July 13, 2000
JFK International Airport
"I take it from your expression that you’re not real happy to see me," Riley said.
"It’s not that," Buffy said. "It’s just that…" She hesitated. How could she tell him that his unconfirmed H.S.T. was Oz?
He looked at her. "There’s something you’re not telling me," he said. "Again."
"It’s Oz," she said finally. Might as well get it out in the open, she thought.
"Your H.S.T.," she said. "It’s Oz. He’s a werewolf."
He remembered Oz. He had dropped out of the class for personal problems, according to Willow and Buffy. He’d never have guessed that this was the reason.
"Are you sure?" he asked.
"Ask me how many times I’ve had to lock him up, shoot him with tranquilizers and all around beat the living daylights out of him just to keep him from killing people," she said. "I’m sure."
This was a lot for Riley to take. "Do you know where he is?"
"Yes," Buffy said. "And no, I’m not going to tell you."
"Riley, please," Buffy said. "Oz is my friend. And I’m not going to let you cart him off to your labs just because he’s dangerous. Not when there’s a chance we can help him."
"What do you mean?" Riley asked.
"Willow’s found a spell that we hope will cure him," she said. She was stretching the truth a lot, she knew. The spell would suppress the werewolf urges in Oz, not cure him of them, but she didn’t want to tell Riley that. She loved him, but she wasn’t about to let him do to Oz what the Initiative had done to Spike.
"That’s great," Riley said. "Are you sure it’ll work?"
"Willow’s confident it will," Buffy said. "And we’ve got some heavy hitters lined up for the big night."
"Demona for one," Buffy said.
"That name sounds familiar," Riley said.
"Jewel of Ragorak," she said. "Remember?"
"Right," he said, finally making the connection. Demona had shown up in Sunnydale to recover the jewel from the late Mayor Wilkins. Riley had set a team to intercept her at the warehouse where the jewel was hidden, but she had gassed them, himself included, before they had a chance to stop her. Luckily, the jewel wasn’t the world-ending hazard everyone had thought it was and Buffy had clued him in on what happened after Demona left town. "So she’s going to help with the spell. Anya said she was a sorceress."
"She said she would," Buffy said. "Which will probably make Giles real happy," she added sarcastically. "Speaking of which…" She looked up and down the concourse, looking for the former Watcher.
"Buffy, over here," she heard him say. She turned and caught sight of him. He was carrying several cylinders under his arm that kept trying to slide free. She ran over to him and took them.
"Thank you," he said. He set his suitcases down and wiped his brow. "You have no idea how precious those are."
"What are they?" Riley asked.
Giles looked at Riley, surprised to see him. "Scroll material," he said. "I’ve been…"
"I told him what’s going on, Giles," Buffy said. "He knows about the spell."
"I see," he said.
"So these are the spells we need?" she asked.
"Unfortunately, no," Giles said. "That’s only the parchment needed for the transcription. I was not able to find an actual text for the keying spell."
"That’s okay," she said. "Demona said she had one."
"How…wonderful," Giles said.
"Here, let me get that for you," Riley said, bending down to pick up one of the suitcases. "What have you got in here?" he asked, noting the weight.
"Components for the spell," he said. "Please be careful with that. I won’t be able to replace any of them if they’re damaged." Buffy grabbed the other suitcase and followed Giles and Riley out of the terminal.
When they were outside, a military transport was waiting for Riley. "Can I give you a ride into the city?" he asked.
"No, we have a ride waiting," Buffy said. "I’ll see you later."
"Okay," he said. Riley got into the vehicle and left.
When he was well out of sight, Buffy turned and waved her hand. A stretch limousine pulled up in front of them.
"My word," Giles said as the chauffeur took his bags and set them carefully in the trunk. "Is this…"
"Courtesy of Dominique Destine, Giles," Buffy said. "Hop in."Destine Manor
Giles watched as Dominique fingered the scroll material he had given her, looking for all the world like she was touching fine silk.
"Where did you get this?" she asked.
"A magic shop in Soho, a couple of years ago," Giles said. "Into the Mystic, if I recall."
Dominique smiled. "I know the place," she said. "Angela has friends there. The store owners are gargoyles."
"Yes, I know," he said. "Una is a good friend. She gave me quite a remarkable deal for those scrolls."
"The next time I’m in London, I’ll be certain to give her your regards," she said.
Giles found himself warming up to Dominique. It was hard to believe that she and Demona were the same individual. Maybe Willow was right about her changing for the better.
"So, will it do?" Willow asked. "For the keying spell, I mean."
"Yes," she said regretfully. "A pity that it will have to be burned."
"What?" Buffy and Willow said, shocked.
"It’s part of the ritual," Giles said. "When the spell on each scroll is read, it is placed in a brazier and burned."
"Very good, Mr. Giles," Dominique said, amused at the momentary panic her statement had caused Buffy and Willow. "I trust you have the necessary components."
"Right here," he said, touching his bag. "You can examine them if you like."
"I think I will," she said. "If you’ll come with me, I’ll show you my workshop."
Giles picked up his bag and followed Dominique down the hallway.
"Giles, what do you want us to do?" Buffy asked.
"Oh," he said. Taking a slip of paper out of his pocket, he handed it to Buffy. "I need you to find these things. I would have brought them myself but some of the items produce a rather pungent aroma."
"What’re they for?" Willow asked.
"It’s for a potion for Oz," Giles said. "Part of the actual spell."
Buffy looked at the list. Some of the items sounded extremely noxious. "You realize he’s going to hate the smell of this," she said.
"Oh, don’t worry," Giles said. "The smell is nothing compared to the taste."
Buffy considered the implications of that statement. "I’m sure that’s going to go over real big with him," she said.23rd Precinct Station
Elisa spotted Sergeant Morgan as she entered the station.
"Morgan," she called out.
"Afternoon, detective," he said, looking at his watch. He was surprised to see her there this early. "What’s up?"
"I need a favor," she said, pulling out a sheet of paper.
"Like the one you asked me last month?" he asked. Elisa had asked him to overlook a couple of parking tickets he had written on a van that had been parked overnight illegally.
When she told him the reason, he still had trouble believing it, even though he had seen a lot weirder stuff in his time, but he had agreed. She was rapidly using up her favors, though, he told himself.
"Not really," she said. She unfolded the paper and handed it to him. "I need you to keep an eye out for this guy."
Morgan looked at the sketch Elisa handed him. "He looks familiar," Morgan said.
Elisa looked up at him. "You’ve seen him?" she asked, hopeful.
"I think…" Morgan said. "Hey, O’Malley," he called out to his partner.
"Yeah, what’s up?" he asked.
"You seen this guy?" Morgan asked.
O’Malley studied the sketch. "The bulletin that came in last week."
"Where is it?" Elisa asked.
"On the board," Morgan said.
Elisa rushed over to ‘The Board’, a bulletin board that was set up in the detectives’ room that listed known felons with outstanding warrants and a list of the FBI’s Most Wanted. Elisa noted that Tony Dracon and Glasses’ sheets never seemed to leave the board. She looked at the most recent postings and found the bulletin O’Malley was talking about.
"Well, well, Mr. Cain," she said, reading the list of charges and warrants against him, some of them stemming back as far as twenty years. "You have been a busy man." She took down the bulletin and headed for Captain Chavez’s office. She knocked on the door before peeking inside.
"Captain, have you got a minute?" she asked.
"Yes, Maza," Maria Chavez said. "What is it?"
Elisa entered the office and set the bulletin on the captain’s desk. "I think you’re going to enjoy this."
Elisa entered the briefing room with a folder and noted with a smile the number of cops she saw that she knew she could count on. Each one to some extent had had an agreeable encounter with the clan, including Morgan and O’Malley who had actually attended Angela and Broadway’s mating ceremony last year. She nodded to her partner Matt Bluestone and Sara Jasper who had been a Quarryman insider at one time until she saw the Gargoyles for what they truly were, not what Jon Castaway/Canmore claimed they were.
"Okay guys, listen up," she said. She reached into the folder and started passing out copies of the bulletin. "You’ve all seen this notice," she said. "His name is Cain. He’s a hunter and a poacher. He’s wanted by our guys and Interpol for a whole host of crimes, ranging from illegal trespass to first degree murder. This guy is bad news. We have reason to believe that he’s here in New York."
That got everyone’s attention. There was a slight murmuring in the crowd as several officers speculated what Cain might be after. Gargoyles, Elisa knew they were thinking.
