(Lycan's Lair, Budapest)
Lucian stared at the three newcomers with dark eyes as his emotions warred within him at their tale. He immediately wanted to dismiss this all as some kind of trap of Victor, but as far as he knew the deadly Elder was still in his long century hopping sleep. He felt anger, sadness and uncertainty waging inside him at what to believe. The one claiming to have Sonja’s spirit inside her kept her eyes locked on his, waiting for his response.
“I don’t know what you hope to gain with this deception, but...,” Lucian started to say, but Sonja cut him off.
“It is no deception Lucian and I can prove it,” Sonja told him, having expected some disbelief from him, but still hoping he would not prove resistant for too long.
Lucian got to his feet unsure what to say as this was all beyond anything he had encountered in his long life. ‘What could he say?’ he wondered at her insistence that what she said was the truth. Before he could say anything she began to tell him things only two people knew. One was himself and the other was Sonja. Collapsing back into his chair he could only stare at the woman in front of him. ‘This couldn’t be,’ he thought, but it was because of the things she was saying only he and Sonja knew that he started to believe it.
“How?” he started to say before pausing as he tried to gather himself. “How is this possible?” he finally managed to ask, once Sonja had sat back down.
“As I told you already Lucian I was brought back to alter the balance and change the plans put in place by these beings called the powers,” Sonja answered calmly, relieved he had so far not called for his guards. “Just before I died you leaned I was pregnant with our child as I tried to convince Victor to spare us both,” she reminded him, seeing he was still unsure. “Instead the news condemned us. I was ordered to be burned alive by my own father even as you pleaded for my life,” she continued. “You were forced to watch me burn,” she finished.
“Enough,” Lucian ordered as he shot to his feet as the memories of those events invaded his thoughts, although they were never far of his mind. He tried his best not to think about it. The memories still inspired so much rage and hatred that it was hard to keep in control.
“Hear me Lucian,” Sonja pleaded with him. “I am Sonja no matter what you see with your eyes. I’m here within Jenny,” she told him as he faced her once more.
Lucian looked deeply into the eyes of the woman claiming to have Sonja’s spirit within her, but he ignored what he could see with his eyes and instead focused on what he could see with his heart. While the woman looked nothing like Sonja, he suddenly noted how she moved and even more importantly how she spoke. Something he had not bothered to see before, not exactly knowing why he reached up and removed the pendant he wore and handed it to her. Sonja took it from him allowing her fingers to graze his as she did so. Looking down at the pendant she had carried all through her life Sonja felt the pain of knowing the man who gave it to her could ordered her killed once more. However she pushed that pain away and instead placed her finger on the pendant latch and watched as three sharp sections shot out.
Lucian watched in silence knowing the only way for her to know about the secret of the pendant was for her story to be true.
“Sonja?” he whispered.
Xander awoke again only this time it was not from the Emperor’s memories, no he had sensed a vampiric presence outside his house. Getting up he quickly headed for his window and looked out, there standing near a tree was a shadow which he guessed was a vampire. He was half tempted to jump out and kill it, but something stopped him. This was too brazen even for an experienced vampire unless it had some kind of plan.
‘This vampire is here for a reason beyond trying to bait you outside on your own,’ the Emperor warned him. ‘I believe it is here to gather information, more than likely for that hidden threat we have been sensing,’ he added.
‘How can you be so sure?’ Xander thought back.
‘This hidden threat might know about your new allies or at least that you have new allies and may want to know who and what they are,’ the Emperor advised.
‘That’s disturbing to think he could have such good sources,’ Xander responded with a shake of his head as he kept a close eye on the vampire who he was certain could see him.
‘He maybe more of a problem than we originally believed,’ the Emperor told him. ‘I believe we should inform the others of this, perhaps Max and Paul have sensed him as well,’ he suggested.
