This story is a Sequel to A Two of a Kind Love, also by Pat Kelly. If you haven't read it, you might want to do that before reading this one. Things will make more sense that way.  

JOSS AND MUTANT ENEMY, THE WB, and FOX, own everything! 

Enjoy, and feedback please!
bandits@erols.com

4
LEARNING AND CONTROLLING

"Something's troubling you, child."

Willow opened her eyes to see a woman in a flowing blue robe standing over her. It was obvious from the look of her, and the wrinkles that lined her face and hands, that she was older, but there was an apparent youthfulness in her features.

Her white hair peeked out from underneath the hood she wore over her head. Her eyes matched the color of her robe, and held a look of purity so strong, that Willow had to adjust her vision to look at the woman.

Willow looked over at Buffy who lay still, sleeping quietly.

"Come."

"Is this a dream?"

"In certain respects. I have things to tell you."

Willow got up and followed the woman out of the dorm, but instead of coming into the hallway, they entered a field. A garden actually. Flowers and plants of various shapes, colors and sizes lined the sides of a path. At the end of it, they sat under a large tree.

"Do you know what this tree is?"

"It's a Willow tree."

The woman smiled. "Very good. It's your namesake."

"It's a Weeping Willow." She frowned.

"Do not let the name give you the wrong impression. Its drooping branches protect whatever is under it, whatever it is close to. As you do."

"Who are you?"

"A person who has been around a good long while, and I see a fellow practitioner in need. Someone who is destined for something great. I have come to offer guidance."

"You're a Wicca?"

"One of the first. And you are a special child of the art, Willow."

"Me? But I'm not a real Wicca. Real wiccas are born with�"

"You were born with it. Don't you see? You're named after one of nature's children. Nature is the very foundation of our gift. It was not an accident that you started to explore magick. It was already decided."

"By who?"

"Fate. The force that guides us all. You are its chosen."

"No, you have the wrong girl. Buffy's the one you want."

"We are all chosen for different things."

"But, I'm just regular and�"

"You are far from it, my dear. When you performed the Soul Restoration ritual, one of the most potent and powerful magicks in existence, there was no doubt that you were the one it wanted."

"Anyone could have done that, I just�"

"Any other person would have died. Virtually no one could survive channeling such a strong force at such an undeveloped stage. But you did. You will come to see how special you really are. How vital to the cause and to the Slayer you are."

"Does this have to do with us?"

"Most certainly. Your love and friendship is a powerful force. You are connected. Almost completely."

Willow was perplexed.

"I've said too much. More will be revealed, but you have a challenge to overcome first. And as bad as things might get, it must occur. Just know that no matter what happens, you must allow her in."

"What do you mean?"

"Later, child. For now, learn. Strengthen. We will speak again. Take care."

Willow woke, and sunlight shined through the window of the dorm. Buffy was watching her. She made a move to get up, and Buffy reached for her.

"Where are you going?" She asked.

She wanted to tell her about the dream, the woman. But she had a feeling it was something that she was supposed to keep to herself. She smiled.

"Nowhere."

She fell back into Buffy's arms. Today was Saturday. Today they were going to learn how to control their telepathic abilities.

***

A few hours later they walked off campus, and into Breaker's Woods. Giles said that's where he wanted to meet.

"Are you sure you know where you're going?" Buffy asked Willow.

"Yes. The clearing is just up here. Come on."

Walking a few more minutes, they got to the clearing. It was rather large, filled with beautiful flowers, and contained a tree Willow recognized immediately. She walked over to it, and just kind of gazed.

'D�j� vu?'

"What D�j� vu?" Buffy asked. There was no reason not to let her know, so she focused all her thoughts on it, so Buffy could see. "That's�who do you think she is?"

"I don't know. It seemed pretty real though. I just remember this tree. It's my namesake. That's what she said."

"I'm still stuck on the last part. You're supposed to let me in somewhere?"

Willow shrugged, and went over to the tree. "Can you feel it? Close your eyes."

Buffy did, and they both stood there in silence, feeling the energy of the place flow through them. It felt safe here. Completely safe.