"We’re pretty sure he’s not after the clan," she said, choosing to end the speculation. "What isn’t widely known is what kind of quarry Cain likes to hunt." She pulled a stack of sketches out of the folder. On it was a picture of Oz and an artist’s rendering of his ‘other’ side. "This is his target," Elisa said. "His name is Oz. He’s a kid and a musician. A lot of you probably saw him performing at the P.I.T. concert on the Fourth." She paused for a moment. "Oz is a werewolf," she added. There was more murmuring as some of them looked at her in disbelief. "I know what you’re thinking. But we’ve all seen a lot weirder things lately." She looked around as she let that sink in. "Oz is a good kid," she said. "I’d hate to see anything happen to him. His change from a human to a werewolf only happens for three days each month. I’m sure some of you ladies can sympathize with that." There was a general laughter as several of the female officers agreed with her, Sara included.
"So how do you want to work this, partner?" Matt asked.
"Starting tonight," Elisa said. "I want you to keep an extra eye out for this guy. Cain probably won’t surface until Saturday, which is the first night of the full moon, but you may see him out on the street or in Central Park, getting a feel for the ‘hunting grounds’." She leaned on the table. "If you see him, call for back-up. Don’t try to take him by yourselves. This guy has made a career out of hunting extremely dangerous animals and killing is second nature to him. Consider him armed and extremely dangerous."
The officers and detectives started filing out of the briefing room and Elisa caught sight of a young blonde standing near the back of the room.
"Afternoon, detective," Buffy said.
"How’d you get in here?" Elisa asked.
"Your partner let me in," she said. "Talon told me I can trust him with a few things."
Elisa crossed her arms. "Such as…"
"The Initiative," Buffy said.
"It’s a covert military operation that has a base in Sunnydale," Buffy said. "My psych teacher, Professor Maggie Walsh, was the head of it until one of her ‘projects’ got away from her."
"What kind of project?" Elisa asked.
"Ever see Frankenstein?" Buffy responded.
Elisa understood. She had a feeling she knew exactly what kind of project the Slayer was talking about. Coldstone came to mind.
"So what does this ‘Initiative’ do?" she asked.
"They capture and study non-human life forms," Buffy said. "Mostly demons and vampires. But I did hear that they thought about going after the gargoyles once."
When Elisa scowled at this, Buffy smiled. "I have the same feelings about the Initiative that you do, detective. Right now, I’m trying to find a way to bring them down and your partner said he’d check to see if they had any connection to the Illuminati."
"How did you find out about the Illuminati?"
"I have, or rather I had access to almost every single Watcher diary ever written," Buffy said. "And the Watcher Council has been around for a lot longer than the Illuminati has. Believe me, they’re not as discrete as they’d like to think they are."
Elisa smiled at that. She wondered what the head of the Illuminati would think if he knew this. He’d probably have a stroke, she thought happily.
"So why bring them up?" she asked.
"One of their guys is here," Buffy said. When she saw the shock on Elisa’s face, she quickly continued. "Don’t worry. I’ve got it covered. He’s someone I trust." She didn’t bother telling Elisa that she was actually dating Riley Finn. "But given your closeness with the gargoyles, I thought I’d let you know about them, especially after what went on with the Hunters and the Quarrymen."
"Thanks for the info, Buffy," Elisa said. "I’ll be sure to let Goliath know about this."
"Any time, detective," she said.
"Do me a favor," Elisa said.
"Don’t call me ‘detective’," she said. "I get enough of that from Demona. It’s Elisa."
"Okay, Elisa," Buffy said. "Can I ask you a favor?"
"Can you give Willow and me a lift over to Destine Manor?" she asked. "The last taxi driver we hailed threw us out of his cab."
"Why?" she wondered.
"We had to pick up a few items for Giles," Buffy said. "The smell kind of overwhelmed him."
Elisa frowned at her. "What do you mean ‘smell’?"
Elisa held her nose as she emptied the contents of a spray can of deodorizer into her car.
"I am never going to get rid of that smell," she said. "I’m going to have to fumigate the car for a whole year!"
Dominique Destine stood off to one side, waving her hand underneath her nose. "No one ever said that sorcery was pleasant work, detective," she said. "Just be thankful you don’t have to prepare the potion yourself."
Elisa tossed the empty can into the car. "I can’t imagine what you’d want that stuff for," she said. She rolled down the windows and closed the doors. She didn’t worry about leaving the car unlocked. It wasn’t like anyone was going to jump the walls to steal it, not with the security system Dominique Destine had.
"It’s part of the ritual," she said. "It brings the true beast to the surface."
"Driving out the evil spirits?" Elisa said.
"In a sense," Dominique said. "I’d think you’d find this part interesting, detective. This potion is part of your people’s heritage."
"My grandfather would have," Elisa said. "And I’m sure my sister Beth would be thrilled to help you brew this gunk. But not me. No, thank you." She looked at her watch. She still had a few of hours before her shift started and plenty of time to get to the Eyrie Building to wait for the clan to wake up if she left right now. She took a step towards her car when a stray breeze came up and wafted the lingering smell back towards her. She took a step back. She was not going to get back into that car until it had been properly aired out. She looked at Dominique standing at the top of the porch stairs smiling at her. She groaned.
"Demona," Elisa asked. "Do you have anyplace where I can catch a little shut eye?"
"Certainly, detective," she said. "As long as you don’t mind the smell."
Just two more days, he thought as he set out his equipment. Two more days before the night of the full moon. He hadn’t been able to find where his quarry was hold up during the day, but he did have a pretty good idea. There were rumors about an underground homeless shelter somewhere nearby. He was certain his quarry was there.
He pulled out an old subway map and studied it. There, he thought. That was as good a place as any to start. He folded up the map and went to the closet. He needed to blend in if he was going to be able to track his prey.The Labyrinth
Delilah awoke with a roar that startled some of the newer arrivals to the Sanctuary. She looked around and smiled, calming most of them. Mainly the children, she noted. They looked at her with a wide-eyed wonder that she found endearing. The children didn’t see her as a monster, they saw her as a protector at most and a friend at best. Elisa told her that it was because human children aren’t born knowing hatred, it’s something that is learned. From what she saw of these children, she felt that they were off to a good start.
"Hey, Delilah," Oz said as he came over. She looked at him. He had the same look in his eyes that the children had in regards to her. Funny that she hadn’t seen it before. Probably because you were too busy hating him for what he did, she told herself. Oz hadn’t been in control of himself when he hunted her last month; she could see that now. Now he was just another kid who needed a friend.
"Hi, Oz," she said, smiling. "How are you holding up?"
"I’m doing okay," he said. "Listen, when you see Talon, tell him I went to the hardware store to pick up some extra hardware for the cell."
"Why?" she asked. "You won’t need it after Sunday."
"I might not need it, you mean," Oz said. For some reason, he wasn’t holding out any hope that the spell might work.
Delilah could see the uncertainty in his eyes. "What do you mean?" she asked in concern.
"I don’t know," Oz said. "But I’ve been getting a funny feeling over the past couple of days."
"Nerves?" she asked.
"Could be," he said. "But I don’t want to take any chances. I’ll see you later."
Delilah watched as Oz retreated down the tunnel. Now she was worried. She went off to find Talon, while one of the adults watched her passage with predatory eyes.Destine Manor
Giles set aside the last of the scrolls to allow the ink on the pages to dry. Demona picked up the first scroll and examined it.
"I may just have to hire you to prepare all of my future spells," she said, smiling as her eyes took in the exquisite penmanship.
"Thank you," he said, taking off his glasses and rubbing his eyes. Transcribing the spells called for meticulous work and a steady hand. Fortunately, Giles exceeded in both, but it usually ended in eyestrain. "I must admit, this is the first time in years that I’ve done this kind of spell transcription. Although it does help to work with such excellent equipment." He held up the quill Demona had provided.
"Flatterer," Demona said. She turned as she heard a slight *thump* come from the balcony. "Good, she’s here." She went to the doors and opened them.
Giles stood as a lovely adolescent gargoyle entered. She was lavender in color and had a slight resemblance to Demona.
"Rupert Giles, I’d like you to meet Angela," Demona said. "My daughter."
"A pleasure to meet you," Giles said, taking her hand and planting a kiss on the knuckles, causing Angela to blush.
"Buffy and Sata have told me all about you," Angela said. "But they didn’t mention that you were such a gentleman."
"It’s one of my hidden talents," he said, smiling as he released the hand.
"Angela will be making up the third of our trio," Demona said.
