Text enclosed in * * represents thoughts.
Buffy ran down the street with the speed born of panic. Her mom was going
to kill her. *How could I have been so stupid?* she wondered. *Especially
now, why is it that I always get grounded right when the world most needs
saving?* Her heart thudded loudly in her chest as she cautiously opened the
front door. She briefly considered sneaking up the stairs to her room and
saying she'd been there the whole time. But even HER mom, the queen of
cluelessness, wouldn't fall for that one. She decided the best thing to do
at the moment was just to announce herself and face the consequences.
"Mom?" she called loudly.
"Buffy, is that you?" her mom answered. *No, it's your other daughter,* Buffy
thought sarcastically. But she restrained herself from saying it out loud.
She was in enough trouble without giving her mom an attitude. "I'm in the
kitchen," continued her mother. So Buffy slowly trudged to the kitchen to
meet her doom.
"Buffy, you do realize that when I said you were grounded, I meant you weren't
supposed to go out?" asked her mother. "I almost called the police, but then
I realized that you were probably just playing out your teenage rebelliousness.
You had me worried sick!"
"Oh Mom, I'm REALLY sorry. I swear I just totally forgot. As soon as I remembered
I ran all the way home. It's just that there's a sort of crisis, and it totally
slipped my mind."
"What kind of crisis?"
"Um, I can't really tell you the details of it. It involves Xander and Willow
"Are they in trouble?" asked Buffy's mom, beginning to feel worried for her
"No, no...mom that's not the point. The point is I'm sorry, and it won't
happen again." Buffy kissed her mom on the cheek and turned to go upstairs.
"You mean you're not going to argue?"
"It doesn't do any good," said Buffy bitterly. "You don't listen to what
I say. You think I'm too young to know what I'm talking about. So I'd rather
not scream into a vacuum again tonight, if you don't mind. I'm too tired
to fight." Buffy's mom began to feel the stirrings of guilt. She had doubted
herself since the moment she lost her temper and grounded Buffy. *I'm being
awfully quick to judge that poor boy. I've barely even met him,* she told
"Buffy, wait," she finally said. "I know it was kind of unfair of me to ground
you just because I don't like your boyfriend. But can't you find a boy your
"I could find a boy, but I wouldn't be in love with him like I am with
"I guess," her mom began, "I guess I should really meet him before I decide
whether I should forbid you to see him." Buffy kept her mouth from dropping
by a supreme effort of will.
"Who are you and what have you done with my mother?" she asked teasingly.
Then she rushed at her mom and squeezed her tight in a huge hug. "Thanks,
Mom. You'll really like him," she said enthusiastically.
"So you'll bring him over tomorrow?" asked her mother.
"Umm, tomorrow's no good. But the next day I promise."
"Go to bed."
"Mom? Am I still grounded?"
"You're on probation, now get outta here." Buffy bounced up the stairs. She
had no idea what had come over her mother, but if this worked out then things
were looking up. Provided of course that they managed to kill the extremely
strong, evil vampire, which was a big if.
Buffy woke early the next morning. This was it, the last day before the big
showdown. Doubts began to pound against her skull, as she lay in her bed
staring at the ceiling. There was so much that could go wrong. There were
so many holes in their plan that she could barely believe that she had agreed
to it. *Angel is going to suck my blood, how much blood? Giles neglected
to mention that, and I was so caught up in getting Angel to agree to the
plan that I forgot to ask. What if he does lose control? What if the demon
takes over and I die in his arms? Well, there are a lot of worse ways to
die, but I don't want to die at all. And then say that the sucking part works,
what if it doesn't give Angel enough of a boost and he loses the battle.*
She sat up and walked to the bathroom to throw cold water on her face.
*This is not a good attitude,* she decided. She'd just have to believe that
everything would turn out all right. It would have been easier if she had
been the one going into the fight. Then she would have known what to do.
She might have lost the fight, but at least it was something she was slightly
in control of. Waiting for someone else to fight and letting them suck her
blood, that wasn't her style. She needed the pumping of adrenaline, the use
of her own strength to beat back the evils of the world. But this time someone
else would be using her strength. She shivered a little. She never would
have guessed that she would one day willingly let a vampire suck her blood.
Her very nature screamed against it. But then she never would've guessed
she'd fall in love with a vampire either.
She hopped into the shower and then dressed herself in a pale green dress.