‘I guess it would be better putting them on their guard,’ Xander agreed after a brief silence. ‘I just hope we could hold off on that with the Lothos minions distracting Buffy,’ he continued, before letting out a frustrated sigh. ‘Then we have Spike, Drusilla and their followers always dogging our heels. Sonja and Jenny are preoccupied with meeting with Lucian and soon Prue and Amy will try and meet up with Prue’s sisters,’ he went on as he saw the vampire finally turn and leave. ‘Then we have the various alien threats out there, and last but not least on the edges of our dimension the Chaos gods wait,’ he finally finished as he let his head drop against his window.
The Emperor let out a brief chuckle before becoming serious. ‘Be calm Alexander. I know it is not easy being in such a position, facing multiple threats,’ he advised calmly. ‘However we are not beaten or weak until we are dead. What Prue and Sonja are doing is important as you well know,’ he told him. ‘If we can ally with Prue’s sisters and Sonja’s lover then we will be a stronger unit for it,’ he stated. ‘Your worry about Buffy is justified as she is letting her rage lead her. That is dangerous, but hopefully she can reign herself in before she gets herself into trouble,’ he went on.
‘Buffy’s temper is not something to dismiss. These Lothos minions have truly awakened something dark inside her,’ Xander pointed out.
‘Not dark Alexander, they have brought forth her rage at her first watchers death at their Master’s hands,’ the Emperor reminded him. ‘More than likely deep guilt as well that she couldn’t save him,’ he added after a brief pause. ‘She is strong. Have faith in her that she can control that rage,’ he told him.
‘I do,’ Xander responded with all the belief he could muster.
‘Good, it is that kind of trust and belief that will see us all through what is to come Alexander,’ the Emperor replied. ‘As for your concern about the Chaos gods, I am troubled as well that they have sensed me even through a dimensional barrier,’ he admitted. ‘Should they attempt to breach the barrier we may have to take a very grave risk to stop them,’ he explained.
‘I know exactly what you mean, as I’ve seen it in your thoughts,’ Xander told him as he pushed away from the window and went back to his bed and sat down. ‘If it is the only way to stop the Chaos gods coming here and destroying all we are trying to protect, especially my friends, then I will do whatever it takes,’ he swore.
‘I would expect no less from you Alexander, but we are not at that point just yet,’ the Emperor replied. ‘Now try and get some rest, tomorrow will be a long day,’ he added.
Xander just nodded his head as he lay back down, although the Emperor’s advice was sound he could not help but continue to worry until finally he slipped into a troubled slumber.
The Mayor looked up as Alan entered his office looking annoyed, which was a rare thing for the man. He leaned back in his chair and waited for his aide to begin speaking as he clearly had something on his mind.
“A few of your vampire servants have returned from their scouting missions, however they have very little to report,” Alan informed him. “They tried to lure a few of them out, but none of them would take the bait, not even the Slayer,” he added with a frustrated look.
“They are not as stupid as to not be suspicious of a lone vampire showing up at their home,” the Mayor told him with a small sinister smile. “My servants should do well to remember they are not dealing with fools. This Slayer and her friends are dangerous,” he reminded him. “Hell this Slayer is probably one of the most dangerous Slayers to exist for some time, which is why I have tried to keep my intentions hidden,” he admitted as he stood up and paced a little. “These new allies she has might make her even more dangerous or less so. What we need is someone on the inside,” he muttered.
“I do not think any of them will betray the group sir,” Alan pointed out.
“No I don’t think so either, but maybe we could find someone in the school who might infiltrate the group and get our answers for us,” the Mayor shot back thoughtfully. “Someone we can control to do what we need, maybe even put our enemies off balance or lead them astray,” he continued.
“Does that not pose a risk to us as well sir?” Alan inquired with a slight frown. “They could turn on us, sell us out to the Slayer and her friends,” he argued.
The Mayor stopped pacing and frowned at this as Alan made a good point, bribing a teenager to join the Slayer’s group was risky. Teenagers couldn’t be trusted not to try and play both groups for the greater reward, enforcing control of a youth came with its own problems.
“I shall think on this some more,” the Mayor finally said. “We have plenty of options open to us and even better, time is on our side,” he pointed out as he took his seat once more. “Was there anything else Alan?” he asked as he took out a few notes to look over.
