The next day, everyone woke up bright and early. Buffy had the idea to continue with the girl’s training, but Spike had talked her into taking a day off. At first, Buffy fought him on the idea. She wanted to go on with her life as if nothing had happened. Just because she was on a liquid diet now, didn’t mean that she could slack off as the girls leader . It was Willow that got through to her with news of a coming visit from both Giles and Xander. They were arriving that day and were looking forward to spending the day with their favorite slayer. So Buffy took the day off after all and was in the kitchen, making scones and lemonade for the coming visitors when Dawn entered.
“You busy?” Dawn asked, taking a seat at the table, popping a freshly buttered scone into her mouth. Over the past year, Buffy had become a very good cook. As long as she followed the directions in a cookbooks, she was able to make anything. It was a feat that both Summers girls were very proud of.
“Yes…no…kind of. I’m just getting things ready for Giles and Xander,” Buffy forced a happy tone to her voice. She winced at the thought of how fake her voice sounded. Just like that damn bot Spike once had. She knew that Dawn noticed it. There were some things that she could never hide from her sister. Her moods were one of them.
“You’re scared, aren’t you?” Dawn asked, her heart going out to her sister. “You’re afraid that they’re going to reject you when they find out that you aren’t exactly human anymore.”
Buffy sighed tiredly, letting the spoon she was churning the dough with plop into the bowl. When had Dawn become so perceptive. Between her sister and Spike, there was no way to hide any negative feelings. They always saw through her false happy faces.
Dawn frowned at her sister’s silence. She didn’t like how Buffy’s shoulders slumped and seemed to tremble uncontrollably. Somehow, this also made Dawn feel relieved. She somehow knew that the calm façade that Buffy had put on wasn’t real. She knew that being turned was one of Buffy’s worse nightmares, and now that nightmare had come to pass. There was no way that Buffy could just be ok with this. “Buffy…talk to me. Are you really ok with this as you make out?”
Buffy closed her eyes against the raising emotions that were raising within her. How could she explain this? She was ok with her change…yet she wasn’t. She resented what had been taken from her. What had been taken from Spike. And Giles, he was going to be here and he was going to blame Spike and she didn’t know how she was going to handle it all. But then, she was grateful. She was going to spend eternity with the man she loved. She was a part of him now, and he would take care of her. She had her soul, and the gem of amora ring so she wouldn’t miss the sunlight. She turned to her sister, wondering just how she was going to explain the roller coaster ride that was the psyche of one Buffy Summers. Slayer turned vampire.
“It’s so confusing Dawn…I don’t know how to make you understand.”
“Just talk to me. Like you used to do before mom died. I’m your sister Buffy. I won’t judge you. Promise.”
“And if you kick me out, I’ll kick your ass,” Buffy somberly smiled. She laughed until she saw Dawn’s face fall in a mask of guilt. She grabbed her sister’s hand as she took a seat, regretting the bad attempt at a joke. That moment in Sunnydale had been long forgiven, but she shouldn’t even attempt to joke about it…not yet. Obviously, the emotions were still too raw. “Hey, I was just kidding. I’m sorry. It was a bad joke.”
“Damn right it was. If you do it again, I’m telling.”
“And who are you going to tell?” Buffy smirked, crossing her arms.
“Spike or Giles. Neither one of them would like you picking on me,” Dawn grinned in victory as she saw the smirk fade from her sister’s lips.
“Ok. Fine. You win,” Buffy lightly playfully punched Dawn’s shoulder. “Now…what were we talking about?”
“Your feelings about being a vampire and how confusing they are,” Dawn smiled, proud of herself. It was getting more and more difficult for her sister to dodge her questions.
“Oh. Yes. I remember. Well…maybe not so confusing. I mean…I get to be with Spike forever. He’s my sire, so we share a bond that can’t be broken, not by anyone. I mean…what more can I ask for in a relationship?”
“Those are the pros. Now want to tell me what the cons are, because those are most likely the things bringing you down.”
Buffy sighed, hating to put voice to her worries. Putting them out there in word form just made them all the more real, but there was nothing she could do to avoid it. Dawn would see right through any lies she may attempt. She had no choice but to tell the truth. “The problem is…the girls. And Giles and Xander. What are they going to think of me now? Especially Giles and Xander. You know that they’re both going to blame Spike for this, and that is so wrong. I mean…Spike didn’t want this any more then I did. It was forced upon him by The Master. And then there’s the girls. I was their leader. The Slayer. What are they going to think of me when they see that even I couldn’t defend myself against Angelus and The Master? They’re going to be so disappointed in me. I know they will,” Buffy wiped away a tear as she looked down at the table, holding back against the sobs that wanted to over take her at the moment. “Dawnie…what am I going to do if they hate me?”