It shimmered in the dim morning light of her bedroom, and her eyes suddenly
filled with tears. She didn't want to do this. She didn't want to let him
bite her. She quickly blinked the tears away and grabbed the leather jacket.
She pressed it to her face, letting the rich smell of the leather calm her.
She would do it because she had to. If it didn't work they were all dead
anyway. So it had to work, it would work. Angel loved her; he wouldn't hurt
her. She had to believe that.
Angel felt the dawn under his skin as the sun rose. He was safely hidden
from the sun's rays but he could still feel them as they fell against the
blinds of his apartment. When they were ready, Giles would call. Until then,
he would wait. The waiting was the worst, the doubts became more and more
real as each minute passed. He had promised to do it, he had to do it. Buffy's
face invaded his mind and he closed his eyes tightly, thinking of her. She
had asked him to do it, and he would. He would do it for her.
But his soul screamed against it, even as the hunger beat in his veins. His
mind knew that if he didn't try they would both die. His soul refused to
respond to the logic. She trusted him, but she didn't know how close to the
edge he could get. Only he knew how dangerous this was. Only he knew how
loudly the demon roared in the locked vault of his mind. He was alone. And
never alone. His demon had him trapped, and he knew it would take everything
he had not to kill her.
He put on the tiny gold cross that he sometimes wore to tame the urges, and
to remind him of what he was. He would need all the help he could get. Faith
and love, he had both; and he knew that she had faith in him too. They all
did. He could feel the urges calm as the cross touched his chest. The pain
was nothing; she was everything. He would fight to save her. It wasn't Lily
he worried about. If they got that far, he thought he could win. It was himself
that he feared more than anything.
Buffy, Xander and Willow were all gathered at Giles' house again. It was
beginning to be their new center of operations. They talked softly, the mood
subdued as the day wore on. Giles had explained more of the details of the
blood transfer. All that was really needed was a taste. Less than the pint
that they took from you in the bloodmobile. She would feel weak, he explained.
But her regenerative powers made it a relatively riskless procedure. Relatively
riskless until you factored in Angel's demon. If all went according to plan,
she would be fine within half an hour. If Angel lost control she would probably
Finally the sun began to sink below in the afternoon sky. Giles called Angel.
They were ready. He would meet them at the old mausoleum in the graveyard.
He could reach it without facing sunlight by using the sewers. Most likely
the rest of the vampires would be resting or readying themselves for the
confrontation tonight. No doubt Colin and Lily would bring a large number
of the other vampires with them to meet Angel in case he failed to deliver
Buffy's body. It seemed so long ago that Daniel and Lily had delivered the
warning to him. Could it really be only three days?
The little group was already there when Angel finally reached the mausoleum.
Their faces were as grim as he felt. Xander and Willow stood a little apart.
They weren't part of this. But they each had a stake hidden in their pockets.
If things got out of hand there might not be much they could do, but they
would try. Giles stood next to Buffy his hand on her shoulder. His face was
a stoic mask, hiding the fear that this might not work, that his plan would
be the death of both Buffy and Angel. He sighed, they had to try.
Buffy looked up as Angel entered the mausoleum. He was so beautiful, she
felt a rush of love and trust. She walked over to him and whispered the words
"I love you." Then she wrapped her arms around his waist and exposed the
side of her neck to him. He stared at the flesh, feeling his hunger take
control. He felt the vampire face emerge, and he didn't fight it.
"I'm sorry," he whispered and kissed the top of Buffy's head. *This is it,
no stalling, no waiting. Just me and her, and her warm blood.* He
bent his face to her neck, kissed it lightly and sunk his fangs into her
* * * * * * * *
Buffy gasped as Angels fangs sank into her neck. The sharp pain brought
tears to her eyes. But soon the pain faded and reality began to shred. She
was suddenly completely focused on his ear. Each tiny detail assaulted her
senses. Her vision swam, and she began to panic. This wasnt right,
he needed to stop. Her fist beat futilely against him, but she had no strength
behind the blows. She could feel her life drifting away, drifting into him
and there was nothing she could do to stop it. Calmly, dreamily she realized
that she was going to die. "Angel," was her last thought as she slipped into
Angel tasted the sweet coppery blood as it entered his mouth. The raw power
electrified him with an overwhelming burst of pleasure. Vainly he fought
against the hunger and was swept underneath it. The pleasure, the hunger,
the demon took over. He silently screamed her name as he felt himself
overwhelmed. The power surged through him, causing each nerve ending to explode
He felt her heart beat weaken as his grew stronger. He felt her life, her
strength seeping into him. He felt them become one, and he felt her begin
to die. With each drop of blood, the hunger grew stronger. With each heart
beat ,the power flowed though him like a giant wave, dragging him underneath.