"Oh?" Giles said. "Your daughter has the talent?"
"Considerable talent, actually," Demona said. "She’s assisted me in several complex spells and she’s performed a number of spells on her own. Including one that cost me my memories of being a gargoyle for several days," she added, casting an eye on her daughter.
"I’m sorry to hear that," Giles said, seeing Angela’s discomfort over her mistake.
"Don’t be," Demona said. "It actually turned out for the best. And it gave me a unique perspective on humanity, since I actually believed that I was one." She wrapped an arm around Angela’s shoulder and gave her a quick hug.
"So I take it that we three will be performing the actual ritual," Giles said.
"Angela, myself and Willow’s Wicca friend Tara, actually," Demona said. "I’d prefer to keep this a female ceremony, since adding a male could upset the balance."
"Perfectly understandable," Giles said, although he was a bit put off at being excluded from the ritual.
"Although," Demona said, putting a talon to her bottom lip. "There is a part of the spell that has yet to be taken care of."
Giles knew what she was referring to. "Oh, lovely," he said.
"Elisa," she heard a voice say. "Elisa, wake up."
"Just a few more minutes, mom," she said tiredly.
"Wake up," another voice said. "Detective."
That got her up. How many times had she feared hearing that voice in her sleep? Her eyes were open in an instant and out of reflex made a grab for her gun, only to find it missing. She quickly looked around for it, which gave her a chance to take in her surroundings. Demona was standing over her beside the couch, holding her sidearm and Angela was sitting next to her. Elisa instantly relaxed.
"Sorry," Elisa said. "Force of habit." Even though Elisa and Demona had long since made their peace with each other, there were time when Elisa still felt wary about her.
"Perfectly understandable, detective," Demona said, handing Elisa her gun. Elisa had placed it on the end table next to the couch she had eventually fallen asleep on. Apparently, Demona had picked up the weapon to keep Elisa from doing exactly what she had done when they woke her up. "What time is it?"
"It’s just after eight," Angela said. "Matt will be here in a few minutes to pick you up. I don’t think your car has aired out enough."
"The memory lingers, huh," Elisa said. "Will it be okay to leave it here overnight?" she asked.
"Certainly," Demona said. "The smell should be gone by morning. In fact, I might be tempted to drive it to work in the morning." She dangled the keys in her talons.
Elisa pulled on her jacket and stuck out her hand. "I don’t think so," she said.
Demona reluctantly handed over the keys. "It was just a thought."
Matt pulled up outside Demona’s home several minutes later.
"Ready to go, partner?" he asked as Elisa got into the car.
"We need to swing by the castle first," Elisa said. "There’s something I need to tell the rest of the clan."Central Park
Later that evening
He walked through the park, being careful not to be seen from the paved walkway. He observed a couple kissing on a park bench. He smiled and turned, only to find a pair of large glowing eyes in front of him. How had it sneaked up on him so quietly? was the only thing he was able to think of before the blue beast barked in his face and sent him tumbling out of the bush.
The couple, a tall brown haired man and a blonde woman jumped up at the sound and watched as the gar-beast bowled him over.
"Margot, run!" Brendan yelled as he grabbed Margot Yale’s hand and the two of them disappeared into the night.
"What’ve ye got there, boy?" a large gargoyle said as he landed next to the gar-beast, which was now sitting on his chest. He pulled a picture out of his tunic and looked at it. "Ach, this isn’t the scoundrel we be after, Bronx." The gargoyle looked at him and noted the military gear he carried. "But still…"
"Hudson, wait up," he heard a familiar voice call out. He turned his head and caught sight of a brick-red gargoyle land next to the other one. The red gargoyle looked at him.
"Agent Finn, what are you doing here?" Brooklyn asked.
"Ye know this lad?" Hudson asked.
"Yeah, I met him in Sunnydale," Brooklyn said. "He’s Buffy's boyfriend."
"I’d shake your hand," Riley said. "But…"
"Bronx, you can let him up," Brooklyn said. "He’s okay."
Bronx got off Riley’s chest and sat on his haunches, looking at the young man as he stood up. He sniffed the air and growled.
"I guess Bronx doesn’t like the way you smell," Brooklyn said. He took a few quick sniffs himself. "Or rather the way you don’t smell."
"Thanks," Riley said. "It’s a new scent mask the Initiative has developed. Keeps us from being detected by smell."
"Ever think of marketing it as a deodorant?" Brooklyn asked.
"Now there’s an idea," Riley said.
"Ye nae have answered the question, lad," Hudson said. "What’re ye be doin' in the park, dressed like that?"
"I’m looking for someone," he said.
Brooklyn crossed his arms. "Oz?" he asked.
"You know about him?" Riley said.
"He be a good soul, lad," Hudson said. "Ye don’t need to be draggin’ him off to yer mad doctor’s lab and experimentin’ on him to find out what makes him tick."
"I have no intention of doing that to him," Riley said. "Oz was a promising student. I was sorry to see him leave."
"Then why are you looking for him?" Brooklyn said.
"I need to warn him about someone who may be after him."
"This rogue?" Hudson said, handing Riley the bulletin Elisa had distributed to the clan just a few hours before.
"Yes, his name’s Cain," Riley said. "Where did you get this?"
"We have a well-placed friend in the police department," Hudson said.
"Let me guess," Riley said. "Detective Maza."
"How did ye…" Hudson started.
"We were going to recruit her a few years ago," Riley said. "But then she disappeared for six months. It kind of blew her chances."
"We remember," Brooklyn said, recalling Goliath, Elisa and Angela recounting the tales of their ‘World Tour’.
"So do you know where Oz is?" Riley asked.
"Aye," Hudson said. "But I think it be best if we discuss this with Buffy first before takin’ ye to see the lad."
"Already here," she said, stepping out of the bushes.
Brooklyn and Hudson were stunned by her unexpected presence.
"How long have you been there?" Riley asked.
"Come on, Riley," Buffy said. "I’ve been tracking you ever since you entered the park."
"You still wear that same after-shave," she said, touching her nose.
He laughed and shook his head. Out of habit, he had put on the after-shave after getting out of the shower, before he had applied the scent mask. Apparently, the mask wasn’t perfected yet.
"What’re ye be doin’ in the park, lass?" Hudson asked.
"You gargoyles aren’t the only ones who like to trash the bad guys," she said. She reached into the bushes and dragged out a masked hoodlum, bound and gagged. He took one look at Bronx and promptly passed out.The Labyrinth
He knew he was being tracked. Someone was following him, and had been following him ever since he left the Sanctuary. He paused and looked back, waiting for whomever it was to catch up to him.
He didn’t have to wait long. He heard the footfalls long before the owner came into view. As soon as he could hear them, he knew what was following him. It wasn’t the usual heel-toe, heel-toe of a human. It was the sound of someone walking on their toes. One of them. A gargoyle.
The gargoyle came into view. It was her, he thought. The white-haired female that had befriended his quarry. Her eyes glowed as she searched the darkness.
"Who’s there?" she challenged. "Show yourself!"
"D…don’t hurt me?" Cain said in mock fear. "Please, I weren’t doin’ nothin’." His disguise was perfect, judging by the way she relaxed, letting down her guard.
"What are you doing here?" she asked calmly. "You know this tunnel isn’t safe."
"I…I didn’t know," Cain said. "I’m new here, you see, and…"
"You should have asked someone before you wandered off," Delilah said. "Come on, let’s get you back to…"
"N…no!" he said, trying to sound scared. He moved slightly into the shadows so the clone couldn’t see him reach into his pocket. "I don’t want to go back!"
Delilah stepped forward and reached for his arm. "Please, I promise I won’t hurt…" She stopped when she got a good look at his face. "Wait! You’re…"
Cain’s hand stabbed forward and pressed the high-powered stun gun to her stomach.
Electricity arched through her body and she screamed in pain before blackness claimed her.
Cain caught her as she sagged forward. His hand went to her throat and he found her pulse. Good, he thought. Still alive. It would be a real shame to waste such a beautiful creature just because she was defending her territory. He lowered her to the ground slowly and tucked the stun gun into his pocket before disappearing into the darkness.
Brooklyn, Hudson, Buffy and Riley were halfway to the Sanctuary when the walls reverberated with a gut-wrenching scream.
"What was that?" Riley asked.
"Elisa!" Hudson said in panic. He took a step forward.
Buffy touched his arm. "That wasn’t Detective Maza," she said. "It was different."
