The Fifth Slayerette (a.k.a. The First SunS Round Robin)

by The Sunnydale Slayers
Copyright 1997

My, but it's hard to get these guys started! This is my very first attempt at even plotting Buffyfic, so bear with me if I miss something.

[Author shakes head] You'd think, with this many characters, you'd have something to go with, but Buffy is so not working during her summer vacation, Giles just ducks his head into the stacks and mutters, Angel... oh forget it! Nikki Calendar is busy talking to Chris [g], Willow's playing shy, and Xander just pouts and says he's bored and nothing is happening.

I'm ready to smack them all! :-p

So I decided to drag Xander and Willow front-n-center together, and sure enough, together they'll start telling tales on each other [vwg]... but then, all of a sudden comes Cordelia, of all people, out of nowhere. And believe me, if the subject happens to be "Me, me, me!"-- you just can't shut her up. She's great! (Even if Willow and Xander keep making faces behind her back ;-)))

So... (last paragraph of babble-- I promise!)

O.k., I realized that the title of 'Slayerette' is ambiguous at best, so this is how I, in my infinite wisdom , decided to call it: Xander and Willow are the first two Slayerettes. (Nobody objecting so far, I hope?:) Excluding Giles is largely a matter of semantics-- I decided since he gets to be the Watcher, he can live without the Slayerette title as well. I'm letting Angel in, not just because he's around, but because he was part of the cavalry coming to Buffy's rescue in 'Prophecy Girl', which seems to qualify him. (Despite Xander's very vocal objections on the subject-- I love you, Xander. Now shut up!) Ms. Calendar can be counted in as far back as 'I Robot', leaving, by my completely biased count, Cordelia as...

[drumroll please, Anton]

The Fifth Slayerette (a.k.a. The First SunS Round Robin)
Part 1 -- by
Dianne T. DeSha, the ListMom

The library was cool.

Not the way being the self-appointed Watcher of the cheerleading squad was cool. But the way not watching your skin dry and crack and shrivel up like a mummy's face in the burning California sun was cool.

It was cool, it was air-conditioned and-- for two Slayerettes who knew how to make impressive puppydog faces through the glass at a push-over British librarian-- it was open, even three weeks before classes started up again for the fall.

Unfortunately, it was also boring.

"Whatcha doin', Wil?" Xander asked distractedly as he attempted to balance a pencil point-first on the palm of his hand.

The teen looked up from her computer screen at him, "I'm hacking into NASA to charter a flight on the next space shuttle."

"Oh... cool...." The pencil clattered to the floor and Xander looked up, a frown slowly forming on his face. "Huh?"

Willow rolled her eyes before settling back down to the keyboard. "I'm doing a web search on 'ectoplasmic phenomena' for Giles... just like I was five minutes ago... and five minutes before that... and...."

"Yeah, yeah, o.k. Point made, no sledgehammer necessary!" Xander flopped down into a chair again. "I still don't know how you stay awak..."

He was interrupted by a sudden pounding at the door.

"Hello? *Hello!* I know you're in there! Open up! This is important!"

Xander and Willow exchanged looks... and winces.

"Cordelia needs to get a life," Xander mumbled as he slowly got up to open the door before Ms. Popularity broke it down with her impeccably manicured fists. Despite the noise level, he noticed that Giles remained firmly hidden away somewhere deep in the stacks.

"Is she here?" Cordelia demanded, brushing right by the teen still holding the door for her.

"Nice to see you too, Cordelia," he muttered.

She rounded on him, eyes open wide in distress, "I need to see Buffy. It's a matter of life and death!"

Xander made a show of slowly closing the door and sighing. "Look, Cordelia. I know you were a big help with the Master and the end of the world and all, but, for the last time: a change in humidity does not mean your hair is possessed, your little nieces are not the spawn of Satan," he placed a comforting arm around her shoulder, "And the return of tie-dye is not a sign of the Apocalypse."

"As if!" she scoffed as she pointedly shrugged him away. "Ask me if I so do not care what you think!" Turning toward Willow for in an appeal for aid, she repeated, "This is serious!"

With a barely noticeable sigh Willow cooperated, "What's wrong now, Cordelia?"

Sparing an 'It's about time!' glare for Xander, Cordelia gathered herself together for her dramatic announcement. "It's my car."

Willow's eyebrows raised slightly.

"My car!" Cordelia insisted, her poise slipping in the face of apparently genuine fear. "It's... it's *alive*!"

Part 2 -- by Celli Lane

"Aliiiiive." Xander drew out the word as long as possible.

"Your car is alive?" Willow tried to keep a straight face. "Do you mean, like...possessed?"

"Isn't that the same thing?"

Xander rolled his eyes at Willow behind Cordelia's back. "Excuse me while I have a major KITT flashback," he said dryly.

The brunette whirled on him. "Will you stop that? Do you really, really think I'd be here if I wasn't worried?" She turned to Willow. "Do you?"

The other two looked at Cordelia, then each other, then back.

"Yes," Xander said.

But Willow took pity for some reason. "Come on, Xander. We owe Cordelia a look."

It looked like a car--a nice, normal car that neither Willow nor Xander could afford. It didn't look alive.

"When did it start acting up?" Willow asked as she circled it warily. "On the way over here?"

"No, last night," Cordelia said. Willow noticed with amusement that Xander had automatically placed himself between the possible danger and the two girls. When he realized what he was doing, he blushed and stepped back.

Cordelia looked at him oddly, then continued. "I was heading for the Bronze, not paying know how that goes...when suddenly I looked up and saw the front gate of the graveyard."

"And you're sure you didn't just drive there when you 'weren't paying attention'?" Xander asked sardonically.

"Do you really think I'd mistake the graveyard for the Bronze? Besides, I already thought of that. But when I tried to leave, it wouldn' wouldn't start." Her voice hitched. "I couldn't leave! And then it started talking."

"It what?" "What did it say?" Xander and Willow spoke at the same time.

"'Help.' It kept saying...'Help me.' I kept trying and trying, and the engine just wouldn't..." She took a sharp breath and collected herself. "It wasn't working, okay?" she said in her most Cordelia-ish voice. "So I got out and ran."


Willow elbowed Xander.

"When I woke up this morning, I figured it was just a stupid dream. Especially when I found the car parked in the driveway. So I headed for the Mall..." The highway to the only mall near Sunnydale went right past the high school.

"And?" Willow prompted.

"And it started again. Talking, I mean. She said...I don't know!"

"It was a woman's voice?"

"Yes. And a woman's name. She gave me her name."

"Well?" Xander asked impatiently after Cordelia shut her mouth and looked away. "What's your car's name?"

Cordelia shot him a killing look. "Darla. It...she said her name was Darla. Okay?"

Part 3 -- by Christina K

Willow's eyes widened enough to show white around the edges as she squeaked "Darla?"

Xander took an automatic step backward, his arms waving around in denial before he managed to articulate, "No. No no no no no no---"

"What? Why are you two freaking on me?" Cordelia demanded plaintively.

"Darla was a vampire," Willow whispered as she edged a few steps away from the car. "Angel killed her---she was trying to kill Buffy---"

"We are not helping a possessed car named Darla," Xander asserted, "No way. It can just stay possessed, or haunted, or poltergeisted! We're not getting near it, and we sure aren't going to do an Exorcist number on it!" He tugged Willow back with him, and automatically reached to do the same with Cordelia, who yanked her arm out of his grasp, her voice rising in frightened fury as she turned to yell at the other teen.

"Fine! I didn't want your help anyway, I wanted Buffy's! She'll know what to do! She's the one with the super-powers, she'll be able to make it go away---"

"You're not pulling Buffy into this," Xander said, trying to sound reasonable, "it's totally unfair to her---"


"Why? It's her job, isn't it?"

"Yeah, but this is different. This is someone who deserves to stay dead---"


"But not in my *car*!" Cordelia actually stamped her foot, her hands still tightened into fists, and Xander's jaw set as he yelled back at her through clenched teeth.

