Disclaimer: See chapter 1
In Sunnydale Park at Early Night:
A lone girl strolls through park with a light brown jacket over her shoulders. She looks up when she hears a couple slowly walking towards her.
The man grins, “It looks like we finally found one. This one looks delicious.”
“Yes, she looks so warm and tasty!” the woman agrees cheerfully. The girl squints her eyes to try to see their faces through the darkness. They step out into the park light to show their deformed vampiric faces. They reach for her as she screams.
Several Hours Later:
Miss Calendar, Amy, and Kendra sneak through alleyways and jumps across rooftops stealthily. They start to head to the library to report on their patrol when they come across the body of a girl in the park, completely drained of blood. Jenny turns her head to get a better look at the puncture wounds on her neck to reveal a small cross carved on her cheek.
Kendra remarks dryly, “This is the first time that a vampire has marked its prey here. It must be new in town.”
“They sort of have to be with all our slayage,” smirks Amy.
Miss Calendar frowns, “We’d better report this.” She reaches up to her ear and presses a button, the strap around their neck connected to a walkie talkie picking up their voices, “We found a body. A vampire got her. There is a cross carved on her cheek. Does it ring any bells?”
“I’ll forward you to Giles,” Jonathan answers at the library.
A moment later, Giles groans, “That sounds vaguely familiar. Good work, I’ll look it up in the morning.” Snoring starts coming over the sound system before it cuts off.
Giles rubs his eyes and looks through his fingers at the bookshelves. He shakes his head and continues putting the library books away for the school day. Angel calls from the doorway, “I’m here.” The team from the previous night fills out their reports around the table. Faith files away the reports as they are finished for Giles to examine later. She glances over the previous team’s reports analytically and stores the information for later use in case it can come in handy on patrol that night.
“Your tardiness is getting better,” Giles responds tiredly.
Angel smiles, “Thanks for noticing. How did patrol go last night?”
The librarian puts another book on the shelf and pulls out a nearby one. He opens it and flips through it slowly. “It went well overall. There was an irregularity, though. The team found a body of a young woman with a cross mark on her cheek.”
Angel twitches at the sound of the cross mark and quickly regains his composure before Giles can see. Faith notices his reaction but remains silent. Giles looks up from his book and inquires, “Do you know of any vampires who make a mark like that on their victims?”
“I’ll have to think about it. I think I’ve heard about it somewhere,” Angel responds slowly.
Giles nods and puts the book on the shelf, “Well, contact us if you can think of anyone that this could be.” Angel nods and turns to walk out of the library. Oz brushes past him on his way out and nods slightly in greeting.
Oz sits down at the table and murmurs, “We are supposed to meet now, Giles?”
Giles glances over at him, “You’re on time! Excellent.” He strolls to where Oz is sitting and gestures for him to stand. “Let’s take a look at the seal I put on you and see how it’s holding up.”
Faith glances after Angel and thinks, ‘Something’s up.’ She vanishes in a swirl of leaves.
Later That Morning:
Willow, Buffy, and Xander sit around in the couches in the lounge area. They are looking over the questions for the tests for Career Week. “Guys, we have to be careful about this,” Buffy warns.
Xander smirks, “I know. But, I could make it so that it shows me becoming a member of the Russian Mafia!” He immediately gets slugged hard in the arm. He winces, the residue of the hit travelling into the couch, shattering the arm. He pulls all the stuffing back into it and holds it there, grinning sheepishly. “You’re paying for that!”
“Me?” Buffy says innocently. “It looks to me like you broke it, hiding it like you are.”
“Hiding what?” a snarky voice says from behind them. Buffy and Willow jump to their feet.
Willow says pleasantly, “Principal Snyder! How good to see you!”
“What are you delinquents up to? Planning a bomb scare? Scheduling your afternoon house egging?” he demands suspiciously.
Xander murmurs under his breath, “Bomb scare plus your house equals…”
“What was that, Harris?” snaps Snyder.
