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Something cold and hard was pressed against her back, leaning on her. No, that wasn’t right. She was laying on it. Something smooth and uncomfortable. Her whole body ached from the cold actually, like the time she and her brother had gone outside to play in the snow for hours and had returned with red cheeks and numb fingers. When that had happened her mom had wrapped them both in blankets and plopped them down in front of the smoky fireplace. She wondered if the same thing would happen this time.

“She’s a pretty one,” said a voice. It sounded weird, as if the person was speaking to her from the other end of the tunnel.

She felt the sheet, which she had just realized was on top of her, lift off for a moment.

“Would you stop? You’ll get reprimanded again.” This voice was louder. It sounded like a different person.

“I was just looking,” said the first.

“We need to finish this report,” said the second.

“Alright, alright.”

“Jenny Calendar, female, late twenties. Cause of death: cervical fracture. She has a large cut on her forehead, bruises on her arms and neck, and what appears to be a bite mark on her inner thigh.”

What were they talking about? Was she in the hospital? The beds were certainly a lot less comfortable than she remembered.

“Kinky,” said the first. She was beginning to hate his far-off whine of a voice.

“Shut up, Stuart,” said the second before continuing, “Finger marks are visible around the neck. All in all the trauma is consistent with a murder.”

“The boyfriend did it. The boyfriend always does it.”

“Come on, I’ve got paperwork to do.”

Then there was the distant sound of a door shutting and the voices of the men disappeared.

She waited a moment, listening, and then opened her eyes. Light came to her like a punch to the retina and she quickly closed them again. She opened one, though just a crack, then forced the other open. There was definitely light above her, but she couldn’t make out any clarity to the shapes around her. Everything was a bright and painful blur. Slowly she sat up, her body stiff and cold, and looked down. She could sort of make out the pale shape of her body, and even see some purple blurs against her skin. She blinked a few times and the world came into slightly more focus. She was in a small room on a metal table with a lamp over her. On one side she could make out what appeared to be a wall of metal cabinets.

She blinked again. Her body ached.

She swung her legs over the table and let herself drop onto the floor. She felt a little dizzy, but managed to keep her feet on the ground. She wrapped the sheet tighter around her, but it gave her no warmth. Her face felt oddly tight and pinched. There was a mirror in the corner of the room above a dingy sink. She went over to it and saw nothing but the room behind her. No reflection.

Oh.

The door swung open behind and she turned to see a young man in a lab coat. When he saw her he emitted the most wretched noise she had ever heard, so she leapt over to him and snapped his neck before it could continue. Then the smell hit her, and the hunger. There was still warm blood in his newly dead veins. She ran her tongue over her sharp teeth and then sank them into the man’s neck. She drank and drank and then dropped him unceremoniously onto the floor. She didn’t feel cold or sore anymore. She felt stronger than she had ever felt.

A memory hit her then. When you rise, come to the factory immediately. I have plans for you.

Angel. Angelus.

That’s right.

He wanted her to come to him. Well, fuck him. She wasn’t his dog. And she wasn’t going to die like his dog.

She had something to do first. She fastened her sheet around herself like a toga, not even bothering to look for her clothes and then walked calmly out of the morgue.

***

Dr. Cutler, the medical examiner, came back into the autopsy room, coffee in hand, to find the dead woman missing and Stuart dead on the floor.

“Not again,” he said.

***

Xander could barely breath, his lungs felt so tight in his chest.

“I guess Giles had a big night planned tonight,” he said, looking at the roses and champagne bucket in the living room.

“Giles didn’t set this up. Angel did,” said Buffy, handing him a drawing. It was in charcoal on old, yellowed paper, and would have been quite a good drawing, if it didn’t depict the lifeless face of Jenny Calendar.

“This is the wrapping for the gift,” Buffy continued. She turned and went upstairs.

“Oh, man. Poor Giles,” Xander said. The words came out in a forced exhale.

Out of the corner of his eye he caught a glimpse of something white. He looked up and saw a pale figure approaching. He yelped and lurched back toward Willow and Cordelia. They screamed behind him.

“Hi, kids,” said the figure, the demon that had once been Jenny Calendar. She smiled at them. Her face wasn’t vamped out, but it was paler than it had been when she was alive.

“Buffy!” Xander yelled. He heard Buffy’s footsteps running back down the stairs.

Jenny leaned casually against the door frame and pulled the caution tape down, tossing it behind her.

“Xander, get back,” said Buffy.

“You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” said Jenny.

“Worse,” Buffy practically hissed out.

“Well, that’s not fair. I like to think I’m more useful than a ghost. I feel better than a ghost would feel, at least. I feel strong,” said Jenny. She was moving her hand around and watching it as though seeing it for the first time, before clenching it into a fist.

“You’ll feel nothing soon,” said Buffy. She turned to Willow and Xander and said, “Help me find a stake.” Xander quickly ran back to the weapons chest with Willow, but found it empty.

“I wouldn’t do that,” said Jenny, holding up a yellow floppy disk between two fingers.

“Why not?” asked Buffy, while at the same time Willow asked, “What is that?”

“Oh, this? It’s the key to restoring Angel’s soul. You see, before your boyfriend snapped my neck like a toothpick, I managed to translate the old text of the spell. Angelus thought he had destroyed all the records of it, but he missed this one piece. Shouldn’t be surprised really. He’s even more techno impaired than Rupert.”

Xander managed to find a stake in one of the desk drawers and quickly gave it to Buffy, who advanced toward vampire Jenny.

“Uh-uh, one more step and I crush it into pieces,” said Jenny. Buffy stopped.

“Why are you here? To cause him more pain?” said Buffy, her voice coming out high and strained.

“No, I actually wasn’t thinking of him at all when I came here. I’m here for you. I want to make a deal.”

“I didn’t trust you when you were human. You think I’ll trust you now?” yelled Buffy.

