DISCLAIMER: Buffy and characters are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy etc. Jade is the property of me!
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Special thanks to Jonel Nightingale for fixing my terrible English.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
As the gang pulled up outside the same abandoned cinema from the night before Willow was worried.
"What's up Will?" Buffy asked.
"Nothing, well it's just are you sure we should be trying here first, wasn't this where you saw the seven super vamps last night?" the witch asked nervously.
"Well yeah but I figured this is the closest so better start here," Buffy replied.
Jade got out of the car holding the scythe and opened the trunk, motioning for Buffy and Willow to take weapons, "Recon first and if the situation is the same as last night we go check out the other places, ok?"
Willow and Buffy nodded, following Jade around the back of the cinema, where Buffy noticed that the fire exit was wide open, "wasn't that door shut last night?"
"Stay here, I'll go take a look," Jade told them. Quietly Jade crept up to the fire exit and quickly peeked her head round the door frame, finding the cinema empty she walked back over to Buffy and Willow. "Place is deserted, they must have moved on, wouldn't surprise me if they were all holed up in the same place now."
Buffy decided that since the place was empty it was safe enough to go in and look around, as she motioned to Jade and Willow to follow Jade instinctively hung back allowing Willow to walk in the middle of her and Buffy. She knew that Willow could hold her own as a witch but she promised Kennedy she would make sure nothing bad happened to Willow and she was determined to keep that promise.
As the three of them wandered around the abandoned cinema Jade could feel her senses tingling, "Buffy something's not right here."
"What is it Jade?"
"I don't know, last night this place was jumping and now there's nothing?" Jade said quietly.
"But they'll have known we were coming so they have probably done what you thought and all moved into the same place," Willow said, hoping she was right.
"Yeah, your probably right, I was paranoid about things when I was alive, seems being dead hasn't altered that side of me," Jade said shrugging.
Just then there was a massive bang that came from the back of the cinema. Jade turned to see that the fire exit door was shut, and knowing full well that she left it open she rushed over and tried with all her strength to open the door, but it wouldn't budge.
"Jade, the front door, lets go," Buffy shouted over her shoulder.
Jade caught up with Buffy and Willow just in time to see at least thirty Bringer's and twelve super vamps emerge from a side door inside the building. Ten of the Bringer's and two of the super vamps broke away from their group and took up guarding positions by the front door while the remaining Bringer's and vamps made their way towards the three women.
"Oh dear," exclaimed Willow, "we're in trouble now."
Jade decided the best idea was to take on the vamps while Buffy dealt with the Bringer's, hopefully Willow could do some mojo to make things go a little easier.
"Will, got any nifty spells up your sleeve?" the vampire asked quickly.
"I'm thinking Jade, I'm thinking," Willow replied shortly.
Buffy looked on in horror as Jade charged at the vampires, for the first time in a long time she was truly terrified, not for herself but for Jade. She knew Jade was strong but could she really take on ten of those things by herself? Buffy was thrown from her thoughts by a Bringer punching her to the ground. She stood up, lifted her sword and charged into the Bringer's while yelling to Willow that now would be a good time for magic.
Willow was panicking, she had been caught off guard and didn't respond well to pressure, and she thought of creating sunlight to turn the super vamps to dust but realized just in time that she would end up killing Jade too. She had to stop the Bringer's, that way Buffy could help Jade while she thought of something else. Willow called up her power, as her eyes turned black she waved her hand in the direction of the Bringer's, "Ego imperium tu pravus inimicus, per potestus Angrboda, exsisto glagialis!"
Buffy looked on as one by one the Bringer's turned to ice. Turning to Willow she smiled a thank you in her direction and rushed over to help Jade who was being badly beaten by the super vamps. Jade was in pain, she continued to fight even though she knew it was no good, she was loosing and before long she would be dust. She had almost decided to give up when she felt a hand around her wrist pulling her to her feet; she looked up to see Buffy looking alarmingly worried.
"Willow what else you got?!" Buffy shouted while both fending off super vamps and trying to protect Jade.
"I've got something but it's going to affect Jade too, it won't kill her but it's going put her to sleep for a while, you want me to go ahead?"
"Do it Willow, I can't hold them off much longer."
"Ego dico tu Brynhild, afero potestus ut creo mortuus quiesco!" Willow shouted.
