The Final Hour
Willow stood in the doorway with one Cordelia chase wondering why everyone in the room was plastered to a wall or on one another crying.
“You guys have been here all night and nothings done?” Cordelia said halfway between anger and bewilderment from all the crying, then she noticed Harmony cuddled up with her new boy toy and the anger completely took over. She walked over and dragged a startled red faced Harmony off what was hers.
Willow began to back up when she noticed the dead body of one of her fellow students. She had to go get help. Larry ignored Cordelia and ran up to Willow. “Willow they took Jessica, those thugs with the weird faces,” panic was evident in his voice as he relayed everything that happened to a fear struck Willow. “Oz and Scott escaped and went to get Buffy, but I’m not sure if they knew where to find her or if that gang caught up with them.”
Willow turned quickly and ran out of the school full force intent on finding Buffy so they could rescue their friend while Cordelia called 911 because everyone else was too scared out of their wits to think of it. Willow hoped that it was not too late; she remembered broken heartedly how it had been too late for Jesse. Half way to Buffy’s house she saw, Oz and Scott running back towards the school.
“Where’s Buffy?” Willow asked as she came to a halt in front of the two boys who looked exhausted from running.
“She took off like a bat out of hell when we told her what went down. We tried to keep up with her but she was long gone before we even had a chance to turn around.
Willow didn’t know what to do; they had no idea where they had taken Jessica or if she was still alive. She turned and ran back to the only one who could possibly have an answer to all this. The boys followed her like little lost puppies.
When Willow reached the school, everything was in chaos. The police took statements from the frightened students that had barricaded themselves in the classroom all-night and Principal Flutie looked extremely pale and on the verge of throwing up as he listened to the unbelievable tale they were spinning.
She and the boys quickly snuck by all the chaos and headed for the library where they found a frantic Buffy, Giles and Xander. Buffy for some odd reason had her prom dress on.
“Giles, you have to give me something, I don’t even know where to begin to look for her,” Buffy’s voice was near panic as she spoke.
“Buffy neither do I, I wish I could give you something to go on, but I have no clue where they have taken her. Or what they would want from her other than to lure you in to fulfill the prophecy.
Buffy stiffened at his statement and tears started forming in her eyes. It seemed that quitting was not an option for the slayer after all, especially since her friends kept dying or being abducted.
“We’ll all of this may be a moot point, if we don’t even know where to look for this hellmouth,” Xander said then clamped his mouth shut as he notice Willow and her guest.
“Excuse me what’s a hellmouth?” Scott asked with wide-eyed amazement as he glanced at Oz who just nodded in approval of the question.
Giles sighed to himself, ‘Great two more for show and tell in our little supposedly secret group,’ rubbing the bridge of his nose he turned slowly and gave Willow a pointed look. His ire died somewhat when she at least had the decency to look guilty.
“Buffy shook her head. “We’ll explain later guys,” she stopped short at Giles audible exasperation. “Or not, but right now we have a friend to find and rescue if at all possible.”
Willow whimpered at the last of her words, but kept the tears back. “Willow, Xander, we need to go into research mode, If we can find anything about the location of the hellmouth, maybe where exactly the Master was sucked under or any secret passages, the bad guys have to be getting in and out from somewhere.”
Scott and Oz watched in awe as the Scooby gang became a well-oiled machine of research. Books practically flew everywhere, books that they had not seen in all of their tenure here at Sunnydale high. Books that looked like you shouldn’t open let alone read from.
Several hours later and near nightfall, not a one had come any closer to finding anything useful. Xander slammed his thirtieth book in frustration. “I’m not finding anything guys, and time is of the essence here.”
Buffy paced back and forth, she tried to think. The entrance at the cemetery had ended up a dead end so that was out. The attack at the bronze had been a onetime deal and that was only because it had been full of people, not because it was over the hellmouth. Most of the attacks and weird occurrences to her knowledge have been… Her eyes widened as realization hit her like a ten-ton truck. Before she could voice her opinion Jenny Calendar, the schools computer teacher and Cordelia Chase came running into the library breathing hard as they tried to block the library doors as several vampires tried to pry their way in, all of the library occupants rushed to help the ladies.