'Nature is full of positive energy, Willow. Buffy. Let it protect you.' It was the woman from the dream. 'You have come here to learn to control your mind connection. It is a simple task, but for now, to severe your link, it must be mutual.'

'What do you mean?' They said in unison.

'To break the connection you can do it individually and together, but since you are both starting out, it will be easier for your first time to do it together. You can activate it again at any time. Try.'

They felt the woman's voice leave their heads, and focused on each other. Together, they thought to break their telepathic link, and they both collapsed, succeeding. The loss of the connection was sudden and upsetting. They weren't expecting it. It was like a part of them had been taken away.

'The first time a link is broken, it is hard and shocking, but it will be easier on you both next time. As you get stronger, you will not have to rely on the other person to break the link with you.

'But now, you must listen carefully. Angelus will use your abilities against you if you are connected. If you are hurt in any way, and you're connected, the pain in your minds will be�unpleasant. You must know when to use the link to your benefit. Good luck to you.'

The woman was gone now, and they scrambled over to one another, and embraced. They didn't let go. They needed closeness.

"We know how to do this now, right?" Buffy asked. Willow nodded. "So we can connect again?"

Willow nodded again. They closed their eyes and a second later, were linked again.

"That's better." Willow said.

"I can deal with not having you with me if I have to, but since I don't right now�"

"I know." Willow smiled at her, and looked around. "This is a Wiccan practicing spot."

"That's what all this energy," Buffy waved her arm in the air, "is?"

"Yeah. Which explains why she was able to communicate so easily with us being awake."

"You get the feeling there's something bigger going on than we realize?"

"Oh yeah."

Giles came walking into the clearing carrying a basket.

"You're early." He said.

"Actually, you're late." Buffy said.

"So late that we already know how to work the telepathy thing." Willow added.

"How -"

Buffy shot over to the basket. "Is that lunch?"

"Yes, but -"

They started rummaging through the basket.

"Martha Steward would be proud Giles." Willow said.

"Could you please explain?"

"Sure thing, Giles. We're just kinda hungry."

***

In the mansion, Angelus walked up to a woman who was chained to the wall. She was clearly frightened. Most of all, she was tired. He hadn't even gotten started yet.

"It's been a long time since I've tortured a woman. I don't want to kill you too fast, but I do want you to feel pain. The thing about torture is, it's gotta last for you to get the full effect."

"Why?"

"Practice. I've got two special girls in mind and I really want to give it my all for them. Give them the slowest and most painful experience possible." He picked up a hot poker that was still pulsing orange, and extremely hot. "You're number twelve. Let's see if you can last longer than number eleven. And if you don't try�"

He looked over at the fireplace, where bodies where burning, and their stench was filling the air. "Well, did you ever wonder what it was like to be burned alive?"

She screamed.

***

Later, at night, Buffy and Willow were patrolling.

"Giles is going into full research mode on that woman." Buffy said.

"He needs a challenge once and awhile. Are you sure you're going the right way?"

"Most of the recent deaths have been along this way."

"Aren't we getting close to the mansion?"

Buffy stopped immediately, and smacked herself on the head.

"Could I be a bigger idiot? Why wouldn't he be at the mansion? Let's go."

"Wait. Maybe we should go back and tell everyone."

"And let him kill more girls?"

Angelus walked out of the shadows from behind a tree. "Pretty please?"

Buffy immediately went to attack him. She connected with a shot to the legs; making him buckle, but he grabbed her and pulled her down too. They both got back up, and she tried to roundhouse into his head, but he caught her leg, and threw her down to the ground. He got over her, and she kicked her leg up, making him roll past her, and she got over him. She pulled out her stake.

What she didn't see, was the group of vampires gathering around Willow. They grabbed her. Buffy whirled around.

"You wouldn't want anything to happen to her, would you?" He asked, pushing her off, getting up and grabbing her throat.

"Let her go�I'm the one�you want."

"Giving yourself to me, lover?" He smirked. "Actually, you get to come along too."

