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Lonely Souls

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Waifs and strays". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: The second (much longer) installment in the Waifs and Strays AU. Covers season 1. Please READ THE SERIES INTRODUCTION!

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Joyce-Centered(Current Donor)vidiconFR1598780,1331581491396,32728 May 115 Jul 14No

NOTE: This chapter is rated FR21 which is above your chosen filter level. You can set your preferred maximum rating using the drop-down list in the top right corner of every page.

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Memories of things not done

Author’s Note:

Thanks very much to my Beta’s, Letomo and EllandrahSylver.

The following ways of notation may be found in this story. This is excluding whatever I need to represent chatting, texting and stuff like that. And you can thank Twilightwanderer for the Abbott and Costello.

Speech: “Who’s on first.”

Thought: *What’s on second.*

Vision: #I-don’t-know’s on third.#

I’m grateful to everyone who has recommended my stories and Lonely Souls in particular. The latest to do so is BlazeVein, many thanks.

Please remember that reviews are the food of the Writer’s Soul. The more food, the more production. Maybe I should rephrase that… I hope this chapter pleases my readers.

A day late, due to the fact I had little time and a lot of thinking. There is a good chance there will be no update at all next weekend, due to a busy schedule. And if anybody can give me a reason why my computer gives two quotation marks every time I hit that key, it would be appreciated, it is getting seriously annoying. And I did get a new keyboard, so that isn’t it.

Rated for situations and violence.

60 Memories of things not done

The girl who called herself Amata shivered as she sat in the room she shared with Buffy. She knew from his memories that the second man she’d drained was Xander’s father, and that he was not a nice man. She knew that the first man was also not nice, if less violent. He’d preferred underhandedness, the sort of man to slip ‘roofies’ into a girl’s drink, something he had done quite frequently while he was in school and at University. She had seen what he had planned for both his ex-girlfriends the moment he became aware of their amazing physical similarity. Amata was a child of a different era and used to things that the people of this era would consider horrible and depraved, but even she had shivered at the things Roger Pritchett had planned for Prue and Brenda.

And then she had killed the so called Guardian, the man sent to return her to the hell that was her body, the hell that was her service to Machida. Her nostrils flared in anger. *I will have my vengeance!*

She knew that Xander would not approve of her killing people to stay alive, that Ms. Summers would not, that Mr. Simon would not, that Buffy would not. She had saved Janice and Dawn had hugged her. Dawn liked her, and even suspicious Kit seemed to like her, they were a family, a real family, the closest thing she had ever had to one. And their opinion mattered. They were good, kind people. Xander… she was almost certain she loved Xander. And Ms. Summers had told her that she could go dancing with him at the Bronze and possibly even kiss him, which was almost unthinkable. Her father would have had her whipped if she had given herself to any man in such a fashion without his permission.

*But even they will not begrudge me my vengeance!* She thought. And she hoped very much that she was right.

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Tony grinned as he looked down at the piles of ashes in the alley. He reached into his pocket for the cigarettes he’d stolen from the vampires. He kicked the pile of ash that had been the male vamp, the one that had made the pathetic whining noises as Tony had enjoyed his girlfriend. Tony lit up and smiled. “Things are looking up, Tony, old man.” He looked at the watch he’d taken as well and headed out to find his wife. Time to settle a few old scores.

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Prue struggled and suddenly the big woman stopped her harsh handling. “You’re not a vampire, you’re too warm; you’re not a Greflith demon, your heart is on the wrong side and your nipples aren’t needle sharp. And you’re not a doppelganger, your tongue isn’t scaly.” Hannah removed her hand. “But Smitty is sure that you were involved somehow with the death of Pritchett.”

Prue blinked as the woman’s rough hand slipped off her breast and the hard, cold expression softened, even if only slightly.

“So, you want to tell me what happened?”

Prue growled. “You- you come in here, feel me up, threaten to rape me, scare me to death and then just expect me to talk to you?”

Hannah grinned again. “I can go on with the feeling up, darlin’. It’s been a while for me and you are pretty.”

Prue gulped. “Talk! Talk is good!”

Hannah almost looked disappointed. “Right, what happened then?”

“Might I first have your name?” Prue ventured.

Hannah snorted. “Sure, girlie. I’m Hannah Harris, Rogue Demon Hunter.”

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The two large black cars stopped in front of the Sunnydale Police Station. A tall dark haired man and two dark haired young women came out, as well as two men dressed in dark blue suits and a tall man, looking put upon, in a three piece grey suit.

“I knew she was off!” Piper raged. “I’m gonna kill that Walsh bitch!”

Simon sighed. “Language, Piper. And I’m not bailing two of you out of jail. And I imagine Penelope would not be best pleased either.”

Phoebe gritted her teeth. “I imagine Grams knocking the stuffing out of that Walsh bitch.” 

The man in the grey suit coughed. “Can we go inside? I really do not wish to be in Sunnydale at night.”

“Of course Hiram. You have the note from the judge?”

“No, you pay me my vast hourly fee to make an utter bollocks of a simple bail bond. Can we get on with this? I really, truly, genuinely do not like this town,” Hiram replied, sarcastically.

Simon led the way inside and to the desk. “We’re here with the order to release Brenda Walsh on bail.” He addressed the young woman at the counter.

Phoebe opened her mouth to protest but Simon’s look silenced her and she sulkily shut up.  

The young officer smiled and pressed a button. “Just a minute sir, please.”

The huge metal door between the outer and the inner office opened and a man in a lieutenant’s uniform came out. “Yes, Carla?”

Hiram Ludwisky stepped forward and handed the receipt for the bail and the accompanying paperwork to the police officer, who read it with raised eyebrows. “I see. Well, I’ll have Miss Walsh processed and brought here. Just a minute.”

He went back through the door and the party sat down to wait.

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Hannah tapped her large, uneven yellow teeth with a chewed fingernail. “A mummy. Blast. Never dealt with one of those.”

