffy: Angel? Is it you?

Angel opens his mouth but a different voice is what she hears.

Spike: It's me pet.

Buffy: (Eyes widen at sound and can't believe she's still seeing Angel) Don't do that.

Spike/Angel: What love? What's wrong? Isn't this what you've always wanted?

Buffy: No! Why are you doing this? You're not him.

Spike/Angel: Not who Buffy? (Face changes to Spike but the voice is now Angel) Who do you want?

Buffy: (Covers her ears with her hands and closes her eyes) Stop it! Go away! You're not real!

Angel/Spike: Buffy why are you doing this? Look at me. What have you done?

Buffy: I can't hear you. I can't hear you. You're not him. It wasn't me.

Angel's voice: I always know Buffy. As long as we share the same world, I'll always know. You're killing me...

Buffy: (Opens her eyes-Spike is now Angel and she's not sure who will speak) Angel?

Doyle: He's coming Buffy. You don't have time for this. You have to warn them!

Buffy spins but can't see Doyle anywhere. She turns again and Angel/Spike is gone. She looks up and screams.

Buffy: Who's coming! Just tell me what I'm supposed to do! I can't handle this!

She waits for an answer but gets none. Suddenly there's a flash of blinding light and she sees a child wailing just before she closes her eyes against it. The wailing stops and she hears Angel crying out. She opens her eyes and sees him reaching for something in the dark. He doesn't notice her as he struggles to grasp something.

Then his face changes and he appears frightened. He drops his hand and backs up shaking his head.

Angel: No. No. Stop it. It's not you.

Buffy: Angel?

Angel: (Still ignoring her) What did They do? Oh God, what did They do?

Buffy walks closer to him but before she reaches him, Cordy appears behind him in demon face. She raises a weapon high above her head.

Buffy: Aannggggeeeelllll!


Cut to waiting room

Buffy's scream echoes throughout the corridors as everyone startles at the sound.

Gunn: What the...?

Spike: No, it's not like that. (Takes a step towards the room but his foot never hits the floor before Angel grabs his collar from behind and hurls him over his shoulder as he launches himself without thinking into the room where Buffy's voice came from)

Anya: (to Xander) Why don't you ever do stuff like that for me?

 

Interior: Tara's room

Buffy is reaching out for something in her unconscious state and Tara has woken from the scream.

Tara: (Frightened)Willow?

Willow: (Struggling with Buffy's death grip) I'm here Tara. I'm right here.

Angel crashes through the door and sees Buffy clawing at Tara and whimpering inaudibly.

Angel: Buffy, Willow what's happened?

Willow: (turning head to look at Angel) Angel, thank God. Help me with her, please. I have to take care of Tara.

Tara: Willow? (Turns head to see Willow trying to get up) What happened?

Angel covers the distance to Buffy in one step and sinks down on his knees. He takes her hands in his and pulls them loose from Willow.

Angel: Buffy? Can you hear me?

Buffy: (Still semi-conscious) Angel? I'm so sorry Angel. I didnít know...

Her voice fades as she begins to sink deeper.

Angel: Willow, how did she get like this?

Willow: (Now sitting on the bed next to Tara) Didn't Cordy tell you?

Angel: What does Cordelia have to do with this? How did Buffy get hurt? She is hurt right?

Willow: I don't know for sure. She hit her head and was out. But I know she's taken hits worse than that before, it was like she just gave up.

Angel: (Takes both Buffy's hands in one of his and reaches up to stroke her creased brow) Buffy? Open your eyes Buffy. I'm here. Look at me.

Buffy moves away from Angel's touch and her eyelids flutter as she tries to open them.

Tara: What happened Will?

Willow: SShh. Don't worry. It's fine now. Angel can fix it. Right Angel? You're gonna fix her right?

Angel: I don't even know what's wrong. Is she dreaming again?

Willow: That's it! That's got to be it. She's dreaming. You must be in her dream.

Angel: I'm really beginning to wonder how I end up in so many dreams but haven't had one single dream of my own.

Tara: I can fix that.

Willow: What?

Buffy: (Mumbling) Sp...Angel?

Angel: SShh. Buffy, it's okay. Just breathe. Listen to my voice okay. Just concentrate on my voice. What you're seeing isn't real. Do you hear me Buffy? (Grips her face in both hands) It's not real. (Looks at Tara) How can you fix this?

Tara: I can send you to her.

Willow: Tara...

Tara: It might be the quickest way.

Angel: Do it...


Cut to Hyperion

Fred is walking downstairs with Connor when Cordy and the others come through the door. Cordy goes to take Connor into her arms.

Fred: (Releasing Connor) Where's Angel?

Lorne: I've been asking myself that very question the entire ride home.

Cordy: He's just tying up loose ends. (To Connor) He'll be here soon little guy.

Wes: Well I fear that we should make good use of our time until then. How's everyone on sleep?

Gunn: You mean how's everyone on no sleep?

Wes: Yes, it has been a long day...or night. I tell you what, Fred why don't you get some rest and let Cordy and I take Connor? We'll go in shifts so as not to fall behind in our duties.

Gunn: I feel like we pretty much stay behind in our duties. We're always playing catch up.

Lorne: I feel you Gunn.

Gunn: No you don't.

Lorne: (Realizes what he's saying) Don't flatter yourself.

Gunn: Maybe you should take your own advice.

Cordy: What's with you Gunn. Lorne's just being his usual self. I think someone didn't wake up on the wrong side of the bed.

Wes: Gunn, Cordy's right. Why don't you go up with Fred?

Fred and Gunn look at each other in shock and embarrassment. Wes sees them blushing.

Wes: I didn't mean it like that for Jolly's sakes! I just meant, go upstairs and find a room to grab some shut eye.

Lorne: Brainiac's got a point. I for one don't need to be asked twice. I did my part already, I warned the big goof. He isn't too concerned yet, so why should we be? I'm headed up.

Wes: Fair enough, but don't forget what the big goof told you. He wants a lead on Holtz. We can't...

Lorne: I got it, hold tight to the guard. No letting it down, yada,yada,yada.

He finishes with his back turned and walking up the stairs.

Fred: Are you two sure you can handle it for a while?

Cordy: Go to sleep already. I'm not going anywhere until Angel's back for Connor.

Gunn: Wake me when he gets here.

Wes: (Watching them leave together) Very well.

Cordy: What's with the forlorn?

Wes: Huh? Um...nothing. And you?

Cordy: What?

Wes: You seemed quite ready to leave the hospital just now. What didn't you want us to stick around for?

Cordy: Nothing. It wasn't like that. Buffy asked for my help, I gave it, I left. The fact that all of you got involved only made things worse. Why did you have to come anyway?

Wes: Well, after Angel left to find you, Willow called and informed us that Buffy was already here. When you didn't call, I assumed you were with her and it was only a matter of time before Angel found the both of you. The others came here and demanded we take them to the hospital. They seemed pretty concerned about these dreams. Did you resolve the matter?

Cordy: (Rocks Connor and walks away from Wes) I think we did the best we could. The rest is for Buffy and her lacqueys to figure out. Angel will be here soon, just watch.


Cut to waiting room

Dawn helps Spike up

Spike: I'm fine little bit. I'll just be going in to check on...

Xander: I don't think so Spike.

Spike: Do you really think you can stop me?

Xander: Actually I'm pretty confident on that one.

Spike glowers at him but doesn't move...

 

Interior: Tara's room

Willow: You're too weak for spells right now Tara.

Tara: I'm fine. We have to do this. I mean, I...I have to do this.

Willow: But I can help you.

Tara: No! (loses her breath)

Angel: We have to do something. Please.

Tara: Don't worry Will. It's just a simple sleeping spell. I can handle it...for Buffy's sake.

Willow looks to see Angel holding Buffy's weakened form against his chest. Her breathing is labored and Angel looks close to tears.

Willow: Okay...for Buffy. I'm going to move away though. I don't want to risk any residual effects.

Tara: (nods) Good idea. (Turns to Angel) Come closer to me. And you better sit down.

Angel looks around but realizes there's not a chair and if he sits on the floor, he'll have to loosen his grip on Buffy. Without more that a seconds thought he stands and pulls her small frame into his arms. He kicks the chair close to the bed and sits down holding Buffy in his lap.

Buffy: (Struggling again) No...Stay away...Not Angel...

Angel: SShh. I've got you Buffy. (Looks at Tara) Let's do this.

Tara places one hand on Angel and closes her eyes. He does the same.

Tara: One needs sleep, the other to wake,

Sharing of dreams, Visions to take.

(Angel's head drops to rest against Buffy's as they both grow calm)

Serving a purpose, Binding in love,

Safety in two, Watched from above.

A moment passes and Tara opens her eyes.

Willow: Like a charm.

Tara: (smiles) See, I told you. Simple.

They both watch the sleeping couple.


Cut to dark room

Angel hears crying and sees Buffy sobbing on the ground in a fetal position.

Angel: (unsure) Buffy?

Buffy startles and quiets as she slowly raises her head.

Buffy: Go away. It's not you.

Angel: Buffy, it's Angel. I came to help you.

Buffy: (Remembering) Oh God, where is she?

Angel: Who?

Buffy looks frantically from side to side searching.

Buffy: She was here. (Looks at Angel) Which one are you?

Angel is completely at a loss and starts to come closer to Buffy. He's stopped by the sound of a baby's cry.

Angel: That's a baby.

Buffy: (Pleased) You hear it too? I thought I was imagining. I never saw a baby here.

Angel: You've been hearing this the whole time?

Buffy: Just for a little bit. Before you were there. (Stands up as the cries grow louder) Angel...is it really you this time?

Angel: (Perturbed) It's me Buffy okay? Now what did I do before?

Buffy: (looks in darkness behind him) You stopped the crying. You were watching something. You knew who it was.

Angel: Listen to me very carefully. (Walks to take her by the shoulders) You have to be strong Buffy. It's just you and me now. We're stronger together. Do you remember?

Buffy: (Nods) I remember. I don't like it here though. Am I still dreaming?

Angel: You said I could see him. How did I see him? What did I say?

Buffy: Him? You saw him? I didn't know it was him.

Angel: (Shakes her again) You're not making sense. Where was he?

Buffy: (Flashes back to Doyle saying he's coming) You heard Doyle too? You know who he is?

Angel: Doyle? Buffy, Doyle's dead. What are you saying?

Buffy searches his face and then seems to get angry. She pulls loose and faces him down defiantly and with renewed strength.

Buffy: Doyle told me he was coming. How did you know what you were looking at before was a he? I just said you saw who it was. What do you know Angel?

The crying begins again and Angel seems confused.

Angel: Buffy, did you see who I was looking at?

Buffy: No! You started freaking out mumbling something about 'What did they do to you?'. I didn't have time after that. I had to stop her.

Angel: Stop who?

Buffy doesn't answer as Doyle's voice echoes through the darkness.

Doyle: You're taking too long girlie!

Angel startles as he recognizes the voice.

Doyle: He's coming! You have the answer! You know what to do!

Buffy: (Furious) Stop yelling at me! What do you want me to do and I'll do it. But no more games! What's the answer? How come you're so sure I have it?

Angel: He's not talking to you.

Doyle: I never thought I'd hear that voice again.

Buffy: What does that mean Angel? You have the answer? What is it?

Doyle: You've only got one shot here friends. Clock's ticking...for you.

His voice fades and Buffy and Angel stare at one another unsure of what to say.


Cut to Hotel

Cordy is watching Connor play in the bassinet as Wes studies at his desk.

Cordy: Don't you worry sweetie. Daddy's going to come walking through that door any second and things will be back to normal. No more dreams and no more ghosts from the past.

Wes: Are you talking to me Cordelia?

Cordy: Duh? I'm keeping Connor company. You've got your dusty books to warm you.

Wes: I love it when you point out my lack of companionship. Really brings out your softer side.

Cordy doesn't respond and Wes leans to see what she's doing. She isn't by the bassinet anymore and he stands.

Wes: I was only kidding Cordelia. Don't be such a...

Cordelia is nowhere to be found and he is about to look outside when he hears water from the bathroom.

Wes: Leave it to a woman to drop everything for a quick freshen. You'll have years of misery to learn all this my boy. (Whispers) Hang on to your youth as long as you can.


Cut to Waiting room

Spike: (Pacing) So this is what we've become. The tag along and wait gang. My how times have changed.

Xander: You'll never be part of our gang Spike. I don't care how pathetic we become.

Dawn: Xander, stop picking on him!

Spike: I appreciate the thought Little Bit. But when a pre pubescent honey defends your honor, you pretty much look like a ne'er do well.

Dawn: Pre-Pubescent! I'm so not pre anything I'll have you know.

Anya: Is Dawn saying she's...

Xander: Honey please! I don't think any of us need to know what Dawnie is or isn't. That sounds like sister stuff and I'm...well we're just not.

Dawn: Oh grow up! Spike right anyway. We deserve to be in there just as much as anyone. More than Angel if you ask me. I mean, where's he been the last three years? Not fighting the good fight with us, that's for sure. So why is he so all encompassing important right now?

Spike: You said it!

Xander: First of all, Spike...shut up. And secondly, Dawn, Angel and Buffy have the weird tortured-soul, life-altering, leave before we destroy the world kind of thing. I don't think time apart has any bearing on something like that. Call me crazy.

Anya: You're crazy Sweetie. (Kisses him)

Spike: Oh you insipid fool. (Looks to closed door) Ten bloody minutes. I'll give them that and nothing more.


Cut to Hyperion

Bathroom

Cordy looks in the mirror at the demon face.

Cordy: Okay damn it. I don't have the patience for this. If I'm a demon then I call the shots. Me, not some part of me that doesn't know how to keep its thoughts to itself. I'll deal with this in my own time and not on some otherworldly schedule. (Looks up at the ceiling) Are you hearing me?

Flash to a vision. Cordy sees Angel and Buffy standing together. A childís cry is deafening as they try and speak. She can't make out what they're saying. Suddenly she sees Connor in Angelís arms and Buffy screams out.


Cut to Cordy coming back to see herself in the mirror.