He dropped her, and she ran to attack the vampires holding Willow. More appeared. She fought anyway. For each vampire she kicked, punched, or threw out of the way, another one stood in its place. She was no closer to Willow then when she started. Her mind was focused, and for awhile, she fooled herself into thinking she had the upper hand.

But Willow was still firmly in their grasp, and she didn't want to risk her dying. She didn't know what Angelus had planned, and as much as she didn't want to, she had to go along. Play it smart.

"You're outnumbered. Now either you can walk away, and Willow will die alone, or you can come with her and die together. Makes no difference to me."

'We'll get through this, Will.'

'Don't, Buffy. Go.'

"Be gentle with them boys. We have a long night ahead."

Making sure they didn't see, Buffy ripped a piece of her sleeve, and threw it to the ground. Hopefully the guys would see it.

This was going to be bad. They knew it.

 

5
A TORTUROUS NIGHT

Oz was driving back from LA, under a cloud-covered night, coming from a gig. Fun as it was, he had wanted to be home. With Angelus in full swing, he thought he should have stayed, but he didn't want to let the band down. It was their first major concert.

After they had finished, he went by Cordelia's place. She had called Xander, and as soon as she found out what happened, she wanted to come back to Sunnydale. Temporarily or permanently, she hadn't decided. So, Oz said he'd pick her up. Now, she was sitting in the passenger seat of his van, and they were almost at the band's place.

"Thanks for coming to get me, Oz."

"No problem."

"I mean I would have driven up myself, but I�I had to sell my car to pay the rent." She cast her eyes down to her lap.

"Don't worry about it. Xander'll be glad to see you. He's been staying with Giles."

Cordelia nearly choked, trying to hold back laughter. "Giles?"

"It's not the best arrangement in the world. Definitely Odd Couple-esque."

"Understatement. He won't tell me much about how he is. Is it bad?"

"It was. But he'll heal. He's a survivor."

"How's everyone else?" Oz just looked at her. "Okay, stupid question."

They started driving by the cemetery. The band's place was the next block over.

"I just want to unload the equipment, then we'll go�" He stopped, and trailed off. He turned down the street with the entrance to the cemetery, and stopped the van.

"Oz, what is it?"

"Something happened."

He got out, and Cordelia followed him, confused. He started to smell the air.

"Talk Oz."

"Come on."

He ran into the cemetery, and Cordelia was rushing to keep up. He went to the center of the graveyard, and stopped suddenly. She almost collided with him. Looking down at the ground, he saw the thing that had drove him there. He picked it up.

"A piece of a shirt?" She asked. He turned it over. There was blood on it. "Oh God. Whose is that?"

"Buffy's. We have to go. Now."

***

The mansion was just as Buffy remembered it. She remembered the sword fight, and sending Angel to Hell. Giles limping out with Xander to safety. Acathla. That was all long gone, and this time, she wasn't in control.

She was chained, hands and feet, to a wall. Willow was chained to the opposite wall, but only her hands were restrained. On their way here, they had both shut down their telepathic connection, hoping to protect one another from whatever Angelus was planning to do.

At the moment, they were alone, and they hadn't seen Angelus since they were tied up.

"Where'd he go?" Willow whispered.

"I don't know. How are you holding up?"

"Well I'm not looking forward to getting tortured, but I'm okay."

Buffy frowned. "I'm trying to break the chains, but they're strong. He's being careful."

Angelus walked in, followed by two vampires carrying a rather large chest. "Have to be careful. Can't have you escaping before the fun begins." He opened the chest, and started looking through it.

Buffy knew she had to keep him talking. "The mansion's kinda predictable, don't ya think?"

"But this place has so many memories, lover. Plus, here, no one will be able to hear you scream."

"Last time, Buffy almost took your head off. What makes you think it won't happen again?" Willow said, with as much confidence as she could muster.

"Look around. This time, there's no Acathla, no swords, no Spike to turn on me�" He got a razor out of the chest, and started wiping it on his shirt.

"Angel was the only thing that stopped me from killing you before. He can't save you from me this time."

Angelus laughed. "He can't save you either. And even if your friends try and come for you�they'll be dead before they even get inside."

