DISCLAIMER: While this story stemmed from my objections to where they took Buffy the Vampire Slayer from season 6 on, but I can not deny the genius that first made such a wonderful show. This is in no way meant to challenge their rights, and is purely a non-profit work of fan fiction.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a DARK fic. While the rating gives an indication my main characters are NOT heroes, they will not only not be doing any good deeds they will be doing many evil ones.
SPOILERS: Bits and pieces from seasons 6&7 of Buffy and 4&5 of Angel.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SERIES: Sequel to Rebirth.

Family Matters
By Dark Wyldchilde



With Dawn and Angelus out of town the ladies had the run of the lair, and had taken advantage of that fact by running around naked the entire time. Of course none of the demons were exactly prudish and tended to cavort in whatever state suited them, whenever and wherever the mood struck them, but they were enjoying themselves with Buffy being held from behind by Tara on a loveseat while watching the actions of a heavily restrained Faith, bound to the four posters of their suitably sized bed.

Wearing nothing but her chains Faith was pulling at the restraints while emitting a sound somewhere between a moan and a growl. A sound that suddenly stopped, much to Faith's dismay if the look she shot Tara was any indication. Although Tara was the source of what was stimulating Faith the cause was revealed to be somewhat less than extraordinary as she was holding a remote control for the vibrating egg now doing absolutely nothing where it was resting inside Faith's now incredibly needy folds.

Buffy was the first to speak as she could see Tara was totally focused on the erotic torment she was inflicting on their mutual love. "Just say please. Say please Faith and Tara will let you cum."

Faith's expression was almost as fierce as her demonic one, but was still in it's human shape. "NO!"

Tara giggled happily while reaching around with her free hand and giving firm pinches back and forth between Buffy's nipples. Something that only added to the amusement she was getting from tapping out a random pattern with the on and off buttons on the remote control.

While Buffy was enjoying the attention, she could feel the wetness where Tara's sex was pressing against her back. Grinding back against the sensation she felt Tara's hips jump forward of their own volition, and she flipped over. Smiling at Tara she then spoke. "Turn it off. Let her watch for awhile."

Tara had complied, and Faith was left to watch as Buffy slid down and Tara slid up to where the witch was sitting upright, and Buffy was partially on her knees on the floor, and partially draped over the love seat. Seeing Buffy's mouth eagerly attack Tara's sex Faith started shaking her head. "You bitches. Oh you fucking bitches. When I get out of here..."

Tara's head was already falling back under the other blonde's eager attention, but instead of lolling to the back she simply rolled it to the side so she could smile at the partner chained to the bed. "Yes? What will you do Faith?" Such thoughts seemed beyond Faith's current level of thinking at the moment, and even speech seemed questionable as she could only let out a long, needy groan.

Tara giggled and as another jolt jumped through her body her attention focused entirely on the woman so eagerly licking her. Of course that wasn't all because at this point Buffy's tongue was still licking at Tara's clit, the first two fingers of Buffy's right hand were gliding in and out of the saturated vaginal lips. Leaving Tara to happily sigh. "Like that Sweetie, JUST like that."

Though Buffy's mouth was well occupied Tara could still see the grin her words received, and her efforts redoubled. It made Tara's back arch. "Close... Buffy. Almost there..."

Back on the bed Faith had recovered the power of speech and started rooting Buffy on. "That's it B, make her cum."

The added stimulus of Faith's focused gaze was too much for Tara and she clamped her thighs around Buffy's head while actually locking her ankles where they now rested on Buffy's back as her whole body shook.

Helpless in the aftershocks it was an effort to turn her head when Faith spoke, a laugh in her voice. "It's a good thing Buffy doesn't have to breathe anymore."

That got a definite giggle from between Tara's legs as Buffy gave the painfully aroused flesh a final, long lick while slowly extracting her fingers, and smiled at Tara's body giving a final buck at the sensation. "Don't I know it. Love it too, can just keep going and going and going... that reminds me." With a laugh she laid on top of Tara and picked up the remote from where it had fallen to the floor.

"FUCK!" Faith shouted out as the maddening delight of the vibrating egg worked with the sight of seeing her two lovers going at it to ratchet Faith right back up to where she was before, and leave her there as Buffy was just as determined to make Faith say please. "Damn it Buffy!"

Buffy however was smiling as she handed the remote back to Tara. "Such a dirty mouth. I think we should put it to better use." She then demonstrated what use she intended for Faith's mouth as she got up and walked over to the bed to straddle Faith's face.

Faith however wasn't biting, literally. "Fuck no!"

Buffy grinned down at her. "You're not cumming till I do."

Faith growled. "Do I still have to say please?"

Buffy giggled. "You know better then to talk with your mouth full."

Even Faith gave a reluctant smile, but it was with her mouth already pressed to Buffy's already aroused sex. Buffy was smiling as well when she whipped her head to look at Tara, to find the other blonde using one hand to continue to stimulate Faith while the other stimulated herself in a far more direct, and far less teasing fashion.

The lover's eyes met and they shared a grin. Tara's motions as she stimulated her own needy core were wanton, and Buffy was moving her hips on Faith's mouth in a similar fashion. "Oh Faith Baby, if I had known you ate pussy this well I would have jumped the fence years ago."

That comment got a giggle out of Faith as well as Tara, but the witch was able to comment. "Would have been the best Scooby meetings EVER."

The sounds of sex filled the air with the groans and sighs of the two blondes having a counterpoint in the clicks of Tara's fingers moving in and out of wet flesh and Faith's tongue doing the same.

Buffy would have commented, but her arousal went up a notch and she pressed vaginal lips firmly to Faith's mouth. Her head was back and her hands were cupping her breasts and pinching her nipples. Tara had synched up and her hand was a similar blur as she brought herself to the same point. A point that crested and broke in unison. Buffy let out a sound almost near a sob while Tara was silent again, shaking in the fury of her second climax.

Buffy dismounted Faith's face and now able to speak again Faith had a sort of mantra. "My turn now, it's my turn."

The other two women were smiling fondly. Buffy moved down to suck on Faith's nipples while Tara turned the remote to full and tossed it over her shoulder. "That it is Baby, that it is." Tara then found another use for her mouth as she put it to Faith's clit.

Faith shrieked and bucked through her release.


Chapter 1.

Angelus looked over at his young companion yet again and Dawn rolled her eyes. "What?"

He smiled. "I just don't get what we are doing here."

Dawn sighed. "I know you don't, and that's kinda the point. It's not that I think we NEED any of this. The point is that I want us to move past need, I want our family as strong as it can be."

Angelus interrupted. "And you think these guns are going to make us stronger?"

Dawn gave him a grin with an arched brow. "You've been shot, a lot. Can you tell me it doesn't matter?"

He shrugged. "I'll give you that."

Dawn then simply smiled. "But it's not just military grade weapons. I've been reading Solider of Fortune magazine, and I'm going to hire us mercs."

He seemed to see the wisdom. "To teach us how to use the military gear?"

Dawn giggled. "Among other things." Seeing Angelus arch his own brow. "Just think of it! We can order out for skilled soldiers and have them delivered!"

His eyes got wide. "And get them in 30 minutes or our next minion is free!"

Dawn clapped her hands. "EXACTLY! We can sort through and find the best of the best, bring them here and turn them. Not only are they super skilled killers, but they are used to following orders."

He was smiling as he nodded. "Ok, ok, maybe you have a point about taking advantage of living in the 21st Century."

That got him a teasing grin from his young protege. "Does this mean that you'll let me teach you how to use your cell phone?"

His eyes had grown distant. "Maybe later. Looks like your gun runners are here."

Dawn concentrated and looked where he was looking. "These guys aren't actually the runners. They're bangers who are willing to sell off some surplus." He gave her an arch look. "I know, I'm almost hoping they'll give us grief so we can simply kill them, and you can 'ask' them to tell us about their supplier."

"Should we just do that anyway?"

Dawn shook her head. "Not unless they start it. If we kill off too many contacts now we'll have trouble getting supplies later, and I want to make sure our minions have all the toys they're used too."

Walking up to the group of five humans they both could see the contempt the Latino gang bangers had for the two Anglos that were there to deal with them. While Dawn managed to keep her own contempt from her voice she still wasn't going to let some blood sack control the conversation. "Yeah, I know, I'm young." Reaching into her coat she pulled out a manila envelope, and tossed it to the man standing in the middle of his four brethren. "Money's green though, and I'm figuring that's why you are here."

The envelope was opened and the cash quickly counted. "Ok baby girl, no need to get your panties wound up. Your guns are right over here."

Angelus was watching the unfolding events with a critical eye, and while he felt himself tense up, when he saw Dawn's shoulders tense up he actually relaxed. While the humans didn't pose any serious threat their guns could prove as inconvenient as convenient and seeing she was ready for what could easily be a double cross meant he wouldn't have to carry her bullet-ridden body back to Sunnydale to recover.

Once inside one of Los Angeles' many abandoned buildings the gang member picked up an AK-47 assault rifle. See baby girl? We'll take good care of you." The young man matched words to action as she reached out and caressed Dawn's cheek.

Angelus had to fight the urge to grin at Dawn's expression, because he could tell she was fighting the urge to let her vampiric face show. She kept control however as she held out a hand for the rifle. "I bet you say that to all your arms deals. May I?"

He then took the rifle in a firing grasp and pointed the business end at Angelus. "I'm sorry sweetheart, but I just can't bring myself to give you these guns. We already have too much violence in our schools."

His fellows seemed to find that hilarious as Dawn's expression narrowed. "You're not giving me the weapons, you're selling them to me."

He grinned at the girl. "For that you'd have to give me money sweetheart, and I don't see any money."

All the members were grinning at how clever they were when another spoke up from where he was standing in front of Angelus. All five of them figured he was the real threat so they were training their attention on him. "Leave now, and the gringo girl can keep her innocence long enough to leave it in the back of some jock's car."

The two vampires looked at each other and laughed at the surprisingly accurate description of how Dawn was sired. They actually laughed for nearly thirty seconds before Dawn turned to look at the one with the assault rife. "Sorry, inside joke." As she spoke she moved herself closer to the business end of the rifle, while the gunner obviously seemed surprised the gun was giving him all the extra confidence he needed.

Angelus then stepped closer to the speaker who was threatening Dawn's non-existent innocence. "Now that's no way to speak to a lady."

The speaker's expression darkened and he attempted to reply, but Angelus' hand darted out as soon as his mouth was open and ripped his tongue free. That caught everyone's attention, which was exactly what Dawn needed as she stepped right next to the gunner and put her left hand on top of the rifle's barrel while putting her other under the stock and brought the back end up under his chin with stunning force.

Though Angelus' display had shocked them initially it was short lived as the other three were reaching under their shirts for weapons. Angelus took one of those who had stood behind him by flinging his arm behind him and wrapping it around the man's neck with the young man's face in the pit of the vampire's arm while the palm was at the back of the bangers skull. A sound like a gun shot echoed as the neck snapped.

The two remaining were trying to add real gunshots to the equation as their pistols were pulled clear. Dawn figured it best to add shots from her captured weapon and quickly ran over a mental checklist from all the things she had been reading. The would-be gunner had already put a round in the chamber, and set it to automatic fire. So Dawn turned the weapon's sight at the two men who were practically standing in a line with one in front of and one behind Angelus.

The elder vampire hurled himself against the wall to give the novice shooter plenty of room while Dawn focused on leaning her weight into the weapon. Then remembering the phrase of "squeeze, don't pull the trigger" she did just that as she sent a half-dozen rounds stuttering from the end of the weapon. With all of this happening at point blank range the auto fire made up for any deficiencies in the teen's marksmanship and the first double-crossing ganger took three rounds to the chest. His fellow taking two in the chest cavity as well as her fire walked from one to the other.

Dawn was smiling at how easy it was with her vampiric strength controlling the weapon's recoil when Angelus shouted out. "Dawn!" That snapped her back to reality just in time to feel a round breeze past her face from the tongue-less member who, to his credit, had pulled it together and got his gun out. Startled she turned to him and sent a full dozen rounds from the weapon ripping the tough young man to bloody tatters.

Angelus was giving her a critical eye, and the embarrassed expression on her face would be blushing if she still had a pulse. "Ok, so I'm going to have to learn how to control it."

He then smiled. "I see you got us one though. I'm assuming this is where I come in?"

That got a big smile from the teen. "Totally, I love watching you work."

Angelus smiled as he turned to the downed gang member. Not taking his eyes off his impending victim Angelus was still speaking to his companion. "Dawn. If you find a job you love it's not really working." She giggled as he continued. "Now if you would please grab the leather bag out of the trunk of the car."


Chapter 2.

Tara woke calmly, her mind still working on the issue that had caused her to awake in the first place. She was a bit distracted though as she had Buffy laying on her right side and Faith draped possessively over them both as they all slept. She smiled at that, and luxuriated in the sensation of the soft skin of her darling girls against her own.

With a definite reluctance she eased herself out from underneath her ladies and stood. The fact that neither had awoken at her movement could be attributed to the fact they were aware on some deep level that it was their witch, and she was no threat to them, but it still worried the blonde.

Walking from the bedroom the three shared, Tara walked down the burned out hallways to the library which had been returned to it's original purpose, with the addition of Tara's various ritual elements. Dawn and Angelus had planned a two night trip to LA so Tara didn't bother to get dressed, and simply took a tome off the wall and sat down to read it.