“Lothos’s minions have begun to stake out a territory from which to strike. However they are not attempting to gather any followers,” Alan reported as he moved onto other business. “They have killed any vampire or demon they have come across. From their actions I gather they may have become slightly unhinged by the death of their Master,” he added, again looking troubled.
“Have they gone anywhere near the normal humans?” the Mayor asked, glancing at him.
“Not so far, I have three vampires keeping track of them,” Alan answered. “I believe once they have ensured no more vampires or demons are in their territory they will strike out at the Slayer,” he speculated.
“Maybe if we are lucky they will take each other out, but with these new allies I doubt it,” the Mayor shot back with a shake of his head. “Just make sure they don’t start running amok amongst the humans,” he ordered.
“I understand sir. The only other news I have to report is the lack of action by Spike and Drusilla,” Alan replied. “For some reason they have pulled back from the constant action they have indulged in against the Slayer and her friends,” he explained at the Mayor’s look of interest.
“Spike for all his bluster is not a fool either. He is more than likely aware of the newcomers as well,” the Mayor replied with a grunt. “He is probably trying to gather information just as we are, plus he will not want to risk Drusilla as she is still weak from what happened to her in Prague,” he informed Alan. “Still keep an eye on them just in case they are planning something that might interfere with my plans,” he ordered.
“Of course sir,” Alan said with a nod before he turned and left, leaving the Mayor to his reading.
(Lycan's lair, Budapest)
Sonja almost lost control as Lucian finally seemed to be coming to believe she was real. Jenny whispered whatever encouragements she could, but she had no real idea how to help her.
“Yes Lucian it is me,” Sonja told him with a smile. “I have returned although not in any way I would have thought possible,” she added.
Lucian looked at Leo and Amy who had remained quiet throughout the entire discussion. He didn’t know what to make of them but they showed no hostility and so ignored them. He moved closer to Sonja who remained where she was, waiting and watching what he would do. The moment was charged and could go either way, finally Lucian seemed to come to a decision and pulled her to him and kissed her long and hard. Sonja eagerly gave into the kiss, while it was a strange thing for Jenny. She could feel the sensations of the kiss running through her body even though she was not in control of it at the moment, it would seem Sonja’s faith in Lucian had been justified.
Finally Lucian pulled away, but kept his eyes locked on Sonja’s. If he looked deeply enough he could almost see her features looking at him. Backing off a bit he tried to gather his thoughts, within that kiss he had felt Sonja’s passion and love and could not deny it was her. ‘It has to be,’ Lucian thought.
“I can barely believe this is happening,” he admitted as he faced her once more.
“When I first returned to life I could barely believe it myself,” Sonja admitted. “Now I have grown used to it, as well as sharing a body that isn’t mine,” she added.
“How does this Jenny feel about your love for me?” Lucian couldn’t help but ask. “In a sense I just forced a kiss on her which she didn’t want,” he pointed out.
“She knew it was a possibility before we came here Lucian. She doesn’t know you like I do although she has access to all my memories,” Sonja explained to him. “But maybe in time you both will grow to know and even possible love one another, because one thing I know for sure is if we are to continue our own love you two must find a way to co-exist,” she stated before allowing Jenny to assume control.
“That is something I’m willing to try,” Jenny told him with a hesitant look. “But that is for later. For now we have more to talk about Lucian, but maybe it is best if we leave you for now so that you can fully grasp what you already know and the comeback tomorrow night to talk more?” she suggested.
Lucian was surprised. He could actually see the change between when Sonja controlled the body in front of him and when this Jenny was in control. It would take a lot to get used to he thought, but for a chance to be with Sonja once more he was willing to get used to it.
“Very well, I will see you tomorrow night then,” he agreed finally as Jenny handed him back Sonja’s pendant.
He watched as her two friends all held hands before they vanished the same way they had arrived. Collapsing back into his chair he turned to look at the picture of his beloved and for the first time since her death he felt truly alive.
(Sunnydale High School)
Giles looked up as Buffy entered the school looking frustrated as she moved to join Max, Aura, Cordelia and Willow at the table. So far no one else had arrived bar Pike who he had managed to get into the school by convincing Snyder he needed someone to help him in the library.