Cordy: Oh God no.

She stares into the mirror and breathes deeply until the face transforms back to her own. She runs out the door.

Wes: Goodness, what's the clatter about? Where did you rush off to so quick? You left Connor alone.

Cordy: (Grabbing her jacket) Wes I have to go! No time to talk! Just stay with him and don't let anyone in or out!

Wes: But Cordelia...

He turns to question her but she's already gone.

 

Interior: Darkened room

Buffy and Angel are still staring at one another.

Buffy: Angel, I asked you a question.

Angel: I heard you.

Buffy: So why aren't you answering me? What do you know?

Angel: (Face is pained) I can't do this now. (Crying fills the room and Angel cringes)

Buffy: You know who that is don't you? That's what you saw before. You saw the baby.

Angel: I swear I don't remember being here before Buffy. You have to believe me. Tara sent me here to help you. You hit your head and we can't wake you up. Whatever you're doing here, you have to finish it and go home.

Buffy: Why do I get the feeling you're more concerned with the going home part?

Angel: Doyle said we don't have much time.

Buffy: He was talking to me. (Stops to think) Or was he talking about you? Are you the he that Doyle was warning me about?

Angel: You're not making sense Buffy.

Suddenly there's a flash of light and the crying grows louder and louder until it stops altogether and the light dissipates.

Buffy allows her eyes to refocus and sees Angel holding an infant. He seems perfectly content in Angel's arms and Buffy struggles to understand.


Cut to Waiting room

Spike is still pacing when Cordy bursts through the door.

Cordy: (frantic)Where is he?

Xander: (Standing up) Angel? He's still in the room with...

Cordy doesn't wait for him to finish before she sprints to the closed door.

Spike: (Looking at the room) I'd say that's ten minutes wouldn't you Little Bit?

Dawn: Feels like it to me.

Xander: Wait up guys...

They both give him a meaningful look.

Anya: (Whispering) I'd like to go too. I'm tired of waiting out here.

Dawn: Looks like majority rules.

Xander: (Scanning their faces) Fine, but I'm telling Buffy I didn't go willingly.

Spike: (Under his breath) Ninny.

The group enters the room.


Cut to interior: Tara's room

Cordy is frozen in her tracks after walking in to the picture of Angel and Buffy cuddled together in the small chair.

Willow: Cordelia? (Sees what she's looking at) Oh it's not...

Spike: I'd say it bloody is!

Dawn: What? (Peeks around Spike's shoulder to see the couple) Oh.

Anya: (Seeing them as well) Oh look how sweet they are!

Xander: Anya...

Cordy: I can't believe I rushed over here for this. I thought...

Tara: It's just a spell.

Group: What?

Tara: I did a sleeping spell. Buffy was stuck in one of those weird dreams we've been having. She never woke up from your blow.

Spike: Who's blow?

Xander: Cordy delivered a blow? To Buffy? And she's still walking?

Dawn: Why would you do that?

Cordy: I didn't do anything! It was an accident.

Xander: An accident? You knocked Buffy into dreamland and it was an accident? Yeah, that's your style I guess.

Cordy: How many times do I have to say this? None of you know what my style is anymore!

Spike: I don't rightly care if you strut the catwalks of Paris, nobody hits the slayer.

He steps towards her and Willow jumps up to stand in his way.

Dawn: Willow, what are you doing? You know that he can't hurt humans. He's just venting.

Willow: (exchanges a look with Cordy, Tara and Anya) I know. Habit I guess. This is a hospital room for gosh sakes. We're gonna get kicked out of here if you guys don't vacate.

Cordy: I'm not going anywhere until I find out what kind of spell this is. I had a vision earlier. That's why I came back.

Tara: What was it?

Xander: Can I just point out that we're the most visual bunch of evil fighters that I've ever known? We come down here because Buffy has a dream. Tara's down here because she did a spell. Willow's paralyzed cause Tara snuck into her dream. Cordy has vision and dreams. The green guy reads people and sees the future not to mention the messages from beyond. Maybe I should be lying down somewhere taking a nap so I won't feel so left out.

Cordy: Why don't you go do that?

Willow: Let's not be snippy people. Just because I don't do magic anymore doesn't mean your antagonistic energy isn't causing my sensors to go haywire.

Tara: Willow, Sit down, rest. Cordy, what was your vision?

Cordy: (Hesitates) I don't think I can really get into that here. At least not while they're still like that.

She points at Angel and Buffy and everyone begins to watch them.


Cut to Room

Buffy watches Angel soothing the baby in his arms.

Buffy: Angel, tell me what's going on.

Angel: I don't know how.

Buffy: I don't know how you can't. We've been through a lot, you and I. But this is new. And not what I ever thought I'd see. At least not in real life.

Angel: What?

Buffy: I dreamt once that you and I had a family. Before you left, before Prom. I dreamt that we'd have a child one day. I knew it was crazy and I never shared it with anyone. Wait...(Searches her mind-then begins to smile) Of course, I'm having a version of my other dream. I mean why not? I'm still dreaming right? Okay, there is not enough money in the world for the kind of therapy that I'm in desperate need of.

Angel: Buffy, you're not crazy. This all is happening for a purpose.

Buffy: Yeah, I'm sure it is. Hey, you didn't know Freud or any of those other guys back in the day did you? Didn't he do the dream thing? I bet they'd be able to straighten me right out? Oh, they were even before your time weren't they? (Smiles and walks closer to Angel as she holds her arms out) Here, let me have a turn. I love babies.

Angel: (Sees her hands and turns away protectively) No!

Buffy stops and drops her hands. She's obviously hurt by Angel's reaction.

Buffy: Angel? What's wrong? Can't I at least hold the baby in my dream? I bet he'll like me.

Angel: Buffy, you don't know what's happening. I don't even understand it. But I can't let you...

Buffy: Can't let me what? Geez, you act like he's really yours.

She tries to smile but Angel's face prevents her. He shows some pained emotion across his features and Buffy begins to realize that it's not just a dream.

Buffy: (Stepping back) Angel...who's baby is that?

Doyle: (V.O.)No time!

Buffy: (Looks up and screams) Shut up! (looks back at Angel) Who's baby is it?

Angel: (looks from Buffy down to Connor and back to Buffy)He's mine Buffy. This is my son.

Buffy's eyes well with tears as she shakes her head to block out the truth.

Angel: I don't know why he's here. I never meant...

Buffy: What? (Growing hysterical) You never meant for me to find out? You were never going to tell me? I don't understand. You're a vampire! You can't have children! You told me that! You left me because of it! Were you lying? Why would you lie to me?

Angel: (Connor begins to fuss anew under the tone and volume of Buffy's words)SShh. You're okay.

Buffy: Oh my God.

She looks away and feels a cold wind against her face. She looks into the wind and sees Spike laughing at her.

Buffy: No. (Turning away) Go away.

Angel: I don't have anywhere to go Buffy. We have to finish this together. All of us.

At that moment he collapses under an invisible weight and struggles to hold on to Connor. In the next instant Connor is gone and Angel looks frantically for him.

Doyle: (V.O.) He's coming!

Angel: Stop teasing us! (Shouts) You're a hero remember? Do the right thing Doyle! Help us!

Buffy looks and sees that Spike is gone. Connor is gone as well and she looks down at Angel on his hands and knees.

Doyle: (V.O.) So I guess I have to save the world again.

Buffy: I'd love to see you take a shot at it. I'm not fully functional at the moment. (Sarcastically)And it appears Angel has new responsibilities.

Angel: Buffy, you don't understand. I can explain.

Doyle: No time!

Buffy: Alright that's it! You stop giving us orders and show your face right now!

A wave of energy sweeps through the room and Buffy is knocked down a few feet from Angel. She tries to get up but sees Angel fading before her eyes.

Buffy: Angel? (He grows dimmer and just as he disappears she screams out) Don't leave Angel!


Cut to Tara's room

Buffy startles in Angel's arms and calls out for him. Her eyes open and she is awake trying to catch her breath and gather where she is.

Buffy: Angel? (She looks down at him asleep beneath her) Angel? (She begins shaking him frantically)

Willow: Buffy! Stop it. You're going to hurt him!

Buffy looks up in surprise and sees Willow and Tara watching her.

Buffy: What happened? How did we get here?

Tara: You were out of it and fighting us in your sleep. I sent Angel in after you.

Buffy: After me?

Willow: Into your dream. You've been calm since he joined you. until now. What happened?

Buffy: It's all kind of fuzzy. (A baby's cry wafts into the room from the hallway and Buffy turns toward it. She sees the others all watching her) It was a baby.

Cordy: What?

Buffy: (Looking at Cordy) You knew all along didn't you?

Cordy: The only thing I know for sure is that the Sunnydale train is leaving soon and all of you need to be on it. LA is our territory. We can handle it without you. We've done fine until now.

Buffy: Really? Shall we discuss that in length? I think we'd all be interested to hear exactly what's going on here.

Cordy: Buffy, donít. I don't know what you think you saw, but it's not your concern. This whole thing has gotten way out of hand.

Xander: Does anyone else feel like they're only hearing every other word of this conversation? I'm completely lost.

Buffy: Xander, Cordy's right. All of us don't need to be here. Why don't you and Anya take Dawn home to Sunnydale?

Dawn: I'm not going anywhere! Xander, you promised!

Willow: What did you promise Xander?

Xander: I just said that I would try and not leave her out of the goings on. But Dawnie, I'm sure you can't blame me for keeping you in the dark when I am also in the blackout right?

Buffy: Dawnie, I'm going to be right behind you. Tara will be released soon and we can ride back with...(Looks around) Where's Oz?


Cut to Hyperion

Wes is holding Connor when Oz walks in the lobby.

Wes: This is an unexpected surprise.

Oz: I don't know why. I was just here a few hours ago.

Wes: Yes well what can I do for you? Cordy just left demanding no one be allowed on the premises.

Oz: (Smirks) Well I'm sure she won't mind little old me. I dug the digs when I was here earlier and seeing as how the drama is ongoing at the hospital, I thought maybe you'd have some room at the inn.

Wes: Forgive me, I'm still digesting, 'dug the digs'.

Oz: Point taken. What can I say? I've got some beatnik in me.

Wes: As long as you take it with you when you go. (Smiles teasingly) Anyway, help yourself. Although I suggest staying away from the north wing, 3rd floor. Things are still pretty rundown there.

Oz: No problem. Thanks. By the way, what's with the kid?

Wes: (Looks at Connor uncomfortably) Long story I'm afraid and I think sleep is much more important to you right now.

Oz: (Yawning) I've never been one to argue with logic. Holler if you need me.

Wes watched him go up the stairs and whispers to Connor.

Wes: I think there shall be plentiful hollering when your Dad gets back and sees a Sunnydale straggler.


Cut to Dark Room

Angel stands slowly finding himself alone. He feels a tap on his shoulder and spins. Doyle stands before him with that familiar grin.

Angel: Doyle? Where did he go?

Doyle: I can remember a time when your only concern would be where 'she' went.

Angel: A lotís happened.

Doyle: I know. I've been watching her. And let me tell you, you have no clue.

Angel: Why have you been watching Buffy?

Doyle: Not the time old friend. I've only got a minute and I'm not even supposed to be talking to you. Pretty neat trick with the mystical nap. Although I shouldn't be surprised. So I only have one questions before I explain.

Angel: What's that?

Doyle: Are you ready to make with the grown up talk?

Angel: Okay, that was bizarre.

Doyle: What?

Angel: You saying that. I was just thinking about when you said that to me the first time. It was just before I ran into Cordy.

Doyle: Yeah, I wish I had time to ask you all the questions I have about you two but now's not the time. You asked me to do something, to be the hero...again. Well, I don't have a lot of time. I'm not even supposed to be talking to you. Pretty snazzy trick with the magic sleep.

Angel: I've always had a thing for spells.

Doyle: (Smiling) You still have that wicked humor I see. Man Iíve missed that.

Angel: I appreciate the sentiment Doyle, but maybe we should get back to...

Doyle: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I see you're also still about the business first and foremost.

Angel: The policy's worked for me so far.

Doyle: Fine, but you better listen up. I'm only gonna say this once.


Cut to Tara's room

Willow: I haven't seen Oz for a while now that you mention it.

Dawn: See! We can't go anywhere yet. Oz is missing. You need our help.

Buffy: I don't think he's missing. I'm sure he'll be back. I can't deal with all of you at once.

Dawn: You can't ever deal with me.

Buffy: (Walking closer to Dawn) Please. I know I ask a lot of you but this is all too much. Whatever's going on here is going to be finished soon. I promise. Xander?

Xander: (Stepping forward to touch Dawn's arm) Come on Dawn. We need to go. I don't like it either, but she knows what she's doing. I think.

Anya: I'm ready! The store needs to be opened. Let's go. We'll see you guys back in Sunnydale right?

Willow: Tara's doctor said she'll be released within a few hours. They just want to watch her concussion. We'll be along soon.

Cordy: That's the first sensible thing I've heard all night. Although, I'm sure you could all go now and Angel and the rest of us can finish this up.

Buffy: Cordelia, don't push your luck. Don't think I've forgotten my head injury.

Spike: So it's true then? You got yourself knocked out by the likes of this one?

Cordy: Hey!

Willow: Spike, don't.

Buffy: Why don't you go back with the others?

Spike: Don't be absurd. I won't be leaving without you.

Cordy: Why am I sensing possessiveness?

Buffy: Cordelia...

Xander: Well, I'll call when we get back home.

Buffy: Thanks Xander. Dawn I'll see you soon?

Dawn: Whatever.

The three leave and Buffy turns back to Angel for a moment watching him sleep.

Cordy: So when is this spell going to wear off?

Tara: I'm not sure. I kind of assumed they'd wake up together.

Buffy: Angel had something to take care of.

Cordy: What would Angel have to take care of in your dream?

Buffy: (Levels her gaze on Cordy watching her reaction) His son.


Cut to Angel's dream

Doyle: I've seen a lot in my time with Buffy you know. That girls been through things that no human is meant to survive. And she didn't.