She was deep in study as a voice warm with affection spoke from the hollowed out doorway. "You seem deep in thought." A process that was ironically stopped as Tara felt her non-existent breath taken away by the sight of an equally naked Faith standing in the entryway.

The other woman smiled happily at Tara's open appraisal of her form, and Faith allowed herself to regard Tara in much the same way as she walked over and pulled the book from Tara's grasp as she straddled the sitting blonde. "So what's up Babe?"

Tara wrapped her arms around Faith's hips and kissed the woman's cleavage. "I'm worried Sweetie. While Dawn has done her best rigging the school up with alarms and stuff it is still an abandoned building, and I just can't trust my families' safety to it."

Faith put her arms around Tara's shoulders. "Wow, ok, serious topic, but a real one. We've probably been lucky since driving out the Scoobies has given us... well... breathing room." The two vampires shared a grin at Faith's chosen expression as the brunette continued. "But if we let ourselves think that's going to be the only opposition we have to holding the Hellmouth then we'll deserve the rude awakening we'd get." Tara was nodding where she was now cuddling against Faith's chest. Faith however looked down. "I thought you liked living right over the Hellmouth though."

Tara sighed. "I do. Living right on top of the Hellmouth is like being in a whirlpool filled with honey." That got a grin as Tara continued. "But I need my family safe."

Faith caressed Tara's cheek and brought their lips together. "I see you're already researching something. So do you have an idea?"

Tara nodded. "I'm studying up on spirits of the earth. I want to see if they could recover the old Initiative complex for us?"

Faith shook her head. "There is no complex anymore is there?"

Tara shook her head. "While I was never in there, from all the descriptions I got it would have taken high explosives to demolish the place. So it's more likely abandoned. Maybe filled in with concrete or something since they probably wanted to make sure no one could do... exactly what we're trying to do. I'm hoping however that since concrete, or whatever they used would not be natural rock that earth spirits could tell the difference and remove it."

Faith's nod was now appreciative. "THAT would be a secure haven."

The side of Tara's lip quirked up in her trademarked grin. "That's the idea."

"And a damn good one. I'll bring it up with Buffy."

Tara's expression now seemed focused once more. "Bring what up with Buffy?"

Faith was confused. "Your idea?..." Faith then grinned as she saw Tara's attention had switched to her breasts.

"I've only got one idea right now Love." The idea seemed good to her partner as she sighed happily as Tara slid two fingers inside Faith's vagina while the blonde's thumb was working the clitoris.

"You always have such good ideas Tara." Faith was complimenting one idea as Tara had enough and brought her mouth to suckle at the former slayer's left nipple. "I mean GREAT ideas." Even with her mouthful Tara giggled.

Faith was groaning now, and rolling her hips to meet Tara's deep, smooth thrusts inward, but no matter how far out those wonderfully long fingers got, the thumb continued it's work and Faith wasn't fighting the wonderful effect it had on her.

Though deep down Faith knew that she would let Tara tease her to any state the witch wanted the blonde's touch was electric, and could leave Faith panting in desire in a matter of minutes. She was doing just that as she rested her head on Tara's shoulder, feeling her climax quickly approach.

As a demon Faith figured thanking God might be against the rules somehow her last thought she had before conscious thought was swept away was to thank whatever brought her, Tara, and Buffy together.

Her next conscious thought was the sensation of Tara happily feeding from Faith's neck. The blood leaving to the blonde adding much to the rush Faith had just been swept away by. Buffy had babbled something about the hormones that sex caused being carried in the blood, and Tara talked about auric transfer. Faith simply knew that it was an amazing rush, both feeding and being fed on during sex, and it made her closer to the two women she adored.

Tara pulled back, and both women sighed sadly at the loss of contact. The vampire's face shifted back to human, but the lips were still bloodied with Faith's essence and Faith leaned in to taste herself from Tara's mouth.


Chapter 3.

Dawn hunched over the bare stretch of concrete their sobbing subject was stretched out on. "That is amazing."

Angelus looked over his shoulder. "Thanks, I actually had the idea back when I got rid of my soul when I was with your sister, but never got the chance to put it into practice before I got sent to Hell. The thing to remember is that the optic nerve is incredibly delicate, and if you want to pull out their eye while leaving it able to watch what you're doing it's like trying to pick up an egg with a pair of pliers."

"So he can still see us?"

Angelus looked unsure. "He should be, but the weight of the eye is already tearing at those delicate nerve fibers..."

"It's beautiful..." A familiar, feminine British accent commented on his work and the two vampires turned to look at a third.

Angelus was the first to comment, but that seemed fitting since he was her sire. "Drusilla?"

The insane vampire nodded, smiling, but seemingly unsure. "It's me Daddy. Is it you? Really you? Miss Edith said it was you, but so many times it's not REALLY you."

The other two undead shook their heads, smiling, as Angelus replied. "Yeah Dru. It's me, REALLY me."

"So the slayer set your soul free again?" Her head was canted as she asked the question.

He nodded. "Yeah, but not in the same happy way she did last time."

That made Dru giggle. "Slayer had a slumber party... no boy's allowed!"

He replied sort of sadly. "Yep, but her loss... well was my loss, but also my gain."

Drusilla then seemed to ignore Angelus a moment as she focused on Dawn. "You're her... aren't you? The clever little girl that made the slayer ours?"

Dawn seemed unsure under the crazy vampires' focused gaze, but she replied. "Uhhhh... yeah."

Dru then let out a happy shout and took Dawn by the hands and danced around. Dawn however gave Angelus a pleading look and the elder vampire was grinning as he stepped in and separated the two.

"Drusilla? Was there a reason you were looking for me?"

Her sire's words cut through and left Dru looking more focused then the entire time she'd been there. "Daddy? It's Grand Mamma! They're trying to take the baby!"

The two other vampires looked at each other and mouthed the same word. "Baby?"

The unvoiced question was answered quickly enough, and Dawn found the answer hilarious. The three were on a roof top, and Dawn had collapsed to the side of it laughing helplessly.

Angelus was despairing as he growled at the teen. "Could you at least keep quiet? It would be better if the Scoobies didn't hear us from a block away."

It was their old enemies, Willow Rosenberg and Alexander Harris. Anya could not be found but both the new vampire slayer Kennedy and Riley Finn were with the group as well as they guarded a VERY pregnant Darla, who was supposedly going to give birth to some sort of messiah-type figure. Though whether it was to be a messiah for the light or dark seemed to be a topic of debate.

The New Scoobies were in less then perfect shape as they had been fighting a series of running battles. While their skill and determination was still obvious the repeated attacks, from forces ranging from vampiric cults wanting to perform a fatal C-section to a team of Wolfram and Heart commandos raiding their hide out in the Hyperion Hotel, were starting to wear them down.

Drusilla had fled during the commando attack, but as they snuck into the hotel through Angel's sewer entrance the smell of massive quantities of human blood told them the situation had changed. The New Scoobies however seemed to be ok because the voice of Willow Rosenberg was arguing with an individual with an English accent.

The look of recognition on Angelus' and Drusilla's faces however told dawn the unknown Englishman was not unknown, and her expression demanded an answer. Angelus met her gaze, and then dropped his eyes and replied in a whisper. "Holtz, vampire hunter we tangled with back in the day. Mortal at one point, but the fact he's here says something changed."

Holtz wasn't so much arguing as explaining what he wasn't willing to argue about. "Since you are in the company of the Slayer I am willing to believe you righteous, despite your practice of heathen magicks. Darla however stays with me. Wherever she is Angelus will be."

Willow wasn't relenting, but she was working hard to keep a respectful tone. "Look, I would love, and I mean LOVE to see you kill Angelus, but it's not just Angelus anymore."

Holtz was then heard again. "Yes, I'm not sure how it happened, but I'm willing to believe that he has managed to turn vampire slayers."

From where they were hiding Dawn scowled and tightened her grip on the assault rifle she had brought with her, Angelus ruffled her hair.

Holtz was still speaking. "But that just shows why he must be slain now, and Darla, and their Hell spawned offspring are the keys to doing that."

Darla was then heard to mutter. "He doesn't even know you fools." She was however ignored.

Willow was heard again. "BUT from all our prophecies their baby is supposed to be a force of good! The fact that they managed it when it wasn't possible says something doesn't it?"

Holtz replied right away. "He also managed to turn a vampire slayer, and that certainly wasn't good now was it?"

Willow's sigh was audible even where they were hiding. "Can you risk it? Can you kill an unborn child on the CHANCE it's evil?"

Holtz seemed sympathetic, but he didn't seem ready to yield either. "Could you allow this evil to grow unchecked until no force can stop it? You must understand Miss Rosenberg, I've been at this much longer then you have, and evil breeds evil. Nothing good can come from creatures like Angelus and Darla." His voice then grew stern. "Again, I will wish you and your company well, but I will only ask you to leave one more time."

Willow wasn't relenting though. "Or you'll have your demons kill us? If you hunted Angelus and Darla I'm willing to believe you a righteous man, but the fact that you're working with demons yourself says something changed."

Darla piped in. "The fact that he's HERE says something changed, but you're not going to convince him. We killed his children, and now he's going to do the same. All the 'righteous' talk is just window dressing. He wants his revenge."

Holtz interrupted. "I deserve it!"

Dawn left them to argue and quietly reached out to slide one of the fallen commandos closer. Happily their arguing covered any inadvertent sounds Dawn may have made. Quickly she stripped him of his web gear and put it on, she then slung his sub-machine gun over her shoulder. The two elder vampires were looking at her in confusion and she muffled the sigh that wanted to come up.

Dawn then pulled a hand grenade from the harness and pulled the pin while holding the spoon in her left hand while fisting the rifle's grip in her right. Then turning to the other two she mouthed. "Get ready." Dropping the spoon she left it cook a long second and then tossed it towards Holtz and Willow.

The sorceress might not have seen what was coming, but saw something was coming and erected a shield around herself and Holtz. Darla was inadvertently shielded from the blast that held little threat to her undead flesh, but the blast was not dissipated, merely redirected where it dropped three of the tusked demons standing guard around the two arguing vampire hunters.

As the three vampires charged out Angelus shouted. "Grappler demons, be careful!" Yet he didn't follow his own advice as he engaged the two that were guarding Darla.

A shrieking Drusilla threw herself at another while Dawn tried to pick her targets a bit more carefully. In the reading she had been doing for her mercenary plan she made sure to read the obligatory Art of War, and Sun Tzu's wisdom came to her now. Tactics were the ebb and flow of battle and how to best turn things to your advantage while strategy was connecting those individual battles to a beneficial whole.

So strategically the experience of Alexander Harris made him a prime target, but Riley Finn was the more active threat as he had been in firefights before. Unfortunately that had him diving for cover as the grenade was still in the air. That left Dawn settling for nailing one of the more immediate threats, a grappler demon that Angelus was engaging, with a three round burst to it's face.

It went down screaming and Angelus was able to quickly finish off the other. Seeing that Dawn turned and burned off the rest of the partial clip at the spots Finn and Harris had chosen to take cover.

Seeing Willow and Holtz reach an unspoken agreement as they looked at her Dawn shouted while pulling another grenade from the web gear. "Time to go!"

Darla was being held in Angelus' arms as Drusilla had already turned and ran to stand next to Dawn, who was shooting more to keep everyone down then to hit anything. "Who's the kid?"

Angelus had gotten next to Dawn as she hurled the grenade. "You remember Buffy's sister don't you?"

She then looked deeply into his eyes. "Then it's true? You're back?" The hope in her voice was almost heart breaking, even to demons.

The joy in his voice was an undeniable. "I'm back!"

Off to the side Drusilla giggled and clapped.

Dawn however was shoving them to run as she dropped a grenade, basically at their feet. "TALK LATER!"

The only sounds left were their running feet, and a few second later the sound of the grenade going off at the feet of the pursuing grappler demons.


Chapter 4.

Faith sighed dramatically. "Ah well. If I have to get dressed. It's better that it's leather."

All three women were getting dressed to go hunting so they would have something in the cupboards when Dawn and Angelus got back.

Buffy was sliding into a pair of red leather pants of her own as she gave her partner an overdone leer. "The material does seem to suit you."

Faith gave a soft giggle and blew a kiss back.

Tara was smiling at the antics as Buffy's phone rang. She watched as it was answered and their fun loving lover transformed into the Master Vampire of Sunnydale. "We'll be waiting for you there. Pull to a stop at the 'Hello to Sunnydale Sign'. Love you too, and be careful."

Both women had pulled closer to Buffy as she spoke while they quickly and quietly finished dressing. Tara was the first to speak as the connection was broken. "Dawnie?"

Buffy gave a short nod, then a little smirk. "Sure as Hell wasn't Angelus." Her lovers both grinned as Buffy's face grew serious again. "She didn't say much because she was afraid someone might be listening over cellular frequencies, but she wanted Tara to know that her old girlfriend might be moving back to town."

That got nods and Faith went to gather stakes for Buffy and herself while Tara went to the library for components for her blacker spells.

As the three left the school to head to the rendezvous' point Buffy added something. "She did say that some of our extended family was coming with her, but she wouldn't call it a good thing, and said that she had to elaborate more then she could over the phone."