“Are you okay Buffy?” Giles inquired as she sat down with a huff.
“I had a stupid vampire show up outside my house last night. He didn’t try anything, but he remained there for a full hour,” Buffy answered. “I was going to go out and slay the arrogant twit. However I suddenly realized he might be trying to draw me out into a trap and so I remained where I was,” she explained.
“Which is probably exactly what it was Buffy,” Xander said as he came in, making her turn to face him. “I had a vampire show up as well, like you I was going to go out and stake it before I realized it was too convenient he would show up alone outside my house,” he went on as he sat next to her. “My guess and the Emperor agrees, is that they were scouting us out. They know we have some new friends and they want information on them,” he told them with a frown which was suddenly mirrored on the others faces. They were not beyond trying to lure us into a trap so they could torture the information out of us,” he stated as Jenny, Leo and Amy finally arrived looking slightly tired, but happy.
“Do you think they were working for Spike and Drusilla?” Cordelia inquired with a quick glance at Xander before quickly looking away slightly flustered.
Her feelings for Xander were continuing to change at an ever increasing rate and she still didn’t know what to make of it all. Then she had to factor in the fact Xander was sharing his body with someone else’s spirit. A part of her was creped out by the whole thing, while another tried to ignore it as best she could while she focused on Xander and the new feelings she had for him.
Xander was not blind to the look Cordelia shot him, but right now focusing on her was the last thing he needed or was he just trying to put off dealing with the new feelings he had begun to feel for her? He just did not know what to make of his sudden shift in that area after so many years of disliking the girl to suddenly begin to develop actual feelings for her was weird.
“No I don’t Cordy,” Xander responded with a shake of his head. “The Emperor and I have been sensing a hidden threat. Someone in this town is a far more dangerous enemy than Spike and Dru,” he informed them, causing a few more frowns to appear. “However he wants to remain hidden from us right now. We don’t know why as he is using very strong magic to keep himself hidden,” he explained.
“Is he a demon or a vampire?” Max asked. He had tried to reach out with his own powers to find this new threat, but he found nothing and thus released control of his body to Paul who quickly managed to find the target as he had far more control of his powers than Max, who was still learning how to use them. But as Xander had stated the being was using some very powerful magic to hide itself, he could get no real measure of what it was.
“I can’t say Max. The magic it is using to hide itself is troublesome even to me and the Emperor,” Xander answered. “So it must be something truly powerful,” he added.
“Wonderful,” Cordelia muttered in response. “As if we don’t have enough trouble to deal with already,” she added with a shake of her head.
“We’ll deal with it Cordelia,” Willow told her with a reassuring look. “Just like we’ve dealt with everything else,” she added as a confident smile appeared on her face. “Right Buffy?” she asked.
“As long as we don’t do anything stupid, then yes,” Buffy responded as she felt Pike lean on her chair from behind her. “We’ll deal with it,” she stated to which the others nodded.
“We have some good news,” Jenny spoke up after a short silence had descended over the group after Buffy’s reply. “Our meeting with Lucian actually went well. We managed to convince him that Sonja was back and sharing my body,” she informed them with a smile.
Sonja had been overjoyed by the fact she had managed to get through to him, it had lifted a weight off her shoulders. Jenny however was still trying to work out how she and Lucian would be able to deal with one another. Sonja was confident they could work something out once they knew one another better. She just hoped she was right.
“That is good news,” Giles said with a small smile.
“Yes it gives me a lot of hope to ensure my meeting with my sisters goes just as well,” Prue said taking over for Amy.
“Easy Prue, we can’t rush that meeting,” Leo cautioned her gently. “I sense a lot more problems there than we faced with Sonja and Lucian,” he warned.
“If you are talking about the Elders Leo then they have two options. They can either accept what will be or get out of my way because nothing will stop me from reuniting with my sisters,” Prue told him with a glare.
“Let us hope they will be as accepting as we hope them to be or we could have a lot more trouble on our hands than we already have,” Leo responded, causing another silence to fall.