All at once the super vamps, including Jade feel asleep. Buffy picked Jade up, shouted to Willow to follow and made her way out the front door of the cinema. Once at the car Willow got in the driver's seat while Buffy laid Jade on the back seat and got in beside her, resting Jade's head on her lap she turned to Willow, "we need to get home fast; she's hurt bad."
Willow turned to her friend and nodded, gazing down at Jade she could barley make out her features because she had been so badly beaten.
Willow leapt out of the car and opened the back door for Buffy so she could get Jade into the house. Buffy carried Jade from the car as Willow ran in first shouting for the others, "Guys, we need help now, Jade's hurt bad."
Giles was the first to appear and on seeing Jade's badly beaten body in Buffy's arms he gasped, "dear God, what happened?"
"We got ambushed, we thought the building was empty but they were waiting for us," Buffy answered shortly.
"How did this happen? Jade's supposed to be virtually unstoppable," Xander said disbelief in his voice.
As Buffy laid Jade on the sofa she turned to Xander, "there were too many, thirty or so bringer's, twelve super vamps."
Kennedy rushed to the kitchen to get the first aid box from under the counter. While the others were out she had decided to get acquainted with the house, she was mostly snooping but she was glad she had. Jade was in a bad way and she probably needed a lot more help than a first aid box could give, but it would have to do for now.
"How did you get away?" Kennedy asked Buffy while kneeling down beside Jade.
"Willow, she did some mojo," Buffy answered distractedly.
"Must have been some serious mojo to get you guys out alive," Kennedy murmured.
"What about the scythe?" Giles asked. "Was it no use against the super vamps?"
Buffy looked at Giles, tears stinging her eyes as she realized throughout all the confusion the scythe had been left behind, "Jade never got a chance to use it."
"Where is the scythe Buffy?" Giles asked, although he new the answer.
"I'm sorry Giles, we had to get out of there fast, and I didn't even think about the scythe. All I was thinking about was getting us out of there alive," Buffy said defensively.
"Are you telling me you left it behind?" Giles said coldly.
Buffy nodded, "the bad guys have it now, we'll figure out a way to get it back later. Right now we have to concentrate on Jade!"
Giles was annoyed, he understood there was something between Buffy and Jade but he could see she was letting her personal feelings cloud her judgment. His rational mind realized that now wasn't the time to discuss it. "Willow, can you do a retrieval spell, bring the scythe back to us without us having to actually go and get it, or at least send it back to the dimension you created for it?" he asked calmly.
"I can try Giles, but it will have to wait. The magic I performed to get us out of there took a lot out of me," Willow said apologetically.
"Of course, go, rest, we'll take care of Jade," Giles said quickly.
Willow turned to Buffy looking for approval, "Buffy...."
"It's ok Will, Giles is right, you should rest, we need you at full power," Buffy said, still only focusing on her lover.
As Kennedy did her best to clean Jade up she almost jumped up and yelled that she had stopped breathing until she remembered that vampires don't breath. There was blood coming from Jade's stomach, and as Kennedy lifted her top to see what it was she was almost sick. Jade had been ripped open, her insides on display, "Giles, she needs to get to a hospital!" Kennedy cried.
"She's a vampire Kennedy; we can't take her to a hospital," Giles answered sadly.
"I'll call Angel, see if he can help out with some more medical supplies," Buffy exclaimed while walking over to the phone.
Once Buffy was out of the room Kennedy looked at Giles, "they almost ripped her apart Giles, I don't know if she'll survive."
"She'll survive Kennedy, she has too!"
"Angel, it's me; I need help," Buffy said into the handset.
"What happened, are you okay?" Angel asked, obviously worried.
Buffy explained everything to Angel, well almost everything; she didn't tell him that she and Jade were involved. Angel told her he would sort something out and be there as soon as he could and that he would bring Illeryia, "the more hands the better right?"
Buffy agreed and thanked him before hanging up. As she walked back through to the living room Buffy couldn't bare to look at Jade, the realization that Jade could be hurt badly was too much for her right now, she needed to figure a way out of this and fast. "Angel's going to get us some supplies and come over, he's bringing Illeryia with him, some extra muscle, but Giles, we need more, call the council!" she said, attempting to divert her thoughts from her sleeping lover.
Chapter Twenty One
Dawn had been in her room researching when the others got back, so she hadn't heard all the commotion, as she walked into the living room she screamed when she saw Jade and the state she was in, "Buffy is she....."
"No, she's badly beaten but we're taking care of it, Angel's on his way over with medical supplies," Buffy answered quickly, not wanting Dawn to finish her statement.