He wanted more than anything to give in to it. To let the power, the pleasure
sweep him away. He held on to her name like a drowning man, repeating it
over and over to himself.
The blood throbbed through his body, filling his ears with a dull roaring.
Dimly, as if from a great distance he could hear voices. Screams. Slowly
he fought to regain control. Her name echoed in his mind like an accusation.
It took all his strength to pull his teeth from her neck. He grimaced in
pain as he denied himself the satisfaction of her blood. Before he could
lose control again, he lay her on the ground and turned away. The hunger
beat against his brain, the power sang through each of his veins, setting
each nerve-ending on fire. He smashed his fist against the wall until the
wall crumbled a little, until the pain began to drive away the haze of hunger.
He shook his head, trying to clear the last vestiges of the demon's control
from his body. When he was sure that he could keep from attacking, he turned
to face the others. They were crowded around Buffy's body, and his heart
stopped. He hadn't regained control in time.
"Is she dead?" he asked, his voice breaking with anguish.
"Actually, she's not," said Giles a little warily. "Are you sure you are
under control?" Angel nodded silently. "She's lost a lot of blood. If she
were anyone but the Slayer...she would be dead."
"I lost it," said Angel, "when I felt that blood on my tongue, in my veins.
It's like no other feeling on earth. I was so close to killing her." He covered
his face with his hands, feeling the ridges. Feeling the shame of his
"But you didn't," said Giles. "That's the important thing. Right now you
need to focus on the fight. You need to be able to concentrate. You need
all your strength."
"Did it work, though?" asked Xander peering at Angel for some evidence of
change. Angel could still feel the power as it flowed through his veins,
as it swept him along on a wave of energy.
"Oh yeah, it worked," he said. "We'll just have to see if it's enough."
"You don't look any different," said Xander.
"A vampire's strength doesn't come from muscles. Our strength is in direct
relation to our power. It's the same for a Slayer. Buffy doesn't look that
strong, but she has enough power to tear you apart."
"So can you beat Lily?" asked Willow, looking up from where she sat on the
floor, cradling Buffy's head in her hands.
"I don't know." Angel answered dully, his eyes locked to Buffy's still form.
He inhaled sharply as her eyelids fluttered and she worked her way back into
consciousness. She groaned and opened her eyes.
"Is Angel...?" she began to ask.
"I'm here," he said, wanting to hold her but afraid that she would rather
he stay as far away from her as possible.
"Come here," she whispered. He slowly approached her body as she lay on the
floor. He hovered uncertainly over her body, unsure of what she wanted from
him. "Hold me," she said. He knelt beside her and lifted her easily in his
arms. She rested her head in the curve of his shoulder and draped one arm
weakly around his neck. "Take me with you?" she asked.
"Buffy, you're too weak. If I lose.."
"If you lose they'll hunt me down, Lily's not one to mess around. And she's
not trapped underground like the Master was. If you win, they won't threaten
me tonight." She tilted her head up to look into his face. "Please?" she
"All right, " he sighed. He wanted her near him, wanted to reassure himself
that she was alive. That he hadn't killed her after all. "I love you," he
whispered softly into her ear.
"I know," she whispered back.
Angel looked at Giles, and the librarian nodded. It was time. Gently Angel
carried Buffy through the graveyard, as gently as a husband carrying his
wife to bed for the first time. Lily and Colin were waiting in the center
of the graveyard. A dozen vampires formed a half-circle behind them.
"I'm surprised you came, Angelus. I didn't think you'd be able to kill her.
I thought your feelings would get in the way." said Colin mockingly.
"Isn't it past your bedtime?" Angel asked. "I didn't come for you, little
boy. And I didn't come to bring the Slayer to you." He pointed to Lily. "I
came for her." Lily responded with a hiss, but Angel wasn't finished. "I
challenge you, by my right to fair combat," he screamed. Lily growled deep
in her throat.
"You don't know what you're getting into," she spat. "You're not ready to
take me on."
"Do you refuse the challenge?" he asked.
"I accept," she hissed angrily. He nodded grimly n response, and lay Buffy's
body down under a convenient tree. Then he turned to face his opponent.