“What have you dealt with?” Prue asked, curious despite herself.

“Vampires, demons, a couple a Doppelgangers. Stuff like that. How come you aren’t freaking out? Most people don’t deal with things like this very well.”

“Apparently fighting the supernatural runs in the family.” Prue leaned back against the rough wall of the cell.

“Really? Never heard of Walshes among the hunters.”

“I’m not Brenda Walsh, I’m Prue Halliwell,” was the prim response.

“H-Halliwell? As in Penelope Halliwell?” Hannah stammered.

“Yeah, she’s my grandmother.”

Hannah was now very pale. “Oh, fuck, I felt up Magistra Halliwell’s granddaughter. I’m dead.” She glared at the camera. “But I’m gonna kill Smitty first, he told me you were Walsh!”

“Wait, what?” Prue was confused. 

“Someone came to get you, bailed you out, and the Walsh girl went in your place, apparently,” Hannah supplied thoughtfully.

“I’m gonna kill that bitch!”

“Heh. I still get a phone call. Want me to call your grandmother, straighten things out?” Hannah offered.

Prue sniggered. “This is weird. How did we get from you almost raping me to you calling my family to get me out of here?”

“With you not being a demon and me not having to kill you,” Hannah shrugged. “And I am sorry about that, but it really was the quickest way I could think off.”

The door opened and a lean, uniformed lieutenant entered, looking grim. He blinked when he saw the two women sitting amiably side by side. “Miss Walsh? Are you alright? There are people here to bail you out.”

Prue winked at Hannah. “I’m fine, thank you. Hannah was just telling me tales of her life.” She rose and stretched, moving to the door.

The fat cop opened it quietly, eying Prue with suspicion until Hannah made a small gesture and he relaxed.  

The lieutenant eyed the large woman on the bed and then Prue. “You are sure you are alright, Miss Walsh?”

“Quite alright. Can I go now?” Prue sounded impatient.

“Just a bit more paperwork. Please come with me.”

Prue was led out and into the foyer. Simon had just signed the last form and Prue could see that Piper and Phoebe had to stop themselves from hugging her, instead giving the disinterested nods of people who barely knew her. That changed as soon as she sat between her sisters in the car. Phoebe and Piper almost buried her in hugs. “Oh Prue, we’re so sorry,” Phoebe sobbed. “We should have known immediately she wasn’t you!”

“Hey, she is freakishly like me. To get all this arranged to bail me out so fast took some doing, so how long did it take you to realize it wasn’t me?”

“Err, the drive and then about five minutes,” Piper admitted. “So about a quarter of an hour.”

“Well, I’m glad. But why didn’t you just haul the bitch back here?” Prue wanted to know.

“Joyce’s soft heart,” came Phoebe’s disgusted answer. “She’s sure the ‘poor thing’ had a good reason.”  

Prue looked thoughtful, albeit annoyed. “Blast. Then she probably does.”

Piper exchanged a look with Phoebe. “What?”

“Mother, remember?” Prue pointed out. “It had better be a damn good reason for me to get felt up and damn near French kissed by a huge butch Rogue Demon Hunter though,” she growled.

“What?! Who? What’s a Rogue Demon?” Phoebe shouted into Prue’s ear.

“Phoebe! Don’t shout. A woman called Hannah Harris. She stopped as soon as she realized I wasn’t a vampire, a Doppelganger or something else. And she’s scared of Grams,” Prue stated with evident satisfaction.

Piper snorted. “Well, yeah. So are we.” She grinned wickedly at Phoebe. “Some of us more than others.”

Prue smiled and sighed, closing her eyes. “Well, I want a shower and a good meal.”

The cars pulled up before the house and the party got out. A thin, auburn and black haired streak hit Prue in the midriff as soon as she stepped onto the porch. Prue let out a surprised 'Oooff' before putting her arms around the girl hugging her. “Well, hello to you too, Evy. Miss me?”

“Yes,” Evy replied shortly, before burying her face against Prue's shoulder again.

Prue grinned down at the black and auburn head and then at her sisters. “So how did you figure out it wasn't me? Why didn't you think it was a Doppelganger or something?”

Phoebe let out a snigger. “Well, for one she didn’t set off Buffy's senses, even real up close. And for another she-” Phoebe fell silent as Piper elbowed her.

“What? What did she do?” Prue asked, worried and annoyed. “She didn’t come on to people, did she?” She tried to step closer to her sisters but Evy’s hug prevented it.

Piper sighed. “That. She wasn’t nearly angry enough to be you, she was just plain terrified. You don't do fear well, Prue, you get afraid, you get angry, and then you get even.”

Prue blinked. “Oh. I see. Err. I was pretty scared in there, you know.” Then she sighed. “And angry. Yeah. I suppose you're right.” She looked down at Evy.  “Evy, sweetie, would you let go of me? I’d like to take a shower and get some food,” she asked gently.

Evy looked up at the older woman suspiciously. “You won’t get taken away again?”

Prue sighed. “I can’t promise that, Evy, but I doubt it. Simon wouldn't allow it, I think.” 

After a few more moments Evy reluctantly released Prue, but took her hand and dragged her inside. Phoebe looked after the two of them and exchanged a look with Piper. “You know, despite everything I'm very glad we were raised by Grams.”

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It had been her house for almost eighteen years, but not a home, Jessica Harris decided. Yet it felt strange to be cleaning up and packing, picking through the detritus of eighteen years of marriage to Anthony Harris. There was more detritus than good stuff. The couch was greasy and covered in stains from alcohol and tobacco. The pristine cover over it was her way of hiding the things that went on in her house, a veneer just as thin as her civil greetings to the people she met on the street. A lie, just as great as Tony's to cleave only unto her until death do us part.

She looked at herself in the mirror. She hadn't smoked since she'd identified Tony and hadn't drunk a drop since Alexander had been taken into care, despite what Social Services might think. She’d put on more comfortable and presentable clothing, different from the dowdy ones she wore to prevent Tony from blandishing his attentions on her. The last thing she wanted from him during her marriage was attention. The times before Xander's birth had been bad enough. Her hair was drawn back from her face and her makeup was restrained, unsmudged and well applied. She had kept herself in good shape, despite Tony.