“Nothing, sir!” says Xander with an almost innocent grin. “We are perfectly behaved denizens of this school!”
Snyder snorts, “Yeah right! I don’t know how you pulled your grades up, or how you have the other teachers liking you so much, but I am not fooled! You are a miscreant and when I find out how you are cheating in all of your classes, you are finished! Finished, I say!”
“Principal Snyder, you might want to calm down,” Miss Calendar says as she walks up to the group.
Snyder rants, “And why is that?”
“You look like you’re going to pop a blood vessel,” she responds. She puts her hand on his shoulder when his rant begins again, the needle between her fingers injecting a highly suggestive drug into his system. “Why don’t you go to your office and relax? The students need to prepare for their classes.”
He glances around tiredly and mutters, “Yeah, office, relax.” He stumbles off down the hall.
“Thanks, Miss Calendar!” Buffy smiles.
Miss Calendar smiles slowly, “Just behave yourselves.”
“What did you do to him?” Willow asks curiously, tilting her head a little.
Miss Calendar explains, “It is a drug that makes the person exposed to it highly susceptible to outside influence for about a minute.”
Xander’s eyes widen mischievously. Buffy glares at him, “No.”
“What?” Xander smiles innocently again.
“No, you are not getting that drug. You are not going to try to research it. You are not going to try to find it. You are going to go to class, peacefully, and forget about ever thinking about using the drug on Snyder for your amusement,” Willow inserts calmly.
He folds his arms and scowls playfully, “You take all the fun out of life! Wait! I still have that whoopy cushion!”
“No!” Buffy states. He sighs and they head off to their respective classes.
At Willy’s Bar:
Angel strolls in the side door and sits down at the front counter. The frail looking bartender smiles until he sees him. He very slowly puts both hands on the counter where Angel can see them and smiles at him pleasantly. “Is there anything I can get for my good pal Angel?”
“I want some information, Willy,” Angel states. “Is there any new faces in town that have visited here?”
Willy shakes his head slowly, “No, nobody has come in lately that isn’t a regular.”
The counter shakes slightly as a sharp kunai is imbedded between Willy’s fingertips. “Think very hard, Willy,” Angel smiles at him. Willy shivers and thinks, ‘This guy should never smile. It’s creepy!’
Aloud, Willy quickly says, “Now that you mention it, I did hear of a new group in town. They haven’t come in though! They’re supposed to be holed up on the far side of town in a warehouse or something.”
“Are you sure?” Angel smiles wider, resting his hand on the kunai’s handle. The snitch nods quickly. The former vampire yanks the kunai from the table and it disappears. “Good. If you’re lying to me, pal, I will be back. If I come back, I will not be happy. Do you understand me?” The smile is still plastered on Angel’s face.
“Perfectly! Crystal clear, Angel, old buddy!” Willy says hurriedly.
Angel slowly stands and starts to walk away. He calls over his shoulder, “Oh, and Willy?” The bartender looks up at him. “We aren’t buddies.” Another smile sends shivers down his spine before the man leaves the bar.
The darkly clothed man steps outside the bar and looks around cautiously. He jumps to the rooftops and heads for the warehouse district. Faith peers out from behind the corner and hops after him, ducking down anytime he looks over his shoulder.
Angel interrogates a demon informant in the warehouse district and heads towards his thinking spot.
He drops to an empty street and forms a hand sign. Three shadow clones appear around him. Angel says, “Go check our demon contacts and other scum to see if they can pinpoint an exact location.” The clones nod and jump in different directions. He jumps up into a tree and pulls out Kakashi’s favorite book and starts to read after double checking that Buffy is nowhere to be seen.
Faith smirks and murmurs, “Two can play this game, Lazy Pervert.” She forms shadow clones and they follow the others while she stays on his trail discretely.
The clones get a few locations, despite having to beat up some of them for information, and dispel to give him information. Faith’s clones dispel that were eavesdropping on Angel’s shadow clones and she follows him quickly.