“Ouch! So much for not speaking ill of the dead,” said Jenny, shaking her hand as if it had been burned. She was still grinning like a snake, but then let the smile fade and said, “Look, the truth is, as strong as I feel right now, you could kick my ass from here to the old country. I’m not stupid and I’m not much of a fighter. I’ve seen you defeat so many vampires that would stand a better chance than I ever would. And I think you can even defeat Angelus, if you have to. So call this throwing my hat in with the winning team.” She tossed the disk to Buffy and added, “Go ahead and check to see if it’s the real thing.”

“Willow,” said Buffy, before handing her the disk.

Willow went over to Giles’ ancient computer and inserted the disk. It took a moment and then a white page of text came up on the screen.

“The Ritual of Restoration. I think this is it, Buffy,” said Willow.

“I still think this could be a trap,” said Buffy.

Jenny raised her hands in surrender.

“Just don’t kill me. That’s all I want. I’ll lay low for tonight. You perform the ritual, chase Spike and Drusilla out of Sunnydale, whatever you need to do. And then when this is over, remember that I helped you,” she said.

Buffy paused for a moment, regarding the vampire.

“Come in.”

“Buffy, what are you doing?” said Xander.

“Don’t worry,” said Buffy. And he didn’t really. He trusted Buffy.

Jenny looked just as concerned as Xander, but she stepped over the threshold. She didn’t seem willing to come in any farther than that. She looked around the room and seemed to notice the roses for the first time.

“Did Angelus set all this up? Twisted,” Jenny said with a chuckle.

“Cordelia, can you find some chains?” Buffy asked. Cordelia nodded and began rummaging through the house.

“You know, as fun as bondage sounds, I think I’ll pass,” said Jenny. She ducked out the door and ran off into the darkness. Buffy ran to the doorway and looked out, but didn’t follow her.

“Oh, man,” said Xander again.

“Do you still want me to look for chains?” asked Cordelia.

“No, Cordelia,” said Buffy.

“That’s good because all these trunks are empty,” said Cordelia, gesturing to one of them. Buffy walked over to look.

“That’s where Giles kept his weapons,” said Buffy.

“But I thought he kept all his weapons at the library,” said Cordelia.

“No, those are his everyday weapons. These were his good weapons, the ones he breaks out when company comes to visit,” said Xander. He was sort of trying to make a joke, but his voice didn’t sound joking at all. He sounded freaked.

“He went to find Angel,” said Buffy.

“That means he went to the factory, then?” asked Willow. She was still sitting by the computer, but fidgeting uncomfortably.

“So Giles is gonna try to kill Angel, then?” said Cordelia.

“And it’s gonna get him killed,” said Buffy.

***

Buffy couldn’t stand the silent pain on Giles’ face as he drove them back to his apartment. It was even worse than seeing him cry for the first time on the street outside the factory. She had arrived just in time to find Giles unconscious on the factory floor and to give Angel a well-deserved ass kicking. But then Angel had gotten away. The only blessing was that Ms. Calendar hadn’t been there for Giles to see. Buffy had been running on pure anger and adrenaline then, but now she was left with a turmoil of emotions to sort through.

“I have to tell you something,” she said, her voice sounding small.

Giles made a noise, but kept his eyes on the road.

“About Jenny. She, well. S-she came back,” Buffy said.

Giles’ jaw clenched and his hands gripped the steering wheel so tight his fingers went white.

“He,” Giles began, pausing a moment before forcing out, “turned her?”

“Yeah, she came by your house.”

“It wasn’t her. Jenny is dead,” he said.

Buffy felt herself losing her nerve, but she was tired of secrets, so she said, “She also may have found a way to give Angel his soul back. She brought us the spell. I don’t know if it will work or if she is just messing with us. I don’t want to get your hopes up, but if it works...maybe we could give Jenny her soul back, too.”

Giles was silent.

***

Angelus wanted to throw Spike in a furnace, and still considered it a possibility. Drusilla might kill him if he did, though, so he restrained himself. They had all managed to escape the burning building but Angelus had singed his arm pretty badly. Now they all stood outside, Spike sitting in his wheelchair and Drusilla ranting about oceans.

Jenny came to them then, wrapped in a clean white sheet that stood out against the ash and the red flames. She looked like a ghost. She looked like her ancestor, the Romani girl who had started this all, come back to haunt him.

“Where the hell were you?” he snarled at her.

“You killed me, remember?” she snapped back. She had a smart mouth.

“I told you to come straight here,” he said.

“You’ve forgotten how disconcerting it can be to rise, old man.”

That was too far. Angelus grabbed her by the throat and squeezed hard, lifting her off the ground. She clawed at his hand with sharp nails.

“Jesus Christ, mate, you turned the librarian’s girlfriend. You’re stretching this out too long, I think,” said Spike.

“No one cares what you think, Spike,” said Angel. He threw Jenny down on the street and she rubbed her neck. Drusilla walked over to kneel next to Jenny and began to pet her hair.

“I want to keep her. She would look so nice on my shelf. I’ll put her between Miss Edith and Miss Ruth,” said Drusilla.

“We have no choice but to keep her, I think, Love. But she better make herself useful,” said Spike. He was one to talk about being useful. Angelus kept himself calm, though. He still needed all of them.

“She will. Trust me, Spike,” he said, with a smirk.

Spike rolled his eyes and then his wheels as he moved farther away from the flames. Drusilla continued to sit on the concrete with Jenny and fuss with her hair. They needed to find a place to stay for the next day.

***

“Four candles?”

“Check,” said Xander.

“Cattle bones?”

“Check and also gross,” said Cordelia.

“Runes and incense?”

“Check and check,” said Xander.

“Ok, then all we need is a Orb of Thesulah,” said Willow. She looked over from the computer to where Xander and Cordelia were sitting on the carpet of Giles’ living, the supplies spread out in front of them.