Dawn’s heart went out to her sister. She could sense the fear coming off the vamped slayer in waves. She understood Buffy’s fears and was totally prepared to help her sister face them. “Buffy, they won’t hate you. The girls know that you’re not perfect and that it’s possible for you to be bested. They always known that. Hello! It’s a fact that you’ve died two times already. So this getting bested by two super strong vamps is really no surprise. They still respect you Buffy. You’re still their hero…just like you’re mine.
“As for Xander and Giles…they could never hate you. You know that. Yes, they’ll blame Spike, but we’ll deal. We always do. They’ll accept this…in time. You’ll see and then it’ll be like nothing’s changed. You’ll always be Gile’s slayer and Xander’s girlfriend that he never had. You’ll see. Everything will work out.”
Buffy couldn’t help but smile. Dawn sure had grown up and was getting pretty good at these pep talks. Buffy couldn’t help but love her more and more each day. She definitely was thankful that the monks saw fit to give her a sister. Buffy was sure she’d be insane with out Dawn’s faith and love. “You are the best sister. You know that? I don’t know what I would do without you.”
“You’d be fine and you know it,” Dawn shrugged, a bit of her own insecurities rising to the surface, for no explainable reason. Buffy was a vampire now. She had Spike and Angel. She wasn’t going to need her for very long and she’ll be alone, just like she knew she would. It was going to be just like her mother had said that horrible night in Sunnydale. When it all comes down to the end, Buffy wasn’t going to choose her. “Soon…you won’t even need me anymore. You have Spike and Angel and they’ll be giving you the pep talks. You’ll probably forget all about me,” Dawn bit her lip in an attempt to stop their trembling and the soon to be falling tears. This wasn’t supposed to be about comforting her. It was supposed to be about Buffy…yet, as always…she just couldn’t help herself.
“Dawnie, don’t say that,” Buffy squeezed her sister’s hands, all her woes about the reactions to her vampirism forgotten. “You know that I’ll always need you. Just like you’re always going to need me. We’re blood. Nothing can ever come between that. Besides, I love Spike, but when it comes to pep talks…I rather come to you. You’re more effective. Some how with Spike…nothing ever gets done.”
Dawn giggled, her mood lifted a bit. “Why?”
“Well…you’ve seen Spike. When you have a honey like that singing your praises…well landing in bed is never a problem.”
“Buffy!” Dawn laughed, enjoying this newfound closeness with her sister. Ever since Sunnydale had collapsed, Buffy had stopped treating Dawn like a child that must be protected from all things of the sexual nature. Now she shared things with her and openly talked about the progress in all relationships she had. “Well then, I think it’s best that I remain pep talk girl.”
“So do I,” Buffy grinned, hugging her sister tightly, hoping that she had gotten through to Dawn. No one would ever take Dawn’s place, and when it came down to it…if an apocalypse ever happened again…the last thing Dawn would see would be Buffy protecting her.
Angel sighed as he looked at the time. Giles and Xander was bound to be there at anytime, and thanks to some twist of fate, he was the one selected to greet them and explain about Buffy upon their arrival. He still suspected that his ex had set this up, just in case her watcher and friend got a bit stake happy. Not that he blamed her. After what he had done to both her and Spike…he deserved all he got. Besides, with the ring of amora on his finger, staking was not a problem anymore.
“Ho ho ho and howdy folks!” Xander busted through the door, Giles lagging behind him with two suitcases and a carry on case, probably full of books. They both stopped in their tracks to find Angel standing in middle of the foyer, looking like a dear caught in the headlights.
Giles frowned. He distinctly remembered Spike calling him and telling him that Angelus had made a comeback. That was the only reason Giles had given the peroxide demon Buffy’s address. So, what was Angelus doing here, and seemingly alone? Was he too late? Had Spike failed in his duty to protect Buffy and the girls? Had Angelus killed them all? “Angelus. What are doing here and where is everyone? Buffy! Willow!” The watcher called, his fear for his former charges rising in his chest.
“It’s ok, Giles. I’m no longer Angelus. I’m back. Willow ensouled me this time, and we’re looking for a way to make it stick this time,” Angel explained, his guilt deepening even more. He had hurt so many people during his time as Angelus. There was no way that he would ever be able to make up for any of it.