She’d always expected him to die before her and she wasn't going to let his lifestyle ruin what she might salvage of her life. It had taken him longer to get killed than she had expected. Maybe if he had died years ago she wouldn’t hate Xander so much. And yet she loved him, too. How she loved her first and only born son. He might be a disappointment, but he was her son, no matter who his father was. She shivered at the pain she had caused him over the years, numb in a haze of alcohol as she tried to avoid Tony, tried to avoid thinking about her life, tried to avoid the responsibilities that had become hers when things had not turned out the way she expected. *How foolish are the dreams and visions of youth,* she thought bitterly.  

The clatter of small stones against the window of the Harris house drew Jessica's attention. She went to look out, to see what annoying pre-teen was trying to get her goat this time. There was no one there and she returned to her packing. She did not think she'd be able to sell it. Sunnydale was not a place where people wanted to live. Unlive, many of them, live, no. She looked at the pictures on the mantle and almost snarled. Her own drawn face and tired eyes looking at the boy she had given birth to, at the man she had married. She shook her head. Anger at her fate was not going to change it. At least her actions in front of the Social Services people had resulted in her son going to a good home. She knew she was not a good mother, she had never expected to be one after all. Alexander was a good boy, he’d become a better man than his father, though that was not difficult.

She sighed and wondered if she should tell him about his heritage. She shook her head. It's betrayed me, its hardly going to be better for him. Possibly even worse if I explain to him why I married his father, why he was born. Why I thought he should be born.*

The door opened and Jessica looked up, expecting to see yet another commiserating neighbour coming by. Her eyes widened in surprise as she took in the man standing in the doorway, leaning casually against it, grinning and leering in appreciation and anticipation.

“Well now... Aren't you a sight to make a dead man stand to attention?” Tony walked into the room, leering at her. “You've been holding out on me, bitch. Holding out and probably putting out as well. Who've you been banging, slut?”

Jessica snorted. “Tony. I should have known not even death could keep you down. None of the vamps ever caught you. So what did?”

“A very cute little mummy. Now I'm like her I can go and pay her a visit on equal footing, have a little fun. But first I think I shall have a little fun with my wife.” He stepped closer and Jessica backed away, eyes wary, hands up to defend herself.

Tony licked his lips in anticipation. “Actually, make that a lot of fun, there are a lot of things I’ve been wanting to try for years.

The neighbours ignored the screams from the Harris house. They'd become inured to them years ago and conveniently forgot that the man who caused them before was supposed to be dead.

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Brenda sat on the bed in Joyce's room, hunched in upon herself and crying. A sandwich that had been brought up earlier was sitting uneaten on the plate on the nightstand. She made such a picture of abject misery that Prue found, to her surprise, that she felt pity for her.

Brenda looked up and then down, a sob wracking her frame. “I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry!” her voice was hoarse with crying. “I should just have let them do what they wanted.”

Prue sat down on the bed. “Do what they wanted?”

“The guard, he said he was going to bring in a woman...”

“Hannah,” Prue interrupted. “He told you he was bringing her in?”

“Y-yes. He was going to film it all, all of it. I couldn't go through it again. I'm so sorry. I was so afraid.”

“Again?” Prue exclaimed, shocked. “Brenda, have you been raped?” Prue asked gently.

Brenda looked up with tear-filled eyes. “Are you familiar with the term 'casting-couch'?” her voice cracked on the word couch.

“Yes.”

“Well, sometimes they add a little something to the drinks of young ladies to get them to perform,” Brenda said bitterly. “And then they have pictures, and then...” She waved a hand.

Prue gasped and then put a tentative hand on the younger girl's arm. “We've got to tell Joyce and Simon. They can help.”

“How? The people who do this are powerful, no one can touch them.” Brenda rubbed her eyes. “I know, I tried, I went to the police. All that did for me was destroy my movie career.”

“No one can touch them? That sounds familiar. But trust me; Simon is more than capable of taking down a Hollywood Boss. Now come on, you need some food.”

Brenda blinked. “What? I left you to be raped by a huge handed woman and you're inviting me to dinner?”

“Yes. And Hannah is quite nice when you get to know her,” Prue smiled. “Though I admit that her initial actions scared the shit out of me, she had her reasons.”

Brenda blinked. “I'll take your word for it.”

Prue held out a hand. “Come on. There's still chicken, and Simon is going to want to hear names.” 

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Roger Pritchett smiled as he made his way to the county lock-up. The memories he’d drained from the guards showed him that the women he wanted to have a little word with were there. He looked at the heavily reinforced steel door that opened onto the alley he was in and put his hand on it. There was no handle. “The front door will have to do then.” He walked out of the alley again and to the front door. It was made of reinforced armoured glass and huge roller shutters were visible both on the inside and outside, covering the entire front of the building and allowing all the glass of the lobby to be covered. Steel shutters had been sunk into the sides of the window frames higher up. Roger pursed his lips in thought. “How inviting. Like a fortress.” He smirked at the entrance and whispered. “But only against the evils they can see and recognize.”

He rang the bell, waiting for the door to be opened, walking easily over the cross inlaid in the floor and between the crosses marked at, not reacting to the light spray of holy water that dripped from the leaky sprinkler and saw the young woman behind the counter visibly relax. Roger walked up to the duty desk, lightly manned in the early evening. “Good evening, I’m looking for Prudence Halliwell and Brenda Walsh. Is it possible to visit them?”

The young officer opened her mouth to speak, but Roger leaned forward and grabbed her, kissing her, and drawing her life into his body. *Hmmm, tingles on the lips.* He did not notice that the young woman had pressed an alarm button as he had reached for her.