"Get another car! It's not like your Dad wouldn't be happy to buy you one, if you pouted enough---"


"What?" Cordelia and Xander finally quit fighting long enough to look at Willow. She was pointing down the school driveway---where the BMW was merrily tooling away in reverse. As they watched in stunned astonishment, it pulled a U-turn, rounded the corner out of the parking lot, and took off down the street.

"Oh, no... !" Cordelia stared, horrified, then whirled on Xander. "This is all your fault! If you hadn't said you wouldn't help, it wouldn't have left!"

"Oh, come on," Xander objected defensively. "It probably just decided it needed an oil change, or a tune-up... or something..." He smiled weakly at Willow and then rolled his eyes at her rueful expression. "Okay, okay, so, it looks like you were right, Cordy: your car *is* the reincarnation of 'Christine.' I still say it's no reason not to just trade it in for a Miata---"

"Darla," Cordelia reminded him, stalking back into the high school. "Her name's Darla. Where's Buffy?" She demanded of Giles, who had the bad timing to come out of the stacks at that point.

"I believe she's out shopping for a .. 'killer suit'," Giles responded warily, eying the three teens with trepidation. "She mentioned a pool party next weekend... is there a problem?"

"Cordelia's car just went joyriding. By itself. Without the keys, even," Willow informed him. She glanced from a sullen Xander and glaring Cordelia and back at the librarian. "And it talked to her."

"Indeed?" Giles blinked at them, and then hesitantly said, "Buffy did say that she would take her pager along---I suppose this could be considered grounds for contacting her. Although what she can do about the situation frankly escapes me."

"Of course it is! Which is what we should have done in the first place!" If Cordelia were a little younger, Giles thought, she would be sticking out her tongue at Xander; who, if he were only a few years younger, would no doubt respond by crossing his eyes and making rude faces. "Darla could be anywhere by now!"

"Excuse me?" Giles swallowed, looking nervous.

"Now you know why I didn't think we should do anything," Xander said smugly. "The ghost in her machine is an ex-vampire we knew and loathed. I say let Darla have the car if she wants it so bad---"

"Well, strictly speaking, vampires don't usually become ghosts," Giles said, punching in the number for Buffy's beeper somewhat distractedly. "Which does bring up the question of who---or what---is causing Ms. Chase's automobile to become... self-mobile."

"I just want my car back," Cordelia snapped, crossing her arms. "Without the voice in it wanting to go to the cemetery. I mean, ick!" She shuddered, her face threatening to crumple for a second before regaining its look of thwarted pique. "Buffy has to fix this, I can't have this keep happening, I'll never get to the mall again..."

"She's right. The department stores can't be allowed to miss her Visa for too long, the economy's unstable as it is."

"You're so *not* funny. Just like you're so very futile. I *knew* you couldn't help me, I should have just waited for Buffy---"

"Hey, if I'd wanted to help, I could have. I just didn't want to," Xander protested, stung at Cordelia's criticism. "Giles, are you *sure* it couldn't be the Darla we knew? I mean, really sure?"

"Relatively sure."

"That's not as reassuring as really really sure," Willow observed.

"Okay, so, it's just a ghost. Easy. We find the car, we ask it what it wants, we give it what it needs, it goes bu-bye! And Cordelia's back to the Galleria just in time for Payless to avoid bankruptcy."

"Not even!" Cordelia snorted. "Payless. Like I'd go there..."

"I feel I should point out that you have no idea *where* her car is at this time. Before anything whatsoever can be done, we'll need both the car and possibly Buffy herself, and she has yet to answer my page."

"Maybe it's at the graveyard," Willow suggested, raising her eyebrows. "That's where it went last time. Maybe it went back there."

"Great. We have a plan. Let's go." Xander started walking toward the door. "The crosstown bus stops one block from the cemetery, we'll be driving Darla the Funny-Car back in half an hour."

"You're not doing anything without me there!" Cordelia said sharply, hurrying to catch up with him. "I'm not trusting the welfare of my BMW to *you*, Xander Harris."

"Umm, guys? Wait, what if it isn't --- Giles?"

"Too late to reason with them," the librarian said resignedly. "I suggest you go along to keep them from killing each other; Buffy and I will join you there shortly, if you don't return first."

"That sounds awfully ominous," Willow said, slowly following the other two out of the library.

"It wasn't meant to," Giles replied. "But perhaps you'd better call when you get there?"


The three teens stood outside the Sunnydale Cemetery, Willow talking on the payphone to Giles. "It's not here. Xander wants to take the next bus back, but Cordelia wants to wait for it. What should we do?"

Giles's response was lost in the ensuing pandemonium....

Part 4 -- by Lizbet Lewis

Buffy was not having a good day. Bad enough that she couldn't find her dream bikini, even after looking all day and well into the early evening. Bad enough that her new clogs were giving her blisters. Bad enough that a freak bout of humidity made her look like a refuge from "The Bride of Frankenstein."

But it really sucked that she had to run into Colin the Wonder Creepy Child again.

There he was, standing innocent and panicked in the middle of the children's department at Goshawk's, clutching his toy car remote, whimpering that he wanted his mama. It gave Buffy serious wig. After all, he wasn't a child, he was a blood-sucking demon. OK, so most children were that, but he really was a demon.

She really needed to get him out of there.

"Bobby!" She plastered a fake smile on her face and walked up to where he was surrounded by cooing female sales staff. "There you are! Mom's been looking for you! She's freaking." Buffy grabbed him by the arm and started dragging him away, clamping one hand over his mouth to still any protests he might have made. "Thank you so much for looking after him," she told the women hovering. "We were so worried. Bite me and die," she told Colin under her breath.

They were out in the parking lot before Buffy let go of him. "OK, kid, what do you want?"

"Your death," he said.

Buffy wondered where the Master had gotten the weird voice scrambler, and how he had managed to permanently implant it in Colin's throat. "Yeah, yeah, come up with something new and original, why don't you? You're a vampire, but I'm a vampire slayer and I've got something like sixty pounds on you. How are you going to kill me?"

"Like this." Colin raised the remote, which he had been fiddling with all during Buffy's drag from the department store, and pointed it behind Buffy.

A black BMW -- CORDELIA'S black Beemer, if Buffy wasn't mistaken -- came barreling down the aisle of the parking lot, directly at Buffy. Fast. Sans driver. She dodged out of the way, and the car turned around with a squeal of tires and headed back. "And to think all this time I thought Cordelia driving the thing was bad... it's worse without her!"

By the time the car stopped playing it's game of remote chicken, Colin was gone and Buffy's beeper was going off. She recognized the library's number and grabbed the closest pay phone to return the call. "Way to go, Giles, welcome to modern technology."

"We have a problem," Giles began.

"We always have a problem," Buffy countered. "Mine is that Creepy Boy Wonder is wandering around Sunnydale with the toy car from hell."

"Toy car? Odd. My problem includes cars... wait, that's the other line. [There is too another line! Pffffffft.] I asked Willow to call me when she and Xander -- and Cordelia -- reached the cemetery."

"Cemetery? Whoa, wait, bad idea..."

Giles ignored her. Since Sunnydale High School's library didn't come equipped with anything as sophisticated as a hold button (let alone a two-line phone), Buffy heard the faint click of Giles laying the handset of the phone on the counter, crossing to his office to answer the other line, and his side of his conversation with Willow.

And heard very clearly a horrible crashing, rending, breaking sound.

"Giles? GILES?" Buffy muttered a few things that she didn't care to repeat in company, hung up the phone, and headed for the library. Fast.

Part 5 -- by Perri Smith

There was no one in the library when Buffy got there; one of the phones was off the hook and Giles's car wasn't in the parking lot. Chanting dire threats towards Slayerettes who couldn't stay out of trouble for five minutes without supervision, she got back into her mom's car and headed for her least favorite place in all of Sunnydale.