Angel: Can we move this along? I already knew about the death thing. But unless you didn't notice, I have a son to think about and get back to.

Doyle: Amazing. I can remember a time when the girl was your world. Even when you didn't want her to be.

Angel: Well if you've seen everything you claim to have, you'd know that things have changed.

Doyle: Right. People move on. Distance and time can ease the pain.

Angel: Something like that.

Doyle: And you still believe that you did the right thing, the noble thing.

Angel: I did what had to be done.

Doyle: Cause you're a champion. That's what they call you right?

Angel doesn't respond.

Doyle: You're still playing the part of the martyr who gave up his one shot at happiness for the good of the world. For the good of the girl.

Angel: Why are we wasting time discussing the past?

Doyle: (Laughs) Almost three centuries and you still don't get it. Angel, you don't have a past. Not like other people...normal people. Her either. You two are warriors. You live moment to moment. You can't afford to live in the past, there's too much to do in the now.

Angel: And we do what needs to be done.

Doyle: Yeah, I've heard you say that a million times. But let me ask you something. In the big picture, the grand scheme of things, how did the martyr end up getting the best of both worlds?

Angel: You lost me.

Doyle: I thought I might. Okay let's do it this way. From what I can see, the martyr, meaning you, the one who left her to protect her from pain, to save her from a life of heartache and misery, has come out on this end of time with everything she was supposed to have. (Angel seems overwhelmed) You have friends with a bond that grows stronger every day, while she watches her bonds of friendship fade more and more. You have a prophecy telling of redemption and reward, while she has only the promise of a lifetime of fighting until she loses one too many battles and that time the friends she once had won't be there to bring her back. You are experiencing a new love where she has only found failure in every relationship she attempts until she ended up with...well not you. And finally, you have a son, the one thing you claimed was your motivation for leaving. To give her the opportunity to have a family, but she's alone and look at you. And all you can think about is getting her out of town so you can continue down your path to mortality. I don't have a dictionary on me Angel, but I'm pretty sure the girl's picture must be right next to the word martyr.

Angel: (Angry) Are you finished? So you think you know what's happening so well huh? You have no idea what I've been through the last year.

Doyle: Let me guess, poor Angel was tempted by his sire only to give in and discover his calling anew. Epiphany was it? Yeah, you poor thing. You had some sex finally, reclaimed your righteousness and got the bonus of an offspring. You poor thing.

Angel: Do you have a point?

Doyle: Do you even care why I brought her here?

Angel: I care that she's here. Is that enough?

Doyle: No, but it'll have to do. You have your work cut out for you. The child is the beginning of a whole new level of pain. I thought she could help prepare you.

Angel: Prepare me?

Doyle: You've gone soft. I know you don't want the boy to experience evil and all it's faces so young in life, but face it, it's not avoidable. He was conceived in it for Christ's sake!

Angel: I was not evil!

Doyle: Here we go again. Would you stop defending your honor? These people have seen you, all the sides of you. What are you trying to hide?

Angel: Obviously nothing if you have any say in it.

Doyle: You know what. I'm starting to wish I hadn't ever done this.

Angel: You're not alone.

Doyle: (Turns to walk away) Forget it.

Angel: Don't you leave like that! Why was Connor here? Where did Buffy go? Why did she have to find out like that?

Doyle: She had to find out. That's the bottom line. Guess what? They gave you plenty of time to do it your own way. But I guess you were too busy with the fleshy stuff.

Angel: I thought you couldn't see LA or any of us.

Doyle: I can't see you. But I shared a major connection with Cordy before I left. I can feel her. I can feel what she feels.

Angel: What does that mean?

Doyle: It means I knew it all along. And you did too.

Angel: Doyle...

Doyle: (Holds up a hand) Don't. I'm dead. My work here is done. I wish I could say the same for you. If I might make one suggestion.

Angel: By all means.

Doyle: Stop pretending to do things for the sake of others. If you can't protect yourself from love, how can you possibly expect to do it for them?


Interior: Tara's room

Cordy: Buffy, what did you see?

Buffy: I think you heard me the first time. And personally, I don't think I can handle saying it again.

Cordy: Whatever you think you saw, it was just a dream. You can't know if it's real.

Buffy: If it wasnít real then you wouldn't be here right now would you Cord?

Spike: Can I be let in on the subtext here?

Cordy: How about if I let you in on the sun?

Willow: Cordelia!

Cordy: (innocently) What? What is the deal with you guys and Spike all the sudden? Buffy, don't you remember what he did to Angel when he came here for that stupid ring of whatever? He tortured him! How can you be friendly with him? I don't care what they did to his head. I thought you were supposed to have loved Angel?

Buffy: I don't think you want to go there.

Tara: Guys. I think he's waking up.

Everyone turns to see Angel shifting in the chair. His hands are gripping the arms so tightly one snaps off. Buffy and Cordy both run to kneel on either side of him. Spike watches with disgust.


Interior: Dark room

Angel: So let me get this straight. You brought Buffy here so you could tell me that you know about something that I don't even know about for sure?

Doyle: You know. You believed it the second that Fred girl told you. Champions and all, fighting the good fight side by side. It's meant to be right? Haven't you been down that road once before? Didn't you have to leave to escape the pain it caused. But it's different now right? Everything's different now. You're making with the grown up talk right? Not high school anymore right? So why haven't you told her about the last time you saw her?

Angel: (Growing uncomfortable) What?

Doyle: I was there. She came back, you called, you had to see each other. I was there. I'm the only one besides the two of you that know what really happened that night. You thought you could go the rest of your life and never mention it. She did the same. She wouldn't talk when she got back. Hasn't mentioned it since.

Angel: You shouldn't have been there.

Doyle: Maybe not. But I was. I didn't ask to be. Believe me, after a few minutes, I didn't want to be. And I wish I could deny the memory like the two of you have done so well, but I can't. You want to save Connor from a tragic fate? Then protect him from yours. He won't be here long, not like now. Things are changing fast Angel. Lose sight of the truth and you're going to lose him. Deny the facts and you're going to deny your son. Blink and you're gonna miss him. The path of true love doth never run smooth...for anyone. Life is fleeting, bonds are breakable, lies are forgivable, love is infallible. You want to remember your past and learn from it, great. But tell them all this one thing. You live in the past, it could cost you the present and deny your future. You can't have one with out the other two. Take one away and you'll have none. Your destiny is set in stone, your path to it is your choice. So what's it gonna be? If she leave now, you'll never know the truth. she's the key. Buffy brought you into this world. The one with love and pain and pleasure. She might not be the one you die for anymore, but she's the one your son will fight for. He can go either way you see. You're looking for the bad guys out to get him, what about the demons within? Everyone's got Ďem. You, Buffy, Cordelia, even little Connor.

Angel: Are you telling me my son's evil?

Doyle: A child could never be evil. All are born innocent.

Angel: I thought you were going to do something to help! You said you could save the day. All I hear is a lot of babble. Whatís the point?

Doyle: I'm finished with you. You have everything you need. Just open your eyes. I've told you what needs to be done.

Angel: You've told me nothing!

Doyle: (Points up into the darkness) I'll be watching. Open your eyes...


Cut to Angel springing up and awake. He opens his eyes and sees Buffy and Cordy both hovering over him. He struggles to focus on what Doyle said and looks from one to the other.

Cordy: Angel, it's me. Are you alright?

Angel: (Whispers) Buffy.

Buffy: Yeah I'm here. What is it?

Angel: It's Cordy.

Cordy: Me?

Angel: (looks from Cordy to Buffy) We need to talk.


Cut to Hyperion

Wes has fallen asleep with a hand on the bassinet when Gunn walks downstairs from his nap.

The phone rings and he rushes to answer it before they awaken.

Gunn: Hello. (Pause) What do you want? (Pause) I don't think that's your concern. (pause) No, we've got it covered. No I haven't seen him. (pause) I'll keep an eye out. (pause) Why would he tell you to call? Where is he?(pause) You tell one of them to call me directly and I'll listen. Yeah right.

He hangs up the phone and sees Wes walking form the side.

Wes: Who was that?

Gunn: It was that Spike cat. He's trying to claim that Angel and Cordy want us to bring Connor to the hospital. I told him I don't listen to strangers.

Wes: Why would Spike want us to bring Connor to...oh I think I see.

Gunn: What?

Wes: Cordy ran out of here and demanded that I keep all prying eyes from Connor. I think she had a vision concerning Angel.

Gunn: Did she say what it was?

Wes: I got the impression it was of personal nature.

Gunn: I don't...oh I get it. Cordy's feeling a little threatened by the ex?

Wes: I don't think Cordy's the only one feeling threatened.

Gunn: Huh? (Realizing) Oh, you think Spike's...geez, what kind of Slayer has a vampire fetish?

 

Interior: Tara's room

Tara: Willow, maybe you could help me.

Willow sees that she means help her so they can leave the others alone as does Buffy.

Buffy: Don't be absurd Tara. I'm not going to let you get out of that bed in some silly show of respect for...well whatever it is that might be happening here.

Willow: I think she's right Buff. I've been here for a while and haven't had any more dreams. I think our part in this is done. Besides, we need to find Oz.

Tara: Really Buffy, it's okay. I want to test my strength. I just got bumped on the head. I've been stuck in this bed for hours and I'm going stir crazy.

Buffy: But...

Willow: (Firmly)We're going. Let us do this. We've served our purpose. It's time for you to find out yours.

Angel: (Finally rising to his feet) Thank you Willow, and Tara.

Willow: Don't mention it. (She pulls one of Tara's arms around her shoulder and pulls her up until Tara's weight is resting on Willow. The two slowly exit the room bumping into Spike returning)

Spike: Where are they off to?

Angel: Why don't you go find out?

Spike: Did you wake up on the wrong side of the...well maybe I should say the wrong girl?

Angel starts to say something but Cordy stops him.

Cordy: You have no right to be here. Get out.

Buffy: He came to help Cordelia. You don't have to agree with it and you certainly don't have to like it. But you will accept it.

Angel: (Troubled) What is going on with you and Spike?

Buffy: It's funny, you're the one asking questions yet I'm the one needing the answers.

Cordy: How many times do I have to tell you that we can handle it from here? We don't need your help.

Angel: It's not that easy Cordy.

Cordy seems hurt that Angel didn't back her up and takes a step away. Spike smirks at the scene.

Buffy: So can you make it easy for us Angel? Can you tell me if what I saw in my dream is real?

Angel: That's why I said we need to talk. There are things you don't understand. Things I'm not even clear on myself. But I need you to help me.

Cordy: You need Buffy? What about the rest of us? We've been with you the whole time, and now all the sudden you need Buffy to figure it out?

Angel: (Quietly)I didn't choose this.

Spike: (Laughs sarcastically) Yes that's our Angel. You never choose anything do you? You're just a helpless pawn in the grand scheme right? You may have been able to fool the womenfolk but I know you Angel. I saw you choose to massacre everything in your path for a hundred years. I saw you choose to switch sides at the whim of a little spell. I saw you choose to trap the slayer in your sick little mind games. I'll give it to you though, even I haven't been able to keep up with your twists and turns. But I'm in the action now and I'm the biggest bloody roadblock you'll ever try and cross. You won't have your way with her again. Not like before.

Buffy: (Firmly) Spike, stop talking.

Angel: Yes Spike. Please stop your babbling. You have no say in Buffy's life and certainly not mine.

Spike: Maybe you should talk that over with the lady mate.

Angel looks at Buffy to hear her denial but her head is hanging in an obvious effort to avoid his eyes.

Cordy: Oh my God. Are you saying that you...(points at Spike, then looks at Buffy)and Buffy...? No...I mean, even Buffy isn't stupid enough to make that mistake ag...

She stops when she feels Angel glance sharply at her and she doesn't finish her sentence.

Buffy: How about if we deal with one thing at a time? I know you enjoy dodging the issue Angel, but last time I saw you, you told me you had a son. Are you seriously trying to pretend that didn't happen?

Angel: (Seems a bit hurt by her tone) I never meant to tell you like that. Doyle said...

Cordy: Doyle? You saw Doyle too? Why haven't I seen Doyle? (Steps around the room looking all over and begins to call out) Doyle! You come out here right now! You owe me that at least!

Buffy: It doesn't work like that Cordelia.

Cordy: How do you know? You don't know him like I do. Stop pretending like you do! He loved me! He's the reason I'm...like I am now.

Angel: Buffy's right Cordy.

Cordy: (Exhales and drops her shoulders defeatedly) Of course she is. She's Buffy isn't she? She's the Slayer, the savior of us all. How could I have even fooled myself into believing that my worth might be anywhere near hers?

Buffy: Stop it! Don't you see what you have here? My God, you whine about how much I'm sticking my nose in where it doesn't belong like I don't already know that! Don't you think I know how awkward my being here is for everyone? My friends can't stand to watch me, Angel can't stand to be honest with me, and you can't stand to listen to me! My God, what was I thinking?

She begins to move away and Angel grabs her arm.

Angel: Buffy don't.

Spike grimaces at their contact and how Buffy doesn't pull away instantly like he knows she would do if it was him.

Cordy: Angel, what does Buffy have that's so important? What are you doing?

Buffy: (Stops and turns to face Angel) Yes Angel, what could I possibly have that's important to you?


Cut to Waiting room

Tara sits on the couch while Willow calls the hotel.

Willow: Hi this is Willow, Buffy's friend. (Pause) Yes, who's this? (Pause) Hi Gunn. I was wondering if you might be able to help me. I'm looking for my friend Oz, he was here with us earlier and now he's kind-of not. (pause) Really? Well, he must be exhausted. He drove all the way to Sunnydale to check on us and then came straight here. (Pause) No that's okay. Let him sleep. I think we'll be ready to go soon. (Pause) The four of them are in there talking right now. (Pause) Spike? Why would you...? Oh! You think, no that's crazy! (Smiles at Tara) No Buffy doesn't like Spike in that way. Nope, there's only one vamp for her. Only he's kind of not...you know? (pause) Cordelia? No, she was just her usual Cordelia like self. (pause) What? (pause) Oh hi Wesley. I was just saying that Gunn is way off on the Spike thing and as far as Cordy, well she's just being Cordy. (pause) Angel and...no! You have to be mistaken. Oh Gosh, we left them in there alone. Angel said he had to talk to both of them. No, it's not nec...(Looks at the phone and hangs it up.