“What is that?” asked Cordelia.

“It says that it will capture a vampire’s soul from the ether and allow us to send it back into the vampire,” said Willow.

“Well, what does it look like?” asked Cordelia.

“It’s, uh, orb-y and you know, Thesulah-y,” said Willow.

“No idea, then?” said Xander.

“No, but if Giles’ computer ever connects to the internet then we could look it up,” she said.

The door to the apartment opened then and Buffy and Giles entered, looking rumpled, covered in ash, and utterly exhausted.

“Giles!” Willow exclaimed, running to hug him. He patted her gently on the back.

“What happened?” asked Xander, jumping to his feet.

“Fought Angel, but he got away,” said Buffy.

“We’ve been reading about this ritual and getting all the supplies together. All we need is an Orb of Thesulah,” said Willow. The hope on her face was devastating to Buffy and Giles.

“Yes, I, uh, I have one,” said Giles, then added, “But, Willow, if Jenny is a vampire, then it is very likely that this is a trap. Something terrible could happen if we try to perform the spell.”

“Maybe we could ask Amy to look at it. She is a witch, so maybe she’d know,” said Willow.

“Yeah, cause her last spell went swimmingly,” said Xander.

“We’ll ask in the morning. I think for tonight we should all just…” Giles trailed off. He sounded tired.

“Cordelia, do you think you could drive Willow and Xander home?” Buffy asked. Cordelia agreed immediately.

“What about you, Buffy?” asked Willow.

“I’m going to stay and uninvite all vampires from the house,” said Buffy.

They said their goodbyes and then it was just Buffy and Giles in his living room.

“You should go to bed. I’ll take care of it,” she said.

“If I’m honest I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep,” he said. Buffy went over and hugged him. She wanted to tell him how much he meant to her and how she would make it all okay. But she didn’t know if she could. He turned and walked up the stairs. Buffy took the book of spells that pre-vampire Jenny Calendar had given them. She couldn’t save Ms. Calendar, but she could at least protect Giles’ house.

Chapter Text

The next week, Buffy got the flu, and any plans regarding Angel were put on hold. With the slayer in the hospital, the others did their best to patrol and keep an eye on things, careful never to go out alone after dark. And, other than a brief stop by the hospital, they didn’t see Angel, and there was no sign of Jenny at all. Giles wasn’t sure if he was relieved or worried by it all. He was definitely worried for Buffy. And definitely uncomfortable with the conversation he was having with Joyce.

“Thank you for coming. I really appreciate the way you look out for her. All of you,” said Joyce, as they stood in the fluorescent lighting of the hospital hallway.

“We're very fond of her,” said Giles.

Joyce paused, working up to something and said, “I hope I'm not out of line, but I

just wanted to say how sorry I am about that teacher, Ms. Calendar. Buffy said you were close.”

Giles felt his stomach twist, but he just said, “Thank you.”

“Buffy's been so down since it happened. She never gets sick.”

“I'm sure she'll be fine,” Giles reassured her.

“I'm sorry, I babble when I'm nervous. I just wanted to - well, if you need anything.” She patted his arm and went off to call Buffy’s father. Giles remained in place. He didn’t know how to respond to people giving him condolences for his dead girlfriend. Especially as she was not completely dead and not completely his girlfriend at the time. That fact twisted in him like a knife. They had left on hopeful terms, but he had never told that he reciprocated her feelings, that he lo-

Giles shook his head. He couldn’t think about these things now. He needed to help Buffy.

***

Willow made disc copies of the ritual for every member of the team. She didn’t want to take any chances, just in case Angel realized they had it and tried to destroy it. Now at least it would be a great deal harder for him. The day after Buffy got sick, Willow pulled Amy aside in the hallway of Sunnydale High.

“Hi Willow, how’s Buffy doing?” Amy asked.

“Oh, you know, she’s sick. The flu,” said Willow.

“That’s too bad, you know, I had it two weeks ago and I just could no stop-” started Amy, but Willow interrupted her.

“Amy, I need your help with something,” she said.

“What is it?”

“There’s this spell, and Ms. Calendar found it before she died, but then she came back as a vampire, and she gave it to us, and we need to know if it’s a real spell or a trick spell, and I was hoping you could take a look.” Willow hadn’t breathed through her whole speech, so she gasped a little when she’d finished.

“What does the spell do?” asked Amy, trying to process all the information that Willow had thrown at her.

“It can return the soul to a vampire. In theory,” said Willow.

“Sure, I’d be happy to help,” said Amy. She owed a lot to Willow and her friends. Willow took the floppy disc out of the bag and gave it to Amy.

“It might take some time, depending on how complicated the spell is, but I’ll start working on it tonight.”

“Ok, thanks Amy,” said Willow.

Now Willow just needed to help Buffy figure out what was terrorizing the children at the hospital.

Chapter Text

Angelus scrubbed at his skin furiously in the courtyard of their new ruined mansion of a home. He muttered to himself as he did so, distraught over his run in with a poltergeist. Jenny wanted to say something to tease him, but her neck was still sore from the last time she had done so. She stayed quiet and then Spike did it for her.

“You might want to let up. They say when you've drawn blood, you're exfoliated.”

“What do you know about it? I'm the one who was friggin' violated. You didn't have this thing in you,” Angelus snapped back at Spike.

“What was it, a demon?” asked Drusilla.

Angelus finally decided he was clean enough and began towelling himself off.

“Love,” he hissed with venom in his voice.

“Poor Angel,” said Drusilla. He grabbed her by the shoulders.

“Let's get out of here. I need a really vile kill before sun up to wipe this crap out of my system.”

“Of course. We'll find you a nice toddler,” said Drusilla. She moved to leave, but then turned back to Spike and Jenny.

“Want to come, pets?” she asked.

