Author's Note: Here we go, the start of Season Four. Only some dialogue was taken from the original episode, because I changed the plot. With regards to what has been improved upon, very little has changed, as I only wanted the story longer. Enjoy.
Midnight. Boca del Inferno was resting beneath its crater, the remains of the large scholastic building complex blown up by a member of the teaching staff the day of the graduation of the class of nineteen-ninety-nine. It slept the sleep of an active volcano; seemingly dormant, until something or someone decided to revive it; whereupon it would lash out with a fiery fury akin to an unpredictable and dangerous sleeping dragon.
were no immediate plans to rebuild the cloistered building complex which had once
occupied the once existent ground above the crater. Sunnydale's City Council were
too busy trying to recover from the shock discovery concerning the late Mayor
to focus on raising the funds required for building a new High school. For now
pupils would be shipped out to the next educational district, until they summoned
the will to apply for the funds needed to be granted to rebuild and re-staff.
Explosives however, counted as arson in an insurance policy, so it was likely
to be a very long time before such was even attempted.
for the staff, most of them had moved on to other High Schools in the district,
anxious to get as far away from the school with the most unexplained fatality
rates in the state. Three had made the jump to the next education complex in Sunnydale;
the university. The lecturing staff of USC were glad to welcome them, as they
had suffered recent unexplainable student absences and missing teachers, a task
which one of the new lecturers was heard to quietly utter would soon be taken
So the staff moved, the pupils were transferred
and the graduating class of nineteen-ninety-nine spent their summer preparing
for college. Most had wisely chosen safer institutions in distant states, but
a few took the option to stay and attend USC, despite some prestigious offers
elsewhere. These few however had another mission in life apart from their education,
and that required them to stay. To regroup, after the conclusion of the Ascension.
To prepare themselves for what big evil which might come to haunt the hellmouth
But first of all, there was the problem of the missing
freshman, sophomore and other undergraduates, plus lecturers and tenured professors
to take care of. Together they investigated the circumstances behind every disappearance,
collated the remaining evidence, formed a conclusion as to the possible cause,
laid a trap, and waited for those responsible to blindly walk into it.
bright idea was it to take on college kids?" One of those responsible parties
asked now, in mid flee.
The vampire behind paused in his
running for a moment, and looked at his ringleader in puzzlement. "It was
yours, wasn't it?"
Sunday growled in annoyance, then
found herself pushed to the ground. A blond in flared jeans, a long sleeved t-shirt
and long leather black jacket, held her down with a boot pressed upon the undead
chest, a stake in her hand.
It did not take Sunday's
brain long to realise now who was chasing them. "Slayer!" She greeted,
her arrogance in full force. "Wow, uhm, I heard you might be coming here.
This is, I mean, what a challenge! The slayer!"
released her foot and let the vampire get up from the ground. It was only fair
that the leader had a slightly fairer fight than the others. "And you are?"
"I'm Sunday," the vampire replied with a deadly
smile, "And I'll be killing you here in a minute or so."
slayer chuckled in mild amusement. "You know, that threat gets more frightening
every time I hear it."
"Uhh... are we gonna
fight?" Asked one of the vamps in bored stoned tone of voice. "Or is
there just gonna be a monster sarcasm rally?"
in for a piece," another said.
to play," Buffy assured them.
"Guys, this is
totally mine," Sunday decided.
"Ok, but you
gotta share the eating," the first vampire who had asked her said, turning
his drugged fuelled stare on the slayer. "'Cause I'm thinking slayer's blood's
gotta be -Whoa!- like Thai Stick."
Buffy shook her
head in disgust at the level of undead intellect daring to challenge her this
night. "I thought people were suppose to get smarter in college?"
"Yeah, I think you had a lot of misconceptions about
college," Sunday commented mockingly. "Like that anyone would be caught
dead wearing that."
Instead of glancing down in dismay
at her outfit, Buffy just smiled. "You have a lot of misconceptions about
me too. Like, do you really think I'm that stupid?" She punched her, and
the fight began.
Sunday fell back, caught off guard by
her misjudgment of her opponent. The slayer put a hand to her ear. "Guys,
its me, I have them. Come on down."
headphones had been modified by Willow and Oz during the break, and with a bit
of magic from the two practising wiccans, they served as walkie-talkies during
the big group slays which required back up for their friend empowered with a chosen
Now as Buffy launched herself on the leader,
the younger of the wiccans appeared out of thin air, followed by the rest of the
Scooby gang, launching themselves into the fight.
the vampires had learnt that their deadly play time about the campus which surrounded
the university was over, the gang came together and rested on the gravestones
"'few," Xander exhaled as got
his breath back. "And here was me thinking that the summer we spent preparing
for this would make us fitter."