"Where's Giles?" Dawn asked.
"He's on the phone, we're bringing in other slayers, Jade's not enough," Buffy told her sister.
"Kennedy, what can I do?"
"Nothing Dawn, until Angel gets here, we just have to keep her comfortable," Kennedy answered quietly.
Buffy was standing on the other side of the room, staring out the window watching for Angel, she was lost in her thought's and didn't even hear Dawn come over and stand by her side. "Buffy, how did this happen?"
Buffy turned to her sister, tears falling down her face. Dawn wrapped her arms around her older sister, telling her it was going to be alright, even she didn't believe her own lies; she knew it wasn't going to be alright.
Jade could feel herself coming round and she knew she was still alive cause of the pain. She tried to open her eye's but could only manage to open one of them as the other had been swollen shut, "Buffy......"
Buffy turned upon hearing Jade speak her name and rushed over to her side, "I'm here baby, how do you feel?"
"Like I got beaten by about ten super vamps," Jade said, trying to smile.
Buffy wrapped her hand around Jade's, "you'll be okay, Angel's on his way, and he's bringing us some stuff to fix you up ok?"
Jade nodded and almost grumbled. She wasn't happy about Angel coming but now wasn't the time for jealousy.
"He's here," Dawn shouted as she ran to the front door to let him in. She was a little amazed at how Angel could just stroll in without her inviting him in.
Angel saw the puzzled look on Dawn's face, "I convinced David to let me do a spell, only lets good vampires come in though" he told Dawn with a wink.
"Oh, right, gotcha."
Angel made his way over to Buffy and Kennedy, he handed Kennedy the box of supplies he had gotten from his contact at the hospital. "I've got local anesthetics, sutures, bandages, pain killers pretty much everything you need right now," he said quietly.
Kennedy thanked him as she took the box; she hadn't used stuff like this since Sunnydale, and hoped she'd remember how to stitch someone up. Jade was in need of some serious stitching right now.
Angel motioned to Buffy to join him in the other room. As Buffy tried to let go of Jade's hand Jade increased her grip, Buffy looked down at her broken lover and smiled, "badly beaten yet still jealous huh?"
Jade smiled or tried to, she wasn't sure if her swollen features would allow it. She gave Buffy's hand one final squeeze as she released her grip. Kennedy prepared all that she would need to fix Jade up and explained to her exactly what she would be doing, "first I'm going to numb you, then I'm going to clean up the wound and stitch you back up ok?"
Jade nodded, as long as it stopped the pain she didn't really care what Kennedy did to her. Kennedy looked up at the blue haired figure standing before her, "I am Illeryia, I am here to help."
Kennedy smiled at the smurf and handed her the sterile pads and told her to clean the wound once Jade had been numbed.
As Dawn sat at the dining room table listening to Buffy relive the night's events to Angel she could feel tears welling up in her eyes. They could have died if Willow hadn't been there. Thank God Giles had suggested that Willow go in Kennedy's place.
"So what's your plan now Buffy?" Angel asked her.
"Giles is calling in some slayers, Faith's arriving here soon, we'll figure something out once we have everyone here," Buffy answered distractedly, her heart with her lover while her mind tried to focus.
"This Illeryia, is she strong?" Dawn asked her sisters ex.
"Yeah, she was one of the original demons on earth. She's not as strong as she once was though, Wesley had to remove a lot of her power to stop her from exploding and taking half of LA with her, but she still packs a punch," Angel answered.
"So she's evil then?"
"No, well not really. She has no soul but she works for me and so far she has done a lot of good, she'll do what I tell her."
Giles was in a conference call to the Watchers council. He could sense their reluctance to send out Slayers but he was the head of the council and they would do as he told them, "I understand your concerns Walter but if we don't stop this we are looking at the end of the world."
"Rupert if we pull Slayers out of their domains we are leaving countless locations open to invasion, this could be exactly what the first is hoping for," the councilmember argued.
"I'm not talking about every Slayer Walter. I'm talking about fifty at the most and only those who are more experienced. We have Slayers in training that we can deploy to act as relief Slayers in the mean time. Louisa can you brief the Slayers in training? Don't tell them exactly what we are facing here; vague it up as much as you can, but make sure they understand that there will be no time frame in place. They will be expected to act as relief Slayer's for as long as is necessary."
"Of course Rupert, I shall get Davis to inform the other Watcher's of our plans," Louisa replied.
