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Blue Belle

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This story is No. 1 in the series "Blue Belle Universe". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: He dressed up as his state's senior senator. Now he's a blue woman. How the hell does Xander keep landing himself in these situations?

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Marvel Universe > X-Men > Xander-Centered
Marvel Universe > Avengers
(Moderator)JoeHundredaireFR1841161,48041588207,32020 May 097 Apr 13No

Chapter 31

Joe's Note: Sorry I've been absentee for so long. I had to decide how I was going to do the church battle, plus I've been working closely on a picture of the full Sunnydale Sirens to use as art for this story. And a little World of Warcraft, cuz I'm a dork. Anyways, I'm like… twenty reviews from moving up into third place for Top Reviewed X-Men Stories, so if any of you normally quiet types want to say hello, I'll love you forever.



     Frowning, Willow continued to dig through the clothes hanging in her closet. No, she liked that top too much to risk it on someone who didn't properly respect leather. Same with that one. And that one. Hmm. Mehh, she had another vest that looked almost identical to that one. She wouldn't miss it too much if Michelle wrecked it somehow. "You do realize that begging an outfit off me means that you're no longer allowed to pick on me for having a 'dead cow fetish', right?"

     From behind her, Michelle let out a rather unfeminine snort that made Willow flash back to the days of arguing with Xander. "You do have a dead cow fetish, Wills. Thing is, your black dead cow is better for sneaking around in than my colorful regular clothes are, ergo, borrowage."

     Willow looked back over her shoulder and pinned Michelle with a skeptical look. "You expect me to believe you don't own anything black?"

     "Except for some bras and panties? Nope." Willow just raised a brow at that; she could have sworn she'd seen more black in Michelle's laundry baskets than just underwear would account for. Then again, given that the redhead's bras were larger and she preferred boy shorts and other more masculine styles of underwear… maybe she was telling the truth. Michelle pointed towards the door. "You can go look if you don't believe me. The closest I have to black is a dark grey shirt and a darkish blue pair of jeans."

     Waving off the invite, Willow turned back to her clothes once more. "Pass. But still, in the end, my wardrobe is more useful than your wardrobe and you're no longer allowed to pick on it." Emerging from the closet with a black leather vest, she tossed it at Michelle to compliment the black leather pants the redhead was already holding. "Here you go. Just do me a favor and turn yourself all the way back into me before you get dressed. I don't need you wrecking a pair of my pants with your bubble butt." Michelle opened her mouth to protest but Willow cut her off. "Oh please, you know I look. A lot. You fill out jeans a lot better than you did back when you bought them. That means you've been tinkering with yet another part of my body. And I don't need you wrecking pants that fit the regular me by cramming your twisted ideal me into them."

     Michelle stuck out her tongue. "You don't mind my 'twisted ideal you' when you're trying to burn a hole in my pants with your eyes."

     "Yes, but you're not wrecking my expensive pants when you cram that your big butt into your own jeans." Biting her lower lip, Willow set aside a pair of pants for herself before going in search of a top. Then something else occurred to her: Michelle might be a bit too literal with her instructions. "Make sure you keep your hair all Michelle-y, though. I don't need Cordelia hitting on me by accident because she picks the wrong twin."

     "Jealous?"

     "Ah ha ha no." Willow thought for a second before revising her answer. "Well, not of you. Of her? Yeah. She at least gets away with flirting for the most part. You just get mad at me."

     Michelle groaned. "How many times are we going to have to go over this, Willow? You're like a sister to me. And even if you weren't, as far as people know, you are my cousin. If I change my mind down the road, I can date Cordy. You, on the other hand? Sunnydale Syndrome covers a lot of things, but a West Virginia relationship probably wouldn't be one of them."

     Whirling around, Willow stomped across the room and jabbed Michelle in the chest with her finger. "And you're only my cousin because I was nice to you. And let you borrow my face and my house and my money. If I'd known you were going to use it as a reason to reject me, I would have left you for Giles or Cordelia or whoever to help. I'm sorry I'm not Cordelia. I'm sorry my feelings for you aren't convenient to your plans. But it's me and it's how I feel and I can't just turn it off because someone asks me to."