She heard the sounds of chaos a full block before she reached the cemetary, and her eyes went wide as she turned the corner.

Cordelia's black BMW was attempting to smash through the heavy iron fence around the cemetary. While this would have been considered a Bad Thing all on its own, it was complicated by the fact that a) the car seemed intent on smashing through Xander, Giles, Willow, and... Cordelia? in the process and b) there was no one in the driver's seat.

"Ookay," Buffy breathed out. "Creepy Boy Colin is really getting around today. How fun." She briefly considered ramming the Beemer with her own vehicle, but decided the giant-sized cow her mom would have made that a last-ditch option. Besides, judging from the look of Giles's car, abandoned a few feet away, that tactic didn't work too well.

Instead, she jumped out of her car and raced towards the BMW, as it took another lunge towards the fence. Willow and Giles threw themselves to one side, Xander managed to tackle Cordelia away on the other side, and the car crashed into the fence with an earth-shaking racket.

Colin was nowhere in sight; Buffy debated trying to find the little pain in the neck and take his toy away, then gave the idea up in favor of getting her friends out of the immediate danger.

"Go!" she told Willow and Giles fiercely, as she helped them off the ground and turned to face the rampaging Yuppie-mobile. "I'll keep him busy!"

"Keep *her* busy!" Willow shouted back, ignoring the order as usual. "It's Darla!"

"What? No, it's Colin...." Buffy blinked at her friend in utter confusion. The moment of distraction almost cost her; the car's engine revved and she was barely able to get out of the way before the driver's side door swung open, narrowly avoiding slamming Buffy into the fence.

Buffy's eyes narrowed and she took her chance, lunging through the open door and into the driver's seat, grabbing for the steering wheel and the brakes. That might have been a mistake, she realized, as the door slammed shut and locked, cutting off the joint scream of "No!" that emerged from her friends.

Buffy tried to break through the window, smashing frantically with her elbow at the glass, but it was too thick. The fan suddenly came on full blast, and Buffy smelled fumes, heavy and choking, coming out of the vents.

"Hello, Buffy," a sickeningly familiar voice purred from the dashboard. "I've been waiting for you."

'But... Darla's dead,' was the last thing Buffy thought before she passed out.


"Buffy!" Xander tried to chase the car down the street, but it went from 0 to 60 in three seconds, leaving him in the dust, cursing Cordelia for having to drive something high-end. He could have *caught* a Pinto.

Giving up, he jogged back to meet the others, who were still staring after the car in shock.

"This is bad, right?" Cordelia hesitantly stated the obvious.

"Bad doesn't quite cover it," Xander panted, sliding to the ground with his back to the fence and trying to catch his breath. "That thing's got Buffy. This goes pretty much all the way to cataclysmic. Oh, man, I thought summer was for *vacations*! How are we gonna find Buffy?"

"Wait a moment." Giles had suddenly perked up. "When I spoke with Buffy on the phone, she mentioned a meeting with the Anointed One, something about a 'toy car'. I wonder...."

"She said 'It's Colin' before," Willow pointed out, looking and sounding vaguely sick. "Do you think she's right?"

"It would rank as a rather large coincidence if he is not behind this," Giles said thoughtfully, gazing after the car.

"If he is, then all we have to do is find *him*," Xander exclaimed as he bounced back to his feet, concern for Buffy overriding all fear, fatigue, and rational thought. "We'll take him and Darla the Wonder Car down, and get Buffy back. No problem!"

Giles, Willow and Cordelia gave him nearly-identical sideways looks, and he suddenly registered how very idiotic he sounded. "We could come up with a plan first and everything..." His voice trailed off lamely. "Well, we have to do something!"

"We *will* rescue Buffy!" Giles's voice rang with utter determination. "We'll simply, ah, need some.... Well, some help."

Part 6 -- by Betsy Vera

When Buffy woke up, she was still in the car. The air blowing through the vents was breathable. She tried the doors and windows, but the electronic locks wouldn't give. Through the windows, she could see the car was parked in a back alley.

"Buffy?" Darla's voice came from the stereo speakers.

This was weird, even for Buffy. "Aren't you supposed to be dead?"


Buffy shook her head and tried the locks again.

"Buffy, help me."

Darla's entreating tone gave Buffy the wig. She crawled to the back seat and tried the locks there. "And I would do this, why?"

"You helped Angel."

"Yeaah. But he wasn't trying to kill me, and you were, remember?"

"That wasn't me, that was the demon."

"So, like, you're pleading 400 years of temporary insanity?"

"Listen!" For a moment, Darla sounded like her vampire self. After a pause, she continued. "Please, listen. All I know is, I died a long time ago--"

"We're talking centuries here, right?"

"Yes, centuries. At least four. Then there's... nothing... for a long time... then I'm back in my body right at the moment when Angel killed the demon that had my body. Then I died again. Except, th-this time," her voice faltered. "This time, I know everything the demon did in my name, and now I'm stuck in this car. You have to help me!"

A million questions went through Buffy's mind. She settled for, "Why Cordelia's car? No, wait, how Cordelia's car?"

"I don't know!!!" Again that helpless note in Darla's voice.

Buffy gave up on the locks and turned to face the front of the car. "Okay, so let's say I believe you. Not that I do, mind you, but let's say I do. Why are you asking for help now? Why not right after Angel killed you?"

"Do you have any idea how hard it is to learn to control a car from the inside?" Now she sounded sarcastic. "When I was alive, all we had was horses. What do I know about automatic transmissions and cruise control?"

"So, what do you want me to do? Front-end alignment? Rustproofing? Maybe racing stripes?"

"I want to get out of here." Pleading.

"And that's why you tried to kill me at the mall and almost made waffles out of my friends?"

"I wasn't trying to *kill* them! I was trying to get your attention." Annoyed and impatient. "And that wasn't me at the mall. I mean, it was me, but I wasn't running things. Colin was."

Buffy was getting dizzy from all the mood changes. "Colin? The Annoying One? What does he have to do with this?"

"He found out I was in here before I learned to control the car. He did something to it, and now he can control it and me with his remote. Please, you have to help me!"

Part 7 -- by havocthecat

Insistent pounding interrupted Angel from his perusal of the Sunnydale Library's latest murder mystery. "Not again," he muttered. He marked his page and answered the door.

"You again?" Xander stood, arms crossed, in front of Giles, Willow, and Cordelia. "And you even brought guests. I'd invite you in for something to drink, but..."

"Buffy's been kidnapped," Xander said. "By Colin."

"And Darla," Willow added. Angel's eyes widened in shock.

"That's impossible," he said, turning away slightly. "Darla's dead."

"Yeah, and vampires are impossible," said Xander. "Anything can happen," he said.

"Come on," said Willow.

"If, indeed, it is Darla," said Giles, glancing around uneasily. "We will need your help to stop her."

"If it's Darla," said Angel. "But I guess I'm the only one who's going to be able to tell."

"Does that mean you'll go?" Cordelia asked. "I want my car back!"

"Your car?" Angel paused and glanced at Cordelia. "What do you mean, your car?"

"You don't even want to know," she said, pulling a compact out of her purse.

On the way to the cemetary the Slayerettes kept an eye out for "Darla," but there were no sightings. They did, however; stumble past three women dragging along a very drunk-looking man with long, dark hair. The first one, a short blond woman, was suggesting something about mixing medications while the second, a taller woman with red hair, was trying to talk the third woman, who had long brown hair and was, oddly enough, between the other two in height, out of tossing the man off a tall building to see if he bounced.

"They don't have skyscrapers in Sunnydale," she was saying. "It just wouldn't be as fun from the roof of the school."

"Besides," said the blond woman. "Isn't it much more fun to mix prescriptions?"

"Well, ok," said the brown-haired woman. Xander turned and stared, but no one else seemed to notice the oddness of the situation.

At the cemetary they split up and looked around--Giles with Cordelia, Willow with Xander, and Angel by himself. Half an hour later they gathered back up, and nothing new was reported.