He walked back and forth between Buffy and Willow, twirling the razor in between his thumb and finger. "Who's first?" He headed towards Willow, smiling.

***

Giles walked down the stairs of his house over to his couch, where Xander lay, ringing a small bell. His leg, in a cast, was propped up on a few pillows.

"Yes?" Xander opened his mouth, but Giles started talking again. "And if you call me Jeeves one more time�"

"I was actually gonna go with Mr. Belvadier." He looked at Giles' face and quickly retracted his statement. "Kidding. Do you have any more aspirin?"

Giles nodded, and went to get some. He came back a minute later with two Advil, and a small glass of water.

"Thanks, Giles. I mean it. You didn't have to put up with me for this long."

"It's not a problem. You are a strong man, Xander."

Just then, Oz and Cordelia burst through the door.

"Cordy?" Xander asked.

She marched over to him and looked him up and down. "What were you thinking? Facing off with Angelus? You could've died, you big macho -"

"Nice to see you too."

She tried to look mad at him, but bent down and hugged him instead.

Giles walked over to Oz. "What's happened?"

Oz held up the piece of Buffy's shirt, and the color drained from Giles' face.

"What? What is it?" Xander asked.

"Oz, in my closet upstairs -" Giles started.

"I'm on it."

Oz went upstairs, while Giles went to his trunk, and started packing his duffel bag.

"Will somebody please -" Xander tried again.

"Angelus has Buffy and Willow." Cordelia said softly.

He immediately tried to sit up, but couldn't. Giles walked over to him.

"I'm going."

"No you're not. You're in no shape to -"

"I don't care. He needs to die."

"Listen to him, Xander. If Angelus sees you again, he could come and finish what he started." Cordelia said.

Xander swung his leg over, but banged it on the coffee table, and hissed in pain. Cordelia brought it back onto the couch.

"How is this going to help Buffy and Willow?" Giles asked. Xander was silent. "It won't. The last thing they want is for you to die. I respect your willingness and loyalty, believe me, but you have to learn when to back down. That shows true strength.

"Now, I'd be lying if I said I was sure we were going to�survive�but, if you don't hear from us�"

"Be careful." Xander said.

"Cordelia, stay with him?"

She nodded, as Oz came down the stairs with more supplies.

"Van's waiting." He said.

***

Angelus stood in front of Willow, holding the razor in front of her face. He leaned in and whispered to her.

"Willow." He put his hand under her chin, and she turned to the side. "It's been awhile." He ran his fingers through her hair. "Cut it, huh? How revoltingly cute. Let's go deeper." He put his hand on her chest. "Meek little Willow has gained some confidence I see."

"What's your point?" She asked.

"Talking back now, too? Xander did that. How is he by the way?" He grinned, and she was two seconds away from spitting in his face. "You were always so smart. So let me ask you this: What did you do wrong? Come on. I know you can give me the right answer."

"Nothing."

He shook his head in mock sadness. "Guess you're not." He took the razor, and swiped it down her cheek, cutting it open. She winced, but kept herself from crying out.

"You bastard!" Buffy yelled at him.

"Careful, Buffy. You don't want to make me do anything rash. So, Willow, let's try again. What did you do wrong?"

Willow, blood dripping down her cheek, looked him in the eyes. "Nothing."

He swiped at her other cheek, slicing it just like the first one. She wouldn't try to fool herself. She was in pain, but she was controlling it. She could see he was shocked. The thing that scared her most was that she knew he had barely begun.

"Buffy's rubbing off on you. You used to know when to keep quiet. You used to give the right answers. Are you scared, Willow?"

"No."

Angelus' face shifted, his vampiric features digging into Willow. "How about now?" He used his tongue, and licked the blood off her cheeks. He closed his eyes, savoring it. "I can see why you like her Buffy. She tastes�I just might have to go in for seconds."

He was real close to Willow now. She kicked her free-swinging right leg up, and kicked him in the groin. He fell back, growling.

"I learned that from Buffy too."