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Smitty was the first into the front office, gun drawn and water pistol at the ready. He sprayed the water at the man first, wetting his shirt. The man turned round, his eyes glowing yellow. “Go away, fatso, I'm eating.”

Smitty was not a good cop, not anymore. He was, however, still a good shot. He aimed straight between the eyes and fired, the slug penetrating the man's skull and shattering the back of it and about half a pound of brain matter, onto Carla.

The girl screamed. Smitty walked forward, limping slightly. The corpse was moving - that did not surprise Smitty. He looked at Carla and pointed at the door to the inner office, thick steel and more like a safe door than anything else. 

“Run, kid,” Smitty ordered the pale and distraught young officer, his gun still on the body on the floor. “I'll be right after you.”

Carla fled. Smitty followed, his gun trained on Roger, but he was still surprised by the man's speed when Roger jumped up and launched himself at Smitty's throat, bits of his skull and brain hanging down the back of his head, gobbets of grey matter falling on the floor with splashes of blood. Smitty stepped on the unobtrusive button that would swing shut and lock the door. The huge door fell shut and Roger growled at the fat cop struggling in his grip and then smashed his fist hard into the man’s mouth. “That was the last stupid thing you ever did, cop.”

Smitty smiled, his teeth bloody and broken. “That was the best thing I ever did, Pritchett. The best thing I ever did.”

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Rupert Giles was not a man who liked to admit defeat. It was not in his nature. So as he sat on his sofa and read his books he was unwilling to do so. But this time it was not his decision. Jenny stood in the doorway to his guestroom, wearing one of his shirts, sweatpants and a pair of owl-headed slippers. She’d spent a good part of the afternoon running and had showered and changed once she’d gotten home, just before sunset. She changed in the spare bedroom, even if she spent most nights in his bed, his arms now.

“Rupert, what are you doing?”

“I’m trying to figure out the meaning on this seal. Like I’ve been doing for some time now,” he replied somewhat sarcastically.

“Yes, Rupert, you are. You are translating a copy of a seal that was made by the man who wrote the primer you are using to translate it. And on the other side of the country is a man who has access to a library that makes you drool. And whose telephone number you have.” Jenny sat down beside him, the dress shirt tightening over her breasts, dragging Rupert’s eyes to them for a second before he managed to look her in the eye.

“But-” he tried.

“Rupert, no one is going to think less of you for asking the advice of Dr. Worthing. He’s been doing this for decades. Call him. Now.”

“Jenny, I can hardly call him for every little problem...” Giles shut up in the face of Jenny’s glare.

“He is Simon’s chief archivist and primary researcher. It’s his job, just as much as yours, to keep him and his family safe. What do you think Simon and Joyce will do to you when they find out you’ve not gone to him because you want to show off to some South American nobleman?” She spoke softly but vehemently. “She’s their daughter, Rupert. If anything happens to any of their children because of your stubborn pride…”

“It’s not actually pride, Jenny. Apparently Dr. Worthing is gone on some sort of journey and can only be reached in the direst of emergencies. I tried earlier.”

“Which is why I asked Joyce to get his mobile number from Simon. People are dying, a mummy is on the loose and Buffy is going to be fighting it. They consider it a dire emergency.” She handed him a piece of paper and gave him a pointed look.

“You have his number?””  Giles asked stupidly before grinning up at her with an almost fatuous smile. “You are as brilliant as you are beautiful.”

Jenny rolled her eyes but she flushed slightly. “Thank you, now he has a mobile phone and you have the number. Call. Now. Before someone else gets hurt, who is actually worth a damn,” Jenny insisted. “Please, Rupert.”

“I will. Would you be so kind as to make us both some tea? This might take a while.”

Jenny nodded. “Of course.” She leaned in and kissed his cheek before rising to make the tea.

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The Bronze was filled with dancing teenagers and college students from UC Sunnydale. There were also vampires and at least one demon, well, besides Dave. Buffy looked around the large room and made her way over to the first vampire, studiously ignoring the way Willow was leaning into her boyfriend and the way Amata and Xander were dancing in a conveniently shadowy corner, very close together indeed. Buffy growled a little and followed the vampire as it dragged off a simpering girl with braces and glasses. Two kicks and a pointy stake later and the girl was vacantly wondering what had happened to the handsome man who had been kissing her.

Sunnydale syndrome in full force, Buffy noted. She also noted that Angel was nowhere to be seen. *Wonderful. Closest thing I have to a boyfriend and he’s older than the country. Not to mention a vampire and so totally not what Mom wants for me. Why can’t I have a nice, normal boyfriend? Like… Like…* Looking around Buffy failed to see anyone she might qualify as normal. Larry Blaisdell was annoying some innocent Junior with tales of football prowess. And who the heck did Devon think he was, hitting on every girl in the place? Buffy sighed. *Just a little too normal. Stupid teenage boys. Yay.*

Buffy decided that if there was little or no chance of a dance with an acceptable boy, the best she could do was to have a few fights. And nobody would complain about the destruction of a few vamps. Well, except maybe the vamps, but she didn’t really care what they complained about. Maybe she’d get Amy to help; she was as boyfriend-less as Buffy herself.

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“Ah, is this Dr. Worthing? Rupert Giles.”

“Dr. Giles? I assume this is important?” The noise of a car engine running and the rumbling of a car on uneven ground could be heard in the background.

“Quite, sir. A mummy is loose in Sunnydale, an Incan-”

“Mummy of a young girl. Bollocks.”

“You know of it?”

“More than I care to remember. The seal was broken?”

“Yes, some curator from the San Francisco Museum of Natural History thought the replica seal by Dr. Carnahan was a fake and broke it on purpose.”

“Blast. I assume she’s killed?”

“Two so far - the curator and the father of Alexander Harris, Dr. Meier’s foster son.”

“The abusive drunk? Hardly a loss. A pity about the curator.”

“Not from what I heard, sir. How do we deal with it? Can we repair the seal? I’ve been trying to translate the signs, but what Carnahan writes does not match up with what later scholars say, and Sabancaya disagrees completely.”