"Thank you; call me at this number when you have everything in place," Giles told his Watchers as he hung up the phone.
Xander looked on as Kennedy finished stitching Jade's stomach back together. Even now the sight of blood and guts made him want to barf. He supposed he would never get used to it. Stupid really when you think of it, I've probably seen more blood and guts in nine years than most people see in their life time, unless your a doctor or something, Xander thought abstractedly.
"Ok we're all done," Kennedy exclaimed as she handed Jade some wicked strong painkillers. "Here, take these, they'll help with the pain."
Jade thanked Kennedy as she swallowed the tablets.
"I don't understand," Illeryia said "why go to all this trouble? She is a vampire; these wounds will not kill her."
Jade looked at Kennedy then at Illeryia, "no they won't kill me but they hurt like hell, besides, I wouldn't be much use in a fight if I had to keep stopping to pick my insides up of the floor."
Kennedy giggled, "Jade that's gross."
Illeryia looked on still puzzled, "what is gross?"
Kennedy rolled her eyes, "it means yuck, not a nice image, you know cause of the blood and stuff."
"Oh...." Illeryia was still confused. She still didn't understand humor, she knew it was something that humans used to make light of bad situations, but she didn't understand why.
Angel looked at his watch and stood up, "It's almost three 'o' clock. I should get going; Faith's plane gets in soon."
"Um Angel, just a thought," Dawn piped up, "how are you going to pick Faith up in the middle of the day?"
"Tinted windows, underground parking, and keeping out of direct sunlight in the arrivals lounge?" the vampire answered with a shrug.
"Right, good plan," Dawn replied.
"Buffy I'll call when I'm on my way back with Faith."
"Ok and Angel, be careful," Buffy added quietly.
Angel smiled at Buffy before he left; he could tell she was beyond worried, he could also tell who she was involved with. He could smell Jade's scent as soon as he got close to her in the other room and he could smell it all over Buffy. He decided that he didn't like Jade and if she hurt Buffy he would kill her, super vamp or not.
Chapter Twenty Two
As Angel made his way to the departure lounge Faith was there waiting. When she saw Angel coming towards her instead of Xander she knew something was up.
"Not that I'm not happy to see you dude, but I thought Xander was picking me up?" she asked as soon as he was within ear shot.
Angel smiled at Faith, she was the only person in the world that could get away with calling him dude, "they ran into a few problems last night, figured it would be safer if I collected you."
"Problems? What kind of problems?"
Angel told Faith exactly what Buffy had told him as they made their way back to his car.
"Is Jade okay, I mean, she's going to be alright isn't she?"
"Kennedy was fixing her up; I guess we'll find out when we get there," the vampire replied simply.
Angel pulled out his cell phone and handed it to Faith, "call Buffy and tell her we are on our way, just hit five on the speed dial."
Faith took the phone even though she was a little apprehensive about talking to Buffy. They had parted on reasonable terms but there was still frostiness between them. I guess things will never thaw out between us, Faith thought as she hit five on Angel's phone.
Faith was pleased to hear Giles voice at the end of the phone, much easier to deal with than Buffy, "hey Giles, it's Faith, we're on our way, should be there in quarter of an hour."
"Good, good, I'll see you soon," Giles replied.
Faith ended the call and handed the phone back to Angel. "So these vamps did a number on Jade, what good am I gonna be?" she asked honestly.
"Giles is bringing other Slayers and I'm going to call in a few favors from my less evil demon contacts," Angel answered, avoiding the direct question.
"This is bad Angel isn't it; I mean bad as in worse than the last time?"
Angel, looking even more pensive than usual just nodded.
Giles walked over to where Buffy was sitting by Jade holding her hand. He guessed that Jade had taken a few pain killers judging by the fact she was grinning like a Cheshire cat. "Faith and Angel are on their way; they should be here in around fifteen minutes," he said simply.
Buffy just nodded, not wanting to turn her attention away from Jade. Giles sat down next to Xander, "How are you holding up?"
"Oh I'm great Giles, we're all going to die a very horrible and grizzly death but it's ok, nobody lives forever right?" Xander said sarcastically.
Giles smiled at Xander, his humor was always inappropriately timed but sometimes it was necessary, "we'll get through this Xander, we always do".