He recovered some, and grabbed her throat, choking her. He did it for several seconds, all the while looking back at Buffy for any kind of painful reaction. There was none. There was a lot of emotional reaction, though.

He could see how much it hurt her to watch and not be able to do anything. Good. He let go of Willow, and left her gagging while he walked over to the chest.

"What should we use next? I'm open to suggestions."

***

The woman sat secluded behind the mansion. Sitting Indian style with her eyes closed, she knew they were in pain inside. As much as she wanted to help, the time for her intervention was not here yet. All she could do was wait.

She had sensed vampires placing themselves around the mansion, in anticipation for trouble. Angelus was smart; she'd concede that to him. And apparently correct, because the Watcher and the Wolf were close now. There was such loyalty and friendship amongst their group.

It'd be hard, but they'd all succeed. Eventually. Fate was cruel, but if you followed it through, it was rewarding.

***

"You know if I was thinking clearly, I'd say this is a pretty good way to get us killed." Oz said to Giles.

They had parked the van down the road, and walked as fast as they could to the mansion. Giles had a duffel bag flung over his shoulder, and a crossbow in his hand. Oz had a large cross hanging around his neck, and a sword in one hand.

"Did you want to turn back?" They just kept walking. A few feet later, the mansion was in view. "Be cautious."

Oz nodded, and they crept up closer to the building. They didn't see any vampires, but that really wasn't comforting. They tried to look in the windows, but all the curtains were drawn.

"What's the plan?"

Giles looked around. "We could try to -"

He cut himself off when a vampire jumped from the roof of the mansion, and landed on top of him. Flat on his back now, the demon was towering over him, and the crossbow was behind him.

Oz, not wasting a second, swiped the sword through the vampire's neck, beheading him. He helped Giles up, who quickly dusted himself off.

"You're, um, very skilled with that."

"I have my talents." Oz winced, in pain, but shrugged it off. Clouds still dominated the sky. Giles had gone to retrieve the bow, and a foot stomped down, smashing it. He looked up, at another vampire.

"Giles�" Oz said. He whirled around. They were surrounded. "We're in trouble."

***

Buffy wanted to connect with Willow. Share some of the pain. Lessen it for her. But she could tell by the look on her face, that that wouldn't happen. She was using all her strength to pull at the chains, but it wasn't doing any good. She was becoming restless, but that was nothing compared to what Willow was going through.

She had gotten him extremely angry, i.e. really pissed, when she kicked him in his manhood, so instead of being creative he just resorted to brute force. Willow was badly bruised, cut, bleeding. And he wasn't letting up.

"You can probably tell I'm not going to get tired of this, so just tell me what you did wrong, and Buffy can have her turn."

Willow shook her head, and that took a lot of energy. The only things holding her up were the chains. Her legs had given out some time ago. He backhanded her in the mouth, and she started to cough up blood.

"I'll�tell�"

Angelus crouched, beside her. "What do you want to tell me?"

"Buffy�she�"

"What?"

"She said�you couldn't�satisfy her."

He growled, and punched her hard in the stomach. She still didn't scream.

Buffy had had enough. She was going to force the connection. And get him over to her. Before she could, she heard noise from outside, and Angelus glided over to her.

"Oh, the Cavalry's here. Don't worry, they'll be dead before you." Angelus looked over at Willow, and Buffy followed his gaze. "I can't imagine how helpless you feel right now. All that guilt."

"What do you want from us?"

"An admission. Then death. And seeing as how she doesn't seem to want to do either, you're next, my love."

That's when Willow tried to enter her mind, and Buffy quickly accepted. Large amounts of pain suddenly racked her body. She felt all the cuts, all the bruises, and all the pain. Willow's pain.

'Jesus, Will. I'm sorry. Why now?'

'I'm gonna help�god, it hurts.'

'Willow no. I'm at full strength and it hurts. If he starts on me, you could�'

'I know. But so could you.'

A tear rolled down Buffy's face. Her exchange with Willow had distracted her, so she didn't realize what Angelus had been doing.

"A tear, lover? Sweet. Are you going to be more cooperative?" She was stone-faced. "I didn't think so."