Tara: What was that all about?

Willow: (Sits down next to her) I'm not real sure, but I have to say that Wes has lost his marbles. He thinks that there's something going on with Spike and Buffy. Can you believe that? As if! And then he says Cordy and Angel have been getting closer lately. And he didn't say it like they were working in cramped quarters, he said it like they...well it's crazy. He's coming back here though. He says that it might get complicated soon and Angel can't be distracted. Something about the baby.

Tara: Baby? Is that the baby that Buffy thinks is Angel's. I thought it was just a dream.

Willow: I did too. I wonder how Wesley knew about it. Wait...(thinking) Wait, there was a baby before. Spike assumed it was Angel's and I just changed the subject in my haste to figure the other stuff out. But when I suggested to Angel that the sooner Buffy and us left, the better it would be for everyone, he looked relieved. I was just assuming that the baby was part of some case, I never believed...Oh God Tara. Could it be his? Could Angel really have a child?


Cut to Hyperion

Wes: Gunn, I'm going to the hospital. I'll go wake Oz to see if he cares to join me. You stay here with Fred, Lorne and Connor. They'll wake soon and you need to ensure that Lorne is doing all he can in his search for Holtz.

Gunn: I don't get what the big is. So Spike and Buffy might have a thing. Good for her if that's how she rolls. And this should clear up any doubt for Angel and Cordy right? I say, let it go. They've been needing this if you ask me.

Wes: Gunn, I understand that you and Fred have your idealistic notions of champions and the words that Lorne loves to use when discussing the two of them, but you have no idea the history that Angel has with Buffy. Some things can never be forgotten and whenever they're attempted, it usually ends brutally. I was there in Sunnydale all those years ago, as was Cordelia. If what we suspect for Angel and Cordelia has really happened and Buffy finds out, the ramifications might just precipitate an ungodly occurrence.

With that he strides out the door.

Gunn: (Watches him go and stands in silence for a moment before finally speaking to an empty room) And they accuse me of overreacting?


Cut to Tara's room

Angel: How can you ask me that?

Buffy: How can I not? So far, I've seen a dead demon, a live demon, my ex, his son and almost everyone we've worked with over the last five years. And none of you seem to be thrilled to see me. In fact, I can't leave fast enough for you. Does that about sum it up Cordy?

Angel: This isn't about Cordy?

Spike coughs forcefully in an attempt to show his lack of belief in Angel's statement.

Angel: (Ignoring him) Buffy, you are the one that can help me. But I don't think anything can be resolved until we clear some things up. My son is at stake here, and regardless of how much it might hurt you, I will do whatever is necessary to ensure his safety.

Spike: My that's noble.

Cordy: Tell me why you're here again?

Spike: Same reason you're here I'd venture.

Cordy: I don't even want to know what that means.

Buffy: Angel, I want this to be over. I can't take anymore. I'm so tired.

Angels face softens and he steps closer to Buffy.

Angel: I know. But I swear I didnít before. If I had...

Buffy: I don't believe in what ifs.

Angel: You used to.

Buffy: I used to do a lot of things. But I grew up. You made sure of that.

Angel: I lost sight of how I came to be here. I turned my back to protect you, but I see now that all I did was turn my back on us.

Cordy watches them and tears well in her eyes. Spike's jaw muscles work overtime trying to control himself and what he aches to do.

Buffy: How could you turn your back on something that didn't exist anymore? I moved on, I told you that.

Angel: Right, with Riley. But where is he now? You looked for someone to love you, like we both agreed you deserved to be loved. After we both agreed that it could never be me.

Buffy: (Her bottom lip begins to shake with emotion) Angel I don't want to do this anymore. We've been over this too many times.

Angel: We have to talk about when you came back.

Buffy: What?

Spike: What?

Cordy: What?

Angel: (Glances up briefly before locking eyes with Buffy again) I never told anybody I swear.

Buffy: I didn't either. we promised.

Angel: I think it's time to break that promise.

Buffy: No!

Angel: I won't do it without you. But look around you Buffy. Look where we are and who's here. There's a reason for this. You have to see it. Doyle told you he was coming. It wasnít me that he was talking about, or Connor.

Buffy: I don't understand.

Angel: Yes you do. You're the only one who does. There's something you know that you're not even aware of. And it goes back to that night.

Buffy: You're wrong. It was only you that night. No one else was there. I wouldn't ever let anyone destroy that. Don't you believe me?

Angel: I believe you. But I also believe that Doyle saw something there. He said he was there Buffy. He said we have to tell them.

Buffy: I wasn't the same person then Angel. The things I've done since...(looks at Spike)

Angel: I know exactly how you must feel. (Looks at Cordy) But if we are ever going to make sense of this, we have to do this. We can't find our future until we let go of the past and deal with the present. This present...here and now. It's all intertwined Buffy. I don't know how or why, but my son is hanging in the balance.

Buffy cringes at hearing him say the words again still not used to the pain of hearing Angel say he has a son. She looks from him to Cordy to Spike.

Buffy: I don't want to share you. Angel, why cant I ever have the small things that I ask? Why do I have to give it up all the time?

Angel: I know. I swear, if there was any other way, I wouldn't do this. If I could protect that night for both of us for the rest of my existence I would. But not at the cost of my son. Please don't ask me that Buffy.

He's reached up a hand to touch her face and she brings her own up to capture it.

Cordy and Spike watch with measured disdain on their features...

 

Interior: Tara's room

The four stare at one another waiting to see what will happen next.

Cordy: (nonchalantly yet sarcastically) Oh, you've got to be kidding me.

The others turn to look at her as she stares into space for a moment.

Angel: Cordy, what is it?

Cordy: (puts her hands on her hips) It's crappy timing, that's what it is.

Buffy: Did I miss something?

Cordy: That answer would require way too much time. (Angel sends her a warning look-she mumbles begrudgingly) Okay, okay. It's a guy downtown. I think he's about to get jumped in a major way. Definitely, non-human kind of thing.

Angel: Where is he? Who's attacking him?

Spike: This is how you find your gigs now? You wait for your girlfriend to lead you around by the...

Angel: Spike!

Cordy: (Continuing uninterrupted) Down on the strip, one of those seedy bars. I shouldn't be surprised I guess. We wouldn't know how to act if the bad guys ever stepped out in style.

Buffy: Are you seriously complaining about the chosen locale of evil?

Cordy: Excuse me for wishing for a break in the monotony Ms. Cemeteryís Anonymous.

Spike: Watch it girlie. You're talking about my yard there.

Angel: Will all of you please stop with the unintelli-babble?

Cordy: Sorry. (Looks at him) Check out Hollywood and Vine. I don't think it will be hard to find from there. Why don't I just show you?

Angel: What? No! I can handle this alone.

Buffy: Not while I'm here, you won't.

Spike: Well I'm sure as hell not sticking around here with the sick and dying if I don't have to. I'll just come along.

Cordy: (Points at Spike and looks at Angel)If Spike is going then you can't expect me to stay behind!

Angel: Of course not. Perhaps we should call everyone else to come along for the ride as well?

Buffy: You know, I don't think the four of us doing this one little job together will kill anyone. Let's just get to it before one of us falls asleep again.

Angel: What about...

Buffy: (Turns to leave the room and calls out over her shoulder) It can wait an hour.

Angel wants to say something but Buffy and Spike leave as Cordy pulls him along behind them.


Cut to Waiting room

Tara and Willow stand when the others emerge.

Willow: Hi! (Smiles) So we all squared away here?

Angel: If by squared you mean, four sided, then sure. We're your guys. We have to go take care of Cordy's vision.

Tara: Was it about this mess?

Buffy: No, this is messless. (Pauses) At least in the context of this mess. (motions around the room) But not so much in the context of an evil mess that must be stopped.

Willow: And you're all going? The four of you...together?

Spike: (Smirks) Never thought you'd see the day did you Red?

Buffy: Willow, this won't take long. The doctor should have released Tara by the time we get back and we can head home. Did you find Oz?

Tara: Yeah, he went back to Angel's hotel to get some sleep.

Angel/Cordy: He did what!

Angel: (Trying to cover)I mean, why would he go there?

Willow: Just for sleep Angel. (Sends him a secret look) That's all. He'll be here soon.

Cordy: Good! (Backpedals) I mean, it will be better if you're all together when Buffy gets back.

Buffy: Alright, let's hurry up and do this.

Angel: Yes ma'am. Can I at least lead the way?

Spike: Oh, is Angelus feeling a bit insignificant?

Buffy/Cordy: It's Angel!

The group finally leaves the hospital.


Cut to Sunnydale

Xander, Anya and Dawn are in the Summers house

Dawn: So what now? Shall we watch a movie? Play a game? What would you suggest us banished ones do until they get back.

Xander: We weren't banished Dawn. We werenít serving any purpose in LA.

Anya: And exactly what purpose are we serving here?

Dawn: See? Even Anya knows this is crap!

Xander: (Exasperated)How'd you like some oxi-clean for that mouth little missy?

Dawn: (Rolls eyes) I'm going upstairs.

Xander and Anya watch her leave before Anya speaks.

Anya: So, I have to get back to the shop before people start thinking we're out of business. Would you like some sex before I go?

Xander bristles at her bluntness. Then leads her into the den.


Cut to Tara's room

Tara is getting dressed after having seen the doctor and receiving her release papers. Wes and Oz walk in as she emerges from the bathroom.

Wes: Well, it looks like someone got the clean bill!

Tara: (smiles) Yep. We're just packing up.

Oz: Where's everyone else?

Willow: Oh, Cordy had a vision so they went to take care of it.

Wes: What? Who went to take care of it?

Tara: The four of them. Spike, Buffy, Angel and Cordelia.

Oz: Now that's something I would pay to see.

Wes: Why didn't he call? Gunn and I should be with them.

Willow: Maybe he figured between another vamp, the slayer and a...Cordy. He had it covered.

Wes: I suppose that might be true.

Oz: No doubt Wes. I feel sorry for whoever comes across that posse.

Tara: They'll be back soon if you'd like to wait with us?

Wes: Um, yes I guess I can do that. Let me just go call the hotel and let the others know.

Wes exits and Tara turns to Oz.

Tara: We haven't really had a chance to talk about...things.

Oz: No need. (Shrugs) I figure this was never about me really, I just kind of got caught in the crossfire. What with the random dreaming and all.

Willow: It was pretty crazy how we all got so mixed up.

Tara: Some part of that might be true. But Oz, nothing happens without a reason, even if it's seemingly small in comparison.

Oz: I'm not sure I follow.

Tara: (looks from Oz to Willow) You two have a part of each other that no one can touch. (Willow begins to argue but Tara holds up her hand) No. It's okay. I don't mean I think you love him more than you did me. But whatever he left you with, or without, it's still unresolved. I hoped it would be there, and it was. We have to finish what was started.

Oz: And how does that happen? Cause I'm not really tired anymore.

Tara: No, the dreams are over. The spell is done. The rest has to be conscious and real.

Willow stares uncertainly at the two people she still loves in very different ways.


Cut to nightclub

A crowd gathers around the door waiting to be allowed in. The impromptu reunited group strides past the stragglers following Cordy as she looks for what she had seen only minutes before.

Cordy: (Stops at the opening to an alley) Yep, an alley. That should be no shock.

Buffy: (Peering over Cordy's shoulder) So, where's the victim? Isn't there supposed to be a good guy to save?

Spike: Might want to ask where the bad guy is as well. Can't see saving someone who doesn't have someone to save them from.

Angel: Thanks for the obvious Spike. Cordy knows what she's doing. If this is what she saw in her vision, then this is where he'll be. (Turns his head away as he whispers to Cordy) I'm right aren't I?

Cordy: (frustrated) Yes! This was it. Maybe it was farther down the alley. (Starts to walk into the darkness.

Angel: (grabbing her arm) Hello? Are you forgetting something? Maybe you should leave the rest to those of us who are non-human or born with super slaying powers.

Buffy watches Cordy struggling not to reply with the truth.

Buffy: Angel, I thought you've been training her. Aren't you confident with your talents?

Angel: Buffy, I think training a simple human is a bit different than what you and Giles did.

Cordy: So now I'm simple! (Raising her voice) I'll have you know Angel...(Sighs) Why can't you have a last name like everyone else?

Spike: You could always just call him Angel Angelus. That has a pretty nice ring to it, donít you think?

Buffy: (Menacingly)That was so the opposite of funny Spike.

Angel: So can we get back to the point? Cordy, you wait here. Buffy and I will...

Spike: Don't forget me there friend.

Angel: As if you'd ever let me.

Cordy: (Angel drops his hand to face Spike and she breaks into a run down the alley)Hey guy-in-trouble guy!

Angel: Cordelia!

The other three take off after her and catch up when she stops on the other side of a dumpster.

Buffy: What is it Cordelia?

Cordy: We're too late.

They all join her to see the body of a young man.

Cordy: How can we be too late? We came right here. I saw the thing attacking him.

Spike: Well, maybe your visions are of the present instead of the future. That's kind of whack.

Cordy: Shut up!

Angel: Let's think here guys. Cordy, you said you saw the guy being attacked, Did you see the thing attacking him? Or did you just see it from a distance?

Cordy: (Turns to face Angel) I saw him hold his arms up. Then I saw the shadowy guy leaping form a high place. He had to be jumping on him right?

Cordy looks up and notices that just behind Angel there's a fire escape. Just as she gets a flash of the same shadow jumping towards her, she sees movement on the escape.

Suddenly, a figure launches itself at her but is stopped by Angel standing in front of her. He's knocked forward and Angel collapses onto Cordelia knocking them both to the ground.

Buffy sees this and takes a long leap into the beasts midsection hitting it with her fist. He falls back as Spike steps sideways to trip him further. As the figure falls he grabs onto Spike's coat and pulls him down with him.