That had concerned looks on all their faces, and Faith added something of her own. "I'm assuming that she called as they were leaving LA?" With Buffy's nod Faith continued. "Ok that gives us a few hours to hunt. I would like to have a few people stashed either at the school, or more likely at the sign since they may not have fed recently, and either way if it's hitting the fan we'll want a meal."

Buffy quickly agreed. "Sounds good. Let's keep our eyes peeled ladies and start heading in that general direction. Main thing is to be there in plenty of time in case they're right on Dawn's heels."

It turned out Buffy was right to be there early as Dawn had been driving, and sped the entire way. The two groups were standing across from each other at the "Hello" sign, and while the battle weary conditions were startling it was Darla's state that Buffy, Faith and Tara were all staring at.

Buffy was also the first to speak. "Ok, you weren't kidding when you said our extended family was coming to visit."

Dawn was looking surprisingly casual with her stolen military gear on her chest and an assault rifle slung over her shoulder. "I would have said they were bringing the new addition, but you would have figured they had just sired someone."

Buffy then allowed a cruel smirk to twist her features as she looked to Angelus. "So? Do you have something to say for yourself there Mister?"

That seemed to break the tension that was hanging over the assembled group and everyone laughed. Angelus kept it up. "She told me she couldn't get pregnant."

Darla then spoke up, running her hand over his chest. "Actually darling I never said that. Hello Buffy you are looking..." She then gave the Slayer a rather lusty appraisal. "Delectable really. So was my boy telling the truth that he broke you for all other men?"

That got a laugh from the assembled group again, but Buffy was the one to reply as she felt her two lovers draw in behind her. "Actually it's more like I was able to give him a perfect moment of happiness while in total denial."

Darla then looked from Faith to Tara, then back to Buffy. "Then I'll assume the rest was true too?" Rather then respond verbally Tara and Faith stepped up and wrapped themselves around Buffy. Darla was smiling rather brazenly. "Good for you. I wish I had known you had it in you earlier."

Buffy and her partners laughed while Angelus looked startled. Darla smiled at her childe. "Don't be so shocked. If she could steal your soul when her heart wasn't in it you can hardly blame me for being curious."

Buffy's face had cooled. "Ok, fun's over. We grabbed a couple in case you need to feed. Otherwise we need to get back to the lair and figure out what is happening." At her directions they found literal boyfriend and girlfriend that had been bound, gagged, and stashed in some bushes.

Everyone picked a pulse point and drank them dry. Stashing their now stilled forms back into the bushes they took off to the school.

Now in the refurbished library Buffy turned to Tara while everyone else looked on expectantly. "I know if you knew anything you'd already have said it, but do you have any theories?"

Tara shook her head. "He had a soul, she's come back from the dead... Sweetie I'll start researching right away, but..." Tara shrugged.

Buffy smiled, leaned in and gave her a kiss. "They'll be happy to help you by telling you all they know, and helping you with your research. Don't forget Dru and her visions. Dawn will check with our contacts while Faith and I do a patrol for any new arrivals. Remember people, we're vampires of the 21st century... for the most part... if your really worried about our cell calls being listened to then keep it short."

Dawn stashed the military gear she had appropriated, but kept the pistol off the web gear as well as two magazines. After changing into a fresh set of clothes she tucked away that weapon as well as her cell phone and similar effects before heading into the night.

Buffy and Faith didn't bother much with weapons now a days, but still carried their stakes out of force of habit and had already stashed them before leaving the heaven the first time. So they simply nodded at the assembled band and made their own way out the door.

Now alone with the three elder vampires Tara addressed her family member Angelus. "Since this is news to you I am going to get the pertinent details from Darla. I want you to see what Drusilla can add."

He didn't look happy, but he looked to agree with her logic as he turned to his childe. Darla was smiling as she gave Tara a deliberate twice over. "I thought you were the shy one?"

Tara returned the look. "I was, past tense, dying agreed with me."

Darla had graduated to a full blown leer. "Yes it did."

Tara giggled. "I know you're trying too hard, but do you?"

Darla laughed and looped her arm in Tara's to lead her off to one of the tables in the library. "It's expected."


Chapter 5.

Dawn felt torn. Should she seize the initiative in the conversation? Or should she let it drag out and make them speak first? Keeping her sigh purely mental she addressed Lilah Morgan. "Let me guess. This is where you tell me you've got a littler of puppies in your van and I can have one if I just come and pick it out?"

That actually got a smile from the lawyer. "Actually Miss Summers I don't think I would want to get into a confined space with you."

Dawn nodded. "Good point. Then this must be where you make the offer I can't refuse."

Lilah's smile grew. "No, you are entirely free to refuse and there will be no repercussions. With so many champions loosing their reason to fight us we certainly don't want to make you into our enemies again. Our hope is actually to cultivate a friendship."

Dawn's eyebrows arched. "Oh... ok. It's more a 'first one's free' kind of offer."

The layer laughed. "No Dawn, I'll spare you the sweet talk..."

Dawn interrupted. "Aw, no foreplay?"

Lilah stopped, blinked, and then recovered. "From what we've gathered you're the group's pragmatist. So it was thought that you would be the best person to approach with our deal. Now as your family stands we're already happy to let you continue on as you are, BUT the Senior Partners are so pleased with the situation that they would like to see you helped in whatever way we can... we want to help you do whatever you want."

Dawn paused obviously pondering, and then replied. "Ok, I can buy that, but I'm not the one you'll have to sell it to. Normal people don't trust lawyers, and that's ordinary lawyers. Factor in the fact that were not people, AND the fact that as you said we were once champions who were your enemies you're going to have to put together one damn impressive dog and pony show."

"We're very convincing. It's one of our strengths."

Dawn gave a single nod. "Right, getting people to sell their souls and all. Do you know where we lair?'

Lilah gave a return nod. "We assumed the top of the Hellmouth since the Senior Partners have been feeling Tara's work harmonizing it's energies."


Lilah smiled. "Part of the dog and pony show is that the Senior Partners were hoping to give Miss Maclay some instruction. They say she's a natural."

Dawn quirked her lip in a skeptical smirk. "Really say? Or butter us up say?"

Lilah shook her head to the negative. "I certainly can't speak for sure, but they SEEMED sincere in their praise. I mean you turned a slayer, but you did it by accident. Tara was the first to do it deliberately."

"And?" Dawn's grin was deliberate.

Lilah rolled her eyes, but was smiling. "Well we know that you looking into military supplies. We'll be able to get you the best gear possible. No more dealing with back alley gang bangers."

Dawn's expression grew contemplative. "What about personnel? The kind that would like to live forever?"

"Workable. Would you want them going in knowing? Thinking it was a temporary assignment? OR drugged and shipped overnight? I'm assuming you'll want them turned by members of your own family."

Dawn clucked her tongue. "Assuming you sell Buffy we can work out the details later. I'm assuming you'll want the baby as part of the equation?"

Lilah laughed out loud. "Very good Miss Summers... I like you. The baby is actually one of the things we want to help you with, with the emphasis on help. With our combination of medical and magickal resources we're probably the best chance for both mother and baby to make it to term."

"That's probably the most honest thing you've said so far... Piece of advice for Buffy, be willing to start small. Help us deliver the baby and use that to lay the foundation." Dawn then led the way back to the school for Lilah Morgan, and only Lilah Morgan.

Back at the school they found Darla and Tara in the library braiding each others hair. Dawn made a pained sound at the sight and looked at Tara. "You're insatiable."

Tara laughed, a light bubbly sound. "I assure you sweetie, it's purely Platonic."

Darla gave an overdone look of dismay. "It is?"

Angelus was in the library as well and grunted. "Damn well better be."

The two girls in question laughed and Tara reached forward to hug Darla while Darla was turning around to look over her shoulder at her childe. Angelus focused on them instead of the continuing walls he was running into with his childe Drusilla. "Hey! I let you have both Buffy and Faith, but I'm drawing the line at Darla."

The two women gave each other a deliberate look, with deliberate grins as Tara looked back to Angelus. "Let?"

Angelus then grinned. "Please humor what's left of my male ego." That left the two women laughing as Darla blew him a kiss. He then looked to Dawn. "So what's up kid? Order out?"

Dawn giggled and turned to Lilah Morgan. "Councilor, you may address the court."

All eyes in the room were on her now as she muttered to Dawn under her breath. "Thanks."

Tara held up a hand. "Let me guess, you want to be friends."

Lilah blinked. "Uh, Yes."

Angelus cut in. "No."

Lilah took a deep breath. "Look, Angelus, I know we have history, but that was back when you were still burdened by your soul."

Angelus' voice had dropped a register, the whole room felt his barely repressed menace. "Actually Lilah, hating you was one thing I never felt conflicted on. You wanted to control me, I don't like being controlled."

Darla happily chimed in. "It's a soft touch or no touch at all. You can ask my darling boy for help, but he's a firm believer in the power of spite."

Tara then spoke up as well, but in a far firmer tone. "All right, we're not playing this game. Lilah, if Wolfram and Heart is sincere in their desire to be our friends they have the perfect opportunity to prove it by helping us with Darla." She could see the argument forming on Angelus' lips. "For her Angelus. Do it for her."

And for the first time both Angelus and Darla looked entirely sincere, and entirely vulnerable.

Tara turned to Lilah. "Do you know about Holtz?"

Lilah nodded. "Vampire Hunter, near perfect record till he crossed paths with Bonnie and Clyde over there."

Tara nodded once. "And you know he's here, now, at the same time Darla is pregnant."

Lilah's jaw dropped. "You don't think it's a coincidence?"

Tara's brows raised. "Do you?"


Chapter 6.

"So, the Fallen Slayers." Holtz had his arms crossed over his chest, off to his right was Willow Rosenberg and the Vampire Slayer Kennedy, to his left was Alexander Harris and Riley Finn.

Buffy had her arms crossed over her chest. "The Fallen Slayers?" She then turned to her fellow fallen slayer Faith and gave a huge, enthusiastic grin. "I LOVE IT!"

Faith laughed out loud. "ME TOO!"

Holtz looked confused.

They were standing outside the Rosenberg home, with Willow back in the game as it were they were checking all the old haunts. While they still weren't sure how Willow convinced her parents to flee Sunnydale she had, and the Fallen Slayer's were aware because they had hoped to pay the elder Rosenberg's a visit when the junior had fled them.

While the New Scoobies were all armed they didn't seem ready for combat so the Fallen Slayers figured an ambush unlikely. Back when the New Scoobies had fled Sunnydale the house had technically been sold, but Dawn had been able to trace the sale to a front of the Watcher's Council. It didn't take much of a leap of logic to figure that they were planning on using the home as a base of operations when retaking the town, and the assembly on the front lawn seemed to confirm it.

Buffy was smiling widely at this point, and Faith seemed just as giddy, but Buffy was the one to speak. "Ok, it's goes without saying that Faith and I are fine with hurting you. I gotta take a minute however to ask how you got here Holtz? Angelus gave us all the details, including the fact that you should be long dead."

Holtz didn't even blink. "I won't be in my grave until he is in his."

Buffy crossed her arms over her chest. "Pretty speech. Problem is pure determination won't stave off the effects of time. That takes magick, BIG magick."

Willow then joined in. "Don't tell them anything Holtz."

Buffy tilted her head at her former friend. "You don't know either Will, but I'm a bit disappointed. If whatever it was that brought Holtz here was good then he would have been all too ready to work with you, rather then whatever truce of the moment you two worked out."

Holtz then smoothly interjected. "When I learned that two slayers have been turned AND that they lie between me and Angelus it wasn't that difficult to join forces."

Buffy seemed willing to concede that point. "That still doesn't make whatever brought you here any less evil." She then gave a bright smile. "An evil Willow has now teamed up with."

Holtz sighed. "Perhaps, but a lesser evil at that."

Buffy laughed. "Riiiight, that's probably what you tell yourself, but I ain't buyin. Whatever it is it picked Angelus' greatest enemy and then sent him forward when an impossible baby is being born... though that does tend to support the good baby idea..." She seemed distracted a moment at that thought. "But still, Holtz. You're not a stupid man, you never would have survived fighting Angelus if you were."

Holtz then interrupted. "And I know that much like Angelus your words are designed to weaken our resolve and cause dissent between us."

Buffy and Faith both smiled as Buffy spoke. "Well, yeah, but they are some good points. I guess this is where the fighting starts?"

In a flash Holtz had a sword in his hand and arcing at Buffy's head. "Yes."

The sword came in a wide arc, and as Buffy pulled back his other hand lunged out with a wooden stake. That hand was slapped aside, but the vampire hunter had his blade spun back around and was now slicing a vertical line towards Buffy's face.

Faith wasn't idle and sought to take out Riley before he could finish bringing his gun into play. It was a compact H&K sub-machine gun like most every SWAT team in the world was packing these days, and the two fought for places to put their hands.

The two way battle became three way as Faith was forced to battle Riley for the gun with her right hand while her left kept Alexander Harris' stake from plunging into her chest. The two veteran demon hunters seemed to realize that their only hope was keeping her off balance so that she couldn't use her undead slayer strength.

Buffy faced even longer odds as she was soon dodging Willow's bolts of black lightening along with the sword and stake of Holtz, as well as a stake in the hands of the True Slayer Kennedy. Ironically the presence of the other hunters was impairing Willow as Buffy was making sure to keep the bulk of them between the two former friends so she had to measure her blasts far more carefully.