"Great. Buffy's missing, there are no clues, and nothing's happening. Anyone have any ideas?" Xander asked, fidgeting and looking around.

"Well, I don't know much about cars," Giles said.

"Don't look at me," Angel said, shrugging. "I've avoided them as much as possible."

"Neither of us have cars," said Willow, gesturing to Xander. All heads turned to Cordelia.

"Hey, don't look at me," she said, backing up a step. "I turn the key and it goes, ok? I'm not going to get all greasy and yucky actually trying to fix it. That's what you hire mechanics for."

"Good old Cordelia," Xander said. "Always coming through with the monetary solution for us."

Cordelia regarded Xander with absolute disgust. "At least I have a car for when I want to get out of this little town."

"Hey!" Willow regarded them both angrily. "Does it matter who has a car and who doesn't?"

"Not anymore," said Angel, smiling wryly.

"Well, we seem to have lost focus here," said Giles. "Buffy is missing, and the Annointed One seems to be chasing her with an agenda of his own."

"Oh yeah," said Cordelia. Xander looked sheepishly at Willow, who shrugged.

"Now, I suggest that we find Nikki," said Giles. "She's the only one I can think of that I trust who would know anything about cars, or where to find the information we may need to disable Darla."

"What?" Angel asked, looking over at Giles. "Is there something you forgot to tell me?"

"So we're at 'Nikki' now, huh, Giles?" Xander smirked over in Giles' direction.

"I'll explain on the way," Giles said to Angel. "Now, Willow, do you know where Ms. Calendar lives?"

"She's at school late tonight," Willow said. "She mentioned that she had a project to finish up."


"Well, hello," said Ms.. Calendar as Angel, Willow, Xander, Cordelia, and Giles streamed into the computer lab. "Looks like the gang's all here. Is it time to save the world again?"

"Nikki," said Giles, taking off his glasses and polishing them. "We, um, seem to have a slight problem."

"Yeah, the gang's not all here. Where's Buffy?"

"Buffy's been kidnapped," said Willow.

"Great," said Ms. Calendar. "Because we need Buffy. Brother Luca's resurfaced, and apparently this whole Annointed One thing is going to come to a head soon."

"How soon?" Giles looked intently at Ms. Calendar.


"Aw, man, not again," Xander said in disgust. "Don't we ever get any warning when the world's about to end?"

"I don't know if it's about to end precisely," said Ms. Calendar, peering at her computer. "Just get extremely damaged."

"Another prophecy?" Giles rummaged through his pockets for the Codex.

"More vampires?" Cordelia glanced over at Willow, who returned the apprehensive look.

"Well...." Ms. Calendar began when she was interrupted by a crash. She locked her terminal and ran out the door behind everyone else.

"What on earth?" Colin stood in a hole in the wall, remote control in hand, and Cordelia's car was practically flying down the hallway.

"Not again," Cordelia said, grabbing Willow. "My insurance company is going to kill me!"

"Not if he does first," said Willow, pointing over at Colin before running after the car. Cordelia followed suit, and then Xander, Giles, Angel, and Ms. Calendar as well.

They reached the car and saw a groggy Buffy pounding weakly on the window. It had backed up and was preparing to ram the trophy case. Angel, his vampire face extremely evident, ripped the door off the car and pulled Buffy out just before the car sped forward.

With a screaming of metal and a crashing of glass, the trophy case and everything in it was destroyed. A mist swirled around the room and coalesced into the slightly translucent form of Catherine Madison.

Colin, in the background, smiled softly as he watched the events of the night unfold. "It's almost ready," he whispered.

"You," Catherine said, glaring at the barely-conscious Slayer and assembled Slayerettes. She raised her arms above her head and screamed, lightning forming around her hands.

Part 8 -- by Debra Ann Fiorini

"Not exactly," Giles said over his shoulder. He had moved over to where Angel was holding up a greenish-looking and very weak Buffy. Without thinking, he had taken steps to place himself between Buffy and the vehement Catherine. He knew it might be stupid, but he felt a Watcher's place was to protect the Slayer whenever possible.

"She's an unhappy witch," Willow interjected. as she and Xander took immediate steps backwards.

"Well, the unhappy part goes without saying," Ms. Calendar nodded.

Catherine Madison was vigorously incanting as lightning swirled around her, then upwards to flicker against the smoldering ceiling tiles.

As Angel and Giles helped Buffy down the corridor, Ms. Calendar grabbed Willow by the arm. "I just need to know what kind of witch she is."

"I don't know," Willow shook her head and pulled away.

"Do they come in kinds?" Xander asked.

"Yes, but I don't have time to explain," As Ms. Calendar was still speaking, Catherine Madison let forth with a howl.

"I have incanted to bring forth the bowels of Hell," the translucent, levitating witch spoke, "I have bargained my soul for the Hound of Hell. He will come forth to tear your flesh and drink your blood."

"Oh, how very not pleasant," Willow gulped as Xander pulled her through the half-open library door, following Cordelia, Giles, Angel, and a still weak Buffy.

"C'Mon, Ms. Calendar," Xander called over his shoulder, ""I'd like to suggest that now is an excellent time to run for your life!"

Before the words had even finished passing through Xander's lips, a bolt of lightning from Catherine Madison's outstretched hand shot through the air and into the right door of the library. With a sickening crack, the impact blew the door off its hinges and into the room behind. The wall, where the door had been attached, was alit in a white-blue flame.

In a heartbeat after the lightning bolt hit, Ms. Calendar could hear screams from Willow, Cordelia, and Buffy intermingled with a frightened, "Oh no!" from Xander.

Putting her curiosity aside, Nikki Calendar turned to face the witch before her. raising a hand, palm outstretched towards Catherine's face, Nikki began to whisper in Latin. As her soft words slipped out into the warm air, they sparkled with an electricity and a life all their own.

"Don't even think you can pull anything over on me!" hissed Catherine. She aimed a vibrant blue bolt of light in Nikki's direction. Nikki raised her other arm, palm out, just before the lightning bolt reacher her. It bounced off the energy Nikki was creating and flung into the floor, leaving only a scorch-mark behind.

Catherine howled with anger, "You are not stronger than I."

"Then come on," Nikki grinned, "show me what you've got."

With a screech, Catherine threw back her head and let go with all of her strength. Nikki staggered beneath the force of the onslaught of power, but held her ground. repelling the lightning back towards its sender, Nikki screamed out an incantation of her own. Overwhelmed by the power of her adversary, Catherine weakened. She attempted in vain to disappear, but it was to no avail. Unable to fully defend herself, Catherine was set ablaze by the energy thrown back at her. In a moment, only a column of smoke and flame stood in the spot that was once Catherine Madison.

Colin, the Annoited One, watched the scene before him with interest, This Nikki calendar was very powerful indeed. He could feel the essence of strength bubbling through her. She was just what the Master had been looking for - a strong receptacle to be his new body. Finally, here was a body through which he could live vicariously and walk the earth once more. Overcome with evil glee, Colin hurried out the hole in the wall that Darla the Evil Car had made when she departed the school.

Oblivious to Colin, Nikki Calendar staggered and collapsed to her knees. She had felt a rush of strength glide up from the core of her being and out to every cell in her body. It had electrified and warmed her and now it was gone. The rush was addicting and she knew at that very moment why she tried to keep her awesome power in check.

Just then, as the reality of her situation came flooding back to her, Nikki remembered the screams she had heard moments earlier from the vicinity of the library. Shakily, she raised to her feet and hurried towards the end of the corridor. The sound of sobbing met her half-way don the hall.

As she stepped into the library, she carefully avoided the still smoldering door jam. The large oak library door was no longer attached, having been shot into the room. Nikki gasped at the sight that met her eyes.