“Nope, we need to move fast. As much as I’m sure Spike is hell on wheels, he’d only slow us down. And Jenny needs to stay out of sight. But do try to have fun without us,” Angelus said, steering Drusilla out of the mansion.

Spike looked over at Jenny and smiled. She held her hand out to him. He took it and pulled himself out of the wheelchair. She let go of him and he walked easily across the room.

“Oh, we will,” he said.

Chapter Text

Jenny lay on what had once been a dining table in the derelict mansion. Being vampires, they had little need of a dining table, it was the closest thing she could find to the morgue examination table she had risen from. This one was wood and much warmer, but it worked well enough. She crossed her arms over her chest and pretended to be dead.

“Are you clear on what to do?” Spike asked her.

She nodded, eyes closed.

They heard footsteps above them, and Spike quickly ran and climbed into his wheelchair, grabbing up a newspaper to read as he did so.

“Nice walk, pet?” he asked.

“I met an old man. I didn’t like him. He got stuck in my teeth,” Jenny heard Drusilla say. She sounded like a petulant child as she said it. Jenny opened her eyes to watch them.

“And then the moon started whispering to me. All sorts of dreadful things,” Drusilla said.

“What did it say?” asked Angelus, casually cuffing the back of Spike’s head as he entered the room.

“Oh, look who’s awake,” said Spike. He startled a bit when Angelus hit him, but went back to reading his paper, pretending to be calm.

“What did the moon tell you? Did you have a vision? Is something coming?” Angelus asked. He moved around Drusilla like a snake as he questioned her.

“Oh yeah. Something terrible,” she whispered and then made a sound like a hissing kitten.

“Where?” asked Angelus.

“At the museum. A tomb. With a surprise inside.”

Angelus reached up and touched her head reverently.

“You can see all that in your head,” he said.

“No, you ninny, she read it in the morning paper,” said Spike, holding the newspaper out to an offended Angelus. Angelus snatched it and scanned the article. Jenny had read it already. It was all about an ancient obelisk with strange markings that had been unearthed near Sunnydale.

“Oh, my,” said Angelus.

“Shh, that’s what’s been whispering to me,” said Drusilla.

“Oh, yeah. Don’t worry, though. Soon it’ll stop. Soon it’ll scream,” said Angelus.

Jenny rolled her eyes. He was such a drama queen.

“I’m hungry,” she said.

Angelus looked up as if he was noticing her in the room for the first time. He dropped the newspaper to the floor and walked over to her. He leaned forward with his hands on the table, so he loomed over her.

“You won’t let me out to feed,” she said. Now she was the one who sounded like a petulant child.

He reached up and stroked her cheek.

“I told you. I need you to stay close, out of sight. You’ll have a bigger impact that way,” he whispered.

***

Buffy’s brain felt like it was ready to turn mushy and start dribbling out of her ears. It was seriously unfair that along with Snyder and her mom riding her - not to mention Angel lurking about - she still had to study for finals. Thank god for Willow.

“Wah, this doesn’t make any sense!” she groaned.

“Well, sure it does, see-” Willow looked at Buffy’s work. “Oh, no, that doesn’t make sense.”

“It’s senseless.”

“It is, but at least you know that, so you’re learning,” said Willow.

There was a knock on the open classroom door as Amy walked in and greeted them.

“Hey Amy,” said Willow cheerfully.

“I finished my research on the spell you gave me,” said Amy, taking out the disc copy of the ritual from her bag. Both Willow and Buffy leaned forward eagerly.

“And?” asked Buffy.

“I think it’s legit. Everything makes sense to me and it should work to return a vampire’s soul. In theory.”

“Oh boy,” said Willow.

Buffy sat back and crossed her arms, not entirely sure how to process this and what it meant for both Angel and Jenny.

“Oh boy,” said Willow again.

“Do you- do you think you could help us do the ritual?” Buffy asked. Her voice was so soft that Amy had to lean forward a bit to hear.

“Yeah, I’d be happy to,” said Amy.

“Oh boy,” said Willow.

***

“You look like her, you know?” said Angelus. As the sun got higher and the day heated up, they had retreated further into the shadows of the mansion.

“Who?” asked Jenny.

“The gypsy girl, the one who got me cursed in the first place,” he said. Jenny flinched a little at the word, which she still didn’t like, but she didn’t correct him.

“Vadoma,” she said.

“What?”

“That was her name. Vadoma Vasile.”

“I never knew that,” he said with a chuckle. “Vadoma. Well, I suppose it’s good to know the name of the little bitch who put me through a century of hell.”

“Was she worth it?” Jenny asked.

He snarled at her and then laughed when she shied away from him.

***

The gang was stunned as Amy told them what she had told Willow and Buffy. Giles was cleaning his glasses furiously while Xander and Cordelia sat still at the table.

“I think Ms. Calendar, when she was human, really did find a way to replicate the original curse,” said Willow.

“She said it couldn’t be done,” said Giles.

“Well, somehow she did it,” said Buffy.

“So he killed her, demonized her before she could tell anyone. What a prince,” said Xander.

“But it didn’t stop her. I mean, doesn’t that mean? What does that mean?” asked Willow, wringing her hands a bit.

“I think it means that she is more afraid of you, Buffy, than of Angelus,” said Giles.

Cordelia shifted a bit in her chair and then said, “But this is a good thing, right? Now we can restore Angel and Ms. Calendar’s souls.”

“It isn’t quite so simple. The ritual requires an Orb of Thesulah, which is used up during the spell. I have the one, but it make take quite some time to find another. They aren’t particularly common,” said Giles.

“You don’t have one, do you, Amy?” Willow asked, but Amy shook her head.

“So we can only re-soul one of them,” said Buffy.

“For now,” said Giles.