Dropping to her butt Buffy's palms were tucked underneath her as she rolled to her shoulders and hands to then spring up several feet away, though still keeping the others between her and Willow. The two Fallen Slayers were in synch as always and Faith broke her stalemate in her own way by assuming game face and sinking her fangs into Xander's left eye.

The scream rattled the rest of the New Scoobies and Faith was able to rip the SMG from Riley's hands with the one she was still holding the weapon with. Seeing that Holtz was the only one unaffected by Xander's screaming she pointed the gun his way. Sure, while she hadn't been studying modern weapons like Dawn had been Faith knew it was pretty much a point and click sort of operation. She counted on Riley to have taken care of the details before he tried to point the gun at her and Buffy.

While she was sure that Holtz had a similar degree of knowledge about gun's he definitely knew enough to fear them, and dived out of the way as Faith did remember one thing Dawn had said. "Don't pull the trigger, squeeze." Even then it was a good dozen rounds that went tearing up the turf and bouncing off of Willow's hastily erected shield. Kennedy had done a head long dive out of the way, and Faith was torn whether to shoot at her or Holtz.

So instead she turned and tried to pick off the easier targets of the wounded Xander and the man helping him, Riley Finn. Riley realized it as Faith was turning and shielded Xander with his own body. Not letting the noble gesture stop her Faith squeezed the trigger again, and while Riley screamed and went down the lack of a blood smell told her the soldier was wearing body armor. She was about to go for a head shot as a presence closed in on her blind side.

Turning quickly she was just able to raise the assault weapon in time to use it to catch Holtz's sword as he attempted to behead her, swinging left to right. The ferocity of the hunters attack actually imbedded the blade a couple inches into the stutter gun's frame, and Faith took advantage.

Twisting downward, and to the left she pulled him off balance. Leaving one hand on the gun imprisoning the man's sword she used her right to catch the stake that he was trying to drive under her right armpit and into her heart. With both his hands imprisoned she tried to bring her still bloodied fangs to his throat.

The veteran hunter however showed his true level of skill, and abandoned the sword. With his now free hand he brought his fist into a hammer blow on Faith's right forearm. While she was dead her nervous system still worked approximately the same and the blow to what is now known as the ulna made her grip release and allowed him to pull his hand free hand dash back several steps.

Buffy was dueling Willow, and her lover Kennedy, but it was short lived as she ducked under one of Kennedy's punches. Standing next to the Vampire Slayer she put her arm across the girl's chest, and began a move that for mortal's would be a simple hip toss. Of course Buffy was no longer mortal, and the Fallen Slayer was far from simple. So her enhanced strength sent the brunette hurtling towards the red head's shield where she sizzled, and screamed as she bounced off.

Buffy was about to close on the fallen form, but Willow was two steps ahead. The first step was to lower and raise her shield, this time around herself and Kennedy. The second step was to shout "Run for the house!"

Riley showed his conditioning as he was able to stand with what was most likely several broken ribs under his body armor and drag Xander along with him. Holtz redoubled his attack, kicking his fallen sword off the ground and back to his hand.

The Fallen Slayers realized that he wasn't going for the head with his sword, or heart with his stake, but was simply keeping the two of them at bay. An impressive feat in and of itself, they still knew that if they gave him an opening he would quickly end their immortality.

Buffy then put her hand out and put it on Faith's shoulder. The other Fallen Slayer at first looked confused, then she saw Buffy's relaxed posture and was still confused, but complied. Holtz noticed, and while he didn't put his weapons down he stilled them and regarded the pair carefully.

Buffy smirked. "I'm impressed. I can see how you were such a menace to Angelus and Darla. That alone makes me want to kill you now, even as it makes me want to bring you back as our newest recruit." She saw the protest forming on his lips. "BUT, something brought you here, and THAT is my real enemy. So we'll need you alive a little bit longer so that they can expose themselves. So, I'm giving you a chance to withdraw. I know you're a man of your word, and I'm hoping you'll give me a chance to prove I'm a woman of mine."

His weapons took up restful positions. "What are the terms?"

Buffy smiled. "You walk backwards to the house, and go inside. We go back to our house, and go inside. After that I don't think either one of us is willing to make any promises."

He nodded once. "Quite. We're agreed." He was weary, but did as Buffy outlined and stepped into the Rosenberg household.

As he did so Faith looked at Buffy. "So? Wanna go get some gas and torch the place?"

Buffy laughed fondly, wrapping her arms around Faith's waist Faith's arms went around Buffy's shoulders without a thought. After sharing a lingering kiss they turned to look at the house, while Buffy spoke distractedly. "No, they would have planned for that. Let's go home and plan."


Chapter 7.

Buffy surveyed the room filled with bloodsucking monsters, both immortal and one mortal. Putting her hands on her hips she addressed the assembly. "Has someone already made the joke about ordering out?" Angelus held up his hand and Buffy smiled. "Ok, with that done I'll tell you the truth Lilah. I don't know you really, but since I am a demon what Angelus and Faith have told me has me not really liking you at this point."

Lilah had the good sense not to argue the point. "That's understandable."

Buffy then continued. "That said, they've never said you were stupid, and neither are your bosses. If they wanted you dead there would be easier ways to do it, but by the same token you don't care about us. We're useful, as long as were useful you'll work with us. We stop being useful and you'll turn on us in a beat of our non-beating hearts."

Lilah's smirk was devilish. "What, no foreplay?"

Buffy arched a single brow. "You want foreplay? I'll hand you over to Darla and Angelus." That got immediate reactions from both Lilah as well as Darla and Angelus as Buffy continued. "In fact, I'm tempted to hand you over to them so that whoever Wolfram and Heart sends next knows to takes us seriously."

The lawyer's expression grew professional. "My apologies Miss Summers. My old dynamic with Angel is not appropriate for you or your family. You are correct that the interests of your family coincide with the interests of the Senior Partners, but the fact that you were former champions of the Powers that Be makes your position better then you realize. It is because of that the Senior Partners sent someone who once fought two members of your family, to emphasize that change in circumstances."

Dawn then piped in. "They had to fight us once, so they would rather make sure that they never have to fight us again."

Though Lilah's demeanor didn't crack it was an obvious act of will that kept it from doing so. "That's exactly it. We want to keep you content, and if we can do some evil in the process... even better."

Buffy smirked. "As a lawyer I want to doubt everything you say, but I believe that. So, what is it you're after right now?"

Lilah held her hands open in a placating gesture. "Right now we want nothing, but we decided to come to you now because of Darla's pregnancy."

Buffy nodded. "Ok, ok, that's reasonable enough. If this baby is a force for good you have a vested interest right along with us to see it stopped. If this baby is a force for evil then you'll want to see it raised properly, or improperly in this case."

Lilah was smiling now, feeling a receptive audience. "Precisely. If you win, we benefit. What can we get you to help you win?"

Buffy was smiling right back at her, but her expression was amused. "A doctor with whatever that doctor will need to fully diagnose Darla. Since we don't know that baby's nature I want it delivered, safely, as quickly as possible and then secured until we know which way it's going to go."

Lilah was nodding her comprehension. "I'll have a full security squad come with the medical team. That way we can secure for the baby within and the New Scoobies without. Should we set up here?"

Buffy gave a quick nod. "Yes, we've been talking about relocating anyway so we'll use this spot until the baby is delivered. You'll be working with Dawn on potential new homes, and I think that will do it for now. So for your own safety I would trade cell numbers with Dawn and then go off and get to work since I don't want to make any promises about Angelus' behavior."

Lilah then replied. "Actually his concern for Darla seems to have balanced against any hatred he feels for me."

Buffy sighed. "Ok, that was my diplomatic way of telling you to go away Lilah, but the truth is that despite our being evil my Family is a family. Now you are an outside contractor who is using us to her benefit, and would cast all of us into the light of day if it would benefit you more. That's ok, I get that, but right now I need to talk with my Family, and the hired help isn't part of that conversation."

Lilah actually had the decency to blush. "Of course, my apologies." With that she started walking out of the school while taking out her cell phone.

Dawn looked over at her sister. "Don't worry we traded numbers already."

That got a smile from the elder Summers sister and Buffy then looked to the rest of the room. "Ok, with or without a pulse, none of us has ever been stupid enough to trust a human lawyer let alone demonic, that's fact one. Fact two would be that all of us know that compromise is sometimes necessary. Fact three is then that we're over our heads right now with Darla."

The mother-to-be then spoke up. "I must admit Buffy, I didn't know you cared."

Buffy shrugged. "I really don't, but Angelus does, and I care about Angelus. His problems are our problems and so your problem is our problem."

Faith stage whispered off to the side to Tara. "I am SO turned on right now."

Tara nodded and gave an emphatic "Um hum".

Buffy blew a kiss at the both of them as Faith then spoke in a normal tone. "You're forgetting to tell them about the New Scoobies and their new ally Holtz battling the Fallen Slayers."

The entire room was smiling, but Dawn was the one to express the thought. "The 'Fallen Slayers' I LOVE it!"

Buffy gave her own delighted smile. "Me too."

Angelus then spoke up. "Holtz?" At Buffy's confirmation he continued. "Sounds like his sense of poetics. How did the fight go?"

Buffy shrugged. "Faith gnawed out one of Xander's eyes, and probably broke a few of Riley's ribs after taking his own gun."

Faith butted in, but her tone was business like. "He was wearing body armor, so assume he will be doing so in all future encounters and go for the head."

Buffy then resumed control of the conversation. "And there will be future encounters. Faith and I both danced a bit with this Holtz, and he is a vicious, tenacious opponent. I actually kind of liked him, but I KNOW he will be back."

Both Angelus and Darla were nodding emphatically as Angelus spoke up for the pair. "He'll never give up, and he'll just keep coming. I don't know how familiar he is with today's technology, but with the New Scoobies at his side I'm sure he'll learn fast enough. Fact is Buffy you hit it on the head about how vicious he is. It was the one thing the Scoobies were lacking."

Buffy gnawed her bottom lip as she contemplated those words. "I didn't think about that, none of them LIKES to lead, but Willow or Riley would in a pinch. Holtz is a natural leader and he seems just as mean as we are." Darla and Angelus were practically nodding in unison. "The other point to consider is that he didn't make it here on his own, something brought him."

Drusilla then giggled. "He's the nanny."

Then entire room fell deathly quiet, even for the dead, and focused on the insane, giggling vampire.

Darla was the one to speak. "The nanny?"

Drusilla then focused, "Yes, he's here to take care of your baby."

Of course the question all sane beings in the room had was whether he was going to nurture the baby, or destroy it.


Chapter 8.

"It's official, your sister and Tara have ruined me."

Dawn looked over her shoulder at Faith. "You'll still turn them right?"

Faith nodded. "Of course, but I won't enjoy it like I should."

Dawn laughed and looked back at them. "Them" being Wolfram and Heart paramilitary personnel far more attached to evil then to some misty ephemeral "soul". They had been a pleasant surprise when Dawn had arrived at the Wolfram and Heart offices with Faith at her side to help pick their recruits.

While Dawn had accepted the idea of mercenaries Faith had made an off-hand comment about how they wouldn't care about her family like she would. To which Lilah replied that while many at Wolfram and Heart WERE rather self-serving there were those truly dedicated to advancing evil in the world.

That desire combined with the Senior Partners ordering them to advance evil by serving the Fallen Slayer's family faithfully had the girls believing they had found their ideal minions. Or what Faith had already nicknamed her "Black Knights".

Dawn was continuing to regard the line of men and women in black BDUs standing in a straight line with eyes forward. "Don't worry. I'm sure we can find you some cute blondes to bite. I mean it won't be all beefcake. Our strength will become theirs' so it's more then a matter of muscle. Not to mention they'll need support staff."

Dawn then started pointing at certain people to step forward, once they had she addressed the assembly. "Don't worry while these are the the first round picks we're going to be wanting more. Right now it's more a matter of keeping the numbers manageable."

That seemed to take the edge of disappointment off the faces of those still in the larger mass making up the line as one of those Dawn had picked spoke, a tag on his chest identifying him as "Hauser". "You needn't worry Ma'am. Every person in this line is determined to serve in whatever capacity we are needed. Those of us who are honored with your blood will simply do so for eternity."

Both women were smiling, though Dawn's seemed contemplative. "You're serious, aren't you Hauser? Whether a thousand years of blood and death or falling to one of the New Scoobies next week?"

His eyes were forward as his voice spoke with conviction. "Ma'am yes Ma'am!"

Dawn smiled. "Mom" might be more appropriate. Come with me."

Hauser's pleasure at being chosen by the woman to first turn a Slayer was obvious, but his baring stayed firm. The athletic-looking older brunette woman that Faith contemplated a long moment before making a beckoning gesture was blushing a bit as she followed, but kept her professional demeanor.

Though it faltered a bit when Faith took her hand and spoke. "What's your name?"


The room they were lead to could have been some sort of hydroponic garden, but the beds of soil had nothing growing up out of them, but rather human sized holes for things to be laid down in. Dawn and Faith led their recruits to the first two.