"Delilah!" Brooklyn said. "Bronx, go!"
The gar-beast bounded ahead of them. Within minutes, he was standing protectively over the downed clone.
Buffy was at her side quickly. She turned Delilah over and felt for a pulse. "She’s alive," she said.
They heard someone running towards them. Riley pulled out a gun and took aim down the tunnel. He relaxed when he saw Oz and what appeared to be another female gargoyle come into view.
"Whoa, easy with the hardware," Oz said as he took in Riley’s outfit. He bent down and touched Delilah’s shoulder. "Buffy, what happened?"
"I don’t know," she said. "We heard her scream and found her like this."
Brooklyn looked up. "Sharon, head back to the Sanctuary and tell Dr. Goldblum about what’s happened."
"Yes, Brooklyn," Sharon Nomura said. She turned and ran back the way she and Oz come.
"Did you see anything?" Buffy asked.
"No," Oz said. "Sharon was helping me unload some new hardware for the cell when we heard her scream." He looked at the clone. "She doesn’t look good."
Hudson lifted her out of Buffy’s arms. "Let’s get her back to the Sanctuary," he said.
They took off running down the tunnel. When they were gone, Cain slipped out of hiding and departed.
"What happened?" Talon demanded when he saw Hudson carrying Delilah’s limp form into the Sanctuary. He gave Riley’s military garb a brief look before focusing his attention on Brooklyn.
"We don’t now, Talon," Buffy said. "We were coming in from Central Park when we heard her scream."
Talon turned to Claw. "I want you to take Sharon and go see if you can find out who did this!"
Claw nodded and started towards the tunnel as Sharon returned with Dr. Goldblum and a gurney. He beckoned her to follow.
"Bronx, go with them," Brooklyn said. The gar-beast barked and rushed off after the Mutates.
"I’ll go, too," Riley said. "See if I can turn up anything."
"Who the hell are you?" Talon demanded.
"A friend," Buffy quickly answered. When Talon looked at her, she continued. "Don’t worry, Talon. I trust him."
Talon looked him over for a moment. "Okay," he said finally. Riley took off after the search party.
Hudson gently placed Delilah on the gurney. She opened her eyes briefly and moaned softly.
"Easy, lass," he said. "Ye’re in good hands now."
"Who did this, child?" Dr. Goldblum asked.
"C...Cai..." she strained.
"Cain?" Buffy finished.
"Mm hmm," she muttered painfully.
"Maggie, I’ll need help," Dr. Goldblum said to Talon’s mate. She went with the doctor and Hudson as they wheeled Delilah away. Talon left to tell Elisa what had happened.
Buffy looked at Oz. Despite his calm exterior, she could tell he was seething inside.
"She was right," he said. "This is my fault."
"What are you talking about?" Buffy asked.
"Delilah," he said. "She said I’d bring trouble down here and she was right." He turned to leave.
"No, Oz," Buffy said. "This isn’t your fault." She pulled out a copy of the bulletin she had snagged from Elisa’s precinct. "It’s his. This guy probably has a list of arrest warrants longer than my arm. And who’s to say he wouldn’t have shown up here eventually. For all we know, Delilah could have been his next target. Or Claw, or maybe even Goliath. You can’t blame yourself for something that’s out of your control, Oz."
"I know," he said. "It’s just...I always seem to make friends, only to lose them again."
"Don’t worry," Buffy said. "She’ll be okay. And believe me, when I get through with him, Cain’ll wish he’d never been born."July 15, 2000
"How is she, doc?" Oz asked when Dr. Goldblum returned. Elisa and Goliath had joined him and Buffy while they awaited word on Delilah’s condition. The search team had returned with no trace of her attacker.
"She’s resting comfortably," he said. "It appears she received a severe electrical discharge. I found electrical burns on her stomach. It looks like someone hit her with a very powerful stun-gun."
"Are you sure?" Elisa asked.
"I found two contact points about two and a half inches apart on her lower abdomen," he said. "That would be my first guess."
"Great," Elisa said. "I was afraid he’d start hunting..."
"No," Buffy said.
"If Cain had been hunting Delilah, she’d be dead right now."
"I have to agree," Goliath said. "Delilah most certainly was not his intended victim. It is likely she came upon him as he was trying to penetrate the Sanctuary."
"Or she was following him out and he ambushed her," Talon said. "A couple of the regulars said they saw a guy that looked like Cain leaving earlier. He may have been getting an idea of what the area was like. Probably trying to figure out where Oz would be spending the next three days."
"I have to concur with that," Riley said. "The search team; myself, Claw, Sharon and Bronx, went over every square inch of the area where Delilah was attacked. We couldn’t find anything."
"And you would be..." Elisa said.
"I’m Riley Finn," he said. He looked at Buffy. "I’m sure Buffy’s told you all about me and the organization, Detective Maza." He extended his hand.
Elisa didn’t accept it. "Yes, she has," she said bitterly as she got up. "And I find what you do appalling. Especially when it concerns my friends!"
"Easy, detective," Riley said, backing up. "We never followed through on our plans to capture a gargoyle."
"But you planned it," she said. "And that’s just as bad. What were you going to do with one, integrate it into your little Frankenstein’s monster?"
He turned and looked at Buffy. Apparently, she had told Detective Maza plenty. "I wasn’t privy to Professor Walsh’s experiments, detective," he said defensively. "Including her experiments on myself and my men."
Elisa stepped back a bit. She had been so angry about the Initiative’s planned abduction of a gargoyle and Cain’s attack on Delilah that she had completely forgotten what Buffy had told her during the trip to Destine Manor about the drug therapy Professor Walsh had inflicted on her troops, Riley included.
"I’m sorry," she apologized.
"That’s okay," he said. "What’s important now is finding Cain before tonight."
"What do you propose, Agent Finn?" Goliath asked.
He checked his watch. "Let me get back to you on that. I need to check in." He pulled out a card and handed it to Buffy. "Let me know if you hear anything, Buffy," he said. "I’ll try and get back here sometime before sunset." To Elisa and Goliath’s surprise, he bent down and kissed her before leaving.
Buffy saw the look on their faces. "I told you he was someone I can trust."Destine Manor
Willow and Tara practiced simple spells most of the night, honing their concentration. Demona watched, impressed by their growing control. After a while, Angela decided to join them. The two human witches smiled as they joined fingers to talons with the lavender female. They practiced until Demona caught sight of the brightening dawn. She clapped her hands once, breaking their concentration. All three looked at the master sorceress.
"That’s enough for now," she said. She pointed to the approaching dawn. "I need the three of you rested for tonight."
"Just a little lon..." was all Angela got out before she turned to stone and Demona let out a blood-curdling shriek. She collapsed and Willow and Tara watched in wonder as Demona transformed from gargoyle to human.
When the change was over, Dominique Destine found herself being helped to her feet by two pair of human hands.
"Thank you," she said. She hadn’t expected them to rush to her aid so quickly, if at all.
"That looked like it hurt," Tara said.
"Child, you have no idea," she said. "Now, the two of you, off to bed! You need to get some rest."
"But I feel so energized," Willow said. She looked at Tara and could tell that she felt the same way.
"An aftereffect of the spell casting, Miss Rosenberg," Dominique said. "Believe me, in a little while..."
At that moment, Willow let out a long yawn. Tara tried unsuccessfully to stifle her own. Dominique crossed her arms and smiled at them. "As I was saying..." she added as she guided both of them to the bedroom upstairs. Her home didn’t have guestrooms; being primarily a loner, she had never needed them until now. After seeing Willow and Tara off to bed in her own room, Dominique grabbed a change of clothes and went into the bathroom, giving serious consideration to having a remodeler come in.The Labyrinth
Elisa went into the Sanctuary’s recovery room and checked on Delilah. She smiled when she saw the hybrid clone had changed to stone at dawn, which in itself was a good sign. As long as Delilah awoke at sunset, everything would be perfect. She closed the door and went to check on Oz.
"How’s she doing?" he asked when she found him. He was busy installing the new hardware, a heavy-duty lock, to the cell. "Sleeping like the proverbial rock?"
"Literally," Elisa said. "Listen, Oz..."
"I know, Elisa," he said. "Buffy already gave me the talk about how it’s not my fault. I appreciate it, but it still doesn’t change how I feel."