She looked down at the object he was holding in his hands. It was a poker. A very red, glowing, hot, poker.

"It might help if you closed your eyes."

***

"I hate being the useless one. Our friends are probably�" Xander trailed off.

"Come on, don't think like that." Cordelia said.

"You're not?" She was silent. "I've had it. We're going."

"And how are we going to do that?"

"You're going to get Giles' car keys off the rack, and help me get into the car."

"Okay, so we drive there and die. Great plan."

"Check his desk drawer."

She walked over to the desk, and opened the drawer. Inside was a case. She took it out, and undid the latch. There was a gun inside.

"How did you know�"

"I've been living here. I picked up on a few things."

"Is it loaded?"

"Always. But he keeps the safety on. Take it and let's go."

She grabbed the gun, and stuck it in her purse. He carefully swung his legs over the end of the couch. Cordelia tried to support him into a standing position, but it wasn't working very well.

"Maybe this is a bad idea. I mean, bullets don't kill vampires, right?"

"No, but it hurts a lot, and they'll have a hard time moving for awhile. Come on, Cordy."

He was right. They had to do something. On the third try they got up, and staggered their way out the door.

***

Giles and Oz both wished they were somewhere else right now. Somewhere very far away. Or just a place where vampires weren't invited. That would do nicely. Oz had been having the hardest time.

He had been having pains that kept coming and going. He was too distracted to realize what was happening. He just kept swinging the sword back and forth. Aim wasn't his priority at the moment, because there were too many to concentrate on where he was slicing. At least the cross he wore kept the vampires at somewhat of a distance.

Giles had long since been separated from Oz. His crossbow smashed, all he had as a resource, was the rapidly diminishing weaponry in his duffel bag. But he was focused. Approached by three oncoming vampires, he rushed the one in the center, knocking him down. Using Mr. Pointy, he pushed the one on the left into the one on the right, and staked them both.

Over by the larger group, he could barely make out Oz. Just as he was about to run over, the one he had just knocked to the ground, pulled him down. And as he fell, he heard Buffy and Willow scream. In sync.

***

The woman stood, and began walking towards the battle.

"The moon is revealing itself."

It was time for her to interfere.

***

Oz collapsed to the ground, clutching his stomach. Looking up into the sky, he saw the clouds had dissipated. The full moon was out, and shining brightly. Then he was staring at the vampires faces. He was changing.

He howled, and the vampires backed away slowly. Soon he was all wolf, and started tearing at the things that were once attacking him. They were frightened, and evil. He could smell it.

***

Hearing Buffy and Willow scream simultaneously as he seared Buffy's face with the poker, he laughed.

"Finally! I was about to give up hoping. But this, well, I'm gonna love this part." Seeing the near-death looks on both their faces, he smiled wide. "You've both lasted longer than I expected. I think you've earned this. Seeing as you both can't form any coherent words right now, I'll tell you what you did wrong.

"You," he said looking at Willow, "came in, and took her away. Buffy was mine. She'll always be mine. Even in death."

Buffy slowly lifted her head up, and spat her own blood in his face. He wiped her blood on the back of his hand, and licked it off.

"Defiant till the end. Well, guess what I'm gonna do? How far do you think she is from her last breath?" He pretended to look over at Willow thoughtfully. "Not much farther away than you I'd guess. This link you two share, well, it's amazing.

"And here's the most amazing thing. See I know you both feel each other's pain in your heads. And I'd imagine you aren't going to last much longer. And neither will she. But I'm not going to be the one to kill her, Buffy. Oh no. You are."

'He's right, Will. If I�you'll�'

'Buffy I�'

'Whatever happens�'

'Wait, Buffy�what are you�?'

'I love you, Will�'

"It's almost a shame it had to end this way."

With that, Angelus shoved the poker right through Buffy's stomach, and she started having something resembling a seizure. On the other side, Willow was experiencing the same thing. She felt something hit her, enter her, and then it was over.

Angelus looked at the unmoving bodies and even lifted Buffy's head up, which just drooped back down.