The heavy library door had flown off its hinges from the impact of Catherine's lightning bolt. It was flung through the air and landed with incredible force upon Giles, crushing him with its weight. Splintering upon impact with Giles' head, slivers of wood broke off and flew through the air in several directions on their own. One piece was embedded in the wall above the phone, another was embedded in the floor in the center of a pile of dirt.... No, check that, Nikki corrected herself, a pile of ashes.

"What happened?" Nikki gasped, rushing to Giles' side.

"The door clipped Giles on the head. Other than the memory thing, he's okay," Willow said over Buffy's loud sobs.

"What memory thing?"

"Oh," Willow shrugged, "he thinks he's five years old. It's actually kind of cute in a scary way."

Giles was sitting on the floor, legs crossed, reciting his ABCs and asking for his mother.

Willow, Xander, and Cordelia were hovered a few feet away comforting a forlorn, crying Buffy who had regained her senses and was kneeling over the stake-impaled pile of ashes.

"This," Willow gestured to Nikki, "is not as cute. The flying wood splinter got Angel right through the heart."

"Who knew a door had better aim than Buffy?" Xander joked.

Willow just shot him a look.

"It was gross," Cordelia interjected.

Buffy only sobbed louder.

Xander tried to conceal a smile, "It was so sad. Now Buffy only has me to rely on." Before he could continue, his stomach came in contact with Willow's elbow and he promptly shut up.

"I want Angel back!" Buffy whimpered through the tears.

"I can take on other witches, but vampire resurrection is beyond me," Nikki conceded, moving over to join Giles on the floor.

"I know!" Cordelia spoke up with excitement.

"What?" Buffy, Xander, and Willow asked in unison.

"I saw this movie on the late show at a slumber party once. Dracula had gotten staked and he was all ashes. His human servant mixed the ashes with blood and Dracula came back to life!"

"I saw that movie too," Willow said, "It's worth a shot. As long as you don't have to actually kill someone to get the blood. Then that would be bad."

"I'll try it," Buffy announced. With a flourish, she pulled a dagger from her cleavage.

Cordelia stared at her in surprise.

"I have a sheath in my bra," Buffy explained.

"Ooooh," Cordelia grimaced, "that has to chafe."

"A little, but if I rub it with baby powder first. . . . um, can we continue this later?" Without another word, Buffy slit into her arm. The others gasped. Holding a finger up to silence them, Buffy let some of her blood drip onto Angel's ashes. Nothing happened.

"Maybe being the Slayer means your blood doesn't count for bringing vampires back from the dead," Willow suggested.

"Possibly," Buffy conceded, adding, "Come here, Xander, and hold out your arm."

"You're going to cut me?"

Instead of answering, Buffy drew Xander's blood and mingled it with hers atop Angels' remains. Once more, nothing happened.

"Mix it around a little," Cordelia suggested.

Buffy tried, but it didn't help.

"What's the result?" Xander asked.

"Buffy through her hands up in disgust, "Now I've made vampire mud!"


"Very ewww, but I'm not giving up. I just need something to carry him in until I find a way to bring him back. If I leave Angel here, I fear his next resting place with be the dirt trap of Janitor Bob's Hoover."

"Here," Willow leaned forward and offered Buffy a small box, "it's just my pencil case, but at least it's something to carry Angel in until you bring him back."

"Thanks, Will."

"And don't think of it as Angel in a pencil box either. Think of it as a very small, tasteful coffin. . . with a Snoopy-theme," Xander quickly stepped away from Willow's elbow as he finished.

"Thanks. . . I think."

Over near the circulation desk, Nikki grabbed her stomach with one hand and her head with the other.

"What's the matter, Ms. Calendar?" Cordelia asked.

"I feel sick. I feel like someone is trying to take over my body! I can hear his voice in my head. He is saying he is the Master and he will possess me."

Nikki's words were nearly drowned out by the sound of screeching tires in the distance. Darla the Evil Car had re-entered the school and was heading for the front door of the library.

Buffy was going to speak when a cracking of wood rose up behind them and reverberated through the library stacks. A deep double howling of two dogs echoed through the room. The floor trembled as though something large was approaching. . . and then it showed itself. Cerberus, two-headed and seven feet high at the shoulder with a spiked tail and twelve-inch claws made its appearance.

"Oh, look at the big doggy," Giles said in a child's voice.

Cordelia was more rational. She screamed.

"What is that?!"

"Well, unless Giles is breeding really ugly Rottweilers in the back room, I'd say that is the Hound of Hell which Catherine Madison called up a few minutes ago," Xander pointed out.

It lunged forward before anyone had time to agree.

Part 9 -- by Kimberley Low

If said anyone had had time or been in a state to comment, the consensus would have been that adrenaline was a very good thing. The Hound of Hell (henceforth referred to as Bad Doggy by a normally more elucid Watcher) centred its attention on Buffy, who was closer to Willow, Xander, and Cordelia than Giles and Ms Calendar. Basic self-preservation sent the Slayerettes in the opposite direction as Buffy and sent Buffy behind something large and heavy.

The next thirty seconds took far more time to describe than it even seemed to those involved. The pencil box containing the last remains of Angel landed near a bookshelf in one piece. Cordelia took cover behind the returns desk, stopped screaming, and started whimpering. Willow managed to grab Giles on her way past while Xander grabbed Ms. Calendar and they joined Cordelia. They were mostly quiet, with the exception of Giles, who started throwing things at Cerberus, yelling, "Bad Doggy! Don't hurt the pretty lady!"

"What do we do?" Xander loudly whispered to Willow, the only other coherent member of the group.

"I don't know. Normally they come up with the ideas." Willow watched Buffy play an intricate game of Cat and Mouse (Cat and Dog?) with Cerberus. She seemed to have a plan but Willow didn't see it. Unless....

Buffy had managed to manoeuvre herself between Cerberus and the library doors. Just as Darla the Evil Car rammed through the doors, Buffy jumped out of the way and let momentum take care of the rest. Darla and Cerberus lay in a twisted heap of road kill and metal.

"My car! It's.. It's... Icky!" As usual, Cordelia had an amazing grasp of the underlying problem. Xander said as much. He was interrupted by a more muffled scream from the Computer Science teacher.

"He's.. He's ... STOP HIM!!!"

"What can we do?! Help us!" It looked as if Xander was ready to shake Ms Calendar out of sheer frustration and fear.

"Chalk.... Chalk circle."

"We need help and she comes up with an eighties band." Xander was unsurprisingly sarcastic considering the circumstances.

"No. Chalk circle! It's supposed to protect whoever's in it from evil! Where's the chalk? This is a teacher's desk! It has to have chalk!" Willow started throwing papers around.

"It's Giles's desk! It doesn't have to have anything to do with students! Wait! No!" Xander lunged at Giles who was starting to throw at the hell hound the one piece of chalk the desk would ever contain. "Giles, let go. Giles. Ta!" Finally wresting the chalk away from the forty-plus man with the five year old's stubbornness, Xander tossed it to Willow while Giles sat down and pouted. Willow completed the circle and Ms. Calendar sagged to the ground in relief.

"Guys, it's not over." Cordelia was looking out the ruined library doors. "One pissed of principal, incoming."

Everyone else, again with the exception of Giles, turned to face the doors.

"What is going on here?!" Principal Snyder stormed in, Giles started crying. "Students in the school while it is closed! Massive vandalism, for the second time, involving a student's car! I will not stand for this!" But he did, stood frozen in fact, as a battle of wills played across his face. "Yes, Master Colin. As you wish it."

Part 10-- by Dawn Steele

As Principal Snyder started marching purposefully across the room, Buffy extracted her feet from the wreckage of books, wood and paper that the Cerebus/Darla meeting of the flesh had caused.

This was it. The moment of truth. She had an opportunity (and excuse) to knock some sense into Heil Snyder's teeny tiny possessed head. If she was *extremely* lucky, he wouldn't even remember it when he woke up.

Unfortunately, her moving around upset some delicate balance and caused a bookshelf to fall on her. And books, and more books, and the bookshelf beside it, etc.