Kennedy left the group to go upstairs to check on Willow. As she looked around the bedroom door she saw Willow was still asleep. I'll just leave her, she thought, no point in waking her up till we find out what we're going to do. Kennedy closed the bedroom door and made her way back down the stairs to join the others. She was pleased to see Jade sitting up when she entered the room but was also worried, "Jesus Jade, are you trying to rip your stitches?"
"Relax petal, everything's A ok," Jade said, her speech somewhat slurred.
Kennedy turned to Buffy, "my god. Is she stoned?"
Buffy smiled, "I think so, but her stitches are fine, I checked them when she sat up, she heals faster than I do."
Dawn was keeping watch for Angel and Faith. She was worried about how Buffy would react to Faith; things still weren't completely ok between the two slayers. Still at least Faith wouldn't be going for Buffy's boyfriend this time around, what with Jade being a girl and all, unless Faith was into girls that is, she doubted it though, Faith married Robin after all and he was full of manliness.
She felt sorry for Faith in a way; she had finally started to get her life on track, getting married, becoming a watcher and getting pregnant, now she had lost the baby. It seemed like Faith wasn't allowed to be happy. Everyone deserves to be happy, Dawn thought, even the try and kill your sister types.
Dawn was so deep in thought she didn't even notice Angel and Faith pulling up, the first she knew was when she heard Faith shouting Jade's name. Faith rushed over to Jade, knocking Buffy out of the way to get to her.
"Jesus J, what the hell did they do to you?" she asked, worry audible in her voice.
"I'm ok Faith; you should see the other guys," Jade said, trying to joke.
"You manage to dust a few of those bastards?"
"No but I'm pretty sure I bruised their fists with my face."
Faith laughed as she ruffled Jade's hair, "crazy bitch."
"Hey, watch the hair; I don't have the pleasure of a reflection remember."
Buffy could feel anger building inside her; Jade and Faith had obviously gotten close in the time they spent together before Jade came over here. She wondered if something had happened between them but stopped herself before she got mental images. Buffy behave, she thought, Faith's married and besides she's way too much of a tramp to go for women.
"Hello Faith," Buffy said trying not to sound too pissed off.
"Hey B, I hear you're having a bit of trouble?"
"Yup, with a capital T," Xander piped up from the corner.
Faith stood and shook Xander's hand; they were nowhere near the hugging stage. Faith turned to Giles and gave him a hug. She knew Giles would never forget all the terrible things she had done, but he forgave her and for that she almost loved they guy.
"So G, what's happening?" she asked the watcher.
"Well I'm just waiting on word from the council, they are sending over more slayers," he said.
"Cool, the more the merrier." Faith turned to see Illeryia. "So your Illeryia, Angel told me you were blue but I thought he meant blue as in unhappy not blue as in the color blue."
"To be unhappy is a human emotion and human emotion is pointless, you would all have more chance of surviving this if you weren't so emotional!" Illeryia said pointedly.
"Ok then," Faith said as she turned around at the sound of a phone ringing.
Giles walked over to the phone and answered it with a curt hello. "Rupert it's Louisa, everything is in place, we are sending fifty-seven slayers over to you in one of our private jets first thing in the morning."
"In the morning, we need them here sooner," Giles said angrily.
"I understand that Rupert, but in light of your situation I thought it better if they landed during the daytime, plus we have very fast jets."
"Of course, sorry, I wasn't thinking, what time will they arrive?"
"Their flight leaves Britain at oh eight hundred hours; they should land in LA at oh six hundred hours."
"Thank you Louisa, I shall call you once they have arrived." Hanging up the phone Giles turned to the others, "the slayers arrive at 6am."
Chapter Twenty Three
Buffy picked Jade up from the sofa and turned to Dawn, "will you show Faith to her room? I think it's a good idea for us to get some rest while we can."
"Sure thing sis," Dawn said cocking her head in Faith's direction, motioning for her to follow.
Faith grabbed her bag and followed Dawn upstairs. "So Dawn, Buffy and Jade?"
"What, oh, yeah, they're seeing each other," Dawn responded distractedly.
"Wow I didn't think Buffy played for the other team."
"Yeah well I guess she got so sick of you trying to steal her boyfriends. She figured she'd be safer dating another woman," Dawn said sarcastically.
Faith just laughed, she knew she could have Jade if she wanted but she didn't swing that way. Things might not be too great between her and Robin right now but she loved him and she knew he loved her. She hoped there was a phone in her room; she promised Robin she would call when she arrived.
"So this is your room," Dawn said as she stopped outside one of the bedrooms.
"Cool, thanks kid," Faith said absently.