Dawn then looked over at Faith, her face in it's demonic visage, but her brow quirked in an entirely human way. Faith's face had too changed to it's inhuman mask while her hand was caressing along the woman's neck and chest. She noticed Dawn's expression and smiled. "What? You've read her file too. She's more then worthy. The fact she's hot is just a bonus for me."

Faith then turned to the flushed face of the woman, using her other arm to pull them together. She then leaned in to whisper into the woman's ear. "It's ok to enjoy it. We've never worried about that "Don't ask, don't tell" bullshit." The woman gave a pleasured whimper as Faith used the caressing hand to tip her head to the side, and then sighed softly as Faith's fangs sank into her neck.

Dawn however was now looking seriously at Hauser, who towered at least a foot over her. He spoke first, much to his credit, without any trace of a smile. "Is there anything I can do Ma'am?"

Dawn paused a moment, smiling. "Knights of old kneeled when knighted, and you will as well."

He smiled then, but it was one that showed gratitude at what Dawn was about to do. She looked deeply in his eyes as if she was seeking any doubt, finding none she titled his head to the side and sank in her fangs.

Much to her surprise Dawn finished first, feeding Hauser her blood by biting open her wrist and putting it to his lips. Pushing him back he fell into the hole and Dawn nodded to the men standing nearby with shovels who began filling it in..

Looking to Faith the Slayer was still holding Sarah closely, but now the woman's mouth was plastered to the cleavage exposed by Faith's low cut top. For her part Faith's eyes were closed tightly while she bit her lip in pleasure as she stroked the brunette's hair. Faith seemed regretful as she pulled the woman away, and the woman too seemed to want to stay where she was, but didn't protest as Faith picked her up and laid her in the grave.

The men with shovels didn't even need a second nod as they moved forward to begin filling in the hole.

The two vampires were still wearing their vampiric faces as well as bloodied lips as they looked at each other. Dawn was the first to speak. "Let me guess, you call all the girls?"

"Would you mind?" Faith actually seemed a little unsure as she spoke.

Dawn shook her head. "Nah, I mean while I turned Buffy that was more a sister thing. You definitely like girls in ways I don't."

Faith smiled. "I'm serious, your sister and Tara ruined me."

"But not for other women?" Dawn was smirking as she spoke.

Faith grinned. "Hell, I'm sure they'll be jealous of all the neck I'm getting."

Dawn expression then faded, almost seeming the vulnerable teen she once was if not for the inhuman brow and fangs. "You think they're ok?"

Faith frowned. "I hope so. I didn't like leaving them with Holtz and the New Scoobs in town, but these reinforcements are that important."

"Not to mention tasty?" Dawn was grinning again.

Faith smiled back. "Oh yeah, let's go there's another younger brunette I have my eye on."

Dawn thought a second. "Cameron?"

Faith smiled. "The same."

Much later the first two had been joined by ten more as Lilah walked into the room to find the two vampires looking very stated, as well as entirely human. "Well ladies were there any problems?"

Dawn shook her head. "Technically they haven't risen yet, but so far so good."

Lilah checked her PDA. "Their first feeding should be here at least 3 hours before they rise. So we see no problems there, and I have security putting together a full arsenal for them to take with once they are on their feet."

Dawn nodded. "And our new lair?"

Lilah's eyes were still glued to her PDA. "Our sources confirm that it was just filled in with concrete. With your permission I'll start sending teams to begin clearing it out."

Dawn voiced her support, but when Lilah looked up she saw Faith contemplating her. Lilah simply smiled. "We're determined to make this partnership work. The Senior Partners are already pleased and have signed off on anything you may ask for."

Faith looked skeptical. "Anything?"

Lilah smiled. "Anything. You can't ask for enough to outweigh the gains we get from your goodwill."

Faith was still skeptical. "You know we'll serve our own interests, not theirs'."

Lilah smiled. "We're confident your interests will be evil enough."

Faith STILL wasn't convinced. "Even if we battle other demons for control of the Hellmouth?"

Lilah actually laughed softy, but it was obvious she wasn't laughing at either of the vampires. "The Hellmouth is overrated. I actually think that they keep having demons trying to open it to keep The Powers That Be occupied. We think on a more global level, and are actually quite happy to have the Hellmouth resource in hands that we hope are friendly, and we know will be stabilizing... I mean think about it ladies, would you want any of the loose cannons that tried to open the Hellmouth having that kind of power available to them?"

Dawn already seemed supportive, and even Faith looked like she was considering the point as Lilah continued. "We are entirely happy with this arrangement, and are determined to do whatever is necessary to make sure that you are as well."


Chapter 9.

While Xander awoke to a presence beside his hospital bed he couldn't hear any breathing, which told him enough. "Hi Buffy."

He opened his one good eye to find the face of his old friend sitting calmly in his remaining field of vision. "Hi Xander. I can guess by the amount of explosives under your bed that you were expecting me."

"Riley's idea mainly, boy you've got him mad at you." Xander found himself surprised at just how calm, even pleasant the conversation was going.

Buffy made a scoffing sound. "His wife was killed trying to kill mine. If Tara hadn't been wearing the Gem of Amarra I'd be the one in mourning."

Xander paused to consider that. "Still, I remembered how Angelus was able to come after you when you were in the hospital. I just figured that if you wanted to get to me you'd get to me, and putting guards would just be sending men to their deaths. Riley however came up with wood splinters wrapped around Semtex, with incendiaries rigged to my heart monitor in case you came to kill or turn me. I just insisted they get me a wing to myself in case that does happen."

Buffy smiled. "I'm not here to kill you Xander. At least not in any way that would last, and no one in my Family has ever been turned against their will." He looked skeptical and she smiled. "I'm serious. Not only do I not like the idea, but I think it's the big difference between the Spikes and Angels versus the minion vampires I've slaughtered so many of."

She then paused, and Xander would have sworn she wanted to reach out and take his hand. If she did she managed to control the urge however as she spoke. "No, I don't want some mindless minion, I miss my friend."

Xander sighed. "I miss you too Buffy, every day, but you aren't you. Just like I wouldn't be me."

Buffy didn't sigh, though her expression said that was more because she didn't need to breathe. "Or so the Council says. Then again if they said otherwise I never would have been able to do my job. Think about it Xander, how do you feel knowing that your first staking was something that was still a large portion of your childhood friend Jesse?"

She gave him long enough to look disturbed at that idea before continuing. "That's not to say it's wrong to stake us. I mean we DO drink your blood to sustain us, but the fact is that I killed probably a couple hundred thinking, feeling beings before I died the first time. The biggest difference is that now instead of the world being a harsh, angry place it's now a feast laid out before me. I want YOU at my table Xander."

If you asked him Xander would have immediately told you he never considered Buffy's offer, and to look at his face you could see just how much he "wasn't" considering it, and then she sweetened the deal further. "You'd even get your eye back." The remaining orb looked both skeptical and scared and Buffy did reach out this time, but only pat his hand rather then hold it. "I'm serious Xander, I talked with both Tara, Darla, and Angelus, and as long as the wound hasn't fully healed it would be fixed by the time you rose from your grave... think, there's a reason we're not all running around with fang marks on our necks for all eternity."

His hands clenched. "No...NO! I won't do it! I won't let you make me into a monster."

She shook her head, her regret obvious. "Don't sound so righteous Xander. Humans are worse monsters then vampires have ever been, and they do have the souls you're so attached to." She did sigh then. "I still have another use for you then Xander."

He groused. "Let me guess, tell the New Scoobies to get out of your town."

Her blonde locks swayed as she shook her head. "No, I'm actually proposing an alliance. None of us know what brought Holtz to this time and place, but I'm hoping you can agree with me that the fact they waited until he was a broken bitter shell before approaching him means that they weren't simply looking to give a "Champion of the Light" new hope. Whatever it was that brought him here wanted a ready, willing, and able killer with the one of a kind motivation Holtz has."

Xander interrupted. "That Angel gave him."

Buffy arched a brow. "Yeah, but you tell me Xander. If Angel still had his soul do you think it would have stopped Holtz? Or even slowed him down?" She let him mull the thought for several beats of his still beating heart before starting back up. "Riley probably wouldn't listen, but Willow's a smart girl, and I'm hoping Kennedy is smart enough to listen to her... Holtz's unknown ally is my real enemy, and the one the Scoobies should really fear. I'm no harm to the world, and a minimal harm to Sunnydale. I won't hunt my territory barren, and I have no intention of opening the Hellmouth or letting anything else open it either."

She paused, taking on a formal air. "Let Willow and the Watcher's Council know that if they leave the Hellmouth to me it WILL stay closed... all they have to do is nothing. As far as Holtz? You're in bed with him already, and while I'd be happy to let you abandon him, if you are really serious about batting genuine threats you'll want to figure out what it is he's allied with, and hopefully pass the information on to me so I can take care of the problem."

She got up. "Tell Willow that the old apartment she shared with Tara is empty. She can leave messages there, and if this works out it can be a neutral meeting place."

Xander's brow clenched. "And you're willing to work with her?"

Buffy shrugged. "I'm over it, Tara's over it, and if working with Willow can make our Family safe then we'll work with her."

He clucked his tongue. "Speaking of Tara, does she know about Faith?"

Buffy laughed, a delighted, wicked laugh. "It was her idea." She saw the look on Xander's face and figured his mind's eye was providing images of their playtime. " It's a human concept, called polyamoury, not having a soul just made sure I didn't have the hang ups and could jump right into loving the both of them in physical ways... they're both mine Xander, but the soul is really more trouble then it's worth. If you want to leave a message there you can as well... just don't wait too long or the eye will heal too much for us to fix it."


Chapter 10.

"I really wish Tara was here."

Angelus looked over at Darla's comment. "Under other circumstances I'd really be jealous, but I wish she was here right now too." The circumstances were that Darla, Angelus, and Drusilla were stuck inside the flaming high school with only one exit available to them.

Though the exit showed the blessed cool of night the fact that every other door or window was somehow blocked or locked let them know that the quick spreading flames had been no accident and the one route of escape was not the blessing that it appeared to be.

So now the three cowered, the reptilian eyes of their vampiric gazes squinted against the surrounding fire as Angelus resumed speaking. "But you have to figure they know she's our firefighter so they waited until she went to keep an eye on Buffy at the hospital." He then grabbed Drusilla as she rocked in place, pointing towards the visible exit. "Dru! No! It's a trap."

"But it hurts Daddy!" The insane woman hugged herself as she kept rocking.

He let her go and started looking around. "I know it hurts Dru." He then took off his jacket and wrapped it around his hands and he turned to look around where they were at.

There was then a shriek behind him as he heard Darla scream "Drusilla!"

The madwoman was making a keening sound as she dashed for the hollow frame that once held the main doors to Sunnydale High School and led to it's courtyard. For a second they thought she was safe when the night was lit by further fire and the night sounded with a new roar as an explosion went off at Drusilla's feet, blasting the woman into the air and scattering her body to the ground in pieces before those pieces turned to ash.

"DRU!" Angelus sent his raging gaze into the night before he pulled it back to finding an escape.

"What are we going to do Angelus?" Darla was despairing, but seemed to take strength from the fact Angelus wasn't.

His hands now wrapped in his jacket Angelus ran over to start tearing the wreckage of lockers from their mountings on the wall. The heated metal making the leather smoke and sizzle. "I was going to hurl this out there in hopes that it would draw their attention, but now I'm going to skid it along the ground to set off any other mines they have."

Just as Angelus was picking the ruined metal up over his head the sound of a heavy machine gun tore up the night, but they could both tell it wasn't firing at them.

Darla was the first to speak. "Hurry up Precious, the Calvary has arrived, but if they're going to survive a Holtz ambush they'll need our help."

Angelus hurled the metal, and sure enough as soon as it struck the ground it bounced back up into the air, disintegrating into metal shards in the fury of several large explosions. Then turning to Darla he grinned. "Not to mention this smoldering is getting old. When you run put your feet where you can see the mines have already went off. When we get to the last crater jump as far as you can."

As they cleared the mine craters and began their jump they took in the battle field. The heavy caliber machine gun had fallen silent as Buffy had done her own jump that ended with the weapon mangled under her feet at her landing.

Riley Finn had been manning it, but Buffy wasn't able to follow up as the Vampire Slayer Kennedy was attacking her with dual wooden stakes, and equally active kicks.

Kennedy's lover was engaged with Buffy's as the former lovers Willow and Tara lit up the night with their respective spells.

As they landed the unspoken question about Holtz was answered as Darla pulled her childe back from a beheading sword strike. Angelus was able to protect himself from the follow up stake thrust, but the battle was undoubtedly joined, and the human hunter's ferocity was not allowing the two vampires to recover from his surprise attack.

Darla skittered back as Angelus leapt back again to stay out of the reach of the hunter's sword. Seeing that Angelus might have been startled, but was never truly rattled Holtz charged with his sword in a downward swing while his stake was thrusting upward towards the vampire's heart.

Willow was not fairing as well as a pair of massive stone hands had erupted from the ground and had her held flat against the earth. Tara was in game face, and her smile showed it's full wicked delight as she straddled Willow. "Ah well, I guess I could taste you one last time."

Before Tara could follow up and sink her fangs into Willow's neck a shrieked "NO!" came from off to her side as Kennedy hurled herself bodily into Tara and knocked the undead witch to the same ground that the hands had emerged from.