     "Wills, I…"

     "Whatever. You have what you need. You remember how to find your own room, right?" Michelle didn't respond and after a few seconds, Willow spoke up again. "Okay, since you can't take the hint… get out." Michelle still remained still and silent, and Willow felt her annoyance growing, a growl escaping her. "Get out!" The redhead turned and fled, leaving Willow panting as she tried to bring herself back under control. "There had better be a lot of things to kill tonight."



     Sheila Rosenberg looked up from the latest issue of Psychology Today, blinking as a version of her daughter with long red hair came down the stairs behind a Willow with the short black hair Sheila still hadn't gotten used to. Both of them were dressed completely in black leather, though, eliminating the chance that she'd been hallucinating through the last few days' worth of encounters with her daughter. "Willow? Willows?"

     The black-haired version of her daughter looked back over her shoulder, scowling at her doppelganger. "Fix your hair, Michelle. What did I tell you about that?"

     "Well excuse me. You told me to turn back into you and so I went for a full Classic Willow look. Figured it was good enough, since Cordelia's not likely to mix us up with you wearing the black dyke spikes while I have long red hair." Before Sheila could chastise Michelle for her unladylike language, the girl's face screwed up in concentration and Sheila watched, fascinated, as the red hair she had seen on her daughter for so many years lightened to a copper color, shortening a bit for good measure. "There. Happy now?"

     Willow sniffed before turning away. "Ecstatic." It wasn't until she reached the bottom of the stairs that she noticed the other presence in the room, abruptly freezing and causing Michelle to crash into her. "Mom. Where's… Ira?"

     Wincing at the question, Sheila mentally cursed her husband. Ever since Willow had learned the truth of her parentage, he'd demanded she refer to him by his real name, since he wasn't actually her father. Willow had moped for a day or two before rebounding and retaliating by questioning Sheila at length over every family meal to find out more about her real father. "He's back on the road for another conference. I'm supposed to be with him, but things are a bit…" Sheila hesitated; she preferred to be truthful with her daughter because sugarcoating things was only harmful in the end, but she didn't want Willow to blame herself for her parents' marital troubles. "…things are a bit strained at the moment. Because of… well, you know. It took him a while to get over my infidelity in the first place and I think he repressed it rather than actually dealing with his feelings in a healthy manner. Now he can't ignore things anymore and he doesn't know what to do. So I'm going to give him a little space and stay here with you two. There's a paper I've been meaning to edit and submit, and I need to catch up on all of these journals that have stacked up."

     "Oh. Cool. Alright, see you later, Mom." From behind Willow, Michelle waved before the pair made their way to the front door, Michelle opening it for her cousin but receiving only a cold shoulder in reply.

     A flicker of concern bloomed in Sheila's mind as the front door shut as she wondered several things… why were they dressed up? Where were they going? What business did they have at this hour of the night? Were the pair abusing drugs? Drinking? Having sex? Obviously not together, but with others? Was there some significance in the fact that Michelle had shapeshifted to look more like Willow than she already did? And most importantly, why was she just sitting here as her daughter and niece left to do who knows what who knows where?

     Sheila dropped the magazine onto the coffee table and pushed herself to her feet, only to drop back onto the couch as a warm fog descended over her mind. Almost mechanically, she picked up her magazine again and flipped back to the page she'd left off on. Idly she wondered if the girls needed help on their homework, but the couch was rather comfortable and this article so fascinating…



     Tugging on the zipper of her catsuit, Cordelia frowned. The damn thing had zipped all the way up to her neck when Dominique had made it for her. So why was she having so much trouble getting it zipped up over her chest? Oh God, was she still growing? Her bras had started feeling a little tight lately… just like her old bras before the growth spurt had been. Did that mean that her natural development was still moving along according to schedule, just with an endpoint three whole cup sizes larger than she would have stopped before Halloween?

     Cordelia grunted again as she tugged on the stubborn zipper before sucking in a huge breath and holding it. With torturous slowness, the zipper crept up but by the time her burning lungs demanded she exhale, she had the catsuit zipped. She felt like she was on a New York subway at rush hour, but it was on. Grabbing her mask, Cordelia slipped it on and made her way out of her bedroom, making a mental note to look into an alternative costume option for the future, just in case they needed to do this again.

     A potential problem presented itself when Cordelia reached the ground floor: her mother was in the living room, which was between her and the hallway leading to the garage. After a few seconds, she just shrugged. The woman was hardly Mother of the Year material. She probably wouldn't even care that Cordelia was going out. And she knew something that could be of use to Cordelia, come to think of it. "Hey, Mom? Does Dad still have that crappy DeSoto in the garage? You know, the one you refuse to be seen in public riding in?"