“There’s an army of them right outside the school,” Ms. Calendar screamed as a vamp grabbed her by her hair. Giles took a stake and put out the only thing he could reach, its eye. The vampire growled and scurried away knocking back his allies in the process. Giving the group a chance to completely shut and block the door.
“Why would they come here?” Willow asked in fear of the answer.
“Because the hellmouth is under the school,” Buffy said in a sad tone as everyone looked at her in horror.
Giles looked at his slayer and you could see there was a little pride behind the fear in his eyes. “Of course! All of the unexplained things in this school, the evil that is attracted here, of course the school would be the focal point of the mystical convergence. Why didn’t I think of this before?” Giles wanted to hit himself for overlooking such an obvious conclusion.
Buffy let her slayer come forth and she looked at the group with determination in her eyes. “Try your best to keep them busy, I’m going to find a way down there and rescue Jessica.”
“Buffy, you shouldn’t go down there alone…” Xander started to protest but Buffy stopped him short.
“Yes I should Xander, I’m the Slayer,” she paused for a second and looked at her watcher with tear-filled eyes. “It's my duty,” Giles started to reach out and hug her but she ran up one of the tables and jumped up into one of the air vents and out of sight.
Jessica woke up screaming to the Master draining her of her blood. The Master stopped munching on her long enough to look into her frightened eyes as she screamed. Chained to both walls, Jessica stood with her legs and arms spread apart. She had no leeway to even struggle for freedom. Her nightmare stood there with the remnants of her blood dripping from his grinning mouth. Numbing fear took over as she noticed something just behind her killer.
Her eyes went wide as she noticed the body laying face down in a puddle of water. She wasn’t able to see the girls face but she recognized the dress immediately. Hot tears formed in her tired eyes as realization hit her like a ton of bricks.
“Buffy?” Jessica whimpered as the Master smiled at her words.
“Oh the little blonde slayer can’t help you, see she’s a little dead at the moment," he went over to kick at her for emphasis. "But I’m sure she’d like to thank you though, see if she wouldn’t have come to rescue you I wouldn’t be free now, but that’s the least of your worries my darling girl,” the Master taunted and came upon her quickly.
Jessica’s screams poured through the underground tomb as the Master feasted upon her blood. She felt it flow from her to him in droves making her weaker and weaker. When the screams and fight left her completely he stopped feeding and caressed her cheek. Not yet Jessica, I have so many plans for you but I have a hellmouth to unleash before I break you. He turned and walked out of his century old prison leaving her and a dead Buffy waiting for his return.
“Buffy,” Jessica tried to yell her name but between her weakened state and the deadness of her best friend, there was no way she was going to be heard. It seemed like she was down there way to long when she finally heard someone coming to the rescue. She smiled and finally passed out when she saw Xander Harris come around the corner.
When she woke, she was in the library surrounded by all of her friends. They were gawking at her as if they had seen a ghost.
“Okay, that was interesting,” Scott said as he rubbed his eyes and stared at Jessica as if he saw her for the first time.
She ignored all except Buffy, she sat up quickly, screaming Buffy’s name hysterically reaching out for her with tears in her eyes.
Buffy stood there for a moment with haunted eyes before she finally went to Jessica to comfort her.
“Oh God Buffy I’m so sorry. I thought you were gone, if it weren’t for me none of this would have happened. I’m so glad you’re alive,” Jessica hugged Buffy tightly but barely got a response. She released her and tried to look into her eyes but Buffy avoided looking at her altogether.
“What happened?” Jessica glanced at them all in turn. For a moment, there was complete silence before Xander spoke up.
It’s a long story Jessica,” Xander eyed her warily.
“Well Buffy defeated the Master and we were all prepared to take you to the hospital when you started to glow and heal yourself,” Cordelia said tactfully.
Jessica’s eyebrow shot into the stratosphere. “What now!”
Xander rolled his eyes and sighed. “Apparently not that long of a story if you have no sense of tact.”