Kennedy was now the one straddling, but in her case she was going for penetration, the penetration of one of her stakes into Tara's heart, but it was stopped short as Buffy hurled herself on top of Tara, and took the stake herself.

Kennedy was stunned as she saw the stake embedded in Buffy's chest, through her heart, and didn't recover as Buffy calmly stood up and regarded the stake emerging from her chest. She was smiling, her face in full undead mask as she opened her mouth to speak.

She wasn't able to finish however as Willow was free from the hands that had disintegrated when Tara had lost her concentration and was able to hurl a ball of black and purple flame that tossed Buffy a good dozen feet, and left the Fallen Slayer rolling to a stop.

Kennedy looked to recover and use her second stake on Tara as there was only one Gem of Amarra it was obviously being warn by Buffy Summers. She however was hit with a maelstrom of silver lightening that left her shrieking in agony.

Another ball of black flame was hurled, as Tara this time, but it dispersed harmlessly as it came into contact with Tara's palm.

Buffy had recovered her feet as a woman's shriek came from the direction where Darla and Angelus were fighting Holtz. It drew both Buffy and Tara's attention as the vampire's dread is what led

Darla to make such a sound.

There was a wash of relief as Angelus was still standing and holding his own against the elder hunter, but then they all could see Darla. Riley had snuck up on her and from the way her head was bleeding it looked like he had hit her on the head several times with the chain he had then affixed around her neck.

He held up some sort of small remote and now the pregnant vampire was being dragged along the ground towards some unknown destination.

Tara dropped the lightening that was savaging Kennedy and follow it up with a shock wave that sent every living thing careening away. It caught both Willow and Kennedy, but it also took everything from the grass to the ants and other insects dwelling there in, leaving Tara and Buffy standing in a lifeless crater.

They didn't stay there long as they charged towards where Darla was being dragged away. Holtz saw the help that Angelus would soon have and didn't pause. His sword stopped swinging for Angelus' neck and settled for driving into his side, and his stake stopped aiming for the vampire's heart and rather drove itself through his right shoulder.

Neither wound was fatal, but both were more then enough to drop Angelus to the ground. The lovers didn't need to speak as Tara dropped down next to Angelus as Buffy kept up her charge in the direction that Darla had been dragged to, and Holtz was fleeing.

To come face to snout with a grenade launcher held by Riley Finn. The soldier didn't hesitate as he pulled the trigger, and sent Buffy flying back in the direction she had come, covered in a blanket of chemical flame.


Chapter 11.

They had left the bay, Dawn, Faith, and their new brood the "Black Knights". The Knights were fed, and showered off their grave dirt and put on clean uniforms. They were now getting their gear from the Wolfram and Heart arsenal.

The staff at the arsenal seemed surprisingly calm at the dozen vampires carefully picking out assorted martial implements, so when an agitated human strode into the room both the vampires and the humans in residence looked up at her.

The agitated human was the lawyer Lilah Morgan and she walked up to Dawn. "We have trouble."

The merely curious gazes of the girls and their Black Knights became focused as Lilah continued. "Last night what was left of Sunnydale High School burned to the ground. Our reports confirmed both gunfire, explosions and screams as it burned."

Dawn's reply was to pull her cellphone from her packet as Faith stepped up to talk to the lawyer. "What else?"

"Not much, the police response was slower then usual for Sunnydale as the reports included both explosions and at least one heavy automatic weapon firing the local police held off for a SWAT team to be sent from LA. As soon as we know more you'll know more, but I knew you'd want to know right away."

Faith was obviously angry at the lack of information, but obviously agreed with the lawyer's decision. Looking to Dawn the teen met her eyes. "Nothing. Tried Buffy, Tara, and Angelus... Darla and Dru didn't have phones."

Lilah jumped in. "Do their phones have GPS?"

Dawn frowned in frustration. "I disabled it. With Willow's skills we deemed it too risky."

Faith then interrupted. "Do you have choppers with the sun proof glass?" At Lilah's nod Faith continued. "Get 'em ready. I want us in the air for Sunnydale in the hour."

Hauser then stepped forward. "I wouldn't recommend that ma'am." Everyone could see the protest forming on Faith's lips so the newborn vampire didn't pause long enough to let her speak. "While we do have choppers that can transport us we know the opposition has military personnel who are capable of operating ground to air weapons."

Dawn then interrupted, but on Hauser's behalf. "Not to mention that we wouldn't be able to do anything until nightfall anyway."

Hauser nodded. "The sad truth ma'am..."

Faith then managed to interrupt. "Faith."

Hauser nodded. "Faith, the truth is that if they are already destroyed the only thing we can do is avenge them, but if they haven't then it's all the more important that we arrive there able to render assistance."

Faith's frustration was obvious, and Hauser's professional demeanor softened. "Faith... I give you my word your Black Knights will be ready to level the town either way should it be necessary."

Faith actually smiled at that and Hauser returned the smile as he turned to the Black Knights and ordered them to start preparing for heavy combat.

Faith took a breath. "Two packs, one heavy combat, one concealable, and I want everyone dressed to blend with the humans."

Hauser nodded. "Urban camouflage, aye."

As the Knights moved to carry out the orders Faith stopped Hauser and pulled him aside. "Thanks for talking me down."

"No need M, Faith. While I know my sire is essential to our Family I know she's more Intel while we are the military branch. You're the CO, and I'm ready to take on the duties of XO."

Faith took an unnecessary breath. "All right we'll go in by ground, two teams. I want you with Dawn to make sure she's got back up, but we'll take different routes and meet at the school just after sundown. We'll analyze the site, and decide what to do from there."

"Might I suggest that we each stop a mile from the site and walk in from opposite directions to make sure that there isn't a second ambush waiting?"

Faith's expression was impressed. "Good idea. The cops should be cleared out by then, but I want a communication line open to here so they can keep us up to date on anything they found. Ok, let's find a map so I can show you where I want us to approach from."

There approach went according to plan, and the still smoldering ruins were new being gone over by a baker's dozen of tense vampires, yellow eyes looking over every detail.

The fourteenth however stood apart, calm, appraising the scene. Dawn noticed this and walked to the entirely human looking Faith. "You ok? I figured you'd be as worked up as anyone."

Faith shook her head. "I can't be D. Your sister made me her captain of the guard, her general. I'm worried sick about my girls, but I can't let it effect me. I have to be focused, for her, for our Family. I'll freak out later once we know."

Faith trailed off as she walked over to a strange crater in the ground outside the school as Hauser trotted over. "Ma'am we have one confirmed vampire destroyed, at the school entrance. It appears that that was the one exit not blocked off somehow, but it was mined. The mines appearing to be an anti-vampire personnel round with wood packed in with the charge."

"It wasn't Tara, or B." Both Dawn and Hauser eyeballed her as Faith explained, sounding distracted, almost as if she were more in the previous nights events with her two lovers. "The heavy machine gun was mangled, from the pictures Wolfram and Heart sent it looked like someone stomped it flat in a single strike. It would take Buffy or my Fallen Strength to do that, and it was well back from the mines. Same token Tara could get around the mines with magic, and look here."

She gestured around the crater she was standing in, pointing outward to the piles of grass and leaves in a circle at the edge. "Tara's been working on a spell that would simply send out a wave that would catch anything living and hurl it away from her. They were hard pressed, but they were fighting well away from the ashes."

Dawn then added. "So it was Angelus, Darla, or Dru."

A call came up across the street and the three vampires hurried over. The Knights who were there looked ready to report, but Faith beat them to it. "Someone was captured. They were dragged to this point, probably to a vehicle."

Dawn sighed. "So we have one killed, one captured, and no idea where the rest are."

Faith was still distant. "It's a small town D, our town, we'll find em, even if we have to level it."


Chapter 12.

"You know? I like the fact that I'm going to be young and pretty forever. I like the additional power, and it's really nice to be freed from the burdens of having a soul, but this whole waiting out the day thing really sucks."

Tara smiled down at Buffy as she continued to run her fingers through the Master Vampire's hair where the woman's head was resting in her lap, with Buffy laying on her side. "Technically Sweetie, you don't have to. You do have the Gem of Amarra."

Buffy rolled onto her back, but kept her head in Tara's lap. They had come to learn that while the Gem of Amarra had protected Buffy's undead flesh from the soldier's firebomb it hadn't protected her outfit, and now Buffy was clad in only Angelus' jacket. Which now shifted open slightly with the motion. "Yeah, but with Angelus out of it I would be leaving you two defenseless if the Scoobies were to find you."

Tara reached down to gently caresses Buffy's cleavage. "Xander's the only one of the Scoobies that's been to the Master's Lair, and he would have to get up out o the hospital to lead them here, and I'm not defenseless."

There was something in Tara's tone that made Buffy grin, or maybe it was the fact that the witch had slipped her left hand up to cup Buffy's left breast entirely. "I know you're not, but Angelus is hurt bad, and protecting yourself AND him could leave you vulnerable."

Tara was talking seriously, but she smiled as Buffy gasped when Tara gave the nipple a pinch. "I have the energies of the Hellmouth to draw upon. We'll be fine."

Buffy was smiling up at Tara, her body fidgeting at the stimulation running from Tara's had to Buffy's chest and through the rest of the tiny blonde's body. "Maybe, or maybe they did figure out where we are hiding, got directions from Xander, and are waiting for us to split up. That's what got us here in the first place. No, we should at least wait for nightfall. At the very least Angelus should be healed up enough that we can move him, and get up to the surface where we can get a cell signal to Faith and Dawn."

"What? You think they might be watching us right now?" Tara's expression said she kind of liked that idea, and the way she flipped open the jacket to expose Buffy completely seemed to be saying she was going to give them a show.

Buffy was grinning widely. "They might be..." Buffy sighed, and her head rolled back at Tara's had moved to the other breast. A moan escaped her lips as Tara gave the other nipple a pinch. Tara's slender arm then slipped down over toned abdominal muscles to tease at light brown curls.

Buffy gave Tara a pitiful look. "Please Baby, no teasing... I need you."

Tara smiled fondly, a soft giggle sticking in her chest. "Ok Sweetie, I could never deny you... well never for long." With those words Tara's hand slipped down to first running fingers through Buffy's pooling moisture, and then sliding nimble fingers inside velvety folds.

Buffy's hips jumped at the penetration, and when Tara's hand pushed against Buffy's clit the Fallen Slayer's whole body arched upward. Tara's right hand moved from Buffy's hair to the right breast where it pinched the nipple again.

When the pinch became firm Buffy moaned, and Tara looked to hips already taking up motion with her fingers. "Oh Sweetie, you're already close aren't you?"

Buffy could only nod and whimper.

Tara shifted so she was laid out next to Buffy so she could keep her left fingers sliding in and out of Buffy while her right moved to rub the woman's clitoris directly. Buffy could only writhe, her face coming to rest on the inside of Tara's thigh where she could smell her witches' arousal without being able to get to it through the fabric of Tara's skirt.

Buffy found enough motor control to start working on the problem of pulling the skirt out of the way, but wasn't able to finish the maneuver as her whole body locked up, shaking the ferocity of the climax Tara was sending shooting through her.

Time only started again for Buffy Summers with the sensation of Tara pulling her into her arms, and hugging Buffy tightly. She was able to return the other blondes hug, but not with anywhere near as much strength as she happily snuggled into Tara's ample bosom. "Thank you Tara. Oh... I NEEDED that."

Tara giggled, reaching down to pull Buffy's chin up so she could kiss her. "I could tell my Darling was under a lot of pressure."

Buffy giggled right back. "No pressure now." She then looked into Tara's eyes. "Now how about you?" That got Tara's trademarked half-smile and Buffy clucked her tongue. "Oh well now I HAVE to fuck you."

Tara laughed. "Such a dirty mouth, I'd say you were spending too much time around Faith... that is if I didn't enjoy watching you two together like I do."

Buffy started pulling off Tara's skirt as she replied. "When you aren't joining in."

Tara caressed Buffy's cheek. "Both are wonderful, but there is something special about watching my girls together."

Tara's skirt was gone along with her panties and Buffy was now working on Tara's top as she spoke. "You may have a point there. I just can't help myself most of the time... I don't want to. I see you or Faith, or you AND Faith naked, and I want to touch."

Buffy did just that, grabbing each of Tara's breasts in their respective hands, and Tara groaned. "Touching is just fine."

Buffy was pondering Tara as she massaged the woman's chest, now straddling over the woman's ribs. Tara however could feel fresh arousal seeping out of Buffy and reached up to guide Buffy's hips to straddle Tara's mouth.

Buffy moved with Tara's motion, but turned so she was able to lay down over Tara are put her mouth to Tara's sex just as Tara's mouth found Buffy's. Tara's mouth was gentle in comparison to the firm action of Tara's fingers earlier, but it was a delightful contrast.

Buffy's height put her mouth at the top of Tara's sex so she sucked at the distended length of Tara's clitoris while the left hand spread Tara's vaginal lips so the right hands' first two fingers could slide into Tara's slick depths.

There was a whimper at that, and Buffy smiled even as she suckled the bundle of nerves.

Buffy could feel Tara tensing up, and sped up her motions to push Tara to that point of no return, which was quickly tumbled over as Tara cried out, but then Buffy felt herself being yanked away from where she was laying against Tara.