“Where’s Spike and the others?” Giles asked, being sure to put himself between Xander and the vampire. He had always had a protective streak towards the young man, and he had been through enough. If this was some trick, he was going to make sure that the boy had a fair chance to escape.
“In Buffy’s apartment and in the training room. Look, I know this is a shock, but there’s a lot that I have to tell you. It’s best that you two come in and take a seat.”
“We’ll remain standing, thank-you very much,” Xander glared at the dark vampire, feeling all that animosity he had thought to have put behind him, raising up again. “Just tell us, where is Buffy and why are you here?”
“I already told you. She is in the training room, working with the slayers. Spike is in her apartment waiting for her. Listen, I was selected to tell you all that’s happened between Spike calling you and now. I know, I’m the last person that either of you want to see, but it was her decision. I owe her this…after all I’ve done…”
“Ok. Fine. Tell us. What happened between now and the time the evil undead called Giles. And make this quick. We’ve been on a plan for a very long time and want some shut eye. No time for you…”
“Xander!” Giles hissed, a bit irritated.
Angel shook his head. Some things never change.
“Sorry,” the younger man mumbled and continued glaring at Angel.
“As you know…I reverted back to Angelus and just like Spike knew I would…I came here after Buffy, but that wasn’t the only thing I was after. I did this ritual that was a sure fire way to bring back dead vampires…kind of like how Wolfram and Hart brought Darla back…except this one guaranteed that the vampire was a vampire and souless.”
“My God…what did you do?” Giles turned a thousand shades pale. He wasn’t liking the sound of this at all.
“I brought back The Master. We teamed up and planned to bring back the order of Aurileous. Starting with myself and then Spike…that was after we turned the slayer. The Master wanted a vampire that was to be the strongest ever a part of the family. What better choice then a slayer. Not just any slayer…but the slayer. Buffy.”
“You son of a bitch,” Xander hissed, wanting to rip off Angel’s head right then and there. “What did you two do to her?”
“I kidnapped Dawn and sent word to Buffy that I had her. Of course, Buffy went to rescue her sister. I let Dawn go and Buffy and I fought. I got the upper hand, knocked her unconscious, and took her to The Master,” Angel bowed his head in shame. “I left her there. I went back to the park, because I knew that Dawn had went to get Spike. Buffy had left without his knowledge and I knew that he was going to come after her.
“We fought. I got the upper hand again…and then the soul had hit me. Spike had Willow do the spell before he left. After I was back to myself…we went after Buffy…but we were too late. We got there just in enough time to watch The Master finish draining her.”
“You son of a bitch!” Xander yelled, trying to go after Angel with the stake he always kept up his sleeve just in case of a vampire attack, but Giles held him back. Not because he wanted to protect Angel, of course, but because he knew that there was more to the story.
“What else happened?” Giles asked through clenched teeth, resisting the urge to go after Angel himself.
Angel looked down at the ground as if he was examining something really interesting, but he continued. “Spike ran to Buffy’s side. He wasn’t paying attention. The Master knocked him unconscious. I tried to move to help, but somehow, he held me in place. I think it had to do with being the head of our clan or something…but anyway….I couldn’t move and stop him from slitting Spike’s wrist and forcing Buffy to drink Spike’s blood.”
“Bloody hell! Do you mean that he…”
“He turned her, using Spike’s blood. Buffy’s now a vampire…Spike’s childe.”
All hell broke loose then. Giles had a stake ready and was flying towards Angel while Xander headed for the stairs to stake Spike when they found them selves pushed against opposite walls by some kind of magical force. They stared wide eyed at Willow, who stood on the landing glaring at the both of them.
“Enough!” The witch demanded, coming the rest of the way down the stairs. “If you two just calm down and let Angel finish, you’d know that Buffy is no ordinary vampire. The Powers saw fit to restore her soul and make it permanent.”
“What?” Giles frowned, tears burning his eyes. Buffy, his beautiful girl. Now a creature of the night. The very thought of it was enough to destroy him completely.
“She has a soul. Now…I’m going to let both of you go…but you have to promise not to go after either Angel or Spike.”
“You can’t be serious Will. They killed…” Xander began, but stopped in mid-sentence when the very subject of their heated discussion came into the room, her hazel eyes nervously looking at them both. She was definitely scared of this moment. There was no denying that. “Buffy…”
“Will, let them go. Please. They’ll behave. Right guys?” Buffy barely smiled, her eyes begging them to halt any plans of attack they my have.
“I’ll just leave you four to yourselves…take temptation out of the room,” Angel nodded, disappearing up the stairs, leaving a very silent Scooby gang, nervously eyeing one another.