“Go with the later scholars, I never pretended to be a Moche expert. JACK! LEFT!” There was a sound of screeching brakes and then the engine roared.

“Terribly sorry about that, we’re chasing Billy the Kid, who’s intent upon re-starting the Lincoln County War and busy raising an army of undead outlaws.”

“You said you are not a Moche expert? What does that have to do with Carnahan?”

“I am Carnahan, now what do the symbols mean according to your other sources?” There was a gargling noise from the other side of the line and Jon sighed. “Get a grip on yourself man. Now, what are the differences in the translation?”

“Well, mine is really rough and ready and if I use your primer and… are you really Lord Carnahan?”

“Yes, I really am. Translations?”

“Umm, Jenny says ‘hi’.”

 “That’s nice, who is Jenny? Because I doubt that is the translation.”

“Err… Dategirl. The translation is something like ‘the sacrifice to ensure the wealth of the family and to keep the demon fed for all time, guarded so her service will not be disturbed, may Machida hold her soul forever and his pleasure ever increase… At least that is what I, using the Bembridge scholars make of it, Sabancaya has a translation that runs like sacrificed to the sun and the moon and the sea to ensure the wealth of the people, to be guarded for all time that her sacrifice may be valued the more.”

There was a moment’s silence before Carnahan answered. “The first one. The second one sounds like spin to me. We are talking about Don Juan Diego Francisco Manco Pizarro Yupanqui de Almagro Cortez de Arequipa y Sabancaya, are we not?”

“Yes, My Lord.”

“Call me Jon. That man is a descendant of Pizarro, Cortez and Almagro, as well as the Inca and Montezuma. His family is one of the wealthiest and most influential in South America. He’s descended from all the noble lines of ancient Peru, from the Moche and the Inca. Connect that with your translation using Bembridge and you get a very uncomfortable feeling, at least I do. SHOOT THE BUGGER, JACK! HE’S BEEN DEAD A FUCKING HUNDRED YEARS!” 

Giles held the horn away from his ear and winced. Jenny grinned at him. “Sounds adventurous. I wonder who this Jack is.”

“I shall ask later,” Giles replied dryly. “Jon, what do you suggest we do?”

“We need to find a way to put that girl’s soul to rest, or end the curse on her. Anything really, but we can’t condemn her back to Machida’s grasp.”

“You are right. If only we knew what she looked like.”

“She’s a very pretty girl with a native look to her, very dark brown eyes and hair, her name is Sun-offering in her language. She’ll be very polite and subdued most of the time. She’ll probably be quite amazed at modern conveniences and behaviour as well-”

“Oh, dear lord! Amata,” Giles whispered, removing his glasses. Jenny swallowed heavily.

“Ah. You have a suspicion? Rupert, if it really is her… and if you don’t have any other options but to destroy her, before you do so, tell her how desperately sorry I am for consigning her back to her hell.” Carnahan’s voice was soft and regretful. Then it hardened. “And if you do anything to hurt Dategirl, I’ll rip your balls off and feed them to a vampire, and then the rest of you, with Tabasco and some Fava beans, understood?”

Giles swallowed. “Perfectly.”

“Good. Very good. JACK! Dammit Jack! That’s my favourite longsword! It is NOT a lance!” The connection was broken.

Rupert stared at Jenny. “We need to get to the Bronze. The children are all there, and I told Sabancaya about the girl who could read the symbols.”

Jenny growled as she ran for the spare bedroom. “Damn it Rupert! You should stop trusting people merely because they know stuff! You call Buffy and warn her, and then we’ll go over. I’ll drive!”

Giles decided not to argue that it was his car. It seemed the wrong moment somehow. He picked up his phone and dialed Buffy’s mobile number.

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Roger looked at the suburban house and snorted. *This is the house of the magnificent Joyce Summers? So much for the woman being any good at business.* He walked up to the door and after a moment’s hesitation, kicked it down. The wood of the jamb splintered under the force of his kick and he immediately ran inside. The people on the couch looked at him with shocked expressions. Prue and Brenda were the only important ones; he ignored the blonde woman and the dark haired man as he went for them. And then the small electrodes hit him and he started to convulse.

Arlene looked down at the spasming body with satisfaction. “Sometimes my visions are useful. How does that feel, you evil son of a bitch?”

Roger did not reply, but a slight whimper came from his mouth as Arlene shot him again with another Taser. Several bodyguards came in with leather bands and chains and quickly shackled and chained the struggling man.

Simon looked down at him with cold eyes. “You weren’t much of a man, and as a demon you are even worse.” He leaned down a bit to look at Roger more closely. “Prue, is there anything you want to say to Roger?”

“Other than the fact that he was fired before he even got to Sunnydale, no,” Prue said while idly studying her finger nails. “Which the Museum is very glad of, otherwise they would have to pay for the damage this idiot did.” She smiled at Simon. “Oh, and I’m the San Francisco liaison for the Meier Foundation for the Arts, which has graciously decided to lend some of its vast collection to the San Francisco Museum. Isn’t that wonderful, Roger? Oh, have you ever met Dr. Simon Meier?”  

 Roger growled through his gag and tried to jump at Prue, but the restraints held him and he was unable to get at her. Prue smiled again and returned to the papers she was reading. “Do you want to say anything to our exceptionally useless ex-boyfriend, Brenda?”

Brenda got up and looked down at Roger. “Well, your career is dead and Simon is going to make certain I get justice. Prue seems to have covered everything except for the fact that you are lousy in bed.”

There were sniggers from the kitchen and Phoebe and Piper strode in. “Cool. Can we kick him now he’s down?” Phoebe asked blithely.

Simon sighed. “No, first we need to find out what he is and then how we can put him to rest. From Arlene’s vision it’s clear he’s no longer human.”

Piper sniffed. “It’s debatable if he ever was.” She looked at Joyce with worry in her eyes. “Did you reach the children?”