"Then think about this," Elisa said. "Delilah probably got hurt because she cares about you. It’s not easy for her to make friends. Hell, it took me almost a year to start to get to know her, and Demona wouldn’t even talk to her until last year." She put her hand on Oz’s shoulder. "How do you think she’ll feel knowing your tearing yourself up over this?" When he didn’t respond, she continued. "I’ll tell you. She’ll feel pretty lousy, Oz. And she’ll blame herself for that because she’s the one who told you that you’d bring trouble down here in the first place. Don’t do that to her, Oz. You’ll just make me have to hurt you."
"Hey, I’m her mother," Elisa said. "It’s my prerogative." She patted his shoulder and left him alone to think.Destine Manor
Willow yawned as she woke up. Outside she could see the sky begin to go from a bright blue to various shades of yellow and orange. She reached over and shook Tara awake.
"Where are we?" she asked.
"In my bed," came a voice from the door. They looked and saw Dominique standing there. She was dressed in casual daywear, blouse and slacks, and she had a bag hanging from her shoulder. She had a distressed look on her face.
"Sorry," Willow said, jumping off the bed. "We didn’t…I mean…"
"That’s all right," Dominique said before tossing the bag on the bed. "Miss Summers brought a change of clothes over for you two. I suggest you change quickly. Sunset will be here soon." She turned and left the two girls, heading down to her workshop where Giles was beginning preparations for the night’s activities.
"All is ready, I trust," she asked.
"Everything is prepared," Giles said. "Save for the potion, which I will finish after you cast the keying spell."
"Good," she said. She looked at her watch. "I need to run a small errand. When Angela awakens, have her, Willow and Tara meet me at Belvedere Castle no later than nine o’clock. We will begin then."
Giles saw the look on her face. "Has something happened?" he asked.
"Yes," she said. "Cain ambushed Delilah in the Labyrinth late last night."
"I’m sorry?" he questioned.
"Delilah," Dominique said, then realized Giles had no idea who she was talking about. "She is a clone, a hybrid mix of myself and Detective Maza. She…looks to us as her parents. She, Willow and Oz have become close."
"Is she all right?" Giles asked, concerned.
"She is recovering," she said. "The injuries were severe I’m told, but not life-threatening. She should be fine come nightfall."
"Have you told Willow about this?"
"No," she said. "And I need you to be quiet about this, as well. Do not tell Angela, either. It would distract her, and I need her attention focused on the task ahead."
"Understood," Giles said.
"I shall see you there," Demona said. She picked up a small bag and left. The Labyrinth
"Okay, Oz," Buffy said. "In you go."
Oz stepped into the cell and Buffy secured the door. For modesty’s sake, several blankets were hung chest high from the bars.
"Thanks, Buffy," Oz said. "For everything."
"No problem," she said. She made sure the door was locked and stepped back.
"Good evening, Slayer," Dominique said as she entered the Sanctuary. She looked at the cell briefly before turning her attention back to Buffy. "Is he secured?"
"Yeah," Buffy said.
"Who’s this?" Oz asked, noting that Dominique wore a loincloth and halter-top.
"I am Dominique Destine," she said. "I am also known as Demona."
"You’re the one that’s going to help Willow and Tara cast the spell," Oz said.
"Yes," she said before turning to Buffy. "A moment, if you please?"
Buffy looked at Oz before stepping out of his hearing range. "What’s up?" she asked.
Dominique cast a quick look at Oz, who was starting to undress behind the makeshift privacy screen. "I need some of his blood for the ceremony tonight." She reached into the bag she had brought with her and produced three silver chalices. "Three drops into each of these."
"I don’t see a problem…" Buffy started before she realized what Dominique was asking her. "No, wait. I do see a problem. Are you crazy?"
"It must be werewolf blood," she said. "Untainted. Which means no tranquilizers in his system."
"Great," Buffy said. "You realize that this is not going to be easy. Not to mention the risk of getting bitten."
"It must be done," Dominique said. "Here, hold these," she quickly added as she thrust the chalices at Buffy before doubling over in pain. Buffy took the chalices and watched as Dominique underwent the transformation back from human to gargoyle. She could also hear Oz howling as he went through his own change. When it was over, Demona stood up and took back the chalices. She walked over to the cell and gazed at the werewolf that was Oz.
The beast lunged at her, reaching through the bars to try to rip out her throat. Demona jumped out of range quickly.
"He certainly is a lively one," Demona said. "I will give him that."
"So how do you want to do this?" Buffy asked.
Demona looked at the snarling werewolf, realizing that her task was not going to be as easy as she would have liked. "I think we may need a little help."
Goliath looked at the fuming, raging werewolf on the other side of the bars. "I assume there is no other way of accomplishing this," he said.
"None," Demona said. "And since the lunar eclipse is tomorrow night, time is of the essence."
Demona had briefed him on what needed to be done after he and the rest of the clan arrived. Goliath could already see that getting the required nine drops of blood, three drops in each chalice was not going to be an easy task. He and Claw walked over to the entrance to the cell, where Sharon waited for them.
Demona turned and handed one of the chalices to Delilah, who had recovered somewhat from her encounter with Cain but would still need at least another day of rest before she was in top form again, and handed the other two to Elisa before turning to face the werewolf.
Oz had quieted down some, but the moment Demona approached the bars, he snarled and lunged at her again. This time, instead of jumping back, Demona grabbed Oz’s arm as it shot through the bars and pulled. Buffy quickly rushed forward with one of the shackles Oz had kept in his van and locked it around his wrist, then grabbed the length of chain that was attached and pulled back, holding on for dear life.
"Now Goliath!" Demona called out.
On cue, Sharon quickly yanked open the cell door and both Goliath and Claw rushed inside, hitting Oz from behind and pinning his body against the bars. He tried to swing backwards at them with his free arm, but Claw grabbed it and held on tight. Sharon quickly closed and locked the cell door again.
Demona shifted her grip on Oz’s shackled arm to keep it still and produced a small knife from her belt. She made a quick cut on the underside of the arm and squeezed the wound to get the blood flowing.
"Delilah!" she called out. The hybrid clone rushed forward and held the chalice under the wound. "Three drops in each one," Demona reminded her.
Delilah nodded and counted out loud as three drops of blood fell into the chalice. She quickly exchanged it for a fresh one from Elisa. She counted out three more drops, and then three more for the remaining chalice. When she stepped back, Demona released her grip on Oz’s arm.
Dr. Goldblum stepped forward and jabbed a needle into Oz’s arm, pumping a healthy amount of sedative into his system. Oz’s struggles grew weaker until finally he fell asleep. Goliath and Claw relaxed their grip on him as Sharon cautiously opened the cell door, allowing them to escape.
Demona took the chalices from Elisa and Delilah and examined the contents. Satisfied, she smiled.
"Perfect," she said. She turned and looked at Buffy. "Buffy, I need you and Sata to come with me. It’s time to begin."Belvedere Castle
Angela, Willow, Tara and Giles looked up as Demona and Sata, who was carrying Buffy, arrived. Demona took the chalices Buffy held and handed one to Angela and the other to Willow. She kept the third one for herself.
"What is this?" Angela asked.
"The blood of the werewolf," Demona said.
"Did you have any problem ‘obtaining’ it?" Giles asked.
"We had help," Buffy said. "A lot of help."
Demona looked up at the moon. "It is nearly time," she said. "If you will follow me." Demona led them a short distance to a mystic circle she had long ago discovered in the park. The site was isolated and afforded her a place to work in privacy. Giles noted that it had seen recent use as he set the braziers in three spots Demona indicated.
"Willow, you will sit here during the ceremony," Demona said, indicating the very center of the mystic circle.
"And do what?"
"Nothing," Demona said. "Just sit with the warrior’s blade in your lap." She turned to the Ishimuran gargoyle. "Sata," she said.
"Of course, Demona-chan," she said. Sata drew the wakisashi sword and presented it to Willow. "Honored mage," she said, holding the blade flat against her palms. "I present you with my sword to be used in this noble task. You do me great honor in accepting it for this purpose." She bowed.
"I accept this sword, honored warrior," Willow replied as she set her own hands under the blade. She and Sata had discussed the sword ceremony after Buffy approached the Ishimuran gargoyle with the proposal of using her sword. "I shall not dishonor this noble gift you have bestowed upon me." She bowed and felt the sword grow slightly heavier as Sata removed her hands. Before she backed away, Sata removed the sheath for the sword from her obi and gave it to Willow. Willow placed the blade back in its sheath and sat down in the middle of the circle.
Demona walked the perimeter of the circle, emptying the contents of three small bags into the braziers and setting them ablaze. When she was done, she handed Angela and Tara each one of the three prepared scrolls and a small vial of oil.
