Part 26 Three Days Later:
"Well, Wes, at least you're a Watcher again -- even if it is for a different organization --," Angel said into his cell phone as he scrambled eggs for everyone for breakfast in the Summers' home.
Buffy grinned at the sight. It had been quite awhile since something so domestic had felt so right
. She continued to listen in on Angel's side of the conversation with his co-workers and friends in LA with amused interest as she waited for the other two Slayers to get downstairs for breakfast.
"Are you sure
you don't need me to come back to LA yet, Wesley? (doubtful
) You're not just saying that so that I'll stay here until everything's been taken care of with Buffy and Dawn, are you? (placating
) Alright, alright! I believe you! (pause
) Cordelia wants to talk to me? Sure, put her on. (faint smile
) Hey, Cordy. (annoyed
) That is absolutely none of your business. (disbelief
) Cordelia! (thoughtful
) How is
) Hmm, we'll have to work on that when I get back then. (confusion
) Lorne? What'd he want? (pause
) Yeah, I'll go see him when I get back. (turning off stove
) Well, I need to go Cordelia. I'll talk with you and the others later.... 'K, bye."
Angel slipped his cell phone in his back pocket as he began scooping the eggs onto the already fixed plates of food, and said to Buffy as she started to laugh, "Welcome to my world. That's a pretty good example of what goes on at my place, so you might want to get used to it."
"Well, at least your guys' activities are all in one place...unlike ours!" Buffy exclaimed grinning.
Angel rolled his eyes, as he said dryly, "It helps that I live in a hotel, and that the business is there as well. What we would need is for everyone to move into it, and it would
all be in one place...except when we're fighting demons and other occasional trips."
"What would all be in one place?" Dawn asked as she absently adjusted her shirt while entering the kitchen, Eve behind her.
"Everything Angel's group does," Buffy said, then asked, "Ready for school?"
"Yeah. I still can't believe I'll be gone from here in two weeks," Dawn said as she sat down as Angel placed a plate of food in front of her.
Angel nodded, then said to his daughter, "When will you get home from school?"
Dawn was thoughtful for a moment, as she contemplated her answer and as she took her first bite of eggs. After she swallowed, she said, "Probably around three-thirty...four o'clock at the most."
Buffy nodded her consent to the times given, and said when Angel glanced at her, "Tara and Willow are manning the shop, so they won't be home 'til late tonight. Eve and I will probably get home about half an hour to an hour after Dawn, as Adam and Giles wants us to do a pretty hard workout...which you'll be getting tomorrow, Dawn. So don't think you're getting out of it, just because it'll be Saturday."
Dawn scowled, as she griped, "I've just become a Slayer! Why do I
have to go through this stupid training?!"
Buffy felt herself become enraged. Standing suddenly, she snapped, "Because it will keep you alive.... Probably even longer than me when I
was first Called! Which was your age right now, by the way!", and stormed out of the room.
She ignored Dawn and Angel calling her name as she walked outside, slamming the door shut as she went.
Around noon, Buffy, Eve, Giles, and Adam took a break from training at the Magic Box. As the others were eating a small lunch, Buffy made a phone call.
"Hey, it's me," Buffy said, after Angel sleepily answered the phone.
She heard the faint rustle of cloth, then Angel saying with some concern, "Buffy? Is everything alright?"
The Slayer smiled as she saw Willow and Tara going to talk with a customer that had just entered the shop. Turning around, she leaned back onto the checkout counter to gaze at the special items that were kept out of harm's way, and said, "Everything's just fine. We're just taking a quick break to eat."
Looking down, Buffy fiddled with the phone cord, as she said nervously, "How's Dawn?"
Angel sighed, before saying, "Understandably upset.... She's a lot like you when you were first Called, you know."
Dropping her head, Buffy murmured quietly, "I know. That's why I get so upset. I don't want her to make the same mistakes that I did." "Don't all parents wish that?"