“Yes, and Rupert called them as well, he discovered some things. Those mobile phones really are very useful,” she noted, and smiled at her fiancé. “Remind me to thank you for that again.”

Simon smiled back. “Gladly.”

Prue coughed. “Do you two want to take this upstairs?”

Joyce shook her head. “No, we’ll stay here; we both need to be here for Xander, and hopefully for Amata too.”

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Amata sat in the corner of the booth, snuggled into Xander, her fingers twined in his. She was too enthralled by the feeling of his warm body against hers, by his soft, gentle hand on her shoulder to notice the man coming in, dressed in jeans, open-necked shirt and a leather jacket, his dark hair swept back. Xander sniggered. “Oh lord, a Latin Angel clone.”

Willow and Dave looked in the direction Xander pointed and smiled, Buffy bore a slightly guilty half grin and Amy stifled a laugh. “Oh man, that guy is stuck in the eighties. Buffy, one of yours?”

Buffy’s face scrunched up in effort and then she shook her head. “All I get is a mild headache. Don’t think he’s anything special. Just human.”

“Well he thinks he’s something special. And he’s coming this way,” Xander noted.

“Isn’t he a bit old for The Bronze?” Willow wondered.

“Angel’s older,” Xander pointed out with a slight sneer on his face..

Buffy sighed and put a bit of distance between herself and her family, then called Giles on his mobile. “Giles? Your Latin Lover is here.”

There was a spluttering noise and a giggling laugh from Miss Calendar. “You haven’t told Amata? Or Xander?” Giles asked.

“No, she’s been dancing with Xander all the time, or snuggling. She doesn’t act like some soul-sucking monster, Giles. And I couldn’t tell Xander, not here.”

“She probably isn’t, at least not voluntarily. Be careful, Buffy. We’ll be there in a few minutes.” Giles rang off and Buffy sighed and moved back towards the cubicle, noting that the Latin Lounge Lizard was making his move. She noticed the man was savvy enough to pay attention to Amy, the only solitary female in the group. 

Then Buffy noticed Amata excusing herself and leaving Xander for the first time that evening, but instead of going to the ladies’ Room, she kept looking around, until she spotted Buffy, and then she made a beeline for the blonde Slayer.

“Buffy? That man, the one who is talking to Amy, he is not safe,” Amata said in her lilting accent. She gave the Slayer an anguished look. “We should go home; I need to tell you things. Please?”

Buffy blinked. “Sure, sure Amata. You collect Xander and I’ll pry apart Willow and Dave and save Ames.”

Amata smiled sadly and went. Buffy smiled at the middle aged man hitting on her cousin and dragged Amy away, while gathering Willow and Dave with a look. Amy shuddered when they reached the door. “That guy was totally creepy. You know he told me I had a beautiful soul of untold value?”

Amata gasped. “We must go! We must hurry!” She led the way to the waiting BMWs and dragged Xander along. The others exchanged looks and followed.

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They arrived at 1630 Revello Drive in record time, the black BMW’s pulled up and the children poured out. Amata almost fled into the welcoming light and, upon catching sight of Joyce, sitting on the couch, started to cry.

Joyce cast a surprised glance at the group and then quickly gathered the crying girl in her arms. Or tried to, for Amata backed away, avoiding her touch. “No! You must not touch me! I’m a being of evil, a horror.”

Joyce pursed her lips and beckoned to Simon, who rose and quickly moved to stand beside a gaping Xander. “A being of evil would have killed Janice in that alley, dear. A being of evil would not care, would not feel bad, as you do. Now, as far as we know, your name, and I’m sorry but I don’t know it in your own language, is Sun-offering. And you were sacrificed by a group of priests and wizards to increase their wealth, your soul bound to your body forever and both at the disposal of a being called Machida the Purveyor, a demon who grants wealth and success in exchange for the souls and bodies of virgin maidens. Is that correct?” Joyce looked at Rupert Giles, who was standing by the hearth, sipping tea from one of Joyce’s good porcelain cups.

“Quite correct. You’re also a being capable of removing the life-force, not the soul, from any being you kiss, apparently. And yet you seem strangely unwilling to do so.” The Watcher gazed at the ancient girl with compassion. “Despite being tormented by that vile thing for hundreds of years.”

Joyce smiled at the girl and held out her arms. “Now would you like a hug?”

Amata wailed and threw herself into Joyce’s arms.  

Xander looked at the scene and then up into the sympathetic eyes of his father.

“First the Mantis woman, now this?” he whispered, brokenly.

“With the difference being that the Mantis woman wanted to kill you and as far as we can tell Amata means you no harm.”

“She killed Tony. If she means no harm, why did she do that? And Pritchett?”

“Survival and fear,” Simon replied quietly. “She was trying to escape the demon to which she was sacrificed. I must admit that after nine hundred years of enslavement, I might have done much the same thing.”

Joyce led Amata to the couch and sat down with her. Prue ran and got a box of tissues. Simon sat down opposite, dragging Xander with him. After a few minutes Amata pulled herself together. “I must be destroyed. I am evil. I wanted to live, to be happy, but all I have done is to bring grief.”

Xander swallowed heavily. “You killed Tony. Why?”

“I am sorry, Xander, I did not know who he was. I never meant to cause you pain.” Amata sobbed.

“What happened?”

“I was looking for clothes, then he came along… he wanted to rape me. But I did not know that until he attacked me and I drained his life and knowledge.”

Xander winced. “Wow, that’s some epitaph, here rests Tony Harris, rapist and abusive father and husband.”

“You do not doubt me?” Amata sounded amazed.

“Not really. I knew that Tony was a bastard. I heard him brag to his friends sometimes. I hoped he was just making it up…”

“I’m sorry Xander, I have his memories.”

Xander winced again. “Then I should be the one to say he’s sorry. No one should have to live with Tony’s memories in his head.”  

“And what about Roger?”

“He wanted to steal as much as he could and blame it on Prue.” Amata shuddered. “I also have his memories. He did not have nice plans for you and Brenda.”