"I'm not a kid," Dawn shouted over her shoulder as she walked to her own room.
As Buffy laid Jade down on the bed she couldn't stop the tears falling from her eyes. Jade looked at Buffy and ran her hand over her cheek, "I'm ok Buffy, I won't be doing any crazy gymnastics for a few days but I'll survive."
"I know, it's just, please don't think I'm not grateful but they could have killed you easily," Buffy said through clouded eyes.
"I know, I've been thinking about that too. The first wants me for something, I just don't know what," Jade agreed.
Buffy kissed Jade softly on the lips, as soft as the kiss was it still made Jade wince. Jade didn't mind the pain, she was alive and she was with Buffy, which was all that mattered right now. Buffy held Jade in her arms, careful not to hurt her and they soon fell into a light sleep.
Everyone but Angel and Giles had gone to bed. Angel paced the room as Giles looked on, "something troubling you Angel?"
"Yes....why is Jade still alive? If the first sees her as an obstacle why didn't those super vamps kill her when they had the chance?"
Giles became puzzled, he hadn't really thought about it, "I'm not sure, maybe Jade put up a fight?"
"Put up a fight? Giles did you see her?" Angel asked becoming more anxious. "Buffy said that when Jade first awoke as a vampire the bringer's were trying to tie Jade up. The first needs her for something Giles; we need to figure out what that is."
"I agree, but right now Angel, I think Buffy's right, we should get some sleep," Giles said, weariness in his voice.
"You sleep, I've got a few contacts I need to speak to, Illeryia, come with me."
Illeryia obliged, she didn't need to sleep. Giles watched as Angel and Illeryia left the house. Angel was right, the first wanted Jade for something, he knew what ever it was they would find out eventually, probably when it was to late.
As Angel pulled up outside the familiar house he told Illeryia to stay put. He didn't have time for the questions her appearance would raise. Angel was nervous when he knocked on the front door of the house until he realized it was Connor answering the door. He hadn't wanted to explain to Connor's 'parents' what he was doing there.
"Angel?" Connor said, obviously surprised.
"Hey kid, you got time for a quick talk? I need your help with something."
"Does it involve demons?"
"It does," Angel told his son.
"Ok." Connor turned and yelled into the house, "Mom, Dad, I'm going out, I won't be late."
Angel could hear agreements coming from inside the house. Connor got into the car and turned to see Illeryia sitting in the back seat, "hey."
Illeryia cocked her head to one side, "hello."
"So," Connor said as Angel got into the car, "what's up?"
As Angel drove he told Connor everything from the bringer's and super vamps to his theory on how the first has plans for Jade.
"So why don't you just kill Jade yourself?" Connor asked.
"Because if I did that Buffy would probably kill me. Besides, I could be wrong, it wouldn't be the first time," Angel answered, not removing his eyes from the road.
"Any ideas on how your going to find out about this Jade and where exactly do I fit in to all this?" Connor asked.
"I have a few contacts that have their ear to the ground and you fit in because we need all the strength we can muster. This is bad Connor, end of the world bad," Angel said glumly.
Connor looked like he was about to jump out of the car and run like the wind but he just turned to Angel and said, "Ok, count me in."
Angel dropped Connor back off at his home and told him he would pick him up tomorrow night, "tell your parents I'm taking you camping or something."
"Yeah like they'll believe that, don't worry, I'll think of something."
Angel drove on to a tattoo shop where one of his contacts worked. As he pulled up outside he was pleased to see the lights still on. It meant Jax was still there. Jax was a Xian demon; although he was by no means harmless he lived quiet and didn't bother humans. He had the ability to change his form at will and had amused Angel with his tricks quite a few times. Angel walked into the tattoo shop and headed for the back where he would find Jax.
"Angel buddy, long time no see, I was wondering if you were still alive," Jax told his vampire friend.
"Yeah, sorry Jax, been busy, this isn't a social call I'm afraid," Angel replied.
"Oh and here I thought you might have taken up my offer of a free tattoo."
"Some other time maybe, right now I need to know what you've heard about the first?"
"Tell you what Buddy, how about you tell me what's going on and I'll tell you what I know, if I know anything that is," Jax replied evasively.
"Fine, friend of mine came across this vamp, but not an ordinary vamp, turns out this vamp is a slayer as well, super strong, bringers tried to kidnap her when she first awoke after being turned, turns out there're more of them out there like her, except for one small detail, she has a soul, they don't."