"Buffy!" Xander pulled a still crying Giles over to the small mountain of books and shelves where Buffy had just disappeared. He proceeded to start throwing books the length and width of the library without a thought of bent spines or potential library charges. Fortunately for him, the library's librarian stopped crying long enough to see what he was doing and joined in on the fun.

Willow finished reinforcing the chalk circle and handed Ms. Calendar the chalk. She looked over at Principal Snyder pawing through one bookcase and at Xander trying to wallpaper the walls of the library without the benefit of glue or a ladder. "Will you be safe in here?"

"Within the circle, I'm safe from attacks from the astral plane." She waved Willow away. "Go help Buffy. I'll stay here." As she watched Willow join Xander and Giles, she couldn't help wishing for a few of her handy reference books -- or at least for her ritual knife in case someone tried a more physical attack. Her little circle seemed awfully... thin.

The so-called fifth member of the group had used the respite to do a quick makeup check and assess the relative sanity of all the parties involved. So what if Principal Snyder had stopped complaining and wasn't even pulling out his little notebook to jot down names and excuses -- he was the Principal, and it was time to do some serious damage control.

"Principal Snyder?" Cordelia rushed to meet him. "This is so *totally* not my fault!" She smoothed down her almost-immaculate hair. "My car was stolen and now it's in pieces and its probably going to take a couple of *days* for Daddy to buy me a new one!"

With the demon-vampire-ghost-whatever possessed car (seemingly) in vehicular traction and the monster splattered into little pieces around the room, and knowing that Buffy was probably as indestructible as a squash ball, Cordelia's attention returned to what was most important.


"I'm going to have to talk to the police again." She hesitated and then expressed her feelings on the matter with a particularly virulent tone of voice. "Yuck!"


"What?" Cordelia, lost in the depths of statements, funny-smelling patrol cars, and what the fluorescent lights in the station would do her complexion -- wasn't paying attention.

Since Principal Snyder's ears had just started glowing, that was probably not a bright idea.

He pushed her aside, and still ignoring everyone in the room, headed towards one particular bookshelf... and one defenseless tin box with Snoopy pictures all over it.

"Hey! You shoved me!"

Ms. Calendar meanwhile had been busy carefully chalking in further protective symbols until she couldn't feel any presence (besides her own) within her head. She cautiously popped up from behind the desk, and then popped back down again when she saw Principal Snyder pick up the Snoopy tin.

He popped it triumphantly into his jacket pocket and started to stalk back out of the room. A smug, satisfied expression all over his face.

"Xander! Willow! Ruperrrttttt!!!" Ms. Calendar yelled out at the top of her lungs. She'd only met Angel on a couple of short occasions, but had the distinct impression that Buffy would go ballistic if his remains, gooey as they were, got into that creepy kid's possession. Who knew what they wanted with them?

"We've almost got her." Xander yelled back.

Giles turned towards Principal Snyder, a confused look on his face. "Do I know that man?" He tugged on Willow's arm. "He doesn't look very nice."

Willow assessed the situation. "Babysit Giles! I'll get Angel." She went tearing off after him, disappearing down the school hallway.

Cordelia stomped her foot. "This is *so* stupid! What's going on?" As in in answer to her prayers, a faint ringing started in the depths of the purse she had (fashionably) put over her head and across her torso. "If this is my therapist cancelling my appointment, there's going to be arson in the air tonight!"


"Cordelia! You've got to help me get out of here!" A faint, static-filled voice came from the cellular phone. A somewhat *familiar* voice.

"Darla? What are you doing in my *brand new* cellular?"

When the phone didn't answer her immediately, Cordelia hit it -- then hit it again.

"Don't hit me!"

"What will you do to me If I do? Run over my foot and then total my *brand new* BMW?" Cordelia smacked the cellular a couple more times for good measure.

"I can call up Tokyo and order you takeout... 3000 times."

"Okay! Okay! Why aren't you in my car, and why is it always *my* stuff you have to possess?"

"I couldn't help it. All of a sudden there was a fire burning through me, forcing me out of the car. I could feel myself started to disintegrate -- the phone was the closest thing I could take over."

"What forced you out of the car?"

With a groan of bending metal, Cordelia's BMW pulled haltingly away from the corpse of Cerebus. Metal bent, flexed and popped back into place in a weird flashback from Stephen King's 'Christine'.

Ms. Calendar's voice was calm considering the situation. "I think we should find out who forced Darla out of the car."

The BMW looked almost new, something that would have cheered Cordelia up a lot more if its headlights hadn't come flashing on, and if it hadn't started squealing across the library.

Heading straight for a dumbstruck-looking Giles.

Part 11-- by Maureen Wynn

Giles looked at the vehicle bearing down on him, squinting slightly in the glare from the high-beams, then seemed to realize, somehow, through his fogged mind, that it was time to duck. He staggered back, then realized a certain sanctuary was close to hand, and jumped for it. The car continued in its original trajectory, and with a squeal of brakes it buried its nose in a bookcase with a thump that made Cordelia cringe at the thought of expensive auto mechanics and body work. //Oh, well, at least with the demon in it, it seems to heal itself...//

She ran over to the library's check-out counter which Giles had chosen to hide behind, and leaned over the counter to peer behind it. "Giles?"

He blinked up at her from where he was sprawled on the floor. He started to sit up, then winced when battered and bruised muscles made themselves felt. He frowned, then his chin started to tremble, and a whimper quickly became a wail. Cordelia stared, open-mouthed, at the sight of the normally calm (okay, stuffy) Mr. Giles crying like a baby. She collected herself when she heard the car's engine revving, and books shifting as the car tried to extricate itself from under its burden of leather-clad volumes.

"Shhh!" she said, leaning further over the counter so Giles could hear her whisper. "Be quiet!" Giles responded by wailing louder, and he started to kick his heels against the tiles on the floor. Cordelia reached over the counter, trying to stroke his head, which always seemed to work when her little cousin started with one of her tantrums, but he just batted her hand away, and continued wailing, accompanied now with hiccuping sobs as he tried to catch his breath. With her head down under the counter, and her derriere in the air, she didn't see the car back up out from under the books, she just felt the sudden jar against the counter, which unbalanced her and sent her tumbling onto the crying librarian. She shrieked as the car continued ramming the counter, with the check-out computer bouncing on the marble countertop with each determined thump against the solid oak. "Somebody stop it!" she yelled, trying to extricate herself from Giles, but she doubted anybody could hear her over his wailing, which had reached a truly apalling volume. //He must have been quite a handful as a child,// she thought distractedly. //But of course, he probably wasn't as loud then...//

She finally got her limbs disentangled from Giles, and, responding to a maternal instinct she didn't even know she possessed, she put her arms around him and started to rock him back and forth. He responded by cuddling wetly into her shoulder, and his wails started to diminish. "It's all right, the big bad car can't get us back here," she muttered into his hair, cringing away from where the wood was starting to splinter. //Oh, god, what do I do now?// she thought, but didn't say anything, afraid of starting him off again.

Cordelia suddenly realized that she was still clutching her cellular phone in one hand. She put it to her ear, and said, "Darla?'

After a pause, the ex-vampire responded. "Yes?"

"Help me! This car is going to toast us!" Cordelia said into the possessed phone.

"I'm not going back! You can't make me go back there!" the phone quickly responded.

Cordelia paused, confused. She hadn't suggested that Darla go back to the car... but was that such a bad idea? If Darla could go back into the car, it would force out the demon currently in possession, wouldn't it? And Darla certainly seemed to think that going back into the car was possible, or she wouldn't be so vehement about not doing it. It was just necessary to somehow convince her to do it...

"...and if you don't go back there right now, I'm going to take the battery out of the phone. I wonder what would happen to you without any power? Would you just completely vanish into the ether? Go 'pop!' like a soap bubble?"

"I won't, I won't, please don't make me!" the cullular cried.

"Okay, here goes," Cordelia responded, pulling off the battery cover and tugging at the battery, hoping that her desperate bluff would work.