At first her instinct was to fight, but then Tara's familiar soft hands were pushing her head to the side so Tara's familiar fangs could penetrate her neck. Buffy cried out as well in similar joy, and she found herself clutching Tara with similar intensity as Tara fed greedily from Buffy's neck.

As Tara calmed down, and retook her human face she was able to pull back from Buffy's neck, and Buffy could see the concern that she might have taken too much since Buffy hadn't been able to feed since the fight. Buffy smiled, shook her head, and then mover her mouth to Tara's chest.

Tara's face shifted back to it's demonic gaze, but she was smiling as Buffy's face took on a similar expression as she sank her fangs into Tara's breast, while the witch pet her hair and softly hummed.


Chapter 13.

"And just when I thought I couldn't love you two any more."

The two in question, Buffy and Tara, were naked, kneeling, facing each other in a tight embrace. They turned as one to the one professing their love, and found their lover Faith, as well as Buffy's sister Dawn, and pack of vampires filling the tunnel behind them.

The two giggled and found Faith running forward to grab them both and make herself a part of their embrace. They found Faith hugging them tightly, not quite TOO tightly, but more then a casual embrace, and then Buffy looked up as she heard Tara quietly whispering. "It's ok sweetie, we're ok." Over and over again.

Buffy realized why Faith was hugging them so tightly and kissed the top of Faith's head. She then got up from her two lovers and walked over to her sister Dawn, and pulled the teen into a hug, mindless of her own nudity.

Dawn hugged her back. "Yes, Buffy I'm really glad you're ok, but please stop hugging me, you're all sticky."

Faith had rolled over on her back, her head resting on Tara's chest. "I like it when she's all sticky."

Buffy smiled at both brunettes and put her hands on her hips, still entirely comfortable in her naked state. "Ok, I'm guessing these are our new friends from Wolfram and Heart?"

Faith hopped up. "No, these are our Black Knights." At Buffy's questioning look Faith continued. "While we had went there expecting mercenaries when I said I wasn't entirely comfortable trusting our Family's safety to hired hands Lilah mentioned that there were those at Wolfram and Heart who were true believers in evil, and would be happy to serve evil by serving us for all of their newly given immortality."

Buffy regarded the group closely. "So you turned them all?"

Faith shrugged. "Not all that were available, but the top dozen until we have things set up to support a bigger brood."

Dawn finally had enough. "Buffy! Please get dressed!"

Faith scowled, but remained silent, but Buffy sighed while walking over to pick up Angelus' jacket. "This is all I got at the moment. Riley managed to hit me with a firebomb, and while the Gem of Amarra protected itself and me, my outfit didn't count it seems."

Faith laughed. "So you've been running around naked the past 24 hours or so?"

Tara made a happy "Umm humm" as she got dressed herself.

Faith looked over her shoulder. "Yet another reason I wish I had been here with you two."

Buffy was putting the jacket on as Hauser spoke up. "We can get you a fresh set of clothes Ma'am." Buffy gave the man a questioning expression and he answered the unspoken query. "Hauser."

"That would be wonderful Hauser. More importantly however is getting blood for Angelus. Holtz managed to mess him up badly before we got out of there." Buffy complimented the sentence with a look over where they had laid out the unconscious Angelus to be as comfortable as possible.

Hauser gave a nod and two of the Black Knights peeled over there and started unrolling something that looked like a cross between a body bag and a stretcher, sliding Angelus inside it, zipping it up, and then standing next to it. Obviously to carry out the wounded vampire when they were ready to leave.

Buffy had a pleased look on her face, with her arms crossed over her chest. "You came prepared, I like that." Her smile then warmed further. "Welcome to the Family Hauser."

He returned the smile. "Thank you Ma'am."

Buffy then smiled a bit more wickedly. "You can come out Xander. I can smell you back there... you actually still smell like explosives a bit."

The one living person in the room stepped forward, a blush coloring his cheeks. "Hey Buffy, I suppose I would. I was sleeping on them for several days."

Buffy tossed a look over to Faith, and the other Fallen Slayer answered. "We checked the hospital and he was gone, but then we checked the apartment Tara shared with Red and he was sitting there waiting for us... well waiting for you, but he didn't know the current situation, and when we let him know we were looking for you with no success at that point he suggested we check here."

Buffy was delighted as she focused on her high school friend. "Does this mean you've reconsidered my offer?"

He held up his hands. "Of the truce at least... I can only speak for me, but from what I saw I know Holtz isn't the good guy."

That got everybody's attention, and Xander squirmed under the scrutiny. "I saw Holtz talking to a little girl in a Victorian-style dress. She was calling him father so I assumed it was one of his kids."

Buffy then spoke up. "In the 5 year old range?" At Xander's nod she replied offhandedly "Probably the one Angelus turned back when they were first fighting him."

He gulped, mainly at the lack of reaction in the room. "Yeah..." Xander's voice sounded rough in his own ears. "Yeah I figured as much too, but she was talking to him about Darla and her baby, and their plans."

Faith then chimed in. "Of course they weren't nice enough to go into their plans in detail were they? More of a talking about what they both already know."

Xander nodded. "And before you ask. No I don't know where they went, but I can see Dru and Darla are the only ones missing here. I don't know about Dru, but from what I overheard I'm guessing they captured Darla?"

Buffy nodded, and then looked over at Angelus. "I don't know about you Xander, but I'm thinking about Christmas the year Faith showed up."

Faith then sat up from where she had been resting against Tara. "You mean when we had that freaky snowstorm that kept Angel from meeting the sun?"

Buffy nodded. "And do you remember why he was ready to?"

Faith squinted. "You never mentioned it B."

Buffy paused, her focused expression dropping into one of confusion. "Really?"

Tara smiled at both her lovers. "I know I don't know Love, so maybe you should just say it again?"

Buffy blinked, smiled bashfully, and then started speaking. "Ok, right. It was something called the First Evil, it said it was the combined essence of every evil thought and deed, but in effect it was a specter that could take on the form of dead people, and send it's followers, guys with their eyes cut out called Harbingers."

Tara shook her head. "It got Angel to try to kill himself, and it has Holtz, a man who had been dedicated to fighting evil, now serving it. We should not underestimate it simply because it lacks physical form."


Chapter 14.

"Yeah, this is the place."

Xander looked over at Buffy's words, and then back at the pool, large puddle really, in the Master's lair.

Seeing Xander wasn't in the mood to speak Buffy continued. "I think that's why it was so easy for me to make the change to vampire... I died Xander, right here. I mean I'm happy you were able to bring me back, but my heart stopped, I was gone, the universe called the next Slayer. Now that I'm dead I feel "right" for the first time in a long time."

Xander finally did speak, and threw an arched glance over in Buffy's direction as he did so. "And that has nothing to do with that sticky scene I walked in on?"

Buffy laughed. "I dunno. I don't know if I ever would have came out if I hadn't died, but I can't deny that's a large part of why I'm finally happy. There's more to it though. I was able to come out because I wasn't so worried about what everyone else thought of me."

Xander shook his head. "We would have loved you just as much as before. I mean look at Willow."

Buffy smiled. "You don't understand. I wasn't imprisoned by your opinions, I was imprisoned by my worrying about your opinions."

Seeing Xander's brow scrunch in confusion Buffy shook her head, more at herself then anything. "Xander, it was never about you guys. It was about me. It was about using you guys to tell me that I was wrong and I WAS worthwhile. That I was a good friend/ daughter/ slayer. The problem was that no matter how many times I would hear it I always figured people were just being nice."

She sighed. "It's why I was so hard on Faith. Before I was always a good slayer by default. I'm not sure if you remember, but I wasn't too keen on Kendra either. At least not until I had her under my thumb."

Without even looking she raised her voice. "And no Faith, that's not the same as on my fingers."

Faith's laughter echoed in the Master's chamber, and Tara's was a close second.

Buffy was smiling. "Now all those doubts, all those fears are gone. Believe me Xander if that's what the soul brings I'm better off without it."

Xander exhaled, a sound that stood out as unique because even with all the Black Knights out getting blood for Angelus, clothes for Buffy, and leads on Darla's location he was still the only living being in the room. "Look Buffy, I may have to work with you because of this First Evil..." He stopped suddenly and walked several paces away. "Which raises the question of why I'm working with you. I mean it's evil, you're evil, you're working with Wolfram and Heart and they're evil! What's the difference?"

Buffy smiled, silently walking over on still bare feet. "I'm going to tell you something, and it's one of the big secrets of evil... there is no Legion of Evil. We don't all get together as Lex Luthor's for poker games."

Faith chirped in. "Not anymore! Death rays are one thing, but deal from the top of the damn deck!"

Tara was giggling as she spoke. "Faith Darling? Stop helping."

Buffy blew Tara a kiss that the witch blew right back before Buffy started speaking again. "Good and evil are for the history books. I mean everyone likes to talk about Nazi's as the epitome of evil, but they never seem to bring up how the United States had a fair idea of what the Nazi's had in mind for the Hebrews and declined to take them in even with that knowledge. Or the fact that the only reason Hitler thought he could get away with waging genocide against the Jews was because the world did nothing when the Ottoman Empire carried it out against the Armenian's back in 1915."

There was a pause as Xander stared at Buffy incredulously, and she paused. "What? I am stuck inside half the time, you can only sleep so much, and plenty of books survived when we blew up the school. So the big difference between us, and you? Our kind is far more honest about our nature."

Tara then helped. "That and we have our lack of a soul as an excuse."

Buffy nodded. "Your beloved Watcher Council had me poisoned before throwing me and MY MOTHER into a house with a vampire that was messed up even by our standards. The reason? To make sure I wasn't over reliant on my powers."

Faith then helped again, but was far more serious. "If those are the good guys..."

Xander was looking from woman to woman, his one good eye obviously unsure. Buffy stepped into his personal space. "My life isn't THAT much different..." She smirked. "Sticky" moments aside. I'm still fighting evil Xander. That's why you're working with us because you know we are going to battle the First Evil. Heck that's why Wolfram and Heart are falling all over themselves to make nice."

That got the attention of Tara and Faith, and Buffy noticed, acknowledging them with a smile. "I don't think I'm going out on a limb to say the First Evil's plans probably effect the whole planet..." Even Xander joined the three vampires in smiling at that. "By the same token from what Angel had told me about the First it HAD been trying to recruit him, and getting him to kill himself was second best."

Xander interrupted. "It wanted Angelus working for it?"

Buffy's nod was almost casual for the serious topic. "Yep, but if it couldn't get him, having him out of play was the next best thing. I figure that's kind of what Wolfram and Heart is after. They COULD try to make us into pawns, but that has a high chance of failure, and that would make us into their enemies. What they seem to be doing instead is making us strong enough so that no one can make us into pawns, because just imagine if the First Evil would have the three of us along with Angelus? I'm betting Wolfram and Heart did."

Xander was wavering, and Buffy's voice became soft in response. "You'd be doing what you're doing right now, more, you'd be fighting evil on a REAL level, but you'd be doing it with my strength in your veins Xander. No more fear, no more doubt, no more worries ripping you apart. You'd be free Xander... please Xander, let me give this to you."

Her last words, their sincerity echoed in the chambers, and roared behind Xander's gaze.


Chapter 15.

"No..." Xander took a breath. "No Buffy, I'm sorry I know it is a gift to you. I know what it means for you to offer, but no. I can't."

Buffy's arms dropped. "It's ok Xander. I get it. It's that strength that makes me want to turn you in the first place, but I won't turn someone against their will. I didn't do it to Giles, and I wont do it to you."

He took another breath, nodding, almost more to himself. "Thank you."

"Would it be wrong for a vampire to say "Thank God"?" Looking over they saw the opened vampiric stretcher where Angelus was laid out waiting for the Black Knights to bring him blood beyond the emergency stores they had already fed him while he was unconscious.

Buffy trotted over, looking down. "Welcome back."

Angelus was looking up. "You know, I can see right up my jacket right now."

Buffy shrugged. "I think everyone in this room has seen me naked at one point or another. Body issues, and modesty are for the living."

Angelus raised his voice a bit. "Faith, Tara, I hope you two understand just how much I hate you both right now."

Tara was smiling widely. "I understand completely."

Faith had a more subdued smirk. "Yep."

Angelus looked back to Buffy. "Could you help me sit up please?"

Buffy shook her head as she knelt down next to him. "Best if I don't. Tara has examined you, and determined that with the damage Holtz did your right side is basically being held together by skin. The Black Knights are getting you blood, and with this rig they have you on they'll be able to carry you out if we need to move you before you are healed, but you need to stay as still as possible until that point."

"I NEED to find Darla!"

When Angelus looked ready to try to get up, Buffy put a light hand on his chest. "The Knights are looking for her too. The Scoobies don't know them, and unless they happen to catch their lack of a reflection won't even know they are vampires. Our Knights will be able to find Darla without tipping the New Scoobies off, and then get us so we can save her. If we do it ourselves they may stake her just to make sure we can't get her back."

Angelus looked like he wanted to disagree, but couldn't. "Who the Hell are the Black Knights?"

Buffy smiled. "Our brood of warrior elite vampires. When Dawn and Faith went minion shopping at Wolfram and Heart they found those who TRULY believed in evil, and would consider it an honor by serving evil by serving us for eternity."