"At the start of the ceremony," she said. "Mix the oil with the blood and set it next to the brazier. When you have finished reading the scroll aloud, roll it back up and dip one end into the chalice, then place it in the brazier. Understand?"
"Yes, mother," Angela said. Tara simply nodded.
"Then let us begin," she said.
Demona walked to the first brazier and opened her scroll.
Cain watched as the ritual got under way. What were they up to? he wondered. He suspected that it had something to do with his quarry. Had they found a way to cure him?
That wouldn’t do at all. He sat back and watched as the first female gargoyle emptied the contents of a vial into a small goblet and began reading from her scroll.
Demona recited the words carefully, feeling the power build as the words rolled off her tongue. When she finished she rolled up the scroll, dipped the edge in the oil and set it into the brazier, where it quickly caught fire. As the flames engulfed the parchment, she turned and nodded to Tara.
Tara began reading slowly, hesitantly, but quickly her confidence began to build as she felt the magic pass through her.
After Tara finished reading her scroll and completed her part of the ritual by setting the second scroll to flame, Demona turned and nodded to Angela.
With a bit more confidence, Angela opened her scroll and read the words, feeling the power flow through her. She finished quickly and set the third scroll to blaze.
In the center of the circle, Willow sat feeling the power wash over her. Despite the darkness, the circle blazed with an unearthly light.
"By the power of the Three," Demona sounded out. "I invoke thee!" She clapped her hands twice, and the circle flashed brightly for a moment before dimming back to normal.
Willow let out her breath in a rush, she hadn’t realized she’d been holding it. She looked around, first at Demona, then Tara and finally Angela. "That was..." She paused, unable to find a suitable word to describe how she felt. "Whew!" she said finally.
"I’d say that is as good a word as any to describe that," Giles said. He turned to Demona. "I must say that I am impressed by your skill, Demona."
"Thank you, Mr. Giles," she said. "But credit also should go to my daughter and young Miss Rosenberg’s friend." She looked over at Tara talking to Willow and Angela. "She has great power in her," she said. "Coupled with Willow’s own and my daughter’s, they could be an unstoppable trio. They could even challenge Oberon if they set their minds to it."
"I’m certain he would be thrilled to hear that," Giles said.
Demona smiled at the thought.
Willow came over at that moment with Buffy and Tara in tow. "So what now?" she asked.
"For you, nothing," Demona said. "This part of the ritual is complete. The magicks have been keyed to you. There is still some preparations to be made for the final part of the spell tomorrow night." She looked over to where Angela was talking to Sata. "Sata, I need you to take Willow home and stay with her while she rests."
"Yes, Demona-chan," she said. Sata led Willow to a spot where she could take off from.
"What’s going on?" Angela asked. She could see that there was a hint of worry on her mother’s face.
Demona looked at Angela and Tara before shifting her gaze to Buffy.
"Delilah was ambushed yesterday," Buffy said. "We think by Cain."
"That’s terrible," Tara said. "Is she going to be okay?"
"She’s fine," Demona said. "She helped us to obtain the werewolf’s blood from Oz this evening. I didn’t want to tell you about it until now because it would throw off your balance and affect the spell."
"I understand, mother," Angela said. Her ties to the clone were very close and she knew that if Demona had told her about Delilah, she would indeed have worried about her.
"That’s why I sent Willow with Sata," Demona said. "Sata will protect her and right now that’s important. Willow is the key to completing this spell now and nothing must happen to her."
"I guess that means I’ll be pulling guard duty in the morning," Buffy said. "Good, because I’m looking forward to Cain trying something right about now," she added, cracking her knuckles.
Cain watched as they left. If the girl was the key to the spell, then he should try and grab her to force the werewolf out into the open. He quickly discarded that notion for several reasons; number one being the Slayer and number two was the jade Ishimuran gargoyle. She looked extremely competent in the use of her swords. No, he would have to wait until the next night to bag his prey. He studied the area for several more minutes, picking out several promising vantage points before he left the park.The Labyrinth
Goliath and Elisa were waiting for them when they got back.
"How’s Oz?" Buffy asked.
"Sleeping like a baby," Elisa said. "How did it go?"
"Everything went smoothly, detective," Demona said. "We have just a few more things to take care of, but everything is in place to perform the spell."
Elisa looked around. "Where’s Willow?"
"I sent her back to my home," she said. "Sata went with her. After what happened to Delilah..."
"You didn’t want to take the chance of Cain getting to her here," Elisa said. She admired Demona’s forethought; it would take a small army to penetrate the defenses of Destine Manor once the security system was active. And with Sata there to guard her, there was no way Cain would be able to get to Willow. "Good plan," she said.
Demona looked over to Angela and Tara. "We need to return there ourselves," she said. "I need to go over the final spell with Angela and Tara, and Mr. Giles needs to prepare the potion." She turned her attention to them. "Angela, Tara, we need to be going."
"I guess I can give you guys a lift," Elisa said to the two humans.
"I certainly would appreciate it," Giles said. "As enjoyable as I’m certain gliding is, I’d prefer to keep both my feet firmly planted on the ground, thank you."
"You don’t know what you’re missing, Giles," Buffy said. "It’s a lot of fun." She tossed a look at Elisa, who was smiling in agreement.
"I’ll take your word for it," he said.Destine Manor
Sata sat on the couch cleaning her katana while she watched Willow cleaning the wakisashi. She looked up as Demona and Angela, who was carrying Buffy, landed on the balcony.
"Where’s Tara and Giles?" Willow asked.
"They will be here shortly," Demona said. "Mr. Giles decided to forgo the direct route for the more scenic one. And Tara was unsure about gliding with us."
"I don’t know why?" Willow asked. "I thought it was fun."
They heard a car pull up and a few moments later, Giles and Tara came in through the front door.
"Mr. Giles, the workshop awaits," Demona said. "Angela, Willow, Tara, we have some things to discuss about tomorrow night. I will meet you upstairs." When the three went upstairs, she turned to Buffy. "You will be needed at the ceremony tomorrow."
"Why?" she asked.
"Oz must be restrained while he is in the mystic circle," Demona said. "He will be chained, but he is no doubt capable of getting out of them. I need you there to hold him down and give Willow the chance to complete the ritual."
"Why not Goliath?" she asked. "I may be strong, but he’s got to be way stronger than I’ll ever be."
"It must be you," Demona said. "As the Slayer, you have certain...abilities. You can sense things no one else can. You know this because you can sense the presence of vampires."
Buffy knew that this was true. "This has to do with the final part of the spell," she said.
"Yes," Demona said. "I am uncertain what will actually happen, but I do know that only you will be able to sense it. When you do, you must instruct Willow to strike at that moment. I doubt you will get a second chance." She looked upstairs. "I need to speak with Angela and your friends. I will..." She stopped as a pungent aroma hit her nose. "It appears that your Mr. Giles is already preparing the potion." She went over to several windows and opened them. "I will tell you more about it later if I am able to find anything else." She turned and headed upstairs, leaving Buffy and Sata to the mercy of the fumes coming from the workshop.
"Buffy-chan," Sata said. "As much as I disapprove retreating from anything..."
"You read my mind, Sata" Buffy said as she headed for the front door.July 16, 2000
Oz examined the restraints he had retrieved from his van. He gave the shackles several quick tugs before handing the assembly to Claw and Talon for a durability test. The two Mutates pulled on the restraints to see if they could bend or break the chains.
"Feels okay to me, Oz," Talon said. He looked over at Claw and saw him nod in agreement. "I don’t think you’ll be getting out of these."
"I just wanted to make sure," he said. "I’m pretty strong as a werewolf." He rubbed his arm.
"Are you okay?" Talon asked.
"Yeah, my arm’s just a little sore," he said. "I guess that Buffy’s staying over at Demona’s today."
"She’s keeping watch over Willow and Tara," Talon said. "She said she’d be back here before nightfall."
"I guess there’s not much else to do but wait," Oz said. "If you don’t mind, I think I’ll go check on my van."Cain’s apartment
The door flew open and Elisa and Matt Bluestone rushed into the apartment, guns drawn. "Freeze!" she called out.
The apartment was empty. They did a quick sweep of the place before relaxing long enough to holster their weapons.
"Are you sure this is the right place?" she asked Riley as he came in.
"I guess this is your answer," Bluestone said as he picked up a stun gun. From the extra components on its exterior, Elisa guessed that it had gone through extensive modifications. "This is probably what he used on Delilah."