With a fading wail, the phone in her hand went dead, and the car abruptly stopped bashing into the splintering counter. In the sudden silence, Cordelia cautiously poked her head above the counter, looking toward the car. The car just sat there, seemingly dead. She sighed, and plopped back down to the floor, unfortunalely shaking awake the sleepy librarian who had nodded off after wearing himself out with his little cying jag. He started to whimper again, and Cordelia pulled him back against her shoulder. //This sweater is shot, anyway,// she rationalized, cuddling the tired Watcher to her damp shoulder. He startled her by saying, "I want my Mummy."

"Yeah, well, so do I, but that ain't going to happen any time soon," Cordelia reponded, rather snappishly. She heard something above her, and looked up into the startled faces of Xander and Buffy. She couldn't think for a minute why they would look so shocked, then she realized what she and Giles must look like.

She pushed Giles away from her shoulder, then glared at them, and said in as threatening a tone as she could manage, "If you tell anyone about this, I will make the remainder of your high school years a living hell!"

Buffy managed a slight grin. "And that would be different from this exactly how...?"

Cordelia stood up, dragging Giles up with her, and started dusting herself off, pointedly ignoring Buffy. Giles was no longer crying, but he was certainly indulging in a major case of the sulks. Cordelia briefly regretted not having a camera - she was sure she would never again see quite that expression on the librarian's face.

Cordelia finished straigtening her clothes, and looked up again at Buffy, who was definitely looking the worse for wear. //Guess the Slayer isn't so indestructable, after all,// she thought, momentarily feeling sorry for the other girl. Then she remembered that she was annoyed at Buffy, and put an ever-so-slightly supercilious smile on, as she flipped her perfect hair and sauntered out from behind the counter. She paused slightly when she reached the car, then edged around it, careful not to touch it.

Buffy was looking at the car with a puzzled expression. "Why did it suddenly stop like that?" she asked. "And where's Colin with his remote-control-of-doom?"

Cordelia looked up from fixing her makeup with the compact she had pulled out of her purse, and said, "Darla's back in the car - I guess she found a way to block the remote."

"Back in the car? When did she leave?"

"Well, duh, Ms. I'm-the-Slayer-and-I-know-everything, she was forced out of the car and into my brand-new cell phone," Cordelia said, pulling the phone back out of her purse, with the battery half sticking out of it. "Then I made her go back into the car," she finished triumphantly, and started fitting the battery back in the phone.

" made her go back in the car? How exactly did you manage that - offer her the extra option package, tinted glass, a sun roof?"

Cordelia was struggling with the battery, trying to get it fitted back into the phone case. "Hello, it's a BMW, it has all that!" She finaly got the battery in, closed the cover, and started to put the phone in her purse when it suddenly turned on and said...

Part 12-- by Valerie Meachum

"What you you DONE???!!!???" The furious roar was not as impressive as it could have been if it were not emerging tinnily from a very compact cell phone, but Cordelia instinctively dropped it anyway. "Oh, princess, you'll wish--"

They were not to find out, at least for the moment, what the voice intended to make Cordelia wish, because the phone hit the tile floor and parted company from itself in about five pieces.

Everyone stared dumbly at it for a moment, then Xander gingerly poked at part of the electronic guts with his toe. "Do you think he's still in there?"

"I hope not," Buffy said flatly, still staring at the pieces. "Or maybe I hope so. I'm not sure. That was the Master's voice."

"Arf!" Giles piped up with a grin of childish delight, which crumpled almost back into tears as the three turned looks of complete bewilderment on him. "His master's voice?" he offered uncertainly. "The little dog? The old record machine with the big horn?" Cocking his head, he repeated, "Arf?"

"Sure, Giles," Buffy reassured him with a sigh. "Arf. Absolutely."

Xander poked at another bit of phone remains. "That is not a guy I like," he declared. "That is not a guy you want in your phone."

"What phone?" Cordelia retorted. She was definitely getting better at recovering her accustomed attitude following a major supernatural shock.

"Hey, kids?" Ms. Calendar called from the safety of her circle. "I think I can shed a little light on the situation..."

* * *

Willow raced through the school corridors after Snyder, side tracks of her mind briefly running over the observation that he was moving a lot faster than she would have thought him capable of, and the fact that she had no idea what she was going to do if she caught him. They were only side tracks, though; the bulk of her attention was very narrowly focussed on the necessity of retrieving what was left of Angel.

So narrowly, in fact, that she failed to notice that Snyder had ducked into a small, shadowed alcove until his hand shot out from it and grabbed her by the hair as she raced by. "OW!" Nothing more coherent than tailbone owowowowow stupid Willow owowowow stupid stupid tailbone ow could crowd its way into her head for several seconds after she hit the floor.

After that came several more seconds of utter crystal clarity, as she instantly processed every detail of Snyder looming over her, a self-satisfied leer of pure evil transforming his face into something way more unpleasant than hand holding out her pencil box, taunting her...the tiny metal latch on the box that she would just have to hope would hold...the precise distance between her right foot and his hand--good thing he was pretty short...

Almost before she knew what she'd done, foot connected with hand, Snyder yelled in pain, and Angel-in-the-box was flying over her head, some fifteen feet back the way they had come. Willow scrambled toward it, half on all fours, and just managed to snatch it up before Snyder caught up to her again.

With nothing else grab-and-swingable within reach, she spun around and slammed the pencil box into the side of Snyder's head. The possessed-or-otherwise-not-in-the-driver's-seat principal bounced off a bank of lockers and sank to the floor with a groan. This was a Good Thing, relatively speaking.

And, in the process, the box flew open, strewing bits of Angel-mud several yards down the corridor. This was, Willow figured, a Bad Thing.

"Oh no oh no oh no oh no oh no." Frantically she scooped up globs of bloody ash, returning them to the pencil box. "Angel, if you can hear me, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to spread you all over the lockers and the floor...oh, God, if I miss any will we be able to put you back together? Oh no oh no oh no oh no..."

Some part of Willow's mind noted with mild interest that she had officially arrived at the popular destination known as Blind Panic, but she managed to gather up almost all of the ashes before Snyder stirred and started to get up. "Oh, no." This was just a little too much. Willow burst into tears.

Well, she could cry and get herself and Angel out of here at the same time, right? Impatiently she swiped at her eyes, both hands coming away soaked, then swept together the last spot of ashes. She could hear Snyder coming behind her, and she huddled protectively over the pencil box, brushing as much as possible off her hands and back into the box and inadvertently adding a considerable quantity of hot salt water to the existing mess.

A second more and she could have snapped the lid shut and taken off, but that was a second she didn't get. Snyder grabbed her by the hair again, hauling to her feet to face him. "Detention beyond belief, missy!" he quipped in a strange hollow voice, reaching for her throat.

Just when she thought she was dead, a low growl sounded behind her, and she found herself pushed behind a rather dishevelled and very vamped-out Angel. "Go," he ground out over his shoulder. "Run!"

"But he's--I mean, he's not--"

"I said run!" Angel shoved her toward the library much harder than necessary, almost off her feet, and she ran.

Part 13-- by Abby Albrecht

Willow ran, and ran, and ran. She ran into lockers, doors and the occasional really hard wall. Fortunately, when she ran into a water fountain her Blind Panic subsided long enough to give her a chance to catch her breath. Unfortunately, she landed on her butt so hard that she'd have a really interesting bruise in the morning.

Thoughts raced through her mind -- and for the first time they didn't have to do with Xander... well, not all about Xander. Angel was alive, or at least undead... Buffy would be so happy!... Angel saved her life... Angel wasn't mush anymore... He was... "Huh? Clothes don't rise from the ashes!" Willow exclaimed to the water fountain, which unlike every other thing in this school didn't seem to be possessed and didn't respond.

She scrambled to her feet and raced back to him. This time she managed to miss bouncing into walls and lockers since her curiosity had a better sense of direction than her Blind Panic.