     Looking up from the newspaper Cordelia assumed had some fashion magazine hidden inside, her mother nodded. "Last time I checked. Why?"

     "Oh, was thinking of using it as a battering ram."

     "...what, like driving it through a wall or something?"

     "Puhlease. Like I'm that crazy. I'm going to pick it up with my powers and hurl it through the wall, of course." And wow, her mother really was a horrible parent if she wasn't even blinking at this conversation. Did she think Cordelia was joking around?

     Whichever it was, her mother seemed more than happy to provide her with what she needed. "Oh. In that case, keys are on the rack with the other four cars'. Have fun." She went back to reading her magazine-in-a-paper and Cordelia decided not to question her easy victory, walking past the woman casually on her way to the garage. Suddenly her mother's head snapped up, eyes raking up and down over Cordelia's body. "…wait a minute, where are you going dressed like that?"

     Cordelia feigned ignorance of the problem, looking down at herself. "Hmm? Oh, you mean the catsuit?" Her mother nodded. "I've been going to the S&M club across town to try and meet a better girl than Michelle, but they tossed me out when they finally figured out I had a fake ID. Since the bouncer won't let me past anymore, I'm gonna go over and make my own door."

     Her mother thought about that for a moment before looking back down. "Oh. Okay. Have fun, and try not to get marked anywhere that'll show. Your father would probably have a stroke."

     Wow. Just… wow.



     "Alright, so I've gotta ask… what the hell is up with the shitty wheels, Cordy? Parents forget to mail the check for yours and you got repo'd?"

     Cordelia rolled her eyes. "Funny, Red. No, I'm planning on helping my family get rid of some trash. Let's just call it a clunker buster."

     Snorting in laughter, Michelle looked over at Cordelia, admiring the way the moonlight and the lights of the dashboard added strange little highlights to her glossy black catsuit. "It's a 'clunker buster'? Wow. Someone needs to go to the punitentiary for that one."

     "If you two wanna keep flirting, I can hop out and go take care of things on my own. Maybe you two can go parking over on Kingman's Bluff?" Michelle jerked to face forward, still guilty over the fight she'd had with Willow before leaving. "Although she does have a point. A '59 DeSoto Fireflite? That's not a very Cordy car."

     The cheerleader shrugged, one hand leaving the steering wheel so she could fiddle idly with her ponytail. "Well if you don't like my choice of which car to borrow from my parents, I suppose next time we could… oh wait, that's right, you don't have a car. Or even a license." Flicking her blinker on, she made a left at the intersection and went a short way's down the new street before slowing to a stop in front of a church. "Well, here we are. I hope whoever called me with that tip was on the level."

     Hopping out of the car, Michelle looked around warily. "Doesn't look like much. Then again, if you need a church for a vampire-fixing magic ritual, I suppose an abandoned one would be the way to go. Seems a bit too much like tempting fate, though. Being a vampire and hanging out in a church, I mean. It's like having a sword fight on metal stilts in the middle of a thunderstorm. You're just begging to get smited for your stupidity."

     "Not like they have a choice. The Watcher said a church on the night of a new moon. If Willy wants to put Drusilla back together, this is the only church in town that's abandoned." A huge, hulking form emerged from the shadows and Michelle willed her fingers into razor sharp talons, ready for anything. The man just smirked at her before turning his attention to Cordelia. "Well, what's it gonna be, Magnette? Stand out here waiting for the Dynamic Duo to show up and kill vampires in between trying to kill each other? Or are you gonna take out the trash?"

     Cordelia narrowed her eyes at the man and Michelle felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end, a sign that the cheerleader was about to unleash her powers on the man. The redhead decided to step in at that point, not wanting their mystery ally to be killed before he could be questioned more fully. "Who are you? And why are you helping us?"

     "If I didn't know you were Red's misplaced baby, I might actually feel a little insulted that she never mentioned her old pal Victor to you." Michelle blinked owlishly at the odd statement. Red? She was her own missing child? Whah? "Oh, right, Magnette calls you Red too. No, that's my nickname for your mother. Big Red, I suppose, and you can be Little Red now." Grinning a fanged smile, he held up his hand and Michelle watched as his fingernails grew out into wicked looking claws. "Just call me Uncle Victor. Well, except for you, Magnette. Your grandpa got me tossed off the Statue of Liberty. I'm still kinda pissed at him about that."