"Yeah...but it still doesn't keep me from wishing." "We should probably sit down with her tonight, and really talk about the whole Slayer thing with her."
"Sounds good," Buffy said sighing wearily, as she heard Giles call to her. "I gotta go. I'll see you later then. Love ya."
Buffy was just finishing one of her relaxing routines, when she heard Willow practically screaming her name in fear. Instantly, the Slayer was on her feet and running into the shop, asking, "What's wrong?!"
Willow covered the receiver of the phone she held, and said rapidly, "Dawn's-on-the-phone-and-is-hysterical.-I-can't-get-her-to-calm-down.-And-she-keeps-saying-your-name."
Buffy was instantly at the counter, and said urgently into the phone, "Dawn, what's wrong?"
All the Slayer heard was, "OhGodohgodohg--Buffy?"
Soothingly, Buffy said, "Yes, Dawn, it's me. Now: What. Is. Wrong?"
There was silence, then Dawn began speaking even faster than Willow had been "I-came-home-from-school,-and-the-place-is-a-disaster,-and-Angel-isn't-here,-and-I'm-scared!-I-mean-I-just-got-the-dad-I-truly-wanted,-and-I-don't-want-to-lose-him!"
Buffy felt all the blood draining from her face, as she gripped the phone tighter -- making it creak from the pressure --. Her eyes grew wide, and lips parted as a choked sound escaped her.
As though from a distance, the Slayer vaguely heard Willow say, "Buffy, what is it?"
Solely focused on the hitching voice on the phone, Buffy said quietly as she thought quickly about what to do, "Dawn, is the weapons chest in the living room intact?" "Yeah,"
Dawn said sniffling.
Nodding, Buffy continued, "Good.
Grab a weapon you're familiar with, and keep your eyes and ears open. I'll be there with the others as soon as possible.... Be brave Dawn, you are
The moment Buffy stepped out of the front passenger seat of Angel's car, Dawn was holding her in a desperate vice-like grip. Before she could even react, the eldest Slayer was being pulled towards the house. What she saw next was beyond
The door of the house was shattered inward, and pieces of the demolished stairway banister lay everywhere. The only thing still in one piece in the living room was the weapons chest -- and that was only because it was magical --. In the dinning room, wood and china covered the floor. The kitchen was similar to the living room...except for the knives and other sharp utensils embedded into the walls. The kitchen sink had even been broken, and water spouted from the busted pipes.
All this did not even account for all the demon bodies -- and their separated parts -- that littered the ground and splattered the walls...walls that had enormous
holes in them. There was even one hole going right through the ceiling in the dinning room.
The eldest Slayer stood in the middle of all this, numb with terror, knowing instinctively that the second floor would be just like this. As the others entered the now destroyed home -- horrified by what they saw (all but Adam) -- Buffy staggered up the stairs, no one following her.
Upon reaching the second floor, she realized that she was wrong...it was worse
. The inside walls of the master bedroom were no longer there, and it was obvious that that
was where the battle had begun. The other rooms bore damage as well, but none as great as that of the master bedroom.
Buffy slowly moved to the demolished bedroom, unwillingly pulled there by what she saw: a piece of paper pinned to the destroyed bed's headboard...held there by the knife Buffy had given Angel a week ago. With shaking hands, she pulled the knife and paper from the headboard.
Buffy's legs gave out beneath her as she saw that the writing upon the paper was written in blood...Angel's
blood. Immortal Slayer,
I challenge you: Immortal-to-Immortal.
If you wish to have your vampire back, meet me at the abandoned drive-in theater at midnight tonight. You must come alone, or I will give him to his Sire and Childe...whom are holding him at this moment.
Ethan Rayne, Immortal Sorcerer
The blood-written paper fell from Buffy's hands, as the ice-cold numbness within her began to be melted by the blazing rage that started to consume her.
For several minutes, she had trouble breathing, as the turmoil of emotions within her choked her. Then -- in a moment of terrifying clarity -- she threw back her head...and screamed.