Angel is up now as Cordy realizes she has landed on the dead guy. She struggles to right herself while being grossed out. Buffy is in a face off with the beast as it steps on Spike in it's haste to recover. He growls and rushes Buffy pushing her backwards but not down. She spins out of his grasp and sees his face for the first time, It's a vampire but appears hideously scarred. She is surprised by a blow to the face and she stumbles to the ground. Angel launches himself over her in vamp mode as Spike stands behind it. Spike sees a pallet lying on the ground and signals to Angel his plan.

As Angel pushed the vamp against the wall he grips its throat harshly.

Angel: (Leaning close) So, you were just after some dinner right? Nothing too complicated I presume.

Vamp: Look at me man! What those bastards did to me is beyond complicated. They weren't out to kill me, they wanted to make me suffer! I can't be seen like this man! I'm supposed to be young and beautiful forever! What the hell kind of immortal can I be now? I wish someone would stake me and be done with it. I can't live the rest of my life knowing that this (Reaches up to feel the mess) is what I look like.

Spike: (Walking from the side) Well it's your luck night mate. We're with the make a wish foundation. (With that he plunges the pallet piece into the heart of the vamp as an eerie smile emerges on its face just before the dust)

Angel: Nice one Spike. I see you still have some of that poetic license I used to enjoy.

Spike: What can I say? I'm gifted.

Cordy: (Clears her throat) Are we done with the bonding? What was up with that guy? I've never seen a vamp so depressed, well present company excluded.

Angel/Spike: Ha-Ha.

Buffy: Angel, did you hear what he said? Do you think there really are people out to make vamps suffer but still live?

Angel: I don't know. I guess anythingís possible. This is LA you know. But we have more important things to discuss. We took care of the evil emergency, now it's time to figure this out. No more interruptions.

Spike: I'll go along with that.

Cordy: Me too. Let's get it over with.

Buffy: So is this a democracy now? Majority rules over my life?

Angel: Only in the necessary issues Buffy. Only for tonight. Then I'll never ask you anything again.

Buffy: Why don't I like the sound of that?

Spike: Better yet, why do I love the sound of it?

Cordy: Would you give it a rest already?

Spike: You should be joining in if I've got you figured right love.

Cordy: I know you didn't just call me love.

Buffy and Angel still look at one another intently...

 

Interior: Hyperion

Gunn watches Fred rocking Connor and smiles to himself.

Fred: (noticing him) What is it? What's so funny?

Gunn: Nothing. I think it's cool. You're cool.

Fred: (Smiling) I never thought I'd like being called that so much.

Gunn: Yeah well I...

Before he can continue, there's a muffled yell and a body is thrown the front door busting the locks.

Gunn jumps to his feet and pulls Fred and the baby behind him.

The thing doesn't move and Justine follows through the open door.

Justine: So, I guess the not being invited thing only applies to conscious vampires, huh?

Fred looks down at the figure huddled on the floor and sees the outline of a vamped face peeking through the cuts and blood. It moans weakly.

Gunn: So you got a reason that I shouldn't kick your ass right here and now?

Justine: (Laughing) I get it, you're playing the strong manly part for your girl here right? I can understand that. But if you really want to impress her, how about not hanging out with the spawn of Satan?

Fred: (Pulls Connor protectively closer) He is not!

Gunn: Fred, she's talking about Angel.

Fred: Oh.

Justine: Easy mistake. They both kind of fit the bill if you ask me. So why don't you give your boss a message for me?

Gunn: Angel's not our boss.

Justine: (Raises an eyebrow) Sure could've fooled me. Anyhow, maybe you can see what he thinks of his cousin over there. (Points at the injured vamp) I'm just getting started...and what we have planned for him is way more interesting. Consider it fair warning.

Gunn: Are you about done? I don't really like the vibe you're bringing.

Justine: Yeah right. Like my vibe is what's wrong with this place. (looks around the room) Man, I'll never get used to the stench of the undead. How do you stand it?

Gunn and Fred don't answer and watch as she finally leaves the lobby. The vamp begins to stir and Gunn rushes to find something to keep him down.

Lorne: Did I just hear something about a vibe? (Walks downstairs) Cause being woken up from a well-deserved slumber to feel the presence of major twisted karma is rather unsettling.

He watches Gunn grab a cross and run back to put a knee on the vamps back before he can get up. The cross is held inches from his face as he whimpers anew.

Lorne: (Facetiously) Oh look! We've got company.

Gunn and Fred look uncertainly at Lorne.


Cut to Downtown

Angel, Spike, Buffy and Cordelia walk determinedly away from the scene of carnage. Their grim faces bely confusion over what they must do next.

Spike: Now that's what I call a welcome diversion.

Cordy: You've got that right buddy.

Buffy: (Monotone) Nothing like a scarred, recently tortured vamp on a suicide mission to take all the fun out of slaying.

Angel: I think Spike still managed the fun.

Spike: Don't even try it. You know it felt good to work together again. It's been way too long. (pauses) But this will do for the hereafter, don't get me wrong.

Angel: Oh Spike, just when I thought there was hope for us.

Cordy: Alright boys. We get it. Much rage and anger just under the surface. But you did what had to be done back there, so just chalk it up to good over evil and let's move on.

Buffy: I second that. (Frowns) How many times is it now that I've agreed with you Cord?

Cord: Let's not go there. It's a record, one not meant to be broken.

Buffy: point taken.

Cordy's phone rings and she stops walking to answer it.

Cordy: Hello? (pause) Yeah, he's right here. We were just...(pause) What? When? (Angel turns to watch her noting the tone of her voice) Yeah, we'll just drop Buf...(Pause) Do you really think that's a good idea? Well I suppose time is the issue. Of course.

Angel: (Impatiently interrupting) Cordelia, what is it? What's happened?

Cordy: (scowling and signaling for Angel to shut up) Okay I got it. We'll meet you there. (She hangs up the phone)

Angel: What?

Cordy: Um, that was Wes. He got a call from Gunn. (glances at Buffy) Fred and Gunn had some company and want us to come check it out.

Angel: What kind of company? Is it...?

Cordy: No! I'm not sure who, but it definitely wasn't about you know.

Buffy: Are you two for real?

Angel/Cordy: What?

Spike: Bloody hell! Did you think you were really being that cryptic? I don't think stupidity is part of the Slayer package.

Buffy: I assume this company you had wasn't after your son. (She sees Angel is surprised by her nonchalant tone) What? Did you think I would have a nervous breakdown if I heard him mentioned in my presence? I was the one that asked you earlier remember?

Angel: Yeah but..,

Buffy: But nothing. I'm not going to stand in the way of you getting back to...him. I'll just head back to the hospital.

She starts to walk away.

Cordy: You won't find them there Buffy. Wes said he was at the hospital with Oz, Willow and Tara. They're all heading back to the hotel to meet up there.

Spike: Why? If Taraís all better and such, we can head out.

Angel: We never finished what we started. (Looks at Buffy)

Spike: Come on! I think your plate's kind of full here. I think the only thing that brought us all here was some coincidentally similar dreams. No big bad has shown up to explain it and if you ask me there isn't likely to be one. So if we have to go the hotel fine, but I say we hit the road as soon as we round up the others. Alright Buffy?

Buffy: You know it's not that simple Spike.

Cordy: How can you be so sure? Maybe Spike has a point.

Spike: Watch your tongue!

Angel: You're right Buffy. (Walks to stand in front of her and look down) I never wanted it to happen like this, but it has. We have to go on. Can you do that?

Buffy: (Searching his eyes then nodding) I can. You?

Angel: (Emphasizing first word) WE can.

Spike: I don't think...

Cordy: (Steps over to cover his mouth with her hand and whispers) Maybe not being so obvious is the key here.

Spike: Really? (Looks at her) And how's that been working for you love?

Angel: (Hasn't heard anything the other two have said) I'm glad you're here. Regardless of how it happened and what might happen, I'm glad you're here now Buffy. Please believe that.

Buffy: (tries to smile) I do. I believe you because I still believe in you. Nothing will ever change that. If we have to do this, then so be it. Whatever happens, I want you to remember this moment. (She reaches up to touch the side of his face and force him to lock eyes completely with her)

Angel: You told me once that you'd never forget.

Buffy seems puzzled as she doesn't remember what he's referring to.

Buffy: Angel...

Angel: (Interrupting softly so no one else can hear)It's not important now. Just know that I always knew you would do anything to keep that promise. But sometimes things are beyond our control. I swear to you Buffy, if I have any control over anything in this world, I hope it's that I can return that promise. We can tell everything that happened that night or any other, but the feelings and the memories, those are ours to keep for ourselves...forever.

Buffy seems unsure of how to respond as she ponders what Angel is trying to communicate beneath his words. But he doesn't give her a chance to ask as he turns to lead the way into the night and the very uncertain path they all will walk from that moment on.


Cut to hotel

Tara, Oz, Willow and Wes enter the lobby to find Gun still hovering over the vamp. Fred and Lorne are watching Connor play in the bassinet.

Lorne: Finally, the cavalry! We have got some massive wacky going on here friend. That chick Justine is one nutty freak! I'm telling you she is out to cause some kind of record-breaking pain for the big guy. And by the looks of this poor thing, I'd say it's not going to be quick.

Wes: (Walking to look at the festering wounds on the vamps face and body) My God, why would she do this? Why not just kill him? I thought she hated vampires.

Fred: I think she hates them so much she wants them to feel an equal amount of suffering.

Willow: But why Angel? What does he have to so with her?

Wes: I don't think she had anything against Angel in the beginning. But thanks to a vengeance-obsessed, time traveling, victim of Angelus, she has a renewed anger for all things Angel.

Oz: So you're saying Angelus screwed with this guy back in his hey-day and he found a way to travel through time just to make him pay? Man, this must have been some kind of pain he suffered.

Gunn: Try the finding your wife dead, your daughter made into a vamp and having to kill her kind of pain.

Tara: Oh God.

Angel: (From doorway) No Tara, I'm afraid God had no part of me back then. That's the problem.

Willow: You're back! (Looks at Buffy) Is everything okay?

Buffy: Yeah, so what's with the pile of undead in the middle of the room? Gunn?

Fred: It was a gift from Justine.

Angel: Justine?

Lorne: Fraid so my six-plus of champion.

Willow: Huh?

Suddenly Connor cries out and everyone in the room hears Buffy's intake of breath. All eyes turn to watch her reaction...


No one moves as Buffy listens to the cry of Angel's son. Her eyes begin to well with tears and she closes them tightly to prevent them from falling.

Angel starts to turn away to go take care of his son when Buffy silently reaches out to stop him. He looks down at her and they exchange a private but very meaningful look. Buffy takes another deep breath before starting to slowly walk in Connor's direction.

Cordy, who was standing behind Spike sees this and instinctively starts past her. Angel reaches out to grab her hand. Buffy doesn't see it as she finally reaches the bassinet and looks down inside.

Cordy: (Whispering forcefully) Angel! He doesn't know her!

Angel just holds tightly to Cordy's hand and ignores her as he watches Buffy.

Willow: (Only loud enough for Oz and Tara to hear)This has to be killing her.

Tara nods trying to hold back tears of her own.

Oz: (Whispering) I can't imagine what she must be feeling.

Spike: (mentally smug) She's feeling the end of her schoolgirl dream of forever.

Fred moves away from Buffy and her and Gunn join Lorne standing to the side. Everyone still watches. Connor looks up and sees Buffy and quiets.

Buffy: (Smiling) Hey there little one. You sounded kind of upset. (Leans closer studying Connor's face) Your one beautiful boy you know that? (Angel drops Cordy's hand and steps closer to the pair)

Wes: (Clears his throat quietly) Perhaps we should give them a minute.

Everyone seems to agree and begins to follow Wes into his office. Spike and Cordy are still transfixed at the sight.

Willow: Um...Spike, why don't you...

Spike doesn't answer and instead pushes past them to escape into the atrium. Wes motions for the others to continue vacating the room. Fred steps over to Cordy and puts her hand gently on her arm.

Fred: Cordy...

Cordelia shakes her arm free and follows Spike's path outside. Gunn pulls Fred forward.

Gunn: She just needs a minute. We all do.

Fred looks from the door that Spike and Cordelia traveled through back to Buffy looking at Connor. She finally turns away sadly when she sees Angel walk up to stand just a breath away from his past love.

Angel: (softly) I think he likes you.

Buffy: I see you in him.

Angel: Really? I've tried to see it but I keep thinking it's just wishful thinking.

Buffy: (Shakes her head still watching Connor) No. He's your son. (She seems overwhelmed at having spoken the words and her breath catches in her throat. Angel reaches up to place his hands on her shoulders)

Angel: Buffy, I...

Buffy: (Interrupting)Can I hold him?

Angel drops his hands and steps back a bit.

Angel: Um...are you sure?

Buffy: (finally turns to look up at him) Never so much so.

Angel nods and steps around her to gently lift his son into his arms. Buffy's tears finally escape at the scene before her. She shakes her head to clear her vision as Angel places Connor in her arms. She takes him and Angel steps back again to give her space.

Cut to Atrium

Cordy is standing outside looking in at what's happening inside.

Spike: (Speaking from shadows) Stings a bit doesn't it?

Cordy: (Startles) Must you do that?

Spike: Oh, I would imagine you're pretty used to the stealth by now. reckon you must have a yen for it truth be known.

Cordy: One, you don't know a thing about my yen. And 2, I'm used to Angel, not you.

Spike: My miss. (walks to stand in front of her and watch the scene she has turned her back on) Looks like you're going to miss the good part.

Cordy: (Haughtily)I donít care what they do! Besides, they're just old friends catching up. You forget, they have been over for years. Sure, there's still some residual feelings there, and I'm fine with it. What did I care? We all know, Buffy and Angel put that behind them. Love has given way to fond memories and a loyal friendship.

Spike: (chuckling as he lights a cig) And in what alternate reality did you invent that scenario pet?

Cordy spins away and sees the couple through the window again. She can't watch though and walks to the opposite side of the atrium.