     Bristling at that, Cordelia again found herself cut off as Willow entered the conversation. "Victor? Victor Creed? As in the guy my mom knew from the same place she met my real dad? And the guy who boinked Emma Frost a bunch of times?"

     Victor chuckled. "Wow. My niece says 'boinked'. Looks like I have a lot of work ahead of me. Yes, I'm the Victor who fucked Emma. Fucked a lot of other women, too. Her mom, for instance." He jerked a thumb at Michelle, whose jaw dropped. Wow. Manwhore much? Not to mention way, way too much information about her faux-mother's sex life. She looked Victor up and down a few times, suddenly very glad that she opted not to let Emma restore her memories of Mystique. "And your old man is my half-brother Jimmy. His mama was cheating on her husband with my dad. Kinda ironic that Jimmy went on to do the same thing with your mom, huh?"

     "Well, as fascinating as this is, can we get down to business now? You all can have your family reunion later, assuming we're still alive." The trio looked over at Cordelia, who had her arms crossed under her breasts and was tapping her foot impatiently. "Now, first of all… Victor, it's not my fault you went along with grandpa's jackass scheme, so don't blame me for what happened. Second of all, call me Magnette and we'll see how long it takes you to heal from me shoving a metal spike where the sun doesn't shine. Third of all… you're sure this is the place? Giles said… wait, I don't even want to know how you heard Giles talking to the Wonder Twins. You're sure, though?" Victor nodded. "Alright. We're gonna talk when this is all over, though. Moving on… fourth of all, get out of my way unless you want a faceful of flying DeSoto."

     Victor made his way down the steps, moving to stand on the other side of Willow as Michelle. "Am I the only one who thinks she's hot when she's demanding?"

     "Yes."

     "Nope."

     Furrowing her brow in concentration, Cordelia held both hands out towards the aging DeSoto. With a soft grunt of exertion, she lifted her arms and the car slowly floated up off the ground, defying gravity in the grip of Cordelia's powers. The red car made a slow ninety degree turn, coming to rest with its nose pointed at the front wall of the church. "Three… two… one… fire in the hole!"

     The Fireflite shot forward, crashing through the thick stone wall and disappearing from sight.



     Despite Drusilla's reassurances that everything would work out and she'd be restored to full strength by the end of the night, a nagging sense of unease had been tugging at Spike's mind since they'd left the house to begin setting up for the ritual. Solid proof finally arrived in the form of the back wall of the church exploding inward and showering the sanctuary with chunks of stone. Something red rocketed its way up the center of the church, destroying pews on both side of the aisle before finally coming to a stop only yards from where he, Dru, Angel, and his protection detail were standing. Or hanging in Angel's case.

     And bloody hell, had someone seriously just thrown a Fireflite through the wall of the church at him? If not for the red paint, he could have been staring at his own car…

     Spike didn't have much time to ponder the make and model of the church-wrecking projectile, though. A mighty roar rolled through the sanctuary and then a massive figure clad in black came bounding down the recently widened aisle. It leapt into the air, easily clearing the wrecked car before colliding with one of Spike's minions, slamming the vampire into the floor. He - or at least Spike was fairly certain it was a he based on the size and shortly cropped hair - raised one hand, displaying a wicked set of claw-like nails, before swiping it across the vampire's neck. As the minion choked, gurgled, and then dusted, a ghost from Spike's past looked up at him and offered a smile displaying fangs that put his own to shame. "Hiya, Willy. Didja you miss me?"

     It was Victor bloody Creed.

     Oh bugger.



     Willow looked on in awe and jealousy as her supposed uncle - they'd definitely be discussing that one later - bounded into the church and casually dusted one of Spike's minions with a single slash to the vampire's neck. Her claws were so much better than his… overgrown fingernails! And even if they hadn't been, there was no way she was going to let him have all the fun killing Spike's minions! Her roar was decidedly less impressive and her approach was a two-legged charge as opposed to his quadruped bounding, but she was quickly upon them and then jealousy took a back seat to combat.