Jax thought for a moment, "yeah, heard about those, turns out a lot of regular vamps got pushed out of their territory round the edge of town, way I heard it, the first is looking to build an army, got a bit pissed off after Sunnydale. A couple of these vamps you talk about were shooting their mouth off in Nicky's bar a couple of nights back, said they jumped the slayer and her pal in the sewers and they ran away like scared little pigs, that's all I got buddy."
"Thanks Jax, that's a big help, tell you what, when this is done with, I'll let you give me that free tattoo." Angel got back in his car and told Illeryia where they were going and why, "we find one of these super vamps and I'll ask the questions but it's your job to make it talk."
Illeryia smiled, "I shall make it squeal like a cow!"
Angel laughed, "it's pig, Illeryia, you'll make it squeal like a pig."
Angel and Illeryia walked into Nicky's bar, usually the sight of a blue woman would be cause for concern but not here, most of Nicky's customers were demons of some kind or vampires.
"Hey Nicky, how's things?" Angel asked as he stood by the bar.
"Good, what can I do for you and your friend tonight?" Nicky asked, eyeing Illeryia.
"We're looking for a vampire, not your average vampire, young, female, strong?"
Nicky looked around to make sure nobody was listening, "over there, in the corner, she's one of them, but Angel, she's wicked strong, you don't want to mess with her."
"Just going to ask her a few questions Nicky, can I borrow the back room?"
"Sure Angel, help yourself, just try not to leave too much mess ok, I'm still finding blood after the last time." Angel smiled at Nicky and motioned to Illeryia to follow him. Angel sat down in front of the super vamp while Illeryia hovered about her menacingly.
"So I hear you're stronger than the average vamp?" Angel asked.
The super vamp looked up from her pint of blood, none to happy about being disturbed, "yeah so you'd better push off."
Angel looked at Illeryia, "bring her."
Illeryia grabbed the super vamp under the arms and dragged her to the back room where she sat her down on a chair, "please do not try to escape, I would be forced to kill you and we would like some information from you before I do that." The super vamp got up from the chair to try and make a break for it but Illeryia pushed her back down, "please remain seated."
The super vamp did as she was told, this blue chick was strong and she wasn't looking to get dusted.
"So," Angel began, "you're working for the first?"
"I'm not telling you anything," the super vamp snarled right before Illeryia smacked her in the jaw.
"We'll try again," Angel told the super vamp. "Do you work for the first?"
The super vamp looked up, they were going to kill her anyway, she might as well talk "yeah, what's it to you?"
"I'm looking for information on a vamp, not unlike yourself, this one has a soul and I know the first wants her for something and I want you to tell me what that is."
The super vamp shook her head, "I don't know what you're talking about." Angel looked at Illeryia and she took this as her cue to do some damage, she took hold of the super vamp's arm with both hands and snapped it like a twig. The super vamp screamed in pain, "Okay, okay, this vamp you talk about, the first needs her, there's a ritual to perform and once that's done the first can enter her and control her."
"Why not just use one of the others? The first must have a few of you kicking around."
The super vamp shook her head, "we have no soul, the ritual can only be performed on a vampire with a soul and I know what your thinking, why not any old vampire with a soul right? It has to be this one; she's the only one strong enough to hold the first."
Angel nodded to Illeryia and she obliged by ripping the vampire's head from its shoulders. "Come on, we need to warn Buffy, Jade has to be eliminated!"
Chapter Twenty Four
Angel and Illeryia walked into David's house to find Willow was the only one up. "Hey Willow, where's Buffy?" Angel asked quietly.
"Oh hey Angel, she's still asleep," Willow answered.
"Could you get her for me, there's something I need to discuss with her."
"Sure," Willow said as she got up from the chair and made her way upstairs.
"Do you need me to kill this vampire Angel?" Illeryia asked calmly.
Angel turned to Illeryia, "No, not yet at least."
"I am confused; you said she must be eliminated."
"I have to talk to Buffy about this, it's her decision not mine."
Angel looked up to see Buffy following Willow into the living room, "take a seat Buffy, we have to talk."
Willow took hold of Illeryia's arm and led her to the kitchen, she figured this was one of those talks that required privacy.
"What did you find out?" Buffy asked as she sat on the sofa.
"I found out why the first wants Jade alive," Angel said quietly.
Buffy was immediately concerned, she could tell by the look on Angel's face that she wasn't going to like what she was about to hear. "Well, what is it?" she asked, not wanting to put off the inevitable.
