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Darkness concealed Angelus as he knelt before the alter, his head bowed in a show of submission, while his pale hands tightly clenched a string of beads that were as black as night. His eyes clenched shut as his mouth moved, forming words of promise, pleas, and retribution. Other than the hushed whisper of Angelus’s voice, silence reigned. Silence was needed if the ritual was to succeed.

The beads tumbled to the ground as the ground began to quake. Angelus struggled to his feet, just as the earth split open, allowing sulfur smelling gases to escape. His prayers were being answered. Soon, the great one will return and the world will bleed. No one could stop it now. Not even that annoying slayer that he had allowed himself to be destracted by in the days preceeding Acathla.

“Come. Your son welcomes you home!” Angelus stepped closer to the opening, just as a pale claw reached out from the depths and clasped the edge. A moan was heard as a black clad form lifted itself out of the crator. Angelus bowed and kissed the creature’s hand. “Welcome, Master.”

“My son. Angelus, you have returned…and so have I,” The master looked around at his surroundings; his red eyes gleamed with curiosity. “Tell me my boy. What has happened since my demise? Tell me everything, leave nothing out.”

Angelus got to his feet and walked at a steady pace next to the elder vampire. He kept his face to the ground, a sign of submission. Usually, he would hate showing any kind of submission at all, and in the beginning, he had resisted the Master’s attempts to tame him. However, that was then, when the vampire world was at its height. Now, times were different. The vampire population was now dwindling thanks to the increase of slayers. “The California Hell mouth is gone. It is just a smoking crater now. The girl had destroyed it, along with the help of my Childe, Spike.”

“William the bloody? Surely you must be mistaken,” The Master stopped in his track, his voice full of disbelief. William the bloody was the most vicious vampire, only second to Angelus himself. What could have happened to tame him to be of some use to the slayer?
“If only I were. It’s all thanks to the United States government. They had placed a chip in his head. Made him incapable of feeding. He was forced to beg for scraps from the Slayer and her cronies. It was quite sad.”

The Master shook his head in disappointment, wondering why it seemed that the vampires from his line seemed to fall under this particular girl’s spell. First Angelus and now William. This was quite disturbing news indeed.

“It gets worse from there. William now has a soul.”

“He was cursed?”
Angelus sighed, this not getting any easier. He was so shamed by the actions of his childe. He had done everything to ensure that William was as vicious a vampire as he was…but now all those lessons had gone to waste, all because of this obsession with the slayer. “No. He went and got the soul himself, and it’s permanent. He’s a souled vampire out of his own accord.”

The Master sighed, deeply disappointed by this turn of events. Back when he was alive, he would have taken care of this when the boy was first chipped. He would have made sure that there was no need for him to beg for help from the likes of the slayer. Moreover, if he had become so obsessed with the girl…he would have destroyed him right there and then. “If only I was still alive. Tell me…what had happened to my anointed one? Surely the boy still lives.”

“Spike destroyed him when he and Dru first came to town. I don’t know the details, but Spike had once called him the annoying one and you know how he used to be…so impatient.”

“Your Childe has done deep damage to my line Angelus. How are you going to fix this? Surely, he has again aligned with this slayer. How do you plan to bring him back to the fold?”

Angelus frowned. Bringing Spike back into the fold was not part of the plan. The plan was to torture and kill the slayer. Bring down the house of slayer all together, and rule the world, if not destroy it. But turning Spike back to the dark side…he had never thought of that. “I plan to torture and kill the slayer.”

“What of Spike? Is there a way we can get rid of the soul? Are you sure that it is permanent?”

“…There’s no way to take the soul from him, unfortunately…but maybe…Spike loves the slayer. Maybe we can turn that to our advantage.”

An idea came to the Master; his eyes gleamed with malicious glee as the idea took shape. “She’s the doorway to his very essence. We can use her to corrupt his soul. Once he is corrupt…he will do our bidding. We’ll be unstoppable.”

Angelus just grinned as the Master laughed and laughed. Yes, evil was home and this time to stay. Just let the Slayer try to stop them. It will be the last thing she will ever do.


Silence reigned over Slayer central. The new slayers were all doing their own thing, from training to just reading a book. The LA team was doing some research on Angelus and his ammo, all except for Spike, who was still recuperating from being staked. Buffy was in the kitchen with Willow, helping her prepare that night’s dinner. Dinner preparation was Buffy/Willow time. The time the friends took to grow close again and bond over simple things, suchas talk about make up or fixing Xander up on a date. That night’s topic though, was something Buffy rather not talk about but Willow was insistant on. Spike’s return and how it will affect Buffy’s new life.