     The first target to catch her eye was a redheaded woman in black holding a gun in each hand and Willow wheeled around to pounce on her. After all, she could take a bullet - or six - while Cordelia and Michelle couldn't. Ejecting her hand claws, she jabbed both hands towards the woman's chest before sweeping them outward, slamming her fists into her opponent's wrists and making her drop both guns. Was the redhead a human or a human-shaped demon? Willow wasn't sure… but she could disable just as easily as she could kill. Waiting until the woman threw a badly telegraphed haymaker at her head, Willow dropped to one knee and drove her claws into the woman's thighs. The redhead hit the ground screaming as she slapped her hands over the holes and Willow barely resisted the temptation to eject her foot's claw before kicking the woman in the head, silencing her.

     Yeah! Who was the tough one now, huh? Willow looked over just in time to see Victor driving his clawed hand clean through a vampire's chest, clutching the unbeating heart for a moment before it and the vampire dusted. Oh. He still was. Drat.



     Letting Victor and then Willow lead the way into the church, Michelle followed at a slightly more sedate pace, plucking the church's processional cross from its stand as she passed. Almost as tall as her, it made for an effective - albeit top heavy - quarterstaff, with built in vampire burning properties thanks to the crucifix at the top. Just like when she'd fought with Cordelia in the library back on November 1st, she felt knowledge she knew wasn't hers coming to the fore and she began to spin the staff around her body in lazy circles as she evaluated the situation. Angel and Drusilla were at the front of the church, tied together with chain, with Spike sticking close to them to perform the ritual that would restore his lover to health. On top of the remaining three-quarters of the Scourge of Europe, there were five… make that four minions, a creepy looking guy in a suit with thick glasses, and the redhead that Willow had just put down for the count. Looking over at Cordelia, she nodded towards Spike. "Mine."

     Scoffing, Cordelia waved her hand dismissively. "Have at it. I'll go untie Captain Forehead… and wow, now that I actually look at him, it is kinda huge, isn't it?" Michelle couldn't help but giggle at the observation; she really had rubbed off on Cordelia. "Have fun. Oh, and remember to take a few pics between when he's down for the count and when you dust him. Brag to Giles that we got Billy Idol and his one bad dye job in all the world didn't."

     "Buffy's dye job isn't any worse than… wait, no, Harmony has you to remind her about her roots. Objection withdrawn." Leaving a chuckling Cordelia behind, Michelle slowly walked towards the front of the church, eyes firmly fixed on her prey. What Emma had told her echoed through her brain: the skills were still there, if she could find a way to them. Well, using a quarterstaff had come to her as soon as she'd grabbed a weapon. Would throwing herself into combat with a master vampire jar enough loose to make sure she was the one who walked away at the end of the fight? According to both Emma and Cordelia, Mystique was one bad ass chick…

     As she grew closer and closer, Michelle's eyes began to shift from Spike to Dru and back again. It made for an interesting dilemma: which one was the better target, Spike or his girlfriend? If she took out Spike, there'd be nobody to perform the ritual but if she took out the girlfriend, there'd be nobody for Spike to perform the ritual on. Looking down at her weapon, Michelle frowned. It didn't exactly have a pointy end or anything that she could use to stake a vampire. It would be easiest, she decided, to just beat Spike senseless with it and disrupt the ritual, keeping him from restoring Drusilla and neutralizing the potential threat she presented until someone else was free to deal with her.

     Mind made up, Michelle leapt nimbly into the air and landed on the end of one of the few remaining pews before jumping forward to the next and on to the next. When she reached the front row, she launched herself into a flip that carried her up and over where Victor was busy pounding the heads of two vampires into the floor over and over, depositing her within striking distance of Spike. Letting her left leg slide forward, Michelle continued moving with her momentum as she pushed off with her right leg, the action both pushing her up to stand on her left leg and setting her up to deliver a spin kick to the bleached blunder's back. While the impact was barely enough to make him stumble forward a step, the follow up delivery of the processional cross's crucifix to the back of his neck made Spike drop the book he was holding as he howled and clutched at his smoking flesh. "Now is that any way to treat your Yoda, Luke?"

     Spike whirled to face her, eyes golden and brows ridged as he loosed a snarl. Then his expression shifted from anger to confusion. "What the bloody… aren't you the Slayer's mousey little friend?" His looked off to one side and Michelle followed his gaze to where Willow was using her claws to assault one of Spike's remaining minions. "Half a mo. If you're the Slayer's friend, then who's she? What the hell is going on here? Who are you people?"