"The first is planning to enter Jade and control her, Illeryia and I found one of these super vamps and got her to talk, she said the first needs to perform a ritual that will allow it to enter Jade. It'll mean that the first will have corporeal form and a strong corporeal form at that. I know this isn't want you want to hear Buffy but we need to take Jade out, she's more of a threat than any of us realized."
Buffy jumped up from the sofa, "are you insane? I am not going to kill her and I will kill anyone that tries, none of this is her fault, there has to be another way!"
"Buffy if there's another way I don't see it."
Buffy glared at Angel, "you just don't want to see, I know you have that whole vampire sniffing thing going on, tell me this has nothing to do with Jade being my girlfriend!"
Angel hung his head, "I'm not going to lie and say I'm happy abut you and Jade Buffy, but it really isn't about that, if the first gains control of Jade, it's over, don't you realize that?"
"Of course I realize that, but you said yourself, a ritual has to be performed first and I'm guessing they need Jade for it, we'll just have to make sure that doesn't happen!"
"What if we can't Buffy?"
"Then I'll deal with it," Faith answered from the stairs. She had heard Angel come in and had made her way down the stairs a few minutes after Buffy and had heard everything, "Buffy's right, we will find another way, Jade doesn't deserve to be punished for this, she didn't ask for any of this."
Buffy turned to face Faith, totally surprised by her support, "Thank you."
"Hey no problem B."
The argument downstairs had woken up the rest of the house and one by one they all made their way down the stairs. After Buffy filled them in, they all agreed that they would find another way and if they couldn't they would do what ever was necessary to protect Jade.
Just then Faith stood up, "where's Jade B, she still asleep? She needs to hear this."
Buffy made her way towards the stairs, "I guess she does, I'll go get her."
As Buffy walked into her and Jade's room she was surprised to find the bed empty. Figuring she was in the bathroom, she checked but there was no sign of her. She was there when Willow woke me up, Buffy thought.
It was then she noticed the open window. No way Jade would have gotten up and snuck out the window, she couldn't have even if she wanted to, she was still weak. Buffy almost flew down the stairs and into the living room where the others were arguing amongst themselves.
"She's gone, Jade's gone!"
Willow was the first to speak, "gone, gone where, did she over hear us talking?"
"No, she's been taken, while I was down here, they took her," Buffy cried, panic in her voice.
Illeryia looked on, "then we must get her back, we cannot allow this first to carry out it's plans!"
Buffy felt rage, fear, and sadness all at once. Her lover had been kidnapped and now, if they didn't find her in time she may have to kill her, "Willow, can you bring back the scythe?"
"I can put it back in its dimension bubble and retrieve it from there," Willow answered.
"Good do that, Angel, if you have any really strong contacts, now would be a good time to bring them in, we're going in, and I'm getting my girlfriend back!"
"Buffy what about the slayers, they are arriving in four hours?" Giles asked.
"We don't have time to wait Giles, if we wait it will be too late, the ritual will be performed and it will be too late."
"We could keep them on standby just in case we need back up," Xander suggested.
"No," said Giles abruptly. "We will wait for the other slayers, even if we were to leave now it would be too late to save Jade, there is no sense in the rest of us going to our death as well!"
Buffy looked at Giles, rage forming in her eyes, "Jade is not dead, but if we wait she will be lost forever!"
"Buffy, I promise you we will find a way to bring her back but right now you must think with your head and not your heart. Angel, call your contacts, tell them to meet us here in four hours," Giles said, attempting to take control of the situation. Angel nodded and made his way over to the phone.
"How can I think with anything other than my heart when it's screaming in my chest Giles?"
Giles gave Buffy one of his I shall not be moved looks and Buffy reluctantly backed down, Giles was probably right, he usually was. Willow walked into the room carrying the scythe, "Easy peasy, what now?"
Buffy turned to Willow, "a locator spell, we need to know exactly where Jade's being kept."
"I'm on it, Kennedy, a little help," Willow said, nodding at her girlfriend. Kennedy nodded and followed Willow into the kitchen, she knew this was bad, she liked Jade but if she had to kill her to save the world she would, and Buffy would probably kill her for trying mind you.
Faith was numb, Jade was a friend, a good one at that, the thought of loosing her was almost to much, "Buffy we have to save her, I'm tired of loosing people," Faith pleaded quietly.
"We will Faith, we will."
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