Spike: (Exhales smoke while still watching Buffy-finally he gets disgusted and faces Cordelia) Friends huh? I guess Buffy never told you about the night I first came back to Sunnydale.

Cordy: No, I'm afraid Buffy and I didn't have many all night bonding sleepovers. But I'm sure I should be sorry I missed it.

Spike: I like you Cordelia. You always had a wit that even I could envy. But let me fill you in on a little tidbit about our little compadres shall I?

Cordy doesn't answer so Spike continues.

Spike: I was all heartbroken and such when I got back in town. Dru did quite the number on me.

Cordy: That's right! You and Dru...

Spike: (Firmly)As I was saying. I was out to get her back at any cost. So I mistakenly chose to go against the Slayer. Her and Angel and I spent the night together fighting off pesky intruders in our quest to recover Willow and...wait, that's right. You got a little tummy ache yourself that night didn't you?

Cordy suddenly remembers seeing Xander and Willow and falling on the rebar.

Cordy: Thank you so much for the traumatic flashback. Will that be all for the evening?

Spike: Sorry. I really didn't intend...oh just get over it. We're talking about our current situation here remember? So while you and the wolf boy were saving the day, I got to see Angel and Buffy spending the night pretending to be 'just friends'. Not very convincing I might add.

Cordy: Well back then it was different. But this is now.

Spike: Yes I suppose you're right. (Grabs Cordy by the arm and begins dragging her)

Cordy: Hey! Ouch! What are you doing?

Spike finally stops when they're both facing Buffy and Angel again.


Cut to office

Lorne: Well I think we must be breaking some kind of firs code law here folks. (mimics counting all the people crammed in Wes' office)

OZ: This one's funny too. How do you guys find these people?

Fred: Just lucky I guess.

Willow: Wes, can I call Dawn? I need to let them know what's up.

Tara: Why don't I do that? Oz, can you sit down with Willow over there?

Oz: Um, sure.

Wes: I'm afraid there's not much in the way of privacy here.

Willow/Oz: That's not necessary! None needed!

Wes: (Uncomfortably) I was talking about for Tara's call.

Willow/Oz: Oh.

Tara: It's okay. I'll just be a minute.

Willow and Oz lean against the small windowsill and their legs brush against each other. They both appear completely uncomfortable.

Gunn: So what about the vamp?

Wes: Right, well you left the cross with him correct?

Fred: Yeah, but what if he...

Lorne: Don't worry friends. That poor thing couldn't fight off a fly right now. he probably wishes you would have gone ahead and staked him. (Shakes his head sadly) I thought I'd seen a lot of horrible things in Pylea, but what she did to him. That's just plain over the line.

Gunn: I can remember a time when seeing a vamp like that would have made my day.

Fred: What? You mean you think he deserved to be tortured like that!

Gunn: No! I mean, I'm just saying I've seen vamps do some pretty cruel things of their own. But you're right. There's no excuse for...

Wes: We all agree what happened is a bit extreme. The question remains, why bring him here? She said she wanted to give Angel a message. So is that what they plan on doing to him?

Fred: That would never happen. Angel's way too smart for that.

Gunn: Unless...

Wes: Unless what Gunn.

Gunn: I was just thinking about what had happened. First she takes Fred to make Angel show up and fight. But lets him go when he injures a human. Then a bunch of human attack us. Then she brings a rather mutilated victim to show Angel what she plans. But she said what "they" had planned. So it has to be Hotlz, but that would just be "we". So obviously they're all in it together right.

Lorne: I think that's pretty easy to go along with.

Wes: But why keep up the teases. Where's the payoff? If Holtz wants Angel dead, then he need only make his move.

Fred: But he doesn't want him dead. He wants him to suffer. He wants him to be forced to watch everyone around him suffer.

Willow: Guys, I don't know much about what's going on. But it seems to me that whoever this guy is can't bring himself to kill Angel as long as he knows he has a soul. Maybe his plan is to keep bringing the pain closer and closer until Angel breaks.

Oz: As in breaking the curse breaks? Like no soul, so therefore making him a righteous kill again. Vengeance isn't vengeance unless its exacted on the evil that demanded it in the first place.

Wes: By God, that's it. Why hadn't I thought of that?

Tara hangs up the phone and turns back to the others.

Tara: Everyone's fine. They don't like us still being here though. (Sees the mood of the room) What? What did I miss?


Cut to Buffy still crying holding Connor

Angel: Please don't cry.

Buffy: I'm sorry. I can't seem to help it. I just can't believe...(looks up at Angel) you have a son Angel.

Angel smiles softly.

Buffy: You have a beautiful son and it has nothing to do with me...with us. It's not us.

She begins to cry again and he puts his arms around both and pulls them close as he closes his eyes against her pain.



Cut to Atrium

Cordy is still watching and Spike stands behind her. He begins whispering in her ear.

Spike: They're not friends. They'll never be friends. They'll be I love till it kills them both. They'll fight, they'll lust, they'll hate each other till it makes them quiver, but they'll never be friends. (Cordy begins to cry) Love isn't brains, not for the likes of us. It's blood, screaming to work it's will. I told them both that night I came back and even though they had told me before that they were just friends. They didn't argue when I said it. You know why love? Because I was them. I had been in there shoes and didn't even know how much it would grow after that night. I would imagine you didn't wither. But look at us now. Look at us...outside, in the dark. And them...in the light.

Cordy doesn't respond as the tears continue to fall.



Cut to Angel pulling back and taking Connor from Buffy. He has fallen asleep and he lays him back down in the bassinet. Buffy steps back to gain some clarity.

Buffy: Well, this is new.

Angel: Yeah, that's been the theme this year.

Buffy: You can say that again. So I guess you have things to do. I should...

Angel: Don't.

Buffy: (Glances up from beneath her lashes) Don't what.

Angel: I know you can't stay here and truth be told, I'm not sure I would even want you to. (Buffy shrinks under his words) I just mean that things are pretty crazy with me right now.

Buffy: That has to be like your entire lifetime's worth of understatement.

They exchange a slight grin.

Angel: We can't forget what Doyle said.

Buffy: Right. Someone's coming. I'm the answer. I want help Angel I really do.

Angel: I know. And you will. But first I think we have to clear our plate.

Buffy: What?

Angel: Who do you trust?

Buffy: I'm not sure I...

Angel: I need Wes and Gunn and Fred...and Cordelia. Lorne is working on finding Holtz before he finds us. I can't afford to lose anybody right now. But I also can't afford to let my guard down with Connor.

Buffy: So you want me to...

Angel: No! I want you to help me as well. The faster we do this, the faster we can...well it will just be faster. So I'm asking you, who do you trust? With your life?

Buffy: Willow and Xander are the rest of me. They make me better, they risk themselves on a daily basis to help me.

Angel: Good, then Willow can take Connor to Sunnydale with Xander and the others.

Buffy: What?

Angel: It's the only way. Holtz doesn't know where you live or even who you are. They can protect my son until we're done here. With the Doyle thing.

Buffy: (Looks at him and yells) Willow!

The door opens and the others rush in. Cordy runs in wiping her eyes with Spike just behind.

Willow: What is it Buffy?

Buffy: We need you to take Connor to Sunnydale.

Cordy: What?!

Angel: It's okay, it's the best thing right now.

Buffy: You can take Tara. Oz, can you drive them?

Oz: Sure.

Tara: I can't go.

Willow: What?

Tara: I have to stay here and help. I started this mess. I have to finish it. My question still hasn't been answered. I can't leave until I know. Oz, you can take care of them right?

Oz: Um...yeah.

Angel: Fred, go pack a bag for Connor. Wes, do you think anyone else should go?

Wes: I think Lorne could be of help.

Lorne: Me? Why me? I've never been out of LA. At least not in this dimension. Why do I have to go?

Angel: Lorne's right. He's the guy for Holtz contacts.

Lorne: Listen to the big guy. He knows the deal.

Willow: I still don't know...

Oz: Angel, I can do this one. I got this. We'll get to Sunnydale and stay inside until your at the door. Trust me.

Buffy: (looks at Angel) Okay, Oz. You take Willow and Connor and go now. (She steps closer to Willow) As if he's mine Will. Got it?

Willow: I understand Buffy. We won't let you down.

Angel: (Picks Connor up and hands him to Willow as he kisses his forehead one last time) I'll be back for you soon little one.

Cordy: (Walking to kiss him also) We all will. I'll be there too Connor. You be good. (looks at Oz) Please be careful.

Oz, Willow and Connor leave the hotel after Fred returns with the bag. The group watches them go.

Angel: Gunn...

Gunn: I'm on it. I'll make sure they leave safely.


He takes off after them.

Wes: So, I suppose we should formulate a plan.

Angel: That would be good. Why don't you do that? We need a defense against Justine and her pals. Spike, can you do something with our friend here. I can't stand the sound of his sniveling anymore.

Spike grins as he begins dragging the injured vamp out the door.

Buffy: I better go make sure he doesn't get too messy.


Wes: Fred, perhaps you and Lorne could get on the Holtz hunt full blast? We need a break on his location, now.

Fred: You got it.

Cordy: Angel, I really don't know if I like this. You're not thinking straight. You never do when...

Angel: Cordy don't. Don't say it. (faces her) I know this isn't fair. I donít like it anymore than you do, but its happening and we can't pretend it's not. We're all here for a reason and until we figure it out, none of us are safe.

Cordy: And that's final right? I don't get a say?

Angel: (Stands straight and crosses his arms) What's your say?

Cordy: (Hesitates) I just want you to remember who has been here the whole time. Just because we can't swoop in and play hero, doesn't mean we're any less important.

Angel: Cordelia Chase, you are more important than either of us is ready to admit.

With that he walks away and leaves her staring after him dumbfounded.

Interior: Summers House

The doorbell rings and Dawn rushes downstairs to answer it. Xander and Anya walk in from the den just as she opens it.

Dawn: Hey Oz. (Looks over his shoulder) Where's Buffy?

Oz: Fraid it's just us right now.

Xander: Us?

Oz: (Steeping through the door) Yeah. Uh Willow's with me.

Anya: And Tara? Where's Tara?

Dawn: And Buffy and Spike? And what's taking Willow so long?

Xander: Um Oz...is that a diaper bag you're carrying?

Willow: (walking up with Connor in her arms) Yeah it is.

Xander, Dawn, and Anya all look at her in amazement.


Exterior: LA

Spike has just dropped the vamp off in one of the local vamp hangouts that he remembers from his time searching for the ring. Buffy and him begin the walk back to the hotel.

Buffy: You're sure he'll be safe there?

Spike: Safe yes. I don't reckon any of the other blokes will be itching to get to close to every vamps version of hell.

Buffy: Huh?

Spike: To be immortal and young forever is one thing Buffy. But to be immortal and reduced to a walking scar is quite another. I think you would have been doing that one a favor to let me go ahead and kill him.

Buffy: I'll never understand how a group of people who can't even see what they look like anymore could be so vain.

Spike: We don't have to see how we look love. We know how we looked before we were changed. Its pretty simple really.

Buffy: Yeah, well forgive me for not agreeing with you about the better off dead theory.

Spike: No worries. I would be positively beside myself if you ever agreed with me about anything. (Stops and smiles) Well at least when it comes to killing.

Buffy: (Looks at him and realizes his meaning) You've got to be kidding. (Starts to walk again but Spike grabs her arm)

Spike: Listen here damn it! I think I've been the model of patience and tact since we began our little trip to LA. But you can't expect me to keep watching you pretend like you're right back in your silly world of Angel and all previous bets are off.

Buffy: This is my world Spike. (Pulls her arm loose) When are you going to get that? It's not about Angel and me and it sure as hell isn't about you and me. It's about me trying to figure out why I'm getting pulled back into this pain that I spent years trying to escape. Don't you get it? If I don't finish this, I'll never know if anything outside of it is real.

Spike: And what might you be referring to Slayer?

Buffy: It's not your problem. If you don't want to be here, I'm sure there's plenty to occupy you elsewhere. I'm going back to the others.

With that she marches away quickly. Spike watches her for a second before swearing and following begrudgingly.


Cut to Hyperion

Gunn and Wes are sitting in his office.

Wes: We have to find a way to interrupt their plans. So far, Justine has managed to make all the plays. Leaving us to play catch up.

Gunn: Well you know what they say. The best defense is a good offense.

Wes: You're suggesting we go after her?

Gunn: (Shrugs) Seems to me she likes playing antagonist. Whatever her and Holtz are cooking up, I'm sure it depends on us being caught unaware. So why should we make it that easy? What if they are the ones caught unaware for once?

Wes doesn't reply as he ponders the possibilities.


Cut to Angel's room

He's changing shirts and is bare chested when Cordy walks in.

Cordy: Oh! (Averts her eyes) Sorry.

Angel: (Slipping a clean shirt over his head) What's with the shyness? I think you've cleaned enough wounds on me to be used to seeing me without a shirt.

Cordy: (Looking at him) Yeah, I guess you're right. Instinct I guess.

Angel smiles and begins to walk past her but she puts a hand on his chest to stop him.

Cordy: What did you mean Angel?

Angel: What?

Cordy: Don't play dumb. You said I was more important than either of us wanted to admit. What does that mean?

Angel: (Reaches up to push her hand away) Oh, so now you want to talk? I don't think this is the time.

Cordy: I can't keep watching you with her! (Stops when she seems surprised by her own words) I mean...

Angel: I know what you mean Cordelia. It's not exactly what I had planned either, but she's here. She knows about Connor and I think it's the right thing. It had to be done.

Cordy: I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the crying and the holding and the private looks. I thought you had worked through all that. You said when you got back that there was nothing to talk about.

Angel: I said there was nothing I WANTED to talk about. There's a difference.

Cordy: So what does that mean? You and Buffy are going to be like you were in high school forever? Geez, I thought we had grown. I thought...

Lorne: ANGEL! (Calling from lobby)

Angel glances at Cordy before taking off in the direction of his voice.

Cordy: Great. Why do I even bother?