“And, it’ll be Jenny, right?” asked Xander, looking around at them for support, though everyone remained silent. He continued, “I mean, it has to be. Of the two, Jenny-without-her-soul has given us the key to saving her. Meanwhile Angel-without-a-soul has tortured and murdered his way through the town.”

“Xander has a point,” said Cordelia.

“Cordy, could you just agree with me for once, and I just realized that you did and I’m embarrassed,” snapped Xander before quickly correcting himself.

“It is a good point. And I much as I would like nothing more than to get Jenny back, I think we have to consider that Angel is the much bigger threat. Because he has been, as you say ‘torturing and murdering’ so much, there could be a pressing need to stop him. And it does seem to have been Jenny’s last wish before she was turned,” said Giles.

“Or maybe Angel just needs to die,” said Xander, looking right at Buffy.

***

Angelus and Drusilla led the way through the quiet hallways of the museum. The place was deserted this late at night, except for one beating heart in the room they were approaching. Jenny’s mouth watered. Flanking her were two recently turned vampire goons. Jenny could never remember their names, so she just called them Lenny and Squiggy. They’d be dead soon enough anyway.

As they approached the room with the tomb, Jenny began to feel a murmur in her ears, and based on Lenny’s shudder, he felt it, too. Angelus strode through the door and grabbed the museum worker who was studying the tomb. Angelus took a quick bite of the man’s neck and then tossed him to Jenny.

“There. Don’t say Daddy never gives you anything,” he said.

Lenny and Squiggy got to work, shoving the tomb onto a dolly, and Jenny sunk her teeth into the man’s shoulder. The only thing she’d fed on in the past week was a rat she’d found in the mansion, and she couldn’t believe how good it was to have real human again. She drained as much as she could get out of him and dropped the lifeless body on the ground. Angelus ordered her to help the goons.

It took all three of them - with Angelus and Drusilla watching - to load the heavy tomb into the truck and transport it back to the mansion. There, Angelus had them proudly display it beneath the only intact chandelier in the place. Spike rolled up to watch them slide it into place.

“It’s a big rock. I can’t wait to tell my friends. They don’t have a rock this big,” he said dryly.

“Spike, boy, you never did learn your history,” said Angelus.

“Let’s have a lesson, then.”

Lenny and Squiggy stood like good little soldiers on either side of the tomb, but Jenny went to stand behind Spike as Angelus began his story.

“Acathla, the demon, came forth to swallow the world. He was killed by a virtuous knight who pierced the demon's heart before it could draw breath to perform the act. Acathla turned to stone, as demons sometimes do, and was buried where neither man nor demon would want to look. Unless of course they're putting up low rent housing. Boys?”

Angelus nodded to Lenny and Squiggy, who took crowbars and pried open the lid of the tomb. It fell with a heavy thud, sending up a cloud of dust around them. Inside was a gargoyle-like statue of the demon, with a sword stuck in his heart.

“Oh, he fills my head. I can’t hear anything else,” said Drusilla, rocking a little and closing her eyes.

“How are you going to wake him?” asked Jenny.

“Someone worthy will pull out the sword,” said Angelus.

“And I’m sure wackiness will ensue,” said Spike.

Drusilla hummed, “He will swallow the world.”

“And who will be the worthy one to bring about this apocalypse?” asked Jenny, already knowing the answer.

Angelus spread his arms with a flourish. “I will send every living creature on this planet to Hell.”

***

The world was ending. Again.

It was so bad that Kendra had arrived to help them stop the rise of Alfalfa. Acathla. Whatever. Buffy had to admit, it was good to see the other Slayer again, especially given that she had a magic sword that some knight had used to kill Acathla the first time. What was less good news was that the vampires had possession of Acathla and had killed a curator to get it. Giles reassured them that Angel had a long ritual to perform to wake Acathla, giving them time to try the Ritual of Restoration. Despite being the opposite of a unanimous decision, they decided that re-ensouling Angel would prevent the most destruction. Jenny would have to wait for the next Orb of Thesulah they could find.

***

Drusilla had gone to fetch Spike from their room, insisting that they wait for him to begin. Jenny was shifting nervously from foot to foot. Angelus seemed to think she was just excited, not knowing that she was on Spike’s side when it came to not wanting the world to end. She liked the world and liked all the possibilities it held. There was still so much she wanted to do. Turn Rupert into a vampire and take him on a bloody tour of Europe was first. See her family again, and kill them, was also on the list. It all would have been so much simpler if Buffy had just given Angel his soul back, turned him back into the moping, brooding nonsense of his former self, and then Jenny could steal Rupert and leave Sunnydale in peace. Damn slayer must still not trust her.

Spike and Drusilla finally emerged from the room and Angelus signalled to the goons. They dragged in a young shirtless man, who hung limp between them. They set him down in front of the Angelus and the young man somehow managed to stay upright on his knees.

“I will drink. The blood will wash in me, over me, and I will be cleansed, I will be worthy to free Acathla. Bear witness as I ascend. As I become,” said Angelus grandly. He grabbed the young man by the hair and yanked him up. With a growl, Angelus bit him and briefly sucked his blood. He touched the man’s wound in order to coat his hand in blood.

“Everything that I am, everything that I have done has led me here,” he said, walking slowly toward Acathla. “I have strayed. I have been lost. Acathla redeems me. With this act, we will be free.” And with that, Angelus seized the hilt of the sword in Acathla’s heart and bright blue light shone from his hands. Drusilla giggled in delight. Then with a jolt, the light shut off and Angelus was thrown back onto the floor. The statue stood still and stone, and the sword remained in its heart.

“Someone wasn’t worthy,” Spike said in a sing-song voice.

“Damn it!” Angelus yelled, rising with a fury from the floor.

Drusilla was shaking as she said, “This is so disappointing.” She began to moan and Jenny went over and rubbed her arm. Drusilla dug her fingernails into Jenny’s hand and then clutched it to her face. She seemed a little calmer.