Giles leaned forward. “I don’t suppose you have any idea why Roger Pritchett is walking around again and sucking life out off people, just like you?”

Amata blanched and looked at Prue and Brenda. “He is? No, I have no idea… I-I felt he wanted vengeance; he was a petty, vindictive and egotistical man. He might be here for…” She waved an apologetic hand at the two brunette women who might as well be twins.

Brenda shivered. Prue glared at the basement door. “Can we get that piece of…” she looked around at the teenagers present and then grinned at Joyce ruefully, “work off the premises soon, Simon?”

“Certainly. Now the bodyguards have all returned we can send them to take Pritchett to Sunnydale Research. The holding cells there ought to be sufficient to keep him in.”

Xander laid his head back against the couch. “So why is Roger walking around? Has anything every happened like that before?” He looked at Amata from under hooded eyes.

Amata shifted uncomfortably. “No. No it hasn’t happened before. I only rose once before, in nineteen forty-eight.”

“And who did you kill then? Do you remember them? Do you grieve for them-” he broke off his harsh words as Amata, instead of defending herself, vomited violently all over Joyce and the couch.

Xander was by her side in seconds. “Amata! I’m sorry! Oh, God, I’m sorry!” He ran to the kitchen and returned with wet cloths and half a bucket of water soon after, only to find Joyce had taken the girl upstairs to clean both of them up.

He cleaned the couch instead, silently accepting Simon’s aid.

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Joyce came out of her en suite shower and quickly dressed in jeans and a sweater before heading to the bathroom. Arlene was posted outside it, with Evy loitering in her mother’s sight. “Anything?” Joyce asked her elder sister.

“She vomited at least twice. I think I heard the shower, but it cut off again and then there was more vomiting.” Arlene shrugged before continuing, “She doesn’t act like an evil creature bent on world domination, at least not to my mind.”

Joyce nodded thoughtfully before trying the door and finding it unlocked. She slipped into the bathroom and noted it was filled with a warm fog and smelled of vomit. Amata was sitting huddled in the shower, her knees drawn up to her chest, crying softly.

“Amata? Do you want to talk about it?” Joyce asked gently.

“They were bad men, the ones I killed. I swear. They were horrible men, I did not want their memories, I did not want to live in a world where they did. They wanted the power of Machida to rebuild their empire and I would not let them, so I hunted them all down, all of them. And then the other man came, and he recreated the seal and then… Machida.” She took a deep shuddering breath. “Machida saw what mankind had learned and decided that it was time for him to expand his rule once more.” She closed her eyes. “They were evil, evil men. Machida used what I had seen in their minds against me.”

“Do you remember their names, Amata?”

“Bormann, Martin Bormann, and Josef Mengele and Edmund Kiss, and-”

“Oh merciful God… Oh, Amata…” Joyce leaned into the shower and caressed the girl’s head. “I understand dear. I completely understand.” Joyce shuddered. “Take as long as you need. Call me if you want me.”

“No! Don’t leave! Please don’t leave, I don’t feel as bad when you are near.” Amata pleaded.

Joyce nodded. “Of course, child. I’ll be right here. Just take your time. I’ll go and tell Arlene, but I won’t leave.” She walked to the door and opened it. Arlene looked her question. Joyce took a deep breath. “Nazi’s. Last time, it was Nazi’s. Bormann, Mengele, several others, who wanted to use her to build a Fourth Reich.”

Arlene paled. “And she has their memories. Oh…” She looked at Evy, who had paled as well. “I’ll tell them downstairs.”

“Please. I’ll stay up here. Amata needs me.”

Arlene went down, Evy under her arm, and smiled at the scene of Simon and Xander looking at the smelly, wet couch. Simon sighed. “A new couch, I think. How is Joyce? And Amata?”

“Nazi’s. She drained Mengele, and got his memories,” Arlene said in a flat voice.

Willow and Jenny gasped in unison, both paling to near white. Dave had to support Willow and Jenny swallowed convulsively.

Xander closed his eyes, his face stricken with guilt. “Man, did I ever put my foot in it.”

Simon gently hugged the boy. “You were angry and upset, Xander, and you couldn’t know. It was far more likely that she drained a group of archeologists.” Simon looked at Arlene. “Well, I think that if a group of Nazi Mummies were stalking around in South America we would know. So whatever allowed Roger to rise must be connected to the Hellmouth.”

Giles frowned. “Or… She saved Janice Penshaw? Dawn’s friend? And the girl was attacked by vampires, yet not drained? That is unlikely on the Hellmouth.”

Willow gasped. “You think that she drained vampires and the demons jumped to Mr. Pritchett?”

“I think it as likely an explanation as any other.” Giles took off his glasses. “But that leaves the question; did Tony Harris rise as well?” He looked apologetically at Xander. The boy sank onto the clean couch, wide eyed and pale. Buffy and Willow sat down at his sides, putting their arms around him.

Simon nodded and left for the dining room, returning a few minutes later. “The body of Tony Harris is missing; the attendant presumes Mrs. Harris had it removed for burial.”

Xander groaned and buried his face in his hands. “Wonderful. So now Tony is wandering Sunnydale, no doubt reveling in his new abilities to hurt people.”

Willow giggled. “Reveling? Wow, Xander, you’re vocabulary is really growing!” Then she looked abashed. “Err, not really important right now, is it? And it’s really a very bad time for me to remark about it, isn’t it? Sorry.” She looked dreadfully woebegone and Xander grinned, if a bit sadly.

“Don’t worry, little sister, I admit the thought occurred to me as well.” He scowled. “I do worry about what he’s doing.”

“Well, if he’s anything like a vampire, or Roger Pritchett for that matter, he will be looking for revenge and to harm his family…” Giles’ voice trailed off.

Xander looked at the Watcher in shock and then turned to Buffy. “He’s going after my mother! We need to warn her!” He groaned. “But what the hell do we tell her?”