"They did give
us quite a run," Angel reminded him.
half of the campus, plus this cemetery," Oz added in agreement. "We
never practised for the marathon."
we're prepared for college though," Cordelia commented.
you've just jinxed it!" Xander accused her.
the former cheerleader glared at him. "Did not!"
too!" Xander countered.
"What are you now, pantomime
cat calls?!" Cordelia mocked.
Xander was insulted.
"Gee, its like they never split
up," Buffy remarked aside to Angel as the argument continued, the two combatants
moving closer and closer together.
Xander caught the last
part of the slayer's comments and changed tact, halting his movement. "Sorry,
"Or not," the slayer remarked, surprised.
"No, you were right," Cordelia allowed sadly, sinking
down on to one of the marble monuments. "Now I feel a sense of impending
doom. We're too prepared. I wonder what can be worse than the Mayor's Ascension?"
They were right to wonder, for all too soon they would find
out that no matter how hard their preparation, none of them were in fact ready
for what was to come.
And neither was the hellmouth.
Early the next day, a black 1967 Plymouth Belvedere GTX convertible drove into
the space reserved for the Professor of Art History, causing other lecturers to
stare in appreciation at the sight of the vehicle and its superb condition. They
had always admired the car, especially when the top was down. Now there was another
cause to look. A passenger. In the form of a beautiful, blond, young woman. They
had never seen her before, for although it was rumoured that Professor O'Connor
had a girlfriend, someone who had visited him a few times at the end of class,
no one had yet to set eyes on her properly until now.
and his beloved paid them no mind as he opened the door for Buffy and led her
to the registration office to pick up her campus identification cards.
this cool?" Willow remarked when they joined her outside building in the
bright Californian sunshine. "There's so much going on. In High School, knowledge
was pretty much frowned upon. You really had to work to learn anything. But here,
the energy, the collective intelligence, it's like this force, this penetrating
force, and I can just feel my mind opening up and letting this place thrust into
and spurt knowledge into..." she broke off, suddenly embarrassed. "That
sentence ended up in a different place than it started out in."
with ya Will," Buffy offered her best friend consolingly. "Seen Giles?
Or rather, Professor Giles?"
"He took one look
at the Library and was in raptures," the red head informed them as they continued
walking across the campus . "I hope he shows up for class, its our first.
Jenny, or rather Professor Calendar-Giles, is in the Computer Lab, and Professor
Doyle is showing Cordelia his lecture hall." She recalled the body language
of the former cheerleader and half bracken, silently speculating. "They're
pretty tight lately, aren't they?"
Buffy nodded in
agreement. "Well, what with her and Xander amicably splitting over the summer,
and Doyle's interest in her almost from the moment he arrived, it's almost expected."
They crossed the area for the resident halls and walked
to the resources area, heading for the book shop.
wait till Mom gets the bill for these books," Buffy said as they dumped the
present pile balanced in their arms into the baskets Angel and Oz were carrying.
"I hope it's a funny aneurysm."
go and purchase this lot," Angel offered.
she likes you," Buffy replied, "you don't need to curry favour anymore."
"She is coming over for dinner this evening," he
reminded her. "Might be wise to soften the ground."
point," Buffy agreed, and he smiled at her before walking to the checkout
"Next, 'Introduction to Psychology,'"
Willow recited from the memorised list, glancing at the shelves until she located
the desired volumes. "Oh, up there."
get 'em," Buffy replied, offering to conquer the height. "You know,
this store discriminates against short people."
I think there's a protest next week," Willow remarked.
nodded as she stretched to get the books. The pile toppled over, hitting a student
nearby. "Oh, ahh. Oh god, I'm so sorry."
okay," the student replied, rising from the floor. "Well, that was bracing,"
he joked. "Let me give you a hand," he offered, taking a large clutch
of the volume they wanted and moving them to a more easily accessible shelf. "Let's
put a few of these down here." He looked at them, his gaze turning into admiration
as he took in the blond. "So, uh, are you girls taking Intro Psych, or do
you just want me dead?"