Angel hops from the tree and starts hopping across rooftops again with Faith in pursuit. He travels a short distance and creates another two shadow clones. He hops onto a chimney and brings out his book again while the clones run off to stake out the locations. Faith grumbles as she creates her own clones, “Buffy is definitely hearing about this.” Angel feels an unexplainable chill run up his spine.
Several Hours Later Just After Dark:
One of Angel’s clones is watching a warehouse cautiously. A large black van with tinted windows drives up to the warehouse. Four vampires file out of the van and into the warehouse. The clone follows them in silently and crouches near the rafters to listen in. Two other vampires along with James and Elizabeth greet the newcomers loudly, slapping hands and whatnot. Elizabeth and James hang back and observe the new recruits. One vampire, being a new arrival, looks the most excited while the one that is native to Sunnydale peers around nervously, jumping at every sound. The clone frowns and dispels itself.
Angel receives the information while holding a small flashlight to read his book. He puts the book and flashlight away, dispelling the other clone. He travels towards the warehouse. Faith dispels her own clones and follows him again.
At the School Library:
“Good Lord!” exclaims Giles. He stares at his book in surprise.
Andrew checks his weapons and asks, “What is it?”
Giles quickly walks to their table and puts the book in front of Andrew and Jonathan. “The killings are identical to Angel’s old killings!” Spike looks up when he hears that.
“He’s human now,” Jonathan states.
Faith tilts her head curiously, “If it’s not Angel, than who could it be?”
Giles turns the book’s pages a few times and points to a passage. “Angelus had a few traveling companions during his time in Europe. There isn’t very much information on them, but it could be one of them named James.”
Spike palms his forehead and mutters, “Oh great. James and Elizabeth are in town. Stupid bunch of kids.”
“You know them?” Giles frowns.
Spike smirks, “Where do you think I was during Angelus’ scourging days?”
Giles raises an eyebrow, “Good point. We need you to tell us everything you know about them and find more information on them quickly!”
At the Warehouse:
The vampires start heading for the doors of the warehouse. The nervous vampire is saying, “I told you to get rid of the body! It’s not safe when you leave a body behind! You should lay low for a few days until the heat has blown over!” The other vampires ignore him.
The leader of the group laughs, “What heat? What could possibly bother a group of vampires this size?”
“Me,” a voice says from behind them. The vampires turn around to see Angel with his mask covering his face for intimidation and his eye covered.
James grins, putting his arm around Elizabeth’s waist. “Who are you? This is a private party. I don’t see your invitation.”
The native starts shaking badly and yells, “It’s one of them!”
“I’d listen to your friend here, kid,” Angel smirks. “I suggest you get out of town now before I get unpleasant.”
James seems to think about it momentarily before putting on his vampiric face and growling, “How about no.”
Angel states solemnly, “James, last warning. Leave town now or you will die here.”
The vampire raises an eyebrow curiously, “Who are you?” Angel slowly pulls down his mask. James grins happily, “Angel! I heard you were in town! You even came to see me! I feel honored!”
“James, please leave before I have to kill you for taking that young woman’s life. I can’t have you hanging around town killing innocents,” Angel frowns, drawing a wooden kunai.
Elizabeth smirks, “We heard rumors that you’d changed, Angelus. You’re protecting your food now?”
“I won’t say it again,” Angel warns. He twirls his kunai and grabs it again. “It won’t be very difficult for me to eliminate all of you.”
James sighs dramatically, “And here I was hoping we could catch up on old times. Oh well!” The vampires tense up to attack when Faith drops from the ceiling.
She lands beside Angel and grins, “You were planning on having a fight without inviting me? I’m hurt!”
“Faith, what are you doing here?”
“Ditto, Cyclops,” she retorts. “You acted weird this morning so I followed you.” She turns to face the vampires. “Now that I know the problem, let’s wreak some carnage!”
