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Survival Games

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The dark hallway empty of all but Willow and Angelus crackled with tension. It wasn't too dark for her to see her way but something, an instinct, told her to be wary. Angelus' instincts told him that he needed to act fast or fail.

His hand was around her wrist at the same time Jenny showed up in the shadows, warning Willow away from him. He kicked the teacher's legs out from under her, securing his grip on Willow as he straightened. Willow's scream was high and annoying, so he wrapped his hand around her mouth as he carried her out of the school, leaving the sound of Xander trying to run after them in the dust.

Buffy caught up to Xander, who was panting and pale. "What happened?"

"Angel… he's got her." Xander shoved Buffy and fell, strength wiped out from running so fast. "Your tamed vampire boyfriend took her. He's not tame or good or any of the shit you've been telling yourself. And now he has Willow!"

When Buffy, face crumpling, tried to help Xander to his feet, he shoved her hands away. "I'm sorry! I love Willow, too! We'll get her back. We will."

"She's been my best friend my entire life and if anything happens to her because you let a vampire into our lives, I swear to god, I'll never forgive you." Xander let her help him up this time.

"As soon as I get you home, I'll find her. I won't rest until I do."

Xander stood up straight. "We'll look together, but we need to kill the Judge too. And for that I have a plan."

Giles patched up Miss Calendar's head wound with gentle hands. When Angelus swept her legs out from under her, she hit her head on the railing hard enough to draw blood.

"We need to talk." Jenny said as she took the washcloth out of his hand and set it in the basin.

"About?" His brow furrowed.

"My real name is Janna Kalderash. My clan is the one that cursed Angel. And that curse has been broken. I'm telling you this because my uncle might be able to help us get Willow back safely."

"You're Rom?" Giles felt his chest constrict as he tried to not let her lies anger him. But Willow was taken and there was no holding in his temper. He stood and shoved the contents of his desk off rather than hit her. "You knew the curse could break, and you didn't tell us!"

"Rupert, I'm sorry. My first loyalty was to my family. I wanted to tell you. All of you, but I had a specific job to watch and make sure the curse held. I was led to believe that my job was a formality. When my uncle told me the truth, that all it would take was happiness, true happiness, to break it, I came straight here. To tell you."

He rubbed his forehead, shook his head and then looked at her with coldness he'd never thought he'd direct at her. "Is your uncle here?" At her nod, he said, "Take me to him."

When Angel threw Willow on the canopy bed in the bedroom of a mansion, she scrambled to sit up, her back to the headboard. "What do you want from me?"

"We're going to play a little game." He crawled across the bed to lounge casually next to her. "See, I broke my family when I had that wretched soul shoved up my ass. We need to fix that. But it would be no fun if Buffy didn't suffer for it. So I'm going to give her a chance to save you before Spike here turns you."

Spike stepped out of the shadows. "I'll ask you before sunrise every day to let me turn you. If the Slayer saves you before you say yes, then you'll get to die of old age. If not, you'll turn our threesome back into a foursome."

From the other side of the bed, Drusilla strolled out from behind a changing screen. "I've always wanted a granddaughter."

Angel tickled Willow's cheek with the fringe of a drapery tie. "In the meantime, you'll have run of the mansion. But don't worry, at least one of us will keep you company at all times keeping you safe from the outside world."

"So I'll be safe until the game is over?" Willow asked, trembling.

The three vampires conversed through glances and Drusilla said, "We make no promises."

"You'll have to learn how to live with vampires, love." Spike's smirk was malevolent. "And you get to start with me. Those two need to take our newest friend out for a good time."

"And that's our cue to leave. Dru, darling? Let's paint the town red." Angel slid off the bed and took Drusilla's hand.

On their way out, Drusilla stopped to giggle. "She'll have a wonderful time. Spike knows the most pleasant pain."

"Thanks, Oz." Buffy said as they waited for the window to the armory open.

"We need to kill the Judge so we can save Willow." Oz looked up and saw the window open. "We're up."

Buffy felt like there was a permanent lump in her throat. She moved through a haze of anxiety. Up the ladder and down with the package. As soon as Cordelia and Xander got in the van, Buffy directed Oz to the factory. When they found it empty, Oz came through by suggesting the mall for ground zero.

After blowing the Judge into pocket-able pieces, Buffy saw Angelus duck into the theater lobby. She was on him in moments. Punching with little thought, she wanted him put down. When her stake made it to her hand, he said, "Willow will die too."

The sound of Willow's name stopped her. "Tell me."

Water soaked them both, he blinked it away, blood smeared evil smile in place. "We're playing a game and Willow's the prize. You save her before she tells us we can turn her, and she lives. Otherwise she's ours. If I'm dead, I can't make Spike and Dru keep that promise. Drusilla's attention span is seconds at best, and Spike has the patience of a two year old."

"Why should I believe you?"

"Because you don't have a choice." Angel wiped blood off his mouth. "Willow will regret that."

Buffy's eyes bulged and her body stopped working. "No."

"Yes. Anything you do to me, Dru, or Spike, we'll do to her." He watched her crumble and walked off with a last remark. "Let the games begin."