"The first one,"
"Well, you'll have a lot of fun,"
he replied. "Professor Walsh, she's quite a character."
gaze brightened with interest. "You've taken it?"
her TA," he replied, "I'll be helping the Professor out. I'm sorry,
I've forgotten my manners in all the concussion." He held out his hand. "I'm
"Willow, and this is my friend Buffy,"
Willow introduced. "And Oz, my boyfriend."
nice to meet you all," Riley remarked, looking carefully at Buffy.
slayer looked back, but with nothing of the same interest. The boy before her
was tall, well built and blond, but he held none of the draw she had felt compared
to when she had met Angel for the first time. In a way it was like equating the
night with day. This boy whom she had just met and the man she loved were polar
opposites in every way.
Willow saw the hostility radiating
from her friend and tried to prevent the student from detecting it. "Hey,
do you know if we're going to be studying 'Operant Conditioning' in the first
semester?" She asked. "'Cause I hear that's kinda Professor Walsh's
"Absolutely," Riley affirmed.
"Do you know her treatise on Dietrich's work?"
nodded slowly. "I know of it."
in the syllabus," Riley replied, "but it's a fascinating read, if you're
in to that sort of thing. They have it here."
turned eagerly to the shelf. "Oh, where?"
show you," Riley replied. "I don't meet that many freshmen that know
that much about psychology."
"We're not your
average freshman," Buffy remarked warningly.
chose to take it another way, misunderstanding the danger in her deceptive tones.
"So, I see," he said looking at her with a smile. His gaze ran over
her attractive form once more. "So what else are you taking?"
and Literature," Buffy replied.
that's one of the new courses isn't it?" he sought to confirm. "I thought
that was not going to be open to freshman?"
wasn't, but Giles convinced the faculty to make it so," Buffy explained.
He frowned at her familiarity concerning the new lecturer's
name. "You know the professor? I thought he was British."
is, he came over three years ago," Buffy replied. "He's a family friend."
"Oh. Ah, here's that treatise." He handed it to
Willow who began to flick through. Riley turned to Buffy, eager to seize this
moment of opportunity. "Listen, there's this coffee place...."
I've got to get going, I'm sorry," remarked a voice at that moment, calling
the boy's attention to the tall dark and handsome man who appeared behind the
Riley's jaw dropped as he recognised
Buffy just smiled and turned to face her beloved.
"Its fine, I knew you had an early class today. We're still meeting for lunch?"
"Of course. I wanna hear all about Giles' first lecture."
Angel leaned down and the two exchanged a long kiss, attracting the attention
of all the students within the shop, but most importantly the teaching assistant
standing before them.
When the couple reluctantly broke
apart, Willow and Oz turned to him and returned the wave of farewell he sent to
all before walking out on to the campus.
Riley was still
starstruck. "You know Professor O'Connor?" He asked, hoping that what
he had just witnessed was a mere illusion of his own making.
Buffy confirmed, feeling a little sorry for the boy now whose hopes she had just
disappointed. "Actually we've been together for over two years." Which
was more or less true, providing one did not count the time she had to send him
"Together?" Riley echoed.
in the relationship sense," Buffy replied.
was shocked by her confirmation. "I thought it was forbidden."
unless you're taking Art History," Buffy explained. "Which I'm not."
A bell rang in the distance. Buffy checked her watch then
gathered up her basket of books. "We have to get to class. Perhaps we'll
see you some time?"
She walked out before he had
a chance to reply. Willow and Oz quickly followed.
was that about?" Willow asked her.
Buffy looked around cautiously, then lowered her tone so no one else would hear what she said. "I'll tell you later, okay?" She sorted out her books into a more sturdy pile. "I have Introduction to Literature, I'll see you guys at lunch."
Lunch time found six members of the Scooby gang gathered around the trunk of a
big tree which stood in one of the garden areas of the campus. The eldest of them
sat with his back against the trunk, his soulmate in his arms, resting herself
upon his lap as they shared the large lunch box which rested on hers. To the left
of them were the other couple of the group, while to the right were once the third
couple but now no more, having splitting up during the summer.
a wiccan group established," Willow remarked after finishing the recap on
her Chemistry class. "I'm gonna check it out later in the week."
"Searching for recruits?" Cordelia queried with
Willow nodded. "There's gotta be at least
one true wiccan, this being Sunnydale and all."
found anything else?" The slayer asked.
Cordelia replied, while the others shook their heads.
a pretty typical university," Angel added.
what they said about Sunnydale High to my Mom," Buffy remarked. "And
we all know how that worked out."
of your Mom," Willow began, "how's she coping with you and Angel living
"We're having dinner with her at
the mansion tonight," Buffy replied. "But I think she's okay with it
so far. She totally gave us her blessing before the Prom."