Cut to Lobby

Angel runs in to see Lorne standing with Fred at the counter. Gunn and Wes enter from his office as Cordy walks down the stairs.

Angel: What is it? Did you find Holtz?

Lorne: Not exactly. But I think I know where we can find out his exact location.

Wes: And?

Fred: Lorne called on one of his associates in the barrio where I was taken before. Justine just got back to the house.

Lorne: Can you leave just a little thunder for me sweetie? So she's back in the same house and this time she and her friendly humans, and I use that term lightly, brought some party favors.

Gunn: And those would be?

Lorne: More vamps. My guy counted three maybe four. I'd say they plan on creating some more vamp-o-grams for you Angel.

Cordy: So is that really a problem? I mean, it's not like they're going after innocents here.

Wes: Cordelia, any group targeted for torture just for fun are victims. However the circumstances might imply otherwise.

Gunn: So I'd say we'll be killing two birds with one stone if we go with plan A Wes.

Buffy: (Standing on landing with Spike) We have a Plan A?

Angel: Finally! Where did you two go?

Spike: (Smirks)Wouldn't you like to know?

Buffy: (Punches him lightly in the gut to shut him up and Spike doubles over from her strength) Shut up Spike.

Angel smiles at the scene and waits for Buffy to join him at his side before turning back to Wes.

Angel: So?

Wes: Um, yes. (Looks at everyone in the room quickly before continuing) Well, Gunn suggested that we take the initiative here. Perhaps catch Justine off guard as she has done us for so long. Now that we know she will be occupied with her sick games, it might prove helpful in our mission.

Cordy: I'm not seeing the mission guys. So far I hear, we go into a house we know is full of Angel haters and yell Surprise! Am I the only one who sees a flaw?

Lorne: She has a point.

Gunn: Let us finish. Maybe if we give this girl a taste of her own medicine, she won't be so quick to judge. Or better yet, she could lead us to Holtz. We know she has to be in contact with him.

Angel: I think it can work. But we have to choreograph this perfectly. There's too many of us for Buffy and I to watch and still be effective. We have to split into groups. Hit them in waves so to speak.

Spike: Why do I get the feeling that you and Buffy are going to be riding the first wave together?

Fred: They are the strongest of us all.

Cordy: Speak for yourself.

Spike smiles at Cordy's words.

Buffy: Okay, here's the deal. Spike and I don't know LA. We certainly will be of no use to any of you if we pair up and get lost. Does that make sense to anyone?

Angel: (Answers for everyone) Yes. So here's how it's gonna work...


Cut to Sunnydale

Xander: We're protecting Angel's kid? That's the plan? Leave the spawn of Angelus with the witch who can't practice, an ex-demon, a teenager, a sometime werewolf, and...me? This was Buffy's idea of safety?

Willow: Well when you put it that way.

Oz: It's fine. We're weeks away from a full moon and nobody knows who or where we are. How could we not be safe? Angel and Buffy and the others are the ones who have to face off with that sadist freak. I think we got the good end of the deal.

Anya: Why do we always baby-sit? The longer I'm around you people, the more domestic I become. And I'm not ready to be domestic! I'm not even married yet! It's one thing to watch a teenager, but now it's a baby!? Who among us has experience with an infant?

At that moment Connor begins crying and everyone looks uncertainly at the squirming child in Willow's arms.


Cut to House in Barrio

Justine is listening to the sound of burning flesh as one of her enlisted pours holy water down the back of a vamp tied to a chair. He's screaming in agony so no one notices the door open.

Buffy: (cheerfully) You got room for one more?

Justine spins in anger and surprise and doesn't recognize who's standing in front of her.

Justine: I don't think you want to stick around here friend.

Buffy: really? Cause I was just thinking how it wouldn't be a good vamp attack without a slayer? I mean, you're okay and all, but I'm the chosen one.

Justine: Slayer? I don't believe you.

Buffy: No problem. It's been a while since somebody questioned my destiny. It's kind of refreshing. So how about if I prove it?

Justine: (Smiling) I get it. You want in. You want to get some practice on our guests. (motions to the three vamps tied up on the floor in the corner)

Buffy: (glances at them) You know, I never thought I'd be saying this...much less doing this, but...(Walking over to the scared undead) who wants to get out of here first?

Justine explodes in anger and screams for assistance. In an instant, four more humans rush Buffy. She sidesteps their advance and they all fall over each other. She hastily unties the vamps and turns to face Justine.

Justine: You're no slayer! You're helping them! You fool! Did you think you were actually going to make friends with them?

Behind Buffy the first vamp growls and charges. Buffy doesn't break eye contact with Justine as she removes a stake form her pocket and flips it backwards into the heart of the first vamp. It turns to dust inches from her and she catches the stake before it falls to the ground.

Buffy: (Putting her hands on her hips) I don't need any more friends. But I don't like to go after the defenseless.

She senses the next attack and bends to the ground as he flies over her. Suddenly there's a crash as Gunn and Spike burst through the two windows left in the room. Gunn lands inches from the tumbling vamp and quickly stakes him and stands.

Buffy: See? It's much more fun when it's justified. But maybe that's just not your thing. (Shrugs and kicks her leg out in a roundhouse kick that connects with the third vamp trying to attack. He doubles over and before anyone can touch him, he stakes himself on a broken piece of the broken windowsill that Spike just crashed through.

Spike: What? none for me?

Justine: Okay, I don't know who you freaks are, wait, (sees Gunn) I do know you. So that means, you're all with him? My God, what does this guy have?

Cordy: (Stepping through the door) I'd bet a lot more than you.

Justine: You people have no idea what you're up against. Holtz is out for more than blood. And if I were you,. I'd try and get as far away from your leader as you can when it finally happens. From what I hear, he's quite the sight when he loses his soul.

Gunn: So it is the soul.

Buffy: What?

Gunn: Your friend Willow said that it seemed like they might be out to make Angel lose his soul again.

Buffy: Really? (Walks up to Justine to smile in her face) You're going after the wrong emotion then.

Justine: (smiles back) That's what we want him to think.

Spike: Can we please get to the fighting?

Buffy: (turning to the humans) Listen up folks, I'm sure you all have your reasons for wanting to exact revenge on all demons and vamps. I can relate. it's my job. But might I suggest you rethink that unless you're prepared to kill an awful lot of humans on your path to vengeance? If I understand correctly, you're in this for the sake of the loved ones you've lost. I don't think they'd like the idea of you killing and maiming more innocents in their name hmmmm?

The group looks to one another and then Justine before taking off out the door.

Justine: Where are you going!? You insipid fools, why would you listen to one who frees those who are out to kill us all?

Buffy: I don't think they're interested right now.

Justine: Fine! So what next? Are you going to sacrifice me to your vampire leader? Where is he anyway? I'd love to be the one to tell him.

Cordy: Tell him what?


Cut to Alley behind house

Tara: Angel, I'm sorry if I've been wrong all this time.

Angel: You don't have to be sorry. I know you're wrong. But if this is what we need to clear up any doubt, let's just do it.

Fred: Are you sure? I mean what if...?

Angel: (Shakes his hands against the shackles around his feet and hands) Buffy knows what she's doing with these things. We've been there before.

Fred: (Thinks and her eyes grow wide as she blushes) Oh!

Angel: (realizing) No Fred! My God, not like that. I mean, before, when I came back. I was a little wild. it was to protect us.

Fred: (Smiling-embarrassed) Oh I'm sorry Angel. I...

Angel: Forget it. Let's just get this done. I heard fighting once already. I have to get in there.

Tara: Okay, here we go.

She begins a chant and Angel closes his eyes. Tara recites a reversal spell from the gypsies that she met on her quest. If the words don't have an effect on Angel, she knows that it means his curse was not restored properly. If they do, his soul would begin to disappear. Fred holds a vial of liquid that would cancel out any mystical energy that Tara creates if that begins to happen. The shackles are just a precaution just in case Fred's not quick enough. In that event his soul would be gone until the liquid worked it's will throughout the energy surrounding the trio.

Fred: Angel? (Weakly)How you feeling?

Tara and Angel both seem to be oblivious as a low hum grows louder and louder beneath the words in Tara's voice. Angel grimaces once and Fred reaches to remove the vial's lid. Suddenly, Tara's voice changes and she flies backwards against the wall. Angel's eye's open suddenly and Fred sees them begin to glow.

Tara: Fred now!

Fred's hands shake as Angel moans loudly and the glow grows brighter just as the liquid hits his face and eyes. A strange wave in the air swirls around Angel and back to Tara as his arms shake with the strain of trying to come loose. Fred backs up wondering if she messed it up when Angel finally takes a deep breath and collapses onto the ground.

Fred: Tara? Did you see that? Is he...?

Tara struggles to her feet and walks slowly to stand over Angel. She bends down to turn him over and his eyes open slowly.

Tara: Angel? Is it you?

Angel: (Painfully sitting up) Yeah, it's me.

Fred: Oh thank goodness! I don't think I could have handled it if I had messed it up.

Tara: I'm the one that messed up. (She walks away ashamed) I thought for sure this was the answer.

Angel: (Waiting for Fred to finish unlocking the shackles) It's okay Tara. I'm glad you tried. At least we know. It may not be what you wanted for Willow, but she'll be okay. I know her. She's strong. She can beat this thing.

Tara: I hope you're right Angel. I really hope you're right.


Cut to house

Justine: Well? Isn't anyone going to tell me why your sainted hero isn't here himself? What has he resorted to sending out the lambs to be slaughtered in his place?

Angel: (From doorway) What's that about a slaughter?

Cordy: Angel! (Looking closer) It's Angel right?

Angel: Yep, it's me. (Looks at Buffy before walking inside further) So I see you crashed her party.

Buffy: (Shrugs) You know me. I hate not being invited to these things.

Justine: Oh don't worry, the party's just getting started.

Gunn: You really don't like admitting defeat do you?

Spike: That's just as well. I think we could have quite a party here with our new friend. (He shakes his head and vamps out to Justine's surprise)

Buffy: Weren't expecting that one were you? Yep, we're all one big happy family here. A slayer, two vamps, a couple warriors, a bit o demon...(Wes and Lorne come running in out of breath)

Angel: How did you know Lorne was coming?

Buffy: I did...

Cordy: She didn't expect that Lorne and Wes could stay away!

Buffy realizes that she almost slipped up and sends Cordy an apologetic glance.

Cordy: So you two couldn't stand being out of the action could you?

Lorne: Oh we've got action baby. Not in the good way either.

Angel: What does that mean?

Wes: Justine, you knew all along didn't you? You wanted us to come after you.

Justine: We do like to stay one step ahead...

Buffy: Anyone want to explain what's going on?

Justine: Oh please let me. (Smiles) So Angel, you really came through didn't you? You figured out what I was doing and came down here with your little gang to stop me huh? But what you missed was what the plan was really aimed at all along.

Angel: I don't like long soliloquies from stupid women.

Wes: Angel, there was a message delivered to the hotel only moments ago.

Angel: What was it?

Wes hands Angel a piece of paper and Angel looks down to read it. He looks up to see Justine trying not to laugh. He growls and vamps out in the same instant he speeds to wrap his hands around her throat. Buffy is shocked and rushes to pull him off her.
Cordy bends to retrieve the paper from the floor and read it.

Buffy: Angel, what are you doing? This isn't you! Tara, I thought he would only be freed if the spell could be broken.

Tara: It was! I swear. He has a soul! He never lost it! Willow did it right the first time!

Buffy: Angel, why are you doing this?

Justine still smiles even as the life slips from her body.

Cordy: Buffy, leave him alone.

Buffy: (Stops and looks at her) Have you lost your mind?

Cordy: How's the weather in Sunnydale?

Buffy: What?

Gunn: Oh God.

Fred: No. Not Connor.

Cordy: Buffy, they went to Sunnydale. This note says it sure is nice in Sunnydale this time of year. It's signed Holtz.

Buffy: oh God no. (Looks at Angel) Angel, listen to me. She's not important. She doesnít know anything. We can take her with us, but we have to go now. They have no one there to protect them. We have to go now.

Angel hears her words and drops the unconscious girl on the ground.

Wes: We've got the car. We can leave now.

Angel doesn't respond as he strides out the door followed closely by the others.


Cut to Summers house

Willow walks downstairs after getting Connor to sleep.

Xander: So he's out?

Willow: Yep. He's the sweetest thing really. I can't believe Angel has a...

Xander: Don't! I swear when I hear those words my ears start to bleed. How is it possible that the undead of our high school gang is the first to produce offspring? I swear that guy lives to rub my face in it.

Oz: I'm sure Angel had you in mind the night he decided to bed...who did he bed?

Anya: You mean he didn't tell Buffy yet?

Willow: I guess we kind of kept getting sidetracked. Unless he told her when we were in the office.

Oz: I don't think so. I think we would have heard that tidbit if it became known.

A knock on the door startles them and they each look at one another trying to decide how to proceed.

Dawn: Would you all stop acting like you've seen death and he's coming for a visit? Geez, it's probably just a...

She opens the door before finishing and the words fade from her mouth.

Willow: Dawnie? What is it?

She stands up to see why there's silence and freezes in her tracks.

Dawn: Why do I feel like this can not be good news?


Cut to house

Justine regains consciousness and manages to stand in the empty room just as Holtz enters.

Holtz: What happened?

Justine: They bought it. Hook, line and sinker.

Holtz: Most excellent. Now all I have to do is be there when it happens.

Justine: I thought for sure he was going to kill me. (She rubs her throat)

Holtz: No. I knew that he would not, not as long as the soul is intact. But in a matter of hours, it might be a very different story.

Justine: I really hope you know what you're doing.

Holtz: I'm doing what should have been done centuries ago. I'm destroying Angelus.


Cut to Angel speeding down the highway in his car. Buffy is at his side and they're alone. The others are in a vehicle behind them.

Buffy: Angel, it could be a trick. They could be bluffing. How could they know about me? About us?

Angel: I was stupid. The man has had decades to study my existence. Of course he would know about you now. Once he learned I had a soul, he would only have to track my past a matter of years to find you. How could I have sent my son into a trap?