"Well, now that was definitely enjoyable."

***

The vampire just about had his teeth in Giles' neck, and then for seemingly no reason at all, it jumped off in pain. He quickly scrambled to his feet and came face to face with the woman.

"Come. We must tend to them."

"Who �what about -?"

"The wolf knows who his enemies are. Questions are later. Come."

They headed towards the mansion.

***

Were-Oz had either mauled or chased all the vampires away. Soon, he began picking up another scent. Fumes. Getting closer. He turned around, only to see headlights before it all went black.

The car stopped, and Cordelia got out.

"What did we hit?" Xander asked from the backseat.

"Oz."

"Oh God�"

"He's in wolf-form. I think we just knocked him out."

"Can you see anything?"

"No. Where is everybody?"

***

Angelus let his true face show as he walked up to Buffy's motionless body. He had waited a long time for this, and he had to do it while she was still warm. Tasted better that way.

"Back away." The woman's voice called. "Now."

He whirled around, angry at his meal being interrupted. "Who the hell are you?"

"Leave." She walked closer, unafraid.

"You must want to die."

"No more than you."

They were face to face now. He reached for her, but something stopped him. Something powerful.

"A witch, huh?"

"It is not simply magic that separates us, Angelus."

"Enlighten me."

She reached out and touched his chest. He dropped to his knees in pain.

"Everything that is good. Everything you hate. It will be your destruction."

She took her hand away, and he fell back, gasping for air he didn't need, trying to regain control of himself. She raised her hand, and a wind carried, more like flung him, out of the mansion and into the night.

Giles had watched from the corner, and now rushed over to where Buffy and Willow were chained. The woman raised her hand once more and the chains snapped open. Their bodies slumped to the ground.

"They're dead." Giles said, checking each of their pulses.

***

Cordelia, still standing outside the car, watched as Angelus flew out of the mansion and hit the ground. He started stumbling in their direction.

"God�it's him." She said to Xander.

"Get in the car." He didn't need to tell her twice. "Turn on the engine."

She did, and Angelus, made his way closer, still dizzy and confused. When he got right up to the back window, it lowered, and Xander stared back at him from behind a gun barrel.

Xander fired all six shots. Two in the face, three in the chest, and one in the shoulder. Angelus dropped.

"You son of a bitch. Get closer to the mansion."

They took off over the grass, past Were-Oz and the bullet-riddled body of Angelus.

***

"They're dead. Why didn't you do anything?" There was rage and anguish in Giles' eyes.

"It was not my place."

"Not your place? I just witnessed one of the deadliest creatures we've faced being brought down to his knees and -"

"One does not disrupt fate. Not until called on. They had to face this alone. Be calm."

He was about to yell, when they both saw Willow's body move. Giles quickly went over to her. She was touching her face. It was unmarred.

"Willow�I can't believe it�"

"My face�no�cuts�"

"No, there aren't any." Giles thought a second. There weren't any?

"Buffy!" Willow yelled.

"She�she's�"

Willow pushed him out of the way, and dragged herself over to Buffy, who unlike her, had not awoken, or moved. She cradled Buffy's head in her lap.

"Buffy�we did it�I don't know how, but we�" She realized that Buffy wasn't responding. "Wake up, Buffy�come on�" She wasn't in her head anymore.

"She's gone, Willow." He said with tears that he had tried to hold in.

"No! She can't�" She looked at Buffy's face and started to cry. "Don't leave me�don't leave me�Buffy�"

Entering the mansion slowly, were Cordelia and Xander. She still supported him. They looked at Willow, and then at Buffy. Suddenly, they both couldn't stand up anymore. Dropping to the ground, Cordelia started to cry on Xander's shoulder. A part of him was sure he had re-injured his leg, but he couldn't feel anything right now.

Giles had tried to put his arms around Willow and comfort her, but she just wouldn't let go, and cried harder. She wasn't gone�she couldn't be gone�

"The last�thing she said�was that she loved me�I never said it back�"

The sounds of weeping and sobs filled the mansion. It was a minute past dawn. The night was over.

Continue to Chapter 6

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