Bronze ready for opening tonight?" Oz asked Xander.
set," its new owner answered. "Dingoes ready?"
passed the stage where we used to suck," Oz assured him.
that case I better go and check the sound system," Xander remarked abruptly,
looking up. "Later guys."
"Hi," said a voice a few seconds
All looked up at the shadow, but only Willow spoke
in reply. "Hey Riley."
The teaching assistant
stood nervously before them, his confidence suddenly gone from his mind. "I
was wondering if you need someone to show you where Psych is gonna be?"
"Thanks, Riley," Buffy began, "but we took
a tour of the campus during one of the open days. Plus Angel is going to show
Riley tried not to appear crestfallen. "Oh,
well see you in class then."
The slayer watched him
go, then turned back to the others. "So, final judgement on Giles' lesson.
Remember he will giving a pop quiz on said opinion later on. And he's likely to
judge any hesitation as lack of enjoyment."
was actually very interesting," Cordelia replied. "I didn't think I
would enjoy having demon research as a class as well, but he's really cleaned
up his teaching style."
Angel nodded. "I've
talked to a few of my students who take the class and they all say that its very
interesting. And it's been well received by the faculty."
certainly helped with the slaying," Buffy agreed. "I feel like I have
the knowledge to face any demon who crosses my path."
did she know how much one day those words would be tested.
And discounted in face of the horrifying truth.
Afternoon called everyone back to their classes. As promised Angel showed Buffy, Willow and Oz where room one hundred and five was, seeing them to the door with the gold painted three digit number on, before walking to his own room for his remaining lectures of the day.
The trio walked into the
lecture hall, found some seats in the middle row and sat down. Buffy took out
her notebook and placed it on the little wooden platform attached to one side
of the chair, her eyes on the front of the room, fixing her gaze on where Riley
was sorting out papers at the desk. Silently she watched him, but without any
real interest as to what he was doing, or what he might be thinking concerning
herself. Then a woman in a business suit came into the room, and she readied herself
for the lecture.
Riley handed some papers to the woman,
who came to stand in front of her desk. "Ok," she began, looking at
them all. "This is Psych 105, 'Introduction to Psychology,' I'm Professor
Walsh. Those of you who fall under my good graces will come to know me as Maggie.
Those of you who don't will come to know me by the name my TA's use, and think
I don't know about, 'The Evil Bitch Monster of Death.' Make no mistake, I run
a hard class, I assign a lot of work, I talk fast and I expect you to keep up.
If you're looking to coast I recommend 'Geology 101,' that's where the football
players are. Any questions?" There was hardly any pause. "Good. Then
Buffy gripped her pen in her hand,
placed it before the first line of her writing pad, and listened to the lecture,
entering herself into college life. As the professor continued to teach, she found
her interest in the course growing. Originally she had taken Psychology to fill
the science requirement for her freshman year, and because Willow had persuaded
her to keep her and Oz company, but she had never realised how much the subject
would appeal to her until now. Determining the nature and method behind a person's
thoughts, feelings and actions could prove essential to defeating some vampires,
she realised, particularly the older ones like those of Angel's generation and
beyond. If she decided to pursue the course for a degree, it could give a her
a flexible working career too, it occurred to her.
had no idea what else Professor Walsh held in store for her.
And at the moment, neither did Maggie.
As evening advanced into night, the lights of the Mansion at 1902 Crawford Street
cast their rays out on to the almost deserted street which bordered the grounds
on which the Frank Lloyd Wright style house was situated.
the house itself, three people sat in the dinning room, one just rising from his
chair to take away the empty plates of the desert course, leaving mother and daughter
alone for the moment.
Joyce Summers watched Angel walk
into the kitchen, then turned to her daughter with a searching gaze. "So,"
she began, "are you happy?"
Buffy smiled at
her mother as she replied, "couldn't be happier. He's wonderful, Mom. It's
wonderful. I'm so glad I said yes. How are you coping?"
a little weird," Joyce admitted, "but I'm getting there. I'm glad we
still get to see each other at least once a week. And your calls every night are
"Good," Buffy smiled. "Now,
if you ever feel the loneliness getting to you, I don't mind if you, you know,
re-enter the dating scene."
Joyce chuckled. "You've
gotten over Ted then?"