“There must be something I missed. The incantations, the blood, I don’t know!” Angel said, absolutely fretting. Spike chuckled to himself, but covered it with his hand. Jenny gave him a quick half smile.

“What are we going to do?” Drusilla asked, leaning her forehead against Jenny’s.

“I have an idea,” said Jenny softly.

“What’s that?” Angelus hissed.

“Turn to an old friend of ours, one who knows about these-” Jenny nuzzled Drusilla “-historical-” she bit the other woman lightly on the cheek, “-things.”

Angelus stopped his frantic pacing and smiled at her.

“I knew I turned you for a reason.”

Jenny and Drusilla smiled back at him.

***

Somehow a flaming vampire in the classroom was only enough to get the test postponed for a day. Sunnydale had seen far too many messed up things. And Buffy couldn’t even take advantage of the extra day, because said flaming vampire had told her that Angel would kill people if she didn’t meet him in the graveyard that night.

“I should go with you,” Kendra said, as the gang reconvened in the library.

Buffy, however, insisted that Kendra stay behind and protect the others, and she eventually agreed. Xander and Cordelia were helping Willow and Amy set up the restoration spell, and Buffy couldn’t leave them unguarded as they performed it. Amy said it would take a good half hour to set up and perform the whole thing.

“Which means you just have to hold Angel off. Don’t let him close on you. If the curse succeeds, you’ll know,” Giles said.

“Why don’t you just wait here to see if it worked? See if he phones you?” Cordelia asked.

“I can’t risk him killing more people. I’ve got to go,” said Buffy.

“Be careful,” said Xander.

Buffy turned to leave, but Kendra caught her and handed her beautifully carved stake, her lucky stake.

“I call it Mister Pointy,” she said.

***

Amy sat in the center of the library table, legs crossed and holding a printout of the spell. In front of her was the Orb of Thesulah, surrounded by a ring of candles, animal bones, and markings. Willow and Cordelia each had a bundle of burning herbs that they were waving around her. Xander stood on the balcony behind them, watching intently, and Kendra paced next to the library door.

“Quod perditum est, invenietur,” said Giles, reading from his own printout. What was lost, shall be found.

Then Amy continued the spell, “Not dead, nor not of the living. Spirits of the interregnum, I call. Let him know the pain of humanity, gods, reach your wizened hands to me, give me the soul of-”

A snarl interrupted them as a vampire emerged from the stacks of the library and grabbed Xander from behind. Another leapt down to attack Giles and two more kicked open the front doors.

“Get out, go!” Giles shouted.

Amy, Cordelia, and Willow ran up the stairs, but hesitated as they saw the vampire that Xander was struggling with. Xander managed to elbow it in the face, and Amy and Willow ducked behind a bookcase. Another vampire leapt up and pushed the bookcase so that it came crashing down on the both of them. Kendra was occupied with the one female vampire and Xander got his wrist snapped, but managed to knock down the vampire advancing on Cordelia.

“Go!” he told her, and she ran for the back door. The vampire got up and punched him in the face so hard he passed out.

Kendra staked the female vampire, who disappeared in a poof of dust. The one fighting Giles managed to knock him unconscious, but Kendra threw him off before he could kill the librarian. The remaining three vampires moved so they were surrounding Kendra.

The library door opened then and two women walked inside, both pale and dark haired. One of them clapped her hands together.

“Enough,” said Drusilla. She began to wiggle her fingers excitedly. Jenny broke away from her and went over to Giles.

Kendra approached Drusilla and kicked at her face, but Drusilla blocked her. They traded a few more blows and then Drusilla got her by the throat. While Drusilla’s back was turned and the goons’ attention were focused on her, Jenny grabbed the Orb of Thesulah and placed it into one of the chairs and out of sight.

“Look at me, deary,” she said, circling two fingers in front of Kendra’s face. It was like watching a snake being charmed, the way Kendra began to sway back and forth following the fingers. Then Drusilla slashed Kendra’s throat and the girl crumpled to the floor.

“Night-night,” Drusilla said and gave a little kiss in Kendra’s direction.

“Get what we came for, my dear,” she said to Jenny. Two of the goons tired to grab Giles, but Jenny snarled at them. She picked him up herself and slung him over her shoulder.

“That was my first slayer, you know. Are you proud of me?” said Drusilla as they walked out together.

“Proud and a little jealous,” said Jenny.

“You’re young still. You’ll get one someday.”

Chapter Text

Kendra was dead.  Xander was unconscious, maybe dead. The others were nowhere to be seen. And Buffy was a wanted fugitive. She ran home just long enough to change her outfit and grab a hat and then snuck into the hospital. She nearly jumped for joy when she saw Xander, wrist wrapped in a cast, but otherwise unharmed. She pulled him into a hug and made some dumb joke about him copping a feel. He didn’t laugh.

“What is it?” she asked. There was a sinking feeling in her stomach.

“It’s Willow and Amy. It’s bad. Willow is a little better off, some internal bleeding. She’s in surgery now. But Amy, she has head trauma. The doctors say she could wake up at any moment, but the longer it takes, the less likely it is. And Drusilla killed Kendra,” he said, rubbing his face. He led Buffy over to the room where Amy was sleeping, the whole left side of her face covered in a swollen purple bruise.

“I shouldn’t have gotten them involved. Angel must have known what we were doing,” said Buffy. She felt her eyes begin to burn, but she quickly blinked away the tears.

“Did you call their folks?” she asked.

“Yeah, Willow’s parents are out of town in Phoenix, visiting relatives. They’re flying back tonight. And Amy’s dad is on his way.”

“Does Oz know?”

“Man, I didn’t even think. I’ll call him,” said Xander.

Cordelia came into the room then and Xander hugged her tightly.

“You got away?” he asked.

“Yeah, I think I made it across three counties before I realized no one was chasing me,” she said.