“Have you talked to him yet?” Willow asked, dicing up the carrots that would go into her soup. It was best to just come out and start the conversation. Buffy sure wasn’t. In fact, the head slayer was doing her best to not talk at all in order to avoid any conversation leading to the British vampire in apartment B9.

“How much Oregano are you going to need?” Buffy asked, not bothering to answer the question. The less mentioned about Spike…the better. In fact, if she could just forget that he was there, she would be perfectly happy.

“None. Now, tell me. Have you talked to Spike yet? You might as well tell me now,” Willow shook her head in determination. She wasn’t going to let this conversation slip past so easily. She wanted answers about Spike and she wanted them now.

Buffy sighed, her shoulders slumped in defeat. She should have known Willow would insist on dragging the truth out of her. “We talked. I apologized, he apologized, we got a call from Angel and that was it.”

“You apologized? Well…that’s something new,” Willow snorted back a giggle.


“Kidding!” the witch laughed, shaking her head in amusement. “You’re so sensitive. Did you two talk about anything else…say how you feel about one another?”

Buffy shrugged. “Not really. He knows that I’m still angry with him. God, I so can’t believe he didn’t get in touch with me.”

Willow sighed. This was how it always was with Buffy and her men. They would dance around each other’s feelings until one of them got hurt and left. She’d really hate to see that happen to Buffy and Spike. Those two…they fit. Their auras were identical to one another. They were soul mates. “Buffy…how do you feel about Spike…I mean really feel about him? Are you in love with him?”

Buffy’s eyes widened in shock at the question. In love? With Spike? Has Willow completely flipped her lid? In love with Spike? Why just the idea…it was…it was…well, it just didn’t make sense. Why would Willow ask such a thing? “Will…where did that come from? Am I in love with Spike? Why would you ask that?”

A deep blush reddened Willow’s cheeks. She hadn’t meant to offend Buffy; she just wanted to help her. Help her discover her true feelings before it was too late. After all, in their line of work, tomorrow was not promised to any of them. If Buffy loved Spike, it was best that she let him know now instead of keeping it to herself, until she lost him…for good this time. “Buffy…your aura…not to sound like Paige, but it calls out to him, just as his calls out to you. You two…let’s just say that it’s impossible for you not to have strong feelings for him.”

“Oh, I have strong feelings for him alright. Can you say anger?”


“No Willow. No. I can’t do that…not again…not just to get my heart broken like it was with Angel…like it was with Spike when he died in that crater. I can’t do it.”

Willow’s heart went out to her friend. The fear of the girl was enough to overcome the courage of the slayer at times. She had to make her see that Spike was different. That he was worth the risk. He was not Angel, and he certainly wasn’t Riley. He was her soul mate. They were meant to be together. It was more obvious now then ever before.

“Buffy…you know how much I loved Tara. She was my entire life. When she died…it felt as if I had nothing left to live for. Someone in that coven I went to in England once asked me if I would have been happier if I never met Tara. If I had never known her love. You know what my answer was to that. No. I would have been miserable not to experience her love…her spirit. Even though I had lost her in the end…I would not have missed a thing. Now. You have this chance, a second chance really. Don’t let it slip through your fingers, because next time, I have a funny feeling that he won’t be coming back. This is it Buffy. This is your chance to be happy. Grab hold of it and never let go. Tell him how you feel Buffy. For me…for Tara.”

Tears ran down Buffy’s face in rivulets. She hadn’t been expecting such a moving speech. She hadn’t been expecting to find herself in total agreement. It was time to pick her self up and have a long talk with Spike…rather he was up to it or not.

“What can I say after that?” Buffy asked, wiping away a stray tear. “You’re right. I have to stop hiding from him. I have to talk to him. Sooner or later. It might as well be sooner,” She took off her apron and headed for the door.

“Buffy?” Willow frowned, wondering what Buffy was planning. “Where are you going?”
“To see Spike. We have a lot to talk over and you’re right. Best to say what I have to say now instead of waiting until he’s dust again to say it.”

Willow smiled softly as she watched her friend walk out the door, a look of peaceful determination on her face. It’s been a long time since she saw that look. The look of Buffy Summers, out to get her man. Going back to her chopping she silently wished Buffy luck and prayed that the pair could find happiness together.