Elisa went into the hallway. "Morgan, I need a forensics team in here. I want you to turn this place upside down."
"Right, detective," he said as he headed down the hall.
"I don’t think he’ll be back, detective," Riley said. "He probably knows we found this place."
"That may be the case," Elisa said. "But I want to cover all the bases." She turned to her partner. "Matt, set up a surveillance team outside. If Cain does come back, I want to know about it."
"Right, Elisa," he said.
Riley went over to the table in the middle of the room. "This is probably how he found the Sanctuary," he said, pointing to the old subway map. He picked up the paper that was next to it.
"What’ve you got?" Elisa asked.
"Looks like a shopping list," he said. He handed the sheet to Elisa.
"It looks like Mr. Cain and Jon Canmore shop at the same store," she said.
"I can run this down if you’d like," Riley said.
"Agent Finn," Elisa said. "The only reason I allowed you on this bust is because you provided us with an address. I’m not going to ask how you got it. But I still don’t trust you, despite the fact that you’re Buffy’s boyfriend. Let us handle this one."
"Detective," he said. "I recognize some of the things on that list. Pretty serious stuff. And I can promise you I can get faster results."
Elisa mulled that over in her head. "Okay," she said, handing him the list. "But I expect some answers before tonight."
Cain watched as the surveillance team parked outside the apartment building. He’d known it was just a matter of time before they found him. He was surprised that they found him this quickly after his attack on the female gargoyle. He turned as a redheaded detective exited the lobby to talk with the officers in the unmarked unit and walked slowly into the park. This time he would not escape, he thought.Destine Manor
Dominique held her nose as she examined the potion. Fortunately, the potion itself wasn’t as pungent as the ingredients that had gone into its creation.
"I certainly hope that this works," Giles said. "I certainly don’t look forward to brewing this concoction again if we fail."
"That won’t be a factor," she said. "If we fail, we will not be able to cast this spell for Oz again. This is his only chance with this particular ritual."
"Does Willow know?" he asked.
"She knows," Dominique said. "And she understands."
Giles added one final ingredient to the potion and stirred it in before pouring it into a small vial. For the amount of ingredients used, it produced a surprisingly small amount of liquid. "That should do it," he said. "Will you do the honors, or shall I?"
Dominique took the vial and put a stopper on it. "I know just the person for this task."The Labyrinth
Oz took a sniff at the potion. "Whew, that stinks!" he said as he passed it back to Buffy.
"Don’t worry," she said. "Giles said that the smell is nothing..."
"...Compared to the taste," he said.
"How did you know?" Buffy asked.
"It was on Gilligan’s Island last night," he said. "The clones think it’s hilarious."
"Simple pleasures for simple minds?" Buffy said.
"I don’t know," Oz said. "The second season was pretty good. And I think that Malibu’s got a thing for Ginger." He took the vial again and looked at it. "Well, they say that if it tastes bad, that means it’s working." He put the vial to his lips.
"Not yet," Buffy said. "Demona said to wait until you start to change. Something about it being a tranquilizer."
"So it’ll put me out long enough to get me to the ritual," he said. "Makes sense." He put the stopper back on the vial and pocketed it. "Any word on where Cain is?" he asked.
"Riley told me they raided his apartment, but he wasn’t there," Buffy said. "He’s running down a list of weapons they found there, but so far they haven’t turned up much."
"How’s Willow holding up?" he asked.
"She’s ready to go," Buffy said. "You should have seen her after they performed to keying spell last night. If they could have, she would have done it right then and there." Buffy looked at him. "How’re you holding up?"
"I’m managing," he said. "I just wish I could shake this feeling I have."
"Probably just nerves," Buffy said. "Don’t worry. By this time tomorrow, you’ll be a new man."Destine Manor
Willow picked up the sword and followed Dominique, Tara and Giles out the door. It was time for them to go. They got into Elisa’s car and headed for Central Park.
In a nearby alley, Cain lowered his binoculars and headed in the same direction.The Labyrinth
Talon approached the cell with the chains. "Are you ready for this?" he asked.
"Yeah, just give me a minute," Oz said from inside the cell. He finished shedding his clothes and took the vial out of his pants pocket. As he felt the change come over him, he quickly opened it and downed the contents.
Talon watched as Oz’s form changed before his eyes. Within moments, a werewolf stood where Oz once did. Or rather, tried to stand. The potion’s effects hit him quickly, and a glassy look came over his eyes.
Buffy took the chains from Talon and slowly approached the cell. The werewolf tried to focus on her and snarled, but it was a groggy sounding snarl. She opened the cell door.
The werewolf took one step towards the open door and fell onto the floor, asleep.
"Let’s do it," Buffy said quickly. Together, she, Talon and Claw put the chains on Oz and carried him to the waiting van. They dumped the snoozing werewolf inside and attached the chains to special heavy-duty cargo rings Oz had installed into the van before he left Sunnydale.
"Do you want us to go with you?" Talon asked.
"No," Buffy said. "Demona said too many people could cause too many distractions. Don’t worry. Goliath’s going to meet us there."
Claw closed up the back and gave them the ‘O.K.’ sign. "I’d better get going," she said. "I don’t want to have him wake up on me before I can get him to the park." Buffy got into the driver’s seat of Oz’s van and left the warehouse.Central Park
Goliath watched as the van pulled up. As it stopped, he could see it rocking slightly.
Buffy turned off the engine and quickly jumped out.
"He’s starting to stir," she said. "We’d better get him to the circle pronto."
Goliath opened the back of the van and took hold of the chains binding Oz.
"Hold up a sec," Buffy said. She jumped into the van and quickly released the rings holding Oz to the floor of the van. "Okay, now," she said.
Goliath pulled and the werewolf came sliding out of the van. When he hit the ground, he took a tired snap at Goliath’s foot but missed.
"The potion Demona and Giles prepared for him appears to be rather potent," Goliath observed.
"Potent doesn’t even begin to cover it," Buffy said as she stepped out of the van. "You should have smelled it." She reached down and grabbed a hold of the chains. "We’d better get him to the party."The Labyrinth
Talon paused as he heard someone racing down the tunnel that led to Central Park. He folded his ears back and prepared himself for a fight when he saw Riley Finn appear out of the tunnel.
"What are you doing here?" he asked.
"I told Detective Maza I’d check out a list we found at Cain’s apartment earlier today," Riley said. "I need to talk to her."
"She’s not here," Talon said.
"Where is she?" When Talon frowned, he quickly continued. "Look, the weapons that were on the list are pretty serious. I need to let her know."
"She’s at the park," Talon said, reluctantly.
Riley looked around. "And Oz?" he asked. "Is he locked up?"
"No," Talon said. "Buffy took him to the park a little while ago."
Riley’s eyes went wide in alarm. "What? Why?"
Talon was surprised by his reaction. "Demona’s performing the spell to cure him tonight," he said. "I thought you knew."
"No, I didn’t," he said. He turned and started back down the tunnel. Talon paused for only a moment before racing towards the Sanctuary to get the tranquilizer rifle. Central Park
Demona watched as Buffy and Goliath set Oz in the middle of the mystic circle. She looked up and saw the shadow of the Earth begin to creep across the surface of the moon.
"Positions," she called out.
Willow took her position near Oz while Tara and Angela stood at the spots they had occupied the previous night.
"What do you want us to do?" Elisa asked.
"He is here," Goliath said low, just loud enough for Demona and Elisa to hear him.
"Where?" Elisa said, drawing her gun and looking around. "Are you sure?"
"I can not detect him," Demona said. "But you are right, Goliath. He is here somewhere. I would be if I were him."
Elisa beckoned Sata and Giles over. "Cain’s around here somewhere," she told them. "Spread out and keep a watch for him. Giles, you’re with me."
They headed into the trees as Demona returned to the circle and began the spell.
Cain watched as the humans and the gargoyles headed into the trees. Probably looking for me, he thought. Good, because it left the others unprotected. And judging by the way the werewolf was starting to thrash around, they would never hear his approach.
Sata moved cautiously through the trees. She could feel him, he was near. The warrior in her took over and she slowly drew her katana.
She heard a commotion behind her. She turned and looked back the way she had come and realized that it came from the mystic circle. Oz must have fully revived, she thought. That was to be expected, she knew. Demona had told them the sedative properties of the potion would last only long enough to get Oz to the circle. She slowly started to turn back.