“Did Giles keep up with you?” Xander asked.

“No, I didn’t see him,” she said.

Buffy felt her stomach drop even farther. She had to stop this.

***

“He might be even harder to wake up than Acathla,” Angelus said, frustrated.

Jenny was crouched beside the unconscious form of Giles on the mansion floor, checking his pulse now and again.

“Just give him a minute. He’ll wake up.” She stood and went over to Angelus, running her hand over his shoulders.

“I go first. It’s been too long since I’ve tortured someone, and golly if I just didn’t miss it,” he said. Jenny leaned against him and nodded.

“I’ll get him with the physical violence, and then you can do all the emotional pain stuff. Now get out of sight. I think he’s waking up,” said Angelus.

***

It took two hours, but Willow was out of surgery and starting to wake up from the anesthetic. Xander couldn’t describe the relief he felt as she began to squeeze his hand. From the look on Oz’s face, he was feeling the same relief. Cordelia went to get a phone to call Buffy’s house, on the rare chance that Buffy would be at home and not out hunting Angel. Amy had yet to wake up, but she did have her dad with her. Slowly, Willow began to gain more clarity and asked Xander what happened. He told her as gently as he could, but she still began to cry at the news of Kendra, Amy, and Giles.

“I actually got ahold of her,” said Cordelia, coming back into the room.

“What’d she say?” asked Xander.

“She said she’s so relieved you’re ok, Willow. Oh, and she knows where Giles is. She said she’s going to the Crawford Street mansion, but she’s fine. And something about an unlikely backup.”

***

“Have you seen my Spike?” Drusilla asked.

Jenny had stepped away from the torture for a moment, growing a little hungry again at the smell of the blood. Angelus had better not go too far and kill Giles before she got the chance to give him her own blood.

“No, but this place is a labyrinth,” said Jenny.

“It sings of lost souls,” said Drusilla dreamily. Jenny nodded, though she wasn’t entirely sure why.

***

“I can do it,” said Willow.

“Willow, it’s powerful magic. You’ve never done it before and you’re weak,” said Xander.

“I’ve been studying Ms. Calendar’s pagan stuff ever since she, you know. Amy can’t do it now, so I think I have to. I can do it,” said Willow.

“I’m not sure-” Xander began, but Willow interrupted him.

“There’s no use arguing with me. Do you see my resolve face?” She pointed to it, then continued, “We can help Buffy. If we turn Angel back soon enough, we can stop him from awakening Acathla.”

“I missed some stuff, didn’t I? Cause pretty much none of this is making sense,” said Oz.

“Can you take Cordelia to the library and get my supplies? She’ll fill you in on everything,” Willow said.

“Sure thing,” he said, as he and Cordelia got up to leave.

“Xander, you go to Buffy. Tell her what we’re doing. Maybe she can stall,” said Willow.

***

Spike slipped quietly back into the mansion and into his wheelchair.

“Drusilla’s been looking for you. I told her you were in some hidden corner of the mansion,” said Jenny.

“Thanks,” he muttered.

“How’d it go?”

“Slayer will be here by daylight,” he said, then added, “How’s your boy doing?”

“Holding in there. A few broken fingers. I hope Angelus doesn’t mess up his face too bad,” she said. They heard a yelp of pain from the other room.

“Better go see what they’re up to,” said Spike.

They stayed in the shadows, but they could hear Angelus talking to Giles.

“Just tell me what I need to know,” said Angelus, his voice almost sounding gentle.

“To be worthy,” Giles began slowly, “you must perform the ritual…in a tutu. Pillock.”

Jenny clamped a hand over her mouth to keep herself from laughing. Rupert was going to be such a fun vampire.

“That’s it. Someone get the chainsaw!” Angelus snapped. Spike made a whistling sound and Angelus stormed out of the room.

“What?” he hissed at Spike.

“My turn,” said Jenny.

Angelus sighed, but nodded his head toward the door, allowing her to try.

Jenny ran into the room and knelt down in front of Rupert. He did look like a broken man, which made his former retort all the more admirable. There was blood trickling down his face, his hand was a mangled mess, and his eyes were unfocused. He smiled for a moment as he saw her.

“Jenny,” he breathed out. Then his smile faded.

“You’re one of them. You’re a vampire,” he said.

She reached up to stroke his face.

“No, Rupert, they’re tricking you. I’m not a vampire,” she said.

He shook his head, trying not to look at her.

“I’m here. I’m real.” She grabbed his chin and gently turned his face until he saw her.

“I’ll never leave you,” she said. She reached behind him and undid the ropes tying him to the chair.

“We have to get out of here,” he said, trying to stand. She helped him to his feet.

“Go slowly. You’re hurt. Did you tell Angel about the ritual?” she asked. She put his arm over her shoulder.

“No, but we have to get him away from Acathla,” he said.

“Why? Is he close to figuring it out?”

“Later,” he said, shaking his head. She led him out the door into the empty hallway. Angel and Spike were far out of sight.
“You need to rest,” she said, stopping him.

“Get Angel away from Acathla,” he told her.

“Angel himself? He’s the key.”

“His blood. He must not-” Giles said, but Jenny quieted him. She leaned forward and pressed her lips lightly against his, and then deeper against his. She bit her tongue until it bled and then pushed it into his mouth. He was bleeding enough from Angelus’ torture that he didn’t notice.

***

“I can’t hear them,” whispered Angelus.

“Well, boo hoo, mate. They’ll come closer in a minute,” said Spike.

“They aren’t even moving,” Angelus said, “And now they’re making out. Wonderful.”

“Give her a minute.”

Jenny stood back and Giles fell in a heap on the floor. Angelus and Spike came out from the nook in the wall that they had been hiding in. Jenny was looking rather pleased with herself.

“You better not have killed him,” growled Angelus.