Buffy: They will protect him Angel. I swear it. I told Willow to treat him as if he were my own. She will die before anything happens to Connor.

Angel: That's what I'm afraid of.

Buffy: You have to trust me Angel. We always trusted each other. Remember? That will never change. You'll see. Everything's going to be fine.

Angel: Nothing would make me happier than to have that be true Buffy. Nothing in this world could bring me such relief.

Buffy bristled at the words remembering the last time he had felt his happiest and what had come next. Something was nagging at her but she couldn't place it. She tried to calm herself as they sped down the highway.

 

Interior: Summers house

Willow: Why are you here?

Dawn: Where are the others?

Tara: I'm not here, and they're coming.

Dawn: What? I'm looking at you.

Oz: (walking up behind Willow) Hey. Where's Buffy and Spike?

Willow: They're on their way with Tara.

Xander: (joining the group) Hey Tara. Why are we all just standing here? What's with the doorbell? Come on in. You must be beat.

Tara: I can't stay long. We'll be here soon. Willow you have to get the baby.

Oz: Am I missing something?

Willow: Tara and I have always been able to communicate with each other no matter where we are. Although this is the first time in a while. And she's never managed the astral plane before.

Tara: (Shyly) I've had some free time lately to study.

Oz: Well, call me crazy, but this has to mean something. Willow and I sure never shared anything like this.

Xander: Not many do.

Willow and Tara exchange a slight smile.

Tara: I have to go. Willow, get him now!

She disappears as everyone stares into the empty porch. Willow finally turns to race up the stairs.


Cut to Buffy and Angel still driving.

Buffy: Angel, maybe we should at least give this whole thing some thought. Justine said they wanted you to think something. As in the wrong thing. What if this is some kind of set up?

Angel: I don't care what sick game she's playing, I just want my son. Don't ask me to put off finding him.

Buffy: No of course not! But what about Doyle? He said someone was coming. I thought you said it had something to do with that night.

Angel: I guess I misunderstood his cryptic speech. not the first time believe me. He was obviously referring to Holtz.

Buffy: Maybe. But why get me involved? What purpose could I serve that the rest of your team couldn't? What did Doyle think that I could offer?

Angel: I don't know Buffy. (Looks at her for a second before returning his eyes to the road) I don't have all the answers. Maybe Spike was right. Maybe all this is just some weird coincidence that we overreacted to. We kind of tend to act on instinct when it comes to stuff like this. Maybe we should have thought it out better. It doesn't matter now. All that matters is that I get Connor and get back to our life in LA and leave you alone. I've screwed things up enough.

Buffy: Angel you didn't screw anything up. I don't have all the facts straight in my head. I guess I haven't had time to process everything, but the bottom line is, he's your son. And that's all I need to know.

Angel takes his hand off the steering wheel to cover Buffy's as he continues speeding down the highway.


Cut to Wes' vehicle

Tara opens her eyes

Tara: Okay, they know.

Spike: Great, so what does that mean?

Cordy: Yeah, I don't think anyone in that house has much to offer in the way of protection. Wes how much longer?

Wes: Just twenty miles or so. And by the speed Angel left us in the dust, I would imagine Tara's message will only be moments before his and Buffy's arrival.

Spike: I don't understand why you all were so bloody agreeable when the two of them suggested the seating arrangements. (looks at Cordy) Especially you.

Gunn: And what would you have suggested? You riding along so you could keep an eye on them to prevent any breaks for the happy? You don't know Angel anymore man. His kid is his life.

Cordy: That's right! Buffy is only there for support if needed. Slayer strength and all. Stop being so presumptive of what's going on in that car!

No one speaks leaving Cordy to wish she hadn't been so vocal. Fred, Gunn and Lorne exchange a look.


Cut to Summers house

Willow and Oz are preparing to leave again.

Dawn: I don't understand this. What are we supposed to tell Angel when they get here?

Xander: (sarcastically) My how I've missed the days of life revolving around Angel.

Anya: I don't think it's his fault this time honey.

Xander: Of course not. It never is, is it?

Willow: When Buffy gets here, just tell her that she can find us where no one's home.

Dawn: What does that mean?

Oz: I have to second that question Will. Are you sure it will be enough for her?

Willow: Listen, if Tara's right and some one is after Connor, then the less you guys know the better. Trust me, Buffy will figure it out.

Xander: Once again, we're the 'in the dark guys'.

Oz: You're not the only one.

Willow pulls Oz out of the house. Unbeknownst to them, a car follows the van as it pulls away.

Xander and the others are barely sitting down after they leave when the sound of screeching tires signals the arrival of Buffy and Angel.

Buffy: (running through the door) Where is he?

Angel: Where's my son?

Xander: Good to see you too Angel.

Buffy: Xander...not the time.

Dawn: They just left to take Connor somewhere safe.

Angel: So Holtz is here?

Anya: Who? Tara was here.

Buffy: Tara was with us.

Xander: Not astral she wasn't.

Angel: what?

Dawn: Tara warned Willow, so her and Oz took Connor somewhere safe. She said to give you a message.

Buffy: Which was?

Xander: She said she would be where no one was home.

Angel: Excuse me?

Xander: Lookie there? Angel's in the dark guy too!

Buffy: Willow said she'd be where no one was home?

Anya: Yes. We tried to tell her that wasn't enough for you to...

Buffy: Angel let's go!

The two of them run back out and the others stare after them.

Xander: Why can't Angel ever be an 'in the dark guy'?

Wes pulls up with his group seconds after Angel's car disappears in the distance. They all jump out and run up the porch to find Xander, Dawn and Anya standing on the porch.

Cordy: Where are they? Where's Connor? Where's Angel?

Anya: We don't know.

Gunn: What do you mean you don't know. Angel was ahead of us.

Xander: Yes and apparently he still is. (Points in the direction he and Buffy left) They just left.

Fred: With the baby?

Dawn: No. He's with Willow and Oz.

Xander: So why don't we all head inside and have a soda?

Spike: You must have lost your mind. I'm going to find her.

Cordy: I'm with Spike.

Xander: now those are three words I never thought I'd hear.

Wes: Cordelia, I don't think running about Sunnydale will help anything. Buffy and Angel are the best team to confront this issue. We will only be in the way.

Spike: That's fine by me. It's my favorite place to be.

With that, he strides off in the direction Angel and Buffy left.

Cordy watches him for a second before looking back at Wes. Wes shakes his head in warning but Cordelia only sends an apologetic glance before calling Spike's name to make him let her catch up.

The others watch the two leave and tepidly go inside the house.


Cut to Willow and Oz in a graveyard.

Willow stops walking and drops the bag on the ground. Oz steps around her.

Oz: where are we? Why are we stop...?

He glances down and sees the headstone. Buffyís headstone.

Oz: Oh man.

Willow: It's the safest place. I know it. don't ask me how, but I know it.

A shadow moves in the distance past some trees in the woods. Willow senses something and clutches Connor closer.

Willow: Oz, I've messed so many things up. Tara was right you know. I have gone farther and farther down the wrong path since you left. It wasn't intentional but it happened.

Oz: Willow I never intended for you to be hurt so much. I swear.

Willow: I know that. And even after everything I don't think I would change a thing. I mean, if you hadn't left me, I never would have met Tara.

Oz: (Uncomfortable) Yeah I guess so.

Willow: It's not what I ever imagined for myself Oz. I spent years seeing only you in my future. You gave me something that I never thought Iíd find.

Oz: I feel the same way.

Willow: Sometimes things aren't meant to be even if it seems like we'll die if it doesn't happen you know?

Willow senses the presence again and steps onto the uprooted dirt that once covered Buffy.

Willow: Oz, they'll be here soon. You just have to last a few minutes until they get here.

Oz: What are you talking about?

Willow: I promised Buffy. I hurt her so much before. Here. (looks down at the ground under her feet) I never meant to but I did. This is my chance to finally prove myself again. For her and Tara...and me. Thank you Oz. Thank you for coming and helping me see that.

Oz: I'm not really sure I understand Will.

Willow: Just tell Buffy I wanted to. It wasn't because I had to, it was only because I wanted it. Can you do that?

Oz: Willow...

Willow pulls a bag from under her jacket and throws it on the ground as hard as she can. A bright yellow haze rises from her feet and envelops her and Connor in its center.

Oz doesn't have time to react before a creature jumps from the woods onto him. Oz cries out for Willow but she shuts her eyes against him and lowers her head into the blanket that is wrapped around Connor.

She doesn't see the thing stand and reach out to help Oz up just before a large axe descends upon his back. It yelps in pain and falls on its knees. Oz sees Angel standing over him vamped out and Buffy staring at the obvious spell that willow created.

Oz: Angel stop!

Angel looks at Oz in confusion.

Oz: He was helping me! He thought Willow was after me!

Angel: What? But...

The thing looks up at Angel and begins to whisper. Angel bends to listen.

Beast: He sent me for your son. He said he would exact revenge at any cost. I couldn't let him do it. You've done nothing wrong. (coughs up blood) I was like you. I was the most evil of my kind, I've killed thousands. Holtz was my last.

Angel: My God.

Beast: No, your son. It was for your son. If evil can create innocence, anything is possible. Hold fast to that. Prophecies are guesses. You can create his path. Don't ever let him falter.

The beast finally exhales for the last time and crumbles to the ground. Oz watches sadly and Angel finally looks to see Willow holding his son in the middle of the energy.

Angel: Buffy?

Buffy: Willow.

Oz: Buffy, she said to tell you it wasn't because she had to. She said she wanted to...for you. Does that make any sense?

Angel: Buffy, this is your...(he sees the headstone)

Buffy: (whispers) No one's home.

Angel: Can she see us? Did she hear? Holtz is dead. It's over.

Buffy: (smiles at Will) Yeah, she sees us.

Willow closes her eyes and says something that no one can hear. Instantly the energy dissipates and Connor begins to cry.


Cut to Spike and Cordy walking into the scene at a distance. No one sees them arrive.

Angel rushes to take his son and calms him as he smiles down. Buffy watches Willow step closer.

Willow: Buffy, I felt the guy in the woods. I thought it was Holtz. I had to protect him. I promised. As if he were yours right?

Buffy: (Hugs her) As if he were mine. Thank you.

Willow pulls back with immense relief and steps back with Oz as Buffy joins Angel looking down at the headstone.

Angel: I can't believe it's over.

Buffy: He's gone. he can't hurt you anymore.

Angel: And you're here. All this brought us here...together. How does that always happen?

Buffy smiles lovingly and steps on her tiptoes to kiss Angel softly on the lips.

Buffy: We happened, that's how. Whatever goes on separately, we will always happen. It's our destiny.

Angel smiles and looks at his son before bending to kiss Buffy with renewed intensity. As Buffy falls into the kiss, she feels something happen. She pulls away and sees Angel begin to shake. A sweat breaks out on his brow as Willow and Oz move back still farther. They bump into Cordy and Spike watching with intense pain.

Buffy: What is it Angel? What's wrong?

Cordy: (quietly)Angel?

Angel drops to his knees struggling to hang onto Connor and his head bows.

Angel: Buffy...

In a split second Buffy has a flashback to her first dream. Doyle's words echo loudly in her mind. "He's coming. You don't have much time. You know what to do."

Buffy looks behind her and sees Holtz emerge from the woods with a smile on his face. Justine's words echo even louder. "That's what we want him to think."

She sees Angel look up at her pleadingly as they both recognize what's happening. Nothing would make him happier. His son was safe. Buffy was with him. Nothing would make him happier. She hears Angel's own words from the car. She knows it has to be stopped. And once again she has to be the one to stop him. She drops down in front of him as Holtz stops smiling and begins to move forward quickly.

Holtz: No...

Buffy leans to whisper something in Angel's ear and within seconds the shaking stops. His eyes become clear again and his expression of joy that was replaced with worry now is overwhelmed with pain. Buffy rises from his face and looks down at him with tears in her eyes.

Buffy: I'm sorry.

Angel doesn't respond as Buffy stands to find herself attacked from behind by Holtz. Angel watches unmoving as she struggles to defend herself. She takes several blows in her haste to maintain eye contact with Angel and Spike jumps into the fray. He vamps out and Holtz runs in defeat. Everyone knows he will be back for Angel and his son again. But next time, it would be in LA and without any help from Sunnydale.

Angel sees Spike struggling to not take Buffy into his arms and his own eyes well with tears. Connor begins to fuss again and Cordy finally steps forward to take him from Angel.

Angel stands slowly and the four former friends/enemies face off.

Cordelia: I guess we should probably get going.

Angel: (looking at Buffy) Yes, I think it's time.

Spike: No arguments here. Nice seeing you and all but...

Buffy: (holding a hand up to quiet Spike) Goodbye Angel.

Angel: I guess it's worth a shot.

Buffy: (Looking at Cordy) I'm not okay with it. And I'm not done with it. But I know you're not who you were three years ago. I can accept that.

Cordy: Thank you.

Buffy: But I hope you can accept something as well. (steps in front of her and speaks low) You may see yourself in his future. And Angel, you may not be able to see your future without her in it. But you can't see yourself in that future without seeing me.

Cordy begins to say something but Angel speaks first.

Angel: And I might say the same for you and...him. (Spike realizes he's referring to him) Spike, you'll never know if she's seeing me every time she's looking at you. See, you told us yourself. We all might be love's bitch, but which of us is willing to admit it? Denying it hasn't worked too well for any of us thus far. You'll never have her. Not like you want.

Buffy: You have to go Angel. This is too hard.

Angel: Why is it always that way for us?

Buffy and Angel look at one another for a long moment and then inexplicably begin to smile. They each take a step back and slowly turn away. Spike and Cordy are left to follow them silently as they part once again.

Willow and Oz watch all this until the four are completely out of sight.

Oz: That was...difficult to witness.

Willow: It always is when those two get together.

Oz: Can you believe they left like that? And with the people they left with? What is up with the universe?

Willow: (smiling) Buffy and Angel, Oz. It's all about Buffy and Angel.

Oz: Oh yeah, I remember now.

The two head back towards home

THE END