“We’ll behave,” Giles agreed. Any thing the young woman in the room demanded, he would do. No questions asked.
“Sure thing, Buff. Anything you want,” Xander agreed.
Both men sighed in relief as Willow’s magic left them and found themselves enveloped in a hug involving themselves and the newly vamped slayer.
“Oh Buffy, I’m so sorry. I should have came sooner instead of trusting Spike to do the job,” Giles sobbed into her hair, mentally berating himself for handing his job over to a vampire.
“No Giles, you did good. What happened to me wasn’t Spike’s fault. He was knocked unconscious. He tried to save me. In fact…if I hadn’t left without him knowing…this probably would never have happened. Please, don’t blame him.”
Xander sighed, rubbing her cool shoulders. “I’m not getting you here, Buff. Why not blame him? Angel too? If it weren’t for them…”
“Because it’s not Spike’s fault…and because I love him. And it’s not because he’s my sire. I loved him before I was even turned…I loved him before the end of Sunnydale…I was just too stupid to admit it until it was too late. You guys…I just found him and he feels guilty enough already. I won’t have you two heaping on even more guilt. Just leave him alone.”
“You’re serious about this?” Giles looked at Buffy as if she grew two heads. “Spike is really what you want?”
“More then anything. Besides…being a vampire isn’t all that bad. Unlike most vampires, not only do I get to keep my soul, but the powers saw fit to give both Spike and myself these nifty rings. Protects us from getting ourselves staked or fried. So we get to play in the sun as well,” Buffy happily smiled, holding up the hand that wore the gem of amora ring.
Xander and Giles just looked at Buffy and then erupted into a bout of laughter at the cheerful light in their slayer’s eyes. Obviously, Buffy had made peace with her change, therefore, so will they. Buffy was alive and she was happy and that was all they could ever ask for.
“So where is evil dead so we can do the usual hurt Buffy and die threats?” Xander came down from his laughter, keeping a secure around her shoulder, his eyes full of laughter and love.
“Yes. Xander is quite right. It is up to us to make sure that Spike continues to treat you like you deserve,” Giles nodded, all too ready to step into father of the girlfriend mode.
Buffy smiled, a small tear escaping her eye as she thought of how she loved both of these men. Her father and brother in all ways, but blood. She didn’t know where she would have ended up without them. “Follow me. I’m sure he can’t wait to see you two.”
Smiles all around, the trio headed upstairs, confident that no matter what changes their little family went through, their bond would always remain strong.
The Master stood at the door, staring out into the darkness. She was to be there any minute now. He had sent for the mad seer the night before and word had gotten back that she was in the area and willing to meet with him. Especially if the subject was about her wayward boy. She stepped out of the darkness, her eyes shined with a maniacal gleam. Her dark tresses fell over her shoulders and her white arms fell to her sides, sliding over the silky fabric of the long red dress she was wearing.
“Do you know who I am, my child?” The despot approached her carefully, not sure how far gone the girl was.
“The stars say that you’re the creator of our little family. You will lead my naughty William home again,” Drusilla glanced up at the star filled sky above, her eyes wide with wonder, as her body swayed slightly from side to side. “See them dance. See the stars weave in and out….out and in .”
“Yes. I have returned to bring my line back together again, but it seems that something is standing in my way. I need your help, my precious. Darla’s favorite grandchilde.”
Drusilla’s eyes widened. She moaned as she doubled over and place a pale hand to her head. “Ms. Edith…she tells me that we have a new edition…brought into our family by…my William…my Spike…he’s been a very naughty boy. The slayer! The slayer and daddy and Spike! It’s so bright where they are…too bright…I won’t abide it! William…my Spike…bring my Spike back to me…back into the darkness. Bring him back to his princess.”
“Of course, and we’ll bring your daddy back, too. For good this time.”
“And the Slayer…she seeks to take my William away from me. Corrupting him with her light and disgusting goodness. Kill her…Ms. Edith says we must kill her and then the children will their cake again,” Drusilla straightened up, her eyes again dazed and far away. “Let’s bring my William back home.”
“Yes. Let’s plan. Soon, your William will be back in your arms and the family will be back to full strength. The slayer’s blood will spill and the world will bleed!”
“And cakes…plenty of cakes for the good little children,” Drusilla grinned, clapping her hands with a bought of joyous laughter. Soon. Soon, her daddy will be back and so will her Spike. The Slayer will be gone forever. Things will be back to the way they should be and nothing was going to stop them. Her great granddaddy was going to make sure of that.
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