“You know, you should be nicer to the person who knows how to wake Acathla,” she said with a wide grin. Angelus looked like he didn’t know if he should smack her or hug her.

“How?” he asked.

“Say please.”

He grabbed her by the throat.

“Buffy, it’s slayer’s blood you need. The first sacrifice was too small,” she coughed out quickly. Angelus released her.

“Buffy. Let’s go. Jenny get the boys and we’ll-” started Angelus, but Spike interrupted him by loudly clearing his throat.

“Forgetting something, aren’t you? It is less than an hour until daylight,” said Spike.

“Damn it!”

“Relax, you can wait one more day, can’t you?” Jenny said, rubbing Angelus’ arm. He let out a huff.

“This one isn’t dead, by the way,” said Spike, bending down in his wheelchair to poke at Giles.

“We need him alive, just in case he was lying to me,” said Jenny.

“Put him back in the room,” said Angelus.

Jenny lifted Giles and brought him back into the torture room. Angelus and Spike were still in the hall, making big plans for the following night. She set Giles in the chair and began refastening his bindings. He began to stir and slowly opened his eyes. They were unfocused at first, but then he saw her and the look on his face was that of a destroyed man.

From outside Angelus barked an order at her to go tell Drusilla everything. Before she went, she bent down over Giles and whispered to him, “We will be together forever.”

***

Buffy really liked to be fashionably late, thought Jenny. Spike had said she would be there by sunrise, but ten minutes of daylight had already passed before Buffy entered the mansion with a sword and lopped the head off of Squiggy. Jenny supposed it didn’t really matter. She was just impatient for Buffy and Angelus to kill each other.

“Hello, Lover,” Buffy said to Angelus.

“Buffy, what a coincidence that the person I want to see most should come to see me,” he said with a smile.

Buffy looked a little unsettled but she quickly recovered.

“The pleasure’s all mine,” she said.

“Coming on kind of strong, don’t you think? You’re playing some deep odds here. Do you really think you can take all of us on?” Angelus gestured to Drusilla, Spike, and Jenny.

Jenny looked over at Spike, who grinned at her.

“No, I don’t,” said Buffy.

Spike rose quietly from his wheelchair, iron rod in hand, and struck Angelus in the back of the head, sending him to the floor. He began to beat Angelus with the rod, but was stopped when Drusilla tackled him. Jenny took a stake from inside her jacket and stabbed Lenny in the chest. He disintegrated and she glanced around herself quickly. Buffy was busy fighting a boyband-looking goon, Drusilla and Spike were arguing, and Angelus was still on the floor. She turned and ran toward the room where Giles was, and ran straight into Xander. He punched her solidly in the face and she had to admit, he packed a good punch for a human. He kicked her in the stomach and ran in to get Giles.

Jenny rose slowly, feeling a bit dizzy. Xander came out with Giles’ arm over his shoulders, supporting Giles’ weight. Jenny advanced toward them, but Xander stopped her with a cross. She snarled at him. He walked backwards with Giles, keeping her at bay with the cross, moving carefully around the fighting. They made it past the entryway and into the sunny courtyard where Jenny couldn’t follow. She screamed at them as they went. She was going to kill that little brat. She turned back to the fighting in time to see Buffy kill boyband goon and advance on Angelus with her sword. He was bleeding from a cut on his head and backing away from the slayer. She had him in a corner, but unfortunately that corner held the statue of Acathla. Angelus bumped into the hilt of the sword in Acathla’s heart. Desperate for a weapon, Angelus grabbed it and pulled. It came free. Angelus looked down and smiled. He lunged for Buffy.

Spike grabbed Drusilla from behind and started choking her. Angelus and Buffy were furiously battling with their twin swords. And Jenny was ready to get the fuck out of there before the portal opened.

“Spike, let’s go,” she called to him.

Drusilla slumped in Spike’s arms and he whispered something to her before lifting her bridal style and following Jenny. They paused for a brief moment to watch Angelus advancing on a fallen Buffy, and then continued toward the car. Jenny helped Spike put Drusilla in the passenger seat and climbed into the back.

“Where’s your boy, then?” he asked her. She growled at him.

“Alright, suit yourself,” he shrugged. They burst out of the mansion’s garage and swerved onto the street. Jenny wasn’t too concerned with where they went, as long as it was out of Sunnydale.

***

“Did I mention that I didn’t take Latin?” said Oz.

“You don’t have to understand it, just to read it. I hope,” said Willow. She was propped up in the hospital bed with the Ritual of Restoration supplies on a plastic over-the-bed table in front of her. Oz and Cordelia sat on either side of her, waving the smoking herbs.

Quod perditum est, invenietur,” Oz said his line.

“Not dead, nor not of the living. Spirits of the interregnum, I call. Let him know the pain of humanity, gods, reach your wizened hands to me, give me the soul of Angel. Gods, bind him, cast his heart from the demon realm, return his-” Willow was beginning to breath heavily and beads of sweat were dripping from her forehead. “I call on-” she tried to continue.

“Willow?” asked Oz.

“Are you ok?” asked Cordelia.

Suddenly her face snapped up toward the ceiling and when she lowered it her pupils had widened until they took up almost her entire iris.

“Te implor, doamne, nu ignoră aceasta rugăminte! Nici mort, nici al fiinţei, lăsa orbită să fie vasul care-i vă transportă sufletul la el,” she chanted.

“Is this a good thing?” Oz asked Cordelia as Willow spoke.

“Aşa să fie! Aşa să fie! Acum! Acum!” She grew louder until she shouted the last word. In front of her the Orb glowed bright yellow and disappeared.

“Do you think it worked?” asked Cordelia.

“It did something,” said Oz.

Willow panted and slowly her eyes returned to their usual shape and color.

“I think it worked,” she said, “it must have. I’m sure we just have to go find Angel and Buffy and everything will get back to normal.”