The two ninja rush forward, slicing the throats of the two nearest vampires and impaling two others’ hearts, making them explode into ash. The vampires, surprised by their speed, are shocked into inaction for a few seconds before jumping back into defensive positions. Faith uses the few seconds to plunge two wooden kunai into the heart and head of the two vampires that had their throats slit. She yanks the kunai from the vampire’s head and decapitates it.
Angel rushes forward and disappears. Two vampires explode into dust, revealing Angel holding two wooden kunai behind them. James and Elizabeth gasp at how quickly their minions were destroyed. Faith darts past Angel and plunges her kunai deep into Elizabeth’s heart. She stares at Faith a moment in shock before exploding into dust. James snaps out of his stunned reverie and he dives at Faith furiously, only to receive a strong backhand that sends him flying to the ground. He staggers to his feet and glares at Angel. He charges at him with a yell, but Angel easily dodges his punches and kicks. “Stand still and die!” James roars.
Angel stops and blocks one of his fists with ease. “Fine.” He lunges forward and begins to pummel him. The blows come to fast for James to block, resulting in several broken bones and bruises. Angel kicks him to the ground and stands over him with a wooden kunai in hand. He raises the kunai up and starts to let his hand drop before suddenly stopping it short of his heart. Angel turns his back on James and states, “Get out of town. If I see you again, you’re dead.” He walks away.
“Don’t walk away from me, Angelus! Don’t walk away from me!” James yells after him weakly.
Faith towers over him and smirks, “What a loser. Cut your losses and scram, kid.” She kicks him in the face and leans over him. “If he can’t kill you next time, I will.” She grins sadistically and follows Angel out of the warehouse.
Faith catches up to Angel and asks, “Are you sure you want to let him go?”
“He’s learned his lesson. He won’t bother us again,” Angel says dully. He jumps onto a rooftop and starts hopping away.
Faith shrugs and calls after him, “If you say so!” She hurries after him.
The pair runs into Jonathan, Andrew, and Faith’s clone a minute later. “Hey, Angel and Faith! Faith? If you’re here, than who is…” Andrew says in confusion. The Faith beside him waves with a grin and poofs out of existence.
“Shadow clone,” Jonathan drones.
“Got it in one, Sherlock!” she answers cheerfully.
Jonathan and Andrew exchange glances. Andrew whispers, “There is something wrong.”
“I know,” Jonathan replies. “She should not be this cheery under any circumstances.” He turns to face the couple. “We were sent to eliminate…”
Angel states, “I know. Already taken care of.” Faith nods in agreement.
The boys sigh and turn around to jump away. Andrew says as he hops away, “Ah, man! And here I was looking forward to a good fight! Hey, Jonathan! Since we didn’t fight vampires, do you think we could—“
“No! I will not spar with you again!” Jonathan snaps. Andrew sighs mournfully but Jonathan shows no sign of regret.
Outskirts of Sunnydale 15 minutes Later:
A car speeds out of Sunnydale and when a huge boulder slams into the car. The car spins off the road and crashes. James slowly crawls out of the car. He glances at his totaled car and growls, “Great! Just what I needed! This night can’t get any worse!” Lightning flashes in the sky and it starts raining. He groans, “I just had to say it.”
An eerie laugh erupts from the night. “I hear you had a little bit of trouble tonight with Angelus,” the voice mocks.
“Who’s there!” James demands, turning slowly in a circle while holding his broken ribs with one arm.
The voice chuckles, “Do you wish for revenge?”
“Yes!” James answers quickly. “Of course I want revenge! They killed Elizabeth! But there is no way that I could possibly take them on and win.”
“What if I said I could make you strong enough to beat them?” the voice inquires.
“What do I have to do to get this power?” James narrows his eyes and the lightning flashes.
The voice purrs, “Just stand still.” He turns around and yells as a large snake-like face lashes out of the darkness, fangs flashing in the lightning flash.