     "We're the Sirens. And I'm the girl about to slap you upside the head with a crucifix." Spinning, Michelle made good on her promise, bringing the gold crucifix up towards Spike's face. He instinctively brought a hand up to block, only to cry out in pain as it burned his bare flesh. "Seriously? You're trying to grab a cross? Are you new to this vampire thing or something?"

     Letting out another beastlike snarl, Spike threw a nasty-looking haymaker at her but Michelle used her makeshift staff to deflect it to one side, then spun the processional cross and slammed the head against Spike's fist again as he decided to see if a right hook would have any better luck. "Stop hiding behind that cross and fight me, you little bitch!"

     Michelle pondered that for a moment before shaking her head. "Uh, let me think about that. No?" And for good measure, she proceeded to smack him twice more with it before throwing herself at him in a flurry of arms and spinning staff. It wasn't like the style she'd used against Cordelia, she quickly noticed; that had been a very evasive type of fighting that used the girl's own energy and strength against her. This time, she was the one who struck first… and second and third and fourth. Wising up a bit, Spike pulled his hands up into the safety of his duster's sleeves, using them to deflect her strikes, but Michelle just kept up her assault, smoothly transitioning back into a more defensive style when Spike managed to mount a counterattack.

     Back and forth they went, neither managing to gain a clear advantage, but that was just fine with Michelle. Not only was she pleasantly surprised that her returning skills allowed her to keep up with a freaking master vampire… but she knew she didn't need to win the battle. She only needed to stall and distract Spike from the backup that was slowly approaching the peroxide blonde from behind, her foot claws extended. "Hey, Spike! What has golden eyes, a caveman brow, and no balls?"

     "Huh?" Then Spike screamed as Willow's foot came up between his legs from behind, her claw sinking into a particularly tender spot.

     Cackling, Willow raised both arms straight up over her head. "Gooooool!" The church fell silent as everyone turned to look at her and she blushed, slowly lowering her arms back to her sides. "What? I've been watching soccer lately on Telemundo to see if it helps me in Spanish class and… you know what, screw you all. I thought it was funny." Muttering under her breath, she proceeded to punch Spike in the chest several times - claws out - for good measure before rolling him onto his stomach and stripping his duster off. Slipping it on, she grinned and slid her hands up and down her sides. "The best kind of leather is free leather."

     Michelle just shook her head at Willow's antics before looking around. Victor was amusing himself by kicking the weird looking guy across the church repeatedly, watching him disintegrate into a mass of maggots each time he hit a flat surface only to return to his human state again. Spike's minions were dust, Spike was mourning the lost of both his manhood and his duster, and Cordelia had lowered both members of the ritual to the floor before freeing Angel and binding Drusilla tightly in chains. In other words, mission accomplished and time to go. Although… "Should we actually let Angel and Spike live? They've seen us in action and loose lips sink ships."

     Looking up from her inspection of her new duster, Willow's eyes went wide. "I thought we were here to save Angel?"

     "We wanted to stop the ritual to keep Drusilla weak. We did that. And if we kill Angel, not only can he not tell Buffy things that we don't need her knowing, but then there's no chance that he might get grabbed again later so they can try the ritual again. I mean, even if we kill Spike, who's to say Drusilla won't find someone else to grab Angel for her? He's probably pissed off enough people by fighting for the Slayer that they'll be lining up to help her." Willow nibbled on her lower lip as she pondered Michelle's words and, assuming she knew what her friend's hang up was, the redhead threw out a twist in an attempt to convince her to go along with her idea. "We don't need to be the ones who do it. I'm sure Victor won't mind dusting another vampire for us. And Spike, if killing vampires who actually talk to you freaks you out."

     "But Angel… the Master's cave…"

     "Angel only went down there because I made him. And I'm the one who gave her CPR. Angel what, Willow?" Michelle shot a glare over at the confused looking vampire leaning heavily on Cordelia. "He's thirty or so on the outside, two hundred some odd on the inside, and stalks and takes advantage of naïve teenage girls. That's not romantic, that's sick. We'd be doing her a favor. And we'd be doing ourselves a favor. After all, what reason does he have to not tell Buffy what she's seen here tonight?"