"Yes, providing me and
Angel are allowed to vet them," Buffy remarked with a grin. "Seriously,
if they make you happy, then we're fine. Its only fair that I should give you
that just as you have given it to me. I'm very glad you like him."
too," Joyce replied. "I didn't want to lose you when I had just come
to know who you really are."
Buffy smiled, then Angel
walked back in and conversation turned to other things until Joyce decided to
The slayer saw her mother to her car, then watched
as the vehicle drove up Crawford Street, then turned and faded into the night.
Silently, she surveyed the night around her, slayer senses alive, as they detected
something far away. Barely a second later she relaxed, as she recognised the deceptively
mild vampire warning.
Since Angel had gained half of his
redemption, Buffy had learned that his aura, the part of him that told a slayer
he was a vampire, had changed. It had become lighter, more subtle, giving out
a deceptive distance when often the reality was in fact much nearer.
Buffy leaned back against his chest as his arms came around her. With what had
become a habit since the ascension, he bent his head and dealt a kiss to the little
scar which covered her lightly tanned skin above her jugular.
still feel guilty, don't you?" She asked him when he had rested his head
upon her hair.
"I can't help it," Angel confessed
She turned round in his arms, her eyes gazing
into his. "Well, we're even then. I still feel guilty about sending you to
"You did what you had to do to save the
world," Angel said. "You shouldn't feel guilty." His gaze fell
from her in shame, and guilt. "What I did was different."
sighed, bringing one of her hands to his chin, the slight pressure of her touch
calling his soulful eyes back to her own. "Angel, we're not having this debate
again. You refused, remember? I had to punch you and bring out those pesky but
vital survival instincts. So forget the guilt, okay?"
though that scar now marks you to other vamps as mine?" He asked her.
"It does?" Her eyes widened in surprise, then she
smiled. "Cool. Next time I meet one, it will be doubly afraid of me."
"You're really okay with this, aren't you?" He sought
to confirm, just as surprised by her reaction to this new piece of information.
"Really," Buffy assured him. "Now stop brooding
He smirked slightly at her orders. "Yes,
Buffy smiled at his good humour thus restored.
"Now, let's go inside, it's cold here."
ma'am," he repeated, causing her to laugh. It was the kind of laughter which
he had come to know since they first slept together, intimate and seductive, and
the sound turned him on now just as much as it had the first time he heard it,
in his apartment near the Bronze, almost two years ago. He looked into her eyes
as he led her inside, and smiled back at her, a smile which promised how good
the rest of the night was going to be.
As Angel took her hand and led her to their bedroom, Buffy knew that the next time he kissed the scar covering her jugular, it would not be because he felt guilty about drinking blood from her. It would be because the mark claimed her as his to the rest of the vampire underworld, and that knowledge made her wish that the scar would never fade away.
"The place looks great, Xander."
as he watched his friends grazed around the new interior decor of the nightclub.
The dark theme had been changed for a more lighter look, with light camel covered
furnishings and a mixture of tan shaded lights.
he replied in the wake of the compliments. "Cor helped."
he actually listened to my advice. Amazing," the fashion queen remarked,
though inwardly touched as opposed to surprised.
are here," Oz called out as he and the rest of the members of Dingoes Ate
My Baby arrived. "Where do we set up?"
show you," Xander replied, as the door opened to admit the first stream of
Angel and Buffy joined the rest of the Scooby
gang, including the new professor of Irish Literature; Doyle, at their usual gathering
place in the nightclub; a long corner sofa with a coffee table set against the
Buffy snuggled into the arms of his warm embrace,
then uttered a groan as out of the corner of her eye, she spotted Riley coming
"You wanna a dance?" She asked her soulmate.
"Sure." Angel rose, took her hand and led her out
on to the dance floor.
Riley watched the couple for a while, a million and one thoughts passing through his head, all waiting for him to connect them together. Then the pager attached to the belt clips on his jeans beeped, meaning he had to go, for he had other, more important duties to attend to.
Outside in the dead of night, on the large campus of Sunnydale University, a vampire
stalked the grounds, looking for a living and breathing, full-blooded human being
of a target to drain the life out of.
Suddenly he felt
an electric shock travel through his undead chest. He looked down and saw the
source; a pair of wires were attached to his clothes. He was stunned, he had no
idea that vampire could be controlled like this, or that the slayer who stalked
his brethren upon this hellmouth possessed such a weapon. But that was all he
had time to realise, before blacking out and falling upon the ground.
Then a group of people clothed in black camouflage gathered around him, and collected him up, taking him away.
To Be Continued In