“Language, Xander. Buffy, you’re with me, we’ll drive over there.”

Giles cleared his throat. “Shall I go with you?”

Simon nodded. “Very well.”

Xander rose as if to join them, but Simon shook his head. “No son, not this time.”

Xander looked ready to protest, until he realized why he was being told he could not go along and fell back onto the couch, pale and shivering. Willow hugged him and Piper joined them, both giving the trembling boy comfort.

They went outside and were joined by Jenny. Giles looked at her. Jenny gave him a sad look. “In case he went to her and didn’t kill her. Trust me, you’ll want a woman along, and Arlene can’t leave Evy.”

Simon nodded. “Thank you. I didn’t want to ask in front of Xander.”

Buffy shuddered. Simon put an arm around her, giving her a hug. “I’m very sorry to have to drag you into this Buffy. But we may need your abilities. But if we tell you to stay out of somewhere…”

Buffy nodded, now almost as pale as Xander had been. “Yeah. Totally understood.” She looked up at Simon and then cuddled in under his arm for a second. “And thanks.”

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The Harris house was set on its own plot of land, a little distance from the road and had once been a good middle class home. But neglect and the moral decay of Tony and Jessica Harris had caused it to become an eyesore in the street, and the neighbourhood. The group approached cautiously, Lewis and Hurst taking the flanks, both with a pistol in easy reach and the extra strength tasers in hand. Buffy carried a stake and an axe, Giles a crossbow and a sword, Jenny had a long, silvery dagger in a red and black sheet she’d taken out of her purse.  Simon had his cane and his emergency bag. Simon tried the door and raised an eyebrow when it opened.

The room beyond was filled with boxes and crates, and the furniture was piled high with various small items and knick-knacks, waiting to be packed. Buffy wrinkled her nose. “I smell blood.”

The adults exchanged looks. Just then there was a sobbing, gurgling noise from upstairs and Simon exchanged looks with the others, before pushing a rather ugly looking vase of a side table. After half a minute or so a door opened and then Tony Harris appeared at the top of the stairs, his bare belly hanging over his belted jeans, his feet bare.

He sneered down at the group. “Well now, visitors. The asshole who stole my useless son. I’m not certain if I should thank you or kill you.” Tony seemed to think for a bit and then shrugged. “Might as well do both.” He started downstairs and leered at Jenny and then Buffy. “This is going to be fun! A blonde, a redhead and a brunette all at the same time! And after I’m done with you lot, I’ll go and kill Xander and enjoy the company of his little bitch friend, what was her name? Oh yes, Willow. Maybe I’ll let him watch-.”

The supercharged Tasers fired by Lewis and Hurst struck Tony and he went down, convulsing. The men kept the triggers depressed, letting the current continue. Simon looked at Buffy. “Get the restraints from the boot, would you, Buffy?”

Buffy nodded and hastened out, returning in record time, her arms full of the leather straps, manacles and chains. Buffy grimaced at Simon. “I do so not want to know what the neighbours think about me carrying this stuff in here.”

Buffy dumped the restraints on the ground and then picked up a baseball bat that stood by the door. Lewis took it from her, handing his Taser to Hurst.

Simon exchanged looks with Giles. “Buffy, please wait on the porch, or in the car. Not in here.”

Buffy bit her lip. “It’s gonna be bad, isn’t it?”

“I think so, yes,” Simon replied gravely. “Please?”

Buffy nodded and went outside. As soon as the door was closed Lewis shoved a gag into Tony’s mouth and methodically broke every major joint in Tony’s body with the bat. “Glad this thing isn’t metal.” He remarked idly as he shattered Tony’s left kneecap.

Jenny looked more than a bit green and Giles and Simon led her upstairs quickly. The carpet to the top of the stairs was marked by bloody footprints. Jenny swallowed but didn’t stop. Giles put an arm around her. They went into the room from which the footsteps emerged. Jenny vomited as she took in the sight on the bed. Simon growled. “Sick, perverted bastard. Rupert, call 911.”

The Watcher was already on the phone, his other arm supporting Jenny.

Simon hastened to the battered and bloody naked form on the bed. He felt for and detected a pulse and started triage, hoping to ascertain what, if anything might be done for Jessica Harris.

“Have them get Tony out of here. If they take him into custody more people will be killed.” Simon said to Giles after the watcher had finished his call. Simon’s eyelids flickered and only years of training prevented him from reacting more strongly as he tried to asses the damage through the blood that coated the woman’s body.

Jenny had stopped vomiting and came closer to the bed, despite Giles’ attempt to stop her. “Go down Rupert, and get that bastard out of here before I kill him. No one deserves this, not even Jessica Harris.”

The woman on the bed opened her eyes. They were brown, much like her son’s. They fastened on Jenny. “Janna… you must tell him of his heritage.” Jessica Harris spoke in a broken, slurred voice, her tongue and mouth barely able to form the words.

Jenny gasped and staggered back. “Jassina?”

Jessica Harris gurgled. “One Who Sees… Did not understand… Tell him… sorry… love him… so much.” And then, very quietly and with an ethereal smile on her battered and broken face, Jessica Harris died.

Author’s Note:

Martin Bormann was Hitler’s private secretary and Head of the Nazi Party Office. He was a major figure in the enactment of the Holocaust. He was most likely killed while trying to escape Berlin in 1945, but some say he made it to South America. Joseph Mengele was a doctor not worthy of the name who performed truly horrifying experiments on human victims in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He fled to South America and died in 1979. Edmund Kiss was a small cog in the Ahnenerbe, and archeologist who write about Tiwanaku and Atlantis, as well as an SS officer who believed in the destiny of the German people, he died of alcoholic liver failure in 1960. He was, like many Nazi’s, freed to help defend Germany from communism. Many people forget that the Roma, Jenny’s people, were persecuted at least as harshly as the Jews, hence her reaction.

I hope that this chapter gets things moving again. And that I can get things to be a bit more cheerful. Sheesh, talk about depressing…
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