     Rolling her eyes, Willow drove her foot into Spike's side as the vampire attempted to push himself up off the floor, eliciting a new howl of pain and dropping him back to the blood-smeared marble. "Like Buffy cares about us enough that anything Angel tells her would matter. Just admit it, Michelle. You're not worried about what she might do or Drusilla and her ritual. You just hate Angel. You have ever since he showed up because you were all hung up on Buffy."

     Michelle scoffed. "I hate him for a whole bunch of reasons. Like the fact that he's a pedophile and a coward. And he tried to feed me to 'Willy' here." Looking down, she poked Spike in the head with the toe of her boot, only to pull her foot back as he lunged at her. "Speaking of, can we at least kill him? Cordy wanted me to get pics so we could rub it in to Giles that we bagged a master vampire. And before you even say it, that's totally different from Angel knowing because we trust Giles."

     Shaking her head, Willow turned away. "Fine. But I've got dibs on staking him. And you need to get down on your knees or crouch or something. I don't just want a picture of the top of my head. Then it could be any girl with spiky black hair." Wandering over to one of the broken pews, Willow dug around for a few seconds before coming up with a decently large and jagged piece of wood. By the time she returned, Michelle had dug out the point 'n shoot camera that Cordelia had given her in the car and was slowly circling the prone vampire, pondering where the best vantage point would be. "Today, Michelle?"

     "Hey, you're the one who wanted to make a big deal out of this. Oh, and flip him over so people can actually see that it's him." Willow followed her advice… after slamming one claw through Spike's spine in three separate places, severing his spinal cord and leaving him paralyzed. With her prey rendered helpless, Willow then moved to straddle his hips and raised the makeshift stake high over her head. Michelle eyed the pair for a moment before kneeling to Spike's left. That gave her a great view of the side of each person's face and as Willow brought the stake down, she depressed the shutter. There was a click, a flash of light, and a howl. When Michelle lowered the camera, Willow was kneeling in vampire ashes. "Now that's a Kodak moment."

     Snickering, Willow rose to her feet. "If I can figure out a way to keep mom from seeing it, let's get an 8" x 10" printed up for my room. Now… wait, forget Angel, why don't we just stake Drusilla? Doesn't that solve the problem?"

     Metal squealed against the floor and both girls cringed before looking over to find Victor dragging the bound vampire along behind him. "Dibs. I assume she needs offing, but I might as well have a little fun first." Michelle's nose scrunched up in disgust. Was there anything this man wouldn't stick his dick in? Sheila Rosenberg's description came back to her: a beast with a bit of man in him. Sure seemed accurate now. "Want me to tear the head off the caveman for you on my way out? Or are you gonna take care of your own dirty work, Little Red?"

     What? How had he heard… oh, right, if he was like Willow, Willow had really good hearing. Eavesdropping probably wasn't a problem for him. Michelle took a slow breath before straightening up. "Go have fun with Dru. We'll handle Angel."

     Victor offered a sloppy salute before lifting the bound vampire up off the ground and throwing her over one shoulder. "Have fun and don't do anyone I wouldn't do." Wow, that covered… absolutely nobody. "Oh, and Willow? Tell Sheila I'll be by tomorrow to chat. Just so she doesn't freak when I show up at the door. I used to do… clean up… work for Weapon X." And with that, he wandered out through the giant hole the DeSoto had created with its entrance and disappeared into the night.

     That left the three girls standing there uncertainly with Angel. Finally, Michelle walked over to where Willow had left the disarmed Tarakan and picked up the two pistols lying on the floor. For some reason, holding them felt… right. Natural. Walking up behind Cordelia and Angel, she took one last look over at Willow, who shook her head before looking away. There was nobody to stop her. Should she? True, he'd helped Buffy… when he wasn't being a liar or a coward… but there was also the whole stalker and pedophile thing to take into account. Buffy claimed to love him, but teenage girls tended to toss that world around far to easily. Finally, Michelle decided to take the chance that she'd been handed and jammed both guns against the back of Angel's skull before pulling the triggers. With two sharp cracks, his head exploded like a watermelon at a Gallagher show but the blood and gore never reached her or Cordelia, instead turning into ash and drifting to the floor.

     "Okay, so wait a minute. Why did I just waste my time saving him? Couldn't you have just shot him while he was hanging around?"
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