Angelus was actually quiet as he thought about that. "Ok, I get that. Now what's one of the New Scoobies doing here?" After Buffy summarized what Xander saw, and Angelus confirmed that was the daughter that he had turned he voiced an idea that no one else had considered. "It would have had to have approached Holtz a good century before it tried to get me to turn on you, but the fact that it brought him AFTER I got Darla pregnant seems to say that Holtz, Darla and I are just means to an end, the baby."

The Knights might not have realized the full implications like Angelus had, but they figured a pregnancy would require certain supplies, and had used that to track the Scoobies. Sarah was telling them what they found as Buffy put on a set of the military style pants, and combat boots in her size while forgoing the full set for a sleeveless black top.

The reason the woman was presenting the info instead of Hauser was because the New Scoobies were holed up in a women's health clinic that was currently surrounded by one pack of abortion rights activists while encircled by a right to life group.

Xander was shaking his head. "That's not Willow. She wouldn't hide behind innocent people!"

Sarah barely gave the mortal a glance. "That might be the case if she was still sane, but our female members have managed to cycle into the rights group and heard people talking about how Willow was getting back together with Tara. They were saying she had called the rights group. "

Everyone look surprised at that, but none more so then Tara. The blonde witch them grimaced. "The First, I DID die. So it's obviously using my form on Willow. One of the others probably called the right to life group."

Sarah's expression asked the obvious question and Buffy quickly sketched in the First and what they had come up with up to now. She then paused. "We should get everyone together for a meeting."

Sarah shook her head. "It's getting close to sunrise as it is. If we're going this evening we should go now."

Buffy bit her lip. "Time isn't our friend here. If were right and the baby is their objective they could be inducing labor right as we speak. All right ladies we're the ones that could get inside without raising an alarm so we're going to do so. I want Hauser and the guys mixing in the right to lifers so they can back us up."

Xander then spoke. "What about me?"

Buffy smiled. "If our guys have to force their way in you won't want to be a part of what they do, and even if they don't I won't make you fight the other New Scoobies... I'm sorry Xander but I think they are truly lost." When he looked ready to scoff her voice softened. "I might not have my soul Xander, but my actions are my own. At this point were pretty sure at least half of those remaining are under the control of the First Evil."

Faith suddenly broke in. "Could explain how they were able to kick our asses so thoroughly."

Buffy smirked at her lover. "It's kind of you to say "our" since you were no where near there at the time, but yeah you're probably right."

Sarah, have the girls cycle as close to the building as possible. There's three besides yourself right?" At the nod Buffy continued. "Ok Dawn and I will meet one, Faith another and you and Tara will join up with the third. Once we get inside we look room to room until we find Darla. The guys will be circling outside ready to come in on our signal. Xander? Can I leave you alone here with Angelus?"


Chapter 16.

Finally in the doorway of the women's health clinic dawn looked to her sister. "I don't think I've ever been so glad to no longer be human."

Buffy smiled at the near-serious way her sister was speaking, but their Back Knight escort, a girl named Lucy spoke first. "What? You can't appreciate their willingness to kill each other to show how they are the better people?"

The sister's smirked at the comment from the lean woman with the dark hair, and tanned skin. Buffy quickly became all business however and held up a hand, all three smelled human blood. Lots of it.

As that familiar smell reached their noses a familiar sound reached Buffy's ears and she held up a hand for silence. The other two fell immediately silent and followed behind Buffy as she led them into the clinic.

They barely paused at the first body, but all three vampires could tell the human had been killed quickly and brutally, the health provider cut down with shot bladed weapons.

Weapons that were riding on the belts of the robbed men surrounding, but not menacing, Willow Rosenberg, and what appeared to be Tara Maclay.

"I don't like it either Sweetie, but Darla's baby is they key. It will be able to free free my soul, Buffy's, Dawn's, and even Faith's. You could make the curse finally work and return our souls, or destroy our vampiric shells and free us, but the workers here, they wouldn't understand, they would try to get in the way. So they had to die."

Willow's response surprised all three women, even the one who only knew her by reputation. "I know... I just wish it could be some other way."

"Tara" smiled softly. "Open up Sweetie, let me in again."

The three people watching the events unfold were suddenly glad they didn't breathe so they wouldn't have to gasp as Willow relaxed, and even smiled as the Maclay apparition held up a hand to Willow's chest, which made the read heads eyes open. Eyes that were totally black.

Faith and one of her children, a blonde named Amy were creeping through the halls of the women's health clinic. Their start had been a little rough because Amy's first instinct was to walk ahead of her sire in case there was trouble, but Faith finally managed to convince her that Faith's Fallen Slayer senses and reflexes made her the better person to lead the way.

That said Amy was in game face and using her yellow eyes to peel back the darkness looking for threats.

The threat they found wasn't hiding as Riley Finn was found standing over the recently slain Slayer Kennedy. In front of them both however was an unknown white man with brown hair in blue jeans an a clerical shirt who was dabbing the slain girl's blood on his fingers to then seemingly anoint Riley Finn's face.

"The First is well pleased with this offering, but you need to understand there's no going back now solider. The First Evil shall give you your vengeance, but in turn you will give everything you were, are and will ever be."

Riley's eyes were straight forward, almost in a parody of how he would stand at attention in his military days. "In life, death, and to the destruction of all the worlds."

The unknown priest smiled. "Amen!"

Sarah and Cameron were bracketing Tara as they walked the hallways, and while the witch seemed amused with their protectiveness at first as they found the slain health care providers she started to find their presence comforting.

Tara quickly realized that the number of bodies increased as they advanced into the clinic, and no matter how grim the sign she knew that pointed the way to their goal.

Before they could reach that goal however the familiar form of Dawn Summers appeared and was gesturing for them to follow. They did so and after Buffy gave Tara a kiss of greeting the Master Vampire pointed into the a room and mouthed the words "What's she doing?"

Tara wasn't sure if the "she" was her old lover Willow Rosenberg or the apparition that was currently wearing Tara's human face, but Willow was opening a portal and she mouthed as much back to Buffy.

Buffy stood up, puled out the radio the Black Knights had equipped her with, and spoke in a normal tone of voice. "Hauser, we have a portal opening. Would you please join us in the clinic?"

Faith had her own problems. She had given the order for Amy to shoot Riley in the head, but seemingly between the time the bullets left the gun, and when they would have impacted with the soldier's head the priest had moved in between and allowed the rounds to mangle his own skull.

It didn't seem to bother him terribly though as he shouted. "This is not the place, and she is not your target. Get to the extraction point Finn!"

Finn followed the order as he dived for some swinging doors.

Faith didn't take her eyes off the priest who was now bleeding black blood from the bullet impacts. "Stay on him Amy!"

The Black Knight followed the order just as readily as Riley and dived for the same doors as Faith delivered a drop kick to the priest's chest as he moved to block her.

While outside the Black Knights started to push their way towards the clinic. At first people simply swore, but let them by. Those who started to shove were hammered to the ground by undead strength.

When they started to fight back the guns were drawn, game faces were on, and the unarmed crowd broke and run under the sound of automatic fire.

Hauser fed a fresh clip into his sub-machine gun, and jacked a round into the chamber, but he could already tell the humans had all fled. "The Mistresses need us! Kill anything living, rip apart everything else!"

He then charged the doors and drove a booted foot into the handle. While Hauser had already been more then capable of kicking in a door his already pumping blood had him smiling at the way his new vampiric strength sent the door off the frame entirely as he charged through.

Vampiric senses smelled all the blood, but also told him it had grown cold and started to clot. Pushing forward at the sound of gunfire they were about to breech another room when a missile in black leather came hurtling through the door at them.

The missile was followed by a man in blue jeans, black shirt, and clerical collar who's face looked like he had already been shot. Though instead of the deep red blood such a mortal injury would normally cause the priest was bleeding some viscous black substance.

Hauser didn't even need to give the order, the eight guns rose as one and a leaden storm tore through the human shape, to cause more black blood to fly as he jerked and danced in the repeated impacts.

They soon had to reload and much to their shock the man was not only able to run with no seeming difficulty, but seemed to be growling in rage more then any pain or suffering. His rage seemed to come from the fact he was running from the fight through the doors that were still swinging with someone's earlier passage.

Looking down at the leather clad shape Hauser recognized Mistress Faith and knelt down to examine her. "Are you all right Ma'am?"

When Faith looked up it was through her vampiric yellow eyes. "I'm fine! We need to get to my girls!"

Hauser could tell Mistress Faith was not fine, but she didn't pay attention to her injuries as she leapt to her feet and charged through the swinging doors. The Black Knights were right behind her and took in the room at the same time as she did.

The first sight was a large portal flickering with a deep crimson light showing some flashes of a hellish vista. The second sight was, Mistress Buffy, Mistress Tara and Mistress Dawn with the four woman escort hard pressed by dagger wielding men in robes.

There were robed bodies piled that told Hauser the Lady Knights had put their guns to good use, but the unending tide of dagger wielding figures were coming at them too quickly for them to reload, and the women were now fighting had to hand alongside Mistress' Buffy and Dawn while Mistress Tara was using her spells to keep pushing the wave back so it wouldn't overwhelm them.

His attention was drawn back to the portal as a woman he identified as Willow Rosenberg shrieked. "Where's Kennedy?"

A man Hauser identified as Riley Finn shouted. "She didn't make it. Go Willow!, Go, Go!" Riley was attempting to just that as he charged toward the portal the Priest had already vanished through.

Hauser's stutter gun tried to stop him. He remembered the warning about the body armor, but couldn't get a head shot under the conditions so he aimed for the mans legs, but even as he cried out and went down in a spray of human blood the elder hunter Holtz swept in and used the arm that wasn't holding a blanket wrapped bundle to drag Riley with him through the portal.

Willow Rosenberg was looking at the world through black eyes now, and they narrowed in rage as they took in the way Mistress' were working in unison and gaining ground against the waves of minions she was sending against them. Though the fact they only wielded steel daggers stood out even in the heat of battle.

Rosenberg first noticed his attention as she saw his focused gaze, and then his intention as he lifted his gun towards her. He however noticed her seeming lack of concern and turned his aim to the lights above her.

The rattle of gunfire turned to the sound of shattering glass and a small stream of sparks as the fixture was destroyed by his onslaught.

She growled in a rage all her own, but opted to leap through her own portal, causing it to close behind her.

He turned and while the wave was splitting to face the newly arrived Knights with the New Scoobies escape their seemingly infinite numbers became more finite, and when the hooded figures face the fully loaded weapons of Hauser and his men their numbers became moot.

The silence was sudden and deafening, and only broken when Mistress Buffy took a step forward to look at where the portal had been.

There was a delivery table, covered with ashes.



The Family had reconvened in the sub-basement. Everyone had bathed, fed, and was in clean clothes. They had been offered separate quarters, but they universally agreed to sleep in a large common area that Wolfram and Heart comfortably appointed.

Buffy was staring off into nothing, and both Faith and Tara seemed to realize her mind was unsettled and were trying to comfort her. Primarily with physical displays like how Faith was wrapped around her from behind while Tara was hugging her from the front.

When Faith kissed Buffy's shoulder the Master Vampire spared her a smile. "It's ok. I... I just have never lost before."

The entire room seemed to look up at that and Buffy sighed. "We lost, it sucks, it stings to say it, but we lost two of ours while the only casualty the New Scoobies suffered was self inflicted by Riley in some sort of blood sacrifice to this First. Our lair, all our stuff is burned to the ground, and the New Scoobies got away clean. Even Xander has vanished. We lost, I've been doing this almost seven years now, and while I've suffered set backs I never all out LOST before."

Lilah had entered the room in time to hear Buffy's speech. "Don't be so hard on yourself Buffy. You faced the First, and survived, that IS a victory."

Buffy smirked. "Doesn't feel like one though. Don't worry Lilah, I'm not giving up by a long shot. I'm just processing, taking it in. I WANT it to hurt, I want it to sting. We could have killed Willow the night I turned Tara, but we wanted to play. Play time is over, the Scoobies WILL resurface, and I want each and every member of my Family already tasting their blood, hungry for it, and for the one thing sweeter then their blood... revenge."

Her Family seemed to be responding to Buffy's speech and were captivated as they watched her. Faith however was used to being captivated by Buffy and was able to comment. "Actually I'm content to taste revenge. I saw them bleed."

Buffy twisted over her shoulder and kissed Faith, and then looked forward at Lilah. The lawyer knew that meant she was supposed to speak. "The First might not have substance, but it has plenty of raw power. Power that it can invest in key individuals like that Priest you described, and in the way you saw it investing Miss Rosenberg."

Buffy nodded. "Do we know what this investing does other then make them basically invincible?" At Lilah's reluctant head shake Buffy actually grinned. "Do we know anything of any importance as of yet?"

At Lilah's second reluctant head shake Buffy developed a full smile, and Lilah looked on in confusion. "It's ok Lilah, really. I hate loosing, I mean I REALLY hate loosing, and I don't plan on doing it again. I'm hungry, even when Dawn turned me I was more confident, and comfortable, I'm HUNGRY in a way I've never been... I feel... Lilah I feel better then I have in a long time. I've felt the sting of defeat and it's made me ache for victory, and I am GOING to claim it!"

The entire room which had been growling and grumbling was looking at Buffy and smiling.

The End

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