Cain dropped on her from above, driving his feet into her back and knocking her to the ground. She didn’t even have time to register the pain before he hit her across the back of the neck with a blackjack and knocked her unconscious.
Cain set her against the tree he had dropped out of and retrieved his rifle from the hollow. He slowly made his way towards the mystic circle.
Buffy perked her ears at a sound that seemed to come from the trees. Unfortunately, she couldn’t do anything about it. Oz was fully awake now and trying to get free. It was all she could do to keep him in the center of the circle. She looked back as Demona took out a scroll and began reciting the final portion of the spell.
Something was happening, she realized. She could feel it. It felt as if some kind of inky blackness was oozing through her hands. She turned her attention back to Oz.
Now she could see it. Something was rising from Oz’s body. It felt vicious, primal, evil. Almost as evil as Angel had been once. She realized what it was. This was the true werewolf, she thought, some kind of primal force that was passed down from victim to victim. Almost like the demon that changes a human into a vampire.
It looked up at the disappearing moon and howled, a deep soul-searing sound that almost caused Demona to break her concentration. Buffy looked and saw the look of fear in Tara and Angela’s eyes. She tightened her grip on Oz and looked at Willow.
Willow looked at the blackness that flowed up out of Oz. It looked at her, through her, and seemed to smile maliciously.
Demona looked up from the spell. The moon was almost completely covered. She looked at Willow and caught the fear in her eyes. "Willow!" she shouted.
Buffy caught the sound of Demona’s voice and looked at her friend. Willow was paralyzed with fear. "Willow!" she repeated Demona’s call. She looked up and saw something in the middle of the blackness. "Willow, there it is!"
Willow looked at her then followed Buffy’s gaze back to the blackness. She could see it.
"That’s the heart of the beast!" Buffy called out. "That’s what you need to hit!"
She saw it, the core of the blackness. She could see it as clear as day. She drew the wakisashi and stepped towards the blackness.
The blackness retreated slightly. It had been revealed and now it was in danger. It tried to free itself, but its host was shackled. It had nowhere to go.
Cain watched as the blackness backed away from the sword. He had to end this. He brought up the rifle and sighted in on Buffy.
Elisa caught movement in the trees. She saw the rifle barrel peek out from behind a tree. She signaled to Giles and headed for the sniper.
Willow smiled as the blackness retreated away from her. It was afraid, she thought. It was afraid of her. She brought up the sword and waited for Buffy’s signal.
Elisa caught sight of Cain and realized that he was sighting in on Buffy. If he killed her, Oz’ll tear Willow and the others apart! She broke into a run and leapt as Cain squeezed the trigger.
Buffy looked up as the night suddenly brightened as Demona completed the spell. "Now, Willow!"
Willow stabbed at the blackness.
There was a loud crack and Demona pitched backwards, blood flying from the wound in her shoulder. The blackness retreated back into Oz just as the blade passed through it and Oz, smelling fresh blood, went berserk. He tossed off Buffy and turned on Willow.
Cain went down under Elisa’s weight and his shot went wide, hitting the azure gargoyle instead of the Slayer. Giles saw Demona go down in a spray of blood and rushed to her side as Oz tried to throw off the chains.
Cain kicked off the detective then threw a punch at her. He missed as she ducked under the blow and threw a jab at his kidney. The blow connected but didn’t seem to slow him down. He grabbed her arm and twisted it to throw her off balance and fired a shot at her jaw. It connected and Elisa went down.
He turned to retrieve his rifle when something grabbed him by the back of the neck. He was whipped around and found himself face-to-face with Goliath.
"That was a mistake," he said as he picked up Cain bodily and threw him against a tree. He hit hard and did not get up again.
Buffy launched herself at Oz from behind, bringing him down. He was having difficulty getting out of the chains and Buffy was intent on keeping him that way. She saw Giles run past on his way to Demona, and that momentary distraction was all Oz needed to throw her off again.
He was tackled again, this time by Angela, who wrapped her arms around his body in an effort to hold him. He twisted left and right to throw her off and finally did. He turned and took a step towards them when he heard a pop and felt a pain in his chest. He looked up and saw Riley and Talon enter the clearing, Talon holding a tranquilizer rifle in his hand. The beast took two steps and collapsed.
Buffy sprang up and ran over to Willow as her friend ran to Oz’s side. She was crying.
"It didn’t work!" she said, weeping. "It didn’t work!"
"We don’t know that, Willow," Buffy said.
"No, I know it didn’t," she said. "I waited too long. I hesitated!"
"It’s not your fault, Wil," Buffy said. She saw movement and turned to see Goliath pushing Cain into the clearing with Elisa and Sata trailing behind, Elisa rubbing her jaw and Sata rubbing the back of her neck.
"You!" Buffy snarled. She rushed forward and slammed Cain against a tree. "You almost got us killed!" She drew her hand back for a blow that would send Cain’s nose flying out the back of his skull, and to hell with the ‘No killing humans’ rule! when she felt Elisa grab her arm.
"No, Buffy," she said. "He’s not worth it." She looked at Cain sourly. "Let the courts take care of him."
"You’ve got nothing on me," Cain said defiantly.
"Oh no," Elisa said. "What about illegal possession of an unregistered firearm, assaulting a police officer, attempted murder?"
"Those charges will never stick," he said. "I’ll be out of jail in less than an hour."
"Not this time," Riley said. He grabbed Cain by the collar and looked him square in the eye. "By the authority invested in me by the federal government, I am placing you under arrest."
Elisa took a step towards Riley. "You can’t do that!" she protested. "He’s my collar."
"I’m sorry, detective," Riley said. "I have authority here." He took out a pair of handcuffs and placed them on Cain’s wrists. "If you want to object, I suggest you file an official protest through the proper channels."
Elisa glared at him as he led Cain away.
"You’re just going to let him go?" Demona said as Angela led her towards Elisa and Goliath.
"I don’t like it any more than you do, Demona," Elisa said. "But he’s right, dammit."
"Don’t worry," Buffy said. "Riley and I will have a long talk when I get back to Sunnydale." She looked back to where Tara and Giles were comforting Willow. "In the meantime, let’s get Oz back to the Sanctuary."July 18, 2000
JFK International Airport
Buffy watched as Willow kissed Oz good-bye.
"Are you sure you won’t come with us?" she asked.
"I’m sorry, guys," he said. "Not until we can completely beat this thing." The night after the eclipse, Oz had changed into a werewolf, as Demona had expected, and he was still as aggressive as ever. But when he reverted back to a human, he said he felt something different about the change. "Until we figure out exactly what happened to me, I’m still not safe."
Willow put her hand on the side of his face. "I’ll miss you," she said.
"I don’t doubt that," he said.
Dominique chose that moment to step forward. "I want you to have this," she said. She handed Willow a heavy volume from her workshop. "This spellbook contains a vast amount of lore concerning werewolves. I have never gone through it myself, but it may contain something that could help if you should ever try again. And there are a few spells I personally have added that could be of use to you in Sunnydale."
Willow tried to hand the book back. "I...I couldn’t."
"Nonsense," Dominique said. "An apprentice should have the best learning material available."
A...apprentice? Me?" Willow asked.
Dominique looked at her and Tara. "Both of you," she said. "You two and Angela make a wonderful team. I would be remiss in not giving you as much assistance as possible."
Willow looked at Tara. "Wow," she said. "I mean, thank you!"
"My pleasure," she said before turning to leave. "I expect to hear from you soon."
"It’s time we board our plane," Giles said. "Ms. Destine," he added, taking her hand and kissing the knuckles. "It’s been a pleasure."
"Thank you, Mr. Giles," she said.
"Please, call me Rupert," he said as Buffy rolled her eyes.
"Rupert," she said before she turned and left.
Elisa stepped forward and extended her hand to Buffy. "Goliath and the clan sends their regrets for not being here to see you off."
"I understand," Buffy said, taking the extended hand. "We’ve all had a busy couple of days." She smiled at Elisa. "You know, when I took a career aptitude test a couple of years ago, the results said I’d end up in law enforcement. Go figure."
Elisa smiled. "We certainly made a great team," she said. "And if you ever decide to give up the Slayer gig, I’m sure the NYPD would be happy to have you."
"Thanks, detective," Buffy said. "That means a lot."
"Excuse me," Buffy said.
"My name’s Elisa, remember?"
Buffy smiled sheepishly. "Sorry about that."
They heard the call for their flight and said their final good-byes. Willow watched as Oz and Elisa left the terminal before joining Buffy, Tara and Giles on their long flight home.