Willow got back to the hallway she left Angel and that which once was -- and might be again, even if nobody wanted it -- Principal Snyder. "Angel!" Willow's eyes nearly popped out of her head as she watched everybody's friendly neighborhood vampire block Principal Snyder into an empty locker with a teacher's desk.

When he heard her voice he instinctively pulled a drawer from the desk to cover the barest of his bare parts. "I told you to run," Angel snarled, which was menacing even though he wasn't vamped out.

His voice didn't put Willow back into Blind Panic this time. Instead, all she could think about was how unclothed he was. His wide, strong shoulders... his chest... his rippling abdominal muscles... the top of the V shape that pointed towards the empty drawer he was holding to cover himself... how fortunate he was that the drawer was big enough to cover what he was trying to cover. never described a guy like him, Willow grinned to herself as she let out a deep sigh. A new story idea was forming in the back of her mind to add to her favorite news group.

"I.... uhhh... I..." Willow stammered. She wondered why the room was suddenly getting really warm, then she realized it was just her. Angel, on the other hand, was looking quite chilly.

He was slowly edging his way over to the class room that he borrowed the desk from while she was lost in dream land. After he had himself well hidden by the door he said, "just go away! I'm fine!"

Having heard the same thing from Xander and Buffy on too many occasions, Willow rolled her eyes. Just then Principal Snyder started hammering at the locker door. Willow could barely make out what he was saying, the only word she thought she recognized was "Wooby" which didn't make any sense. Even possessed, he seemed too small and weak to get out of the locker, so Willow turned her attention back to Angel. Since she wasn't able to see him it was easier to concentrate. (Though, admittedly, she did quickly think about the English class she would be taking in that room and how much more fun Shakespeare and Milton would be if she got to stare at his long, hard... body while doing it.)

"Angel. I can help... if you let me." Willow whispered the last part.

"Just leave me. I'll be fine. And I'll be back in the library with the guy in the locker as soon as I find some clothes." He was not happy with his present circumstances. Sure, he was undead again. But along with his soul came his old Catholic conscience which told him that being naked -- especially around women -- was a Bad Thing. He had to find clothes before Buffy saw him, and before Willow saw any more of him.

Before he could do anything, though, he could see a shadow at the door and two hands reaching blindly into the room. "My eyes are *ow* closed," Willow warned as she bumped into the metal door frame. She stepped fully into the room and turned towards where she thought he would probably be. >From his vantage point on the floor he could see her face squinched up to keep her eyes shut tight. "You can walk behind me. Okay? I'll just take you to Xander and he'll help you get clothes."

"I don't suppose you'd take 'no' for an answer?" Angel sighed as he rose off the cold linoleum.

"Nope!" she replied brightly. "Let's go." Willow turned on her heels and faced the hallway. When she could tell that Angel was behind her she headed toward the library.

On their way back Willow realized just how bad her Blind Panic's sense of direction was. A locker with a dent about as large as her really sore shoulder was in the hallway that led to the cafeteria. Praying that Angel didn't notice, she turned away from the poor locker and walked the ten steps it took to get to what was once the library door. Willow reached behind herself to wave Angel behind the wall. She reached a little too far back though, and ended up rubbing his soft, yet firm chest. "Sorry!" she said quickly, fighting the urge to turn her head. He seemed to understand her intentions and moved behind the wall. Willow then noticed that he was

"Uh, Xander? Could you come out here for a second?" Willow said as she poked her head through the demolished opening.

Everyone in the room, including Cordelia's car, was huddled around Ms. Calendar's circle listening intently to what she was telling them. Willow was too far away to hear anything though, and she was reluctant to leave Angel alone in his condition. (Especially since she hadn't been this close to an attractive, naked man ever.)

"Pssst... Xander!" Willow tried again.

This time Xander, as well as everyone else in the room heard her perfectly. Through shouts of "Will!" and "You're okay!" and "Pretty lady!" Willow had to block the door before anyone saw Angel.

Instead of trying to answer all the questions she grabbed Xander and told the group, "I'm fine. Angel's fine." She suddenly had to block the really over excited Slayer from leaving the library. "But right now I need Xander for something. We'll bring Angel back in a few moments. Okay?" Buffy didn't seem too convinced to believe her friend.

Fortunately, for Willow at least, Cordelia's electronic organizer took this moment to start beeping and typing out death threats on the small screen.

When Willow had Xander separated, she pointed to Angel and asked if he had any gym clothes in his locker.

Suddenly feeling quite inadequate in the testosterone department, Xander shook his head. "But I know where I can get some!" Xander said quickly, knowing that the sooner he had Angel clothed, the sooner he would feel better. It would definitely not do to have Buffy see Angel like this... No. That would not be a Good Thing. And judging by what he could see, he would have to start working out a lot more... Say for a couple of hundred years.

Willow stood at the library entrance and watched them walk away. Poor Xander, how could he compete against Angel? She sighed as she watched his firm hips walk away. And if she looked very closely... "Oh my!" was all Willow let out. So Angel was definitely not Jewish in any way.

Angel caught her gasp, and turned slowly. Pulling his one piece of protection closer he said, "Do you mind?"

Realizing what Willow was doing, Xander's face turned beet red and rushed Angel faster down the hall until they turned a corner.

Willow's grin was plastered from ear to ear, but she had to get back to reality... Or whatever passed for it in this town. When she entered the library, she made it just in time to see Buffy and Giles jumping up and down on Cordelia's electronic organizer.

Cordelia was begging Ms. Calendar, "Can I choose who gets to be sacrificed?" Her eyes were burning through Buffy, who seemed to taken great joy in destroying all of her possessions.

"Sacrifice?" Willow gasped...

Part 14-- by Elaine McMillian

"I'm not wearing it," Angel said flatly. In the locker room, the two guys of the opposite sex glared at each other.

"Oh, come on. It's better than what you've got on. Off. On. Whatever," Xander pointed out.

"I'm still not wearing it."

"Don't be a sissy. Put it on." Xander shoved the bundle of clothes at the vampire.

"No." Angel shoved them back. "Where did that stuff *come* from, anyway?"

Xander shrugged. "Giles asked me to stow them Just In Case. Come on, they're clean, if geeky."

After a final dirty look, Angel took the pro-offered clothing a bit sulkily. "Tweed really isn't my colour," he sighed.

"Uh... sacrifice.... Like, virgins and stuff?" Willow asked, eyes wide.

"You've been browsing those weird fanfic sites again, haven't you?" Buffy accused.

"Oh, you mean those TV things?" Cordelia asked.

"Those're sick," Cordelia's organiser added.

"Mommy?" enquired Giles.

"Um, people, can we track, please?" Ms Calendar interjected. "And, no, not like virgins, or even blood. The sacrifice has to be... intangible. Something that really matters to you, something that has emotional, psychological impact."

"Speaking of psychological impact...." Cordelia smirked, looking over to the door.

Standing there was a highly-entertained Xander, and a gloomier-than-usual Angel.

"Um." Buffy tried to find something to say. Angel was wearing baggy olive-coloured trousers and a tweed jacket similar to Giles' usual attire. However, the lack of a shirt made a quite different impression.

Willow poked her friend in the ribs. "Shut your mouth," she whispered.

"Guys...!" Calendar dragged their attention back. "We need to-- someone needs to-- come up with a sacrifice. I've got to perform the ritual, so it can't be me-- unless Rupert snaps out of it-- or Angel, do you--?"

He shook his head. "I'll be the sacrifice."

"Sorry, Angel. Gotta be a member of the living," Calendar said apologetically.

Xander, Buffy, and Willow traded looks.

"Rock, paper, scissors?" Xander suggested. "That'll--"

"I'll do it," Willow said, cutting her friend off.


"Willow, I don't know if-- I mean, you have to sacrifice something important," Calendar said, uncomfortably.

The hacker leaned down to whisper into the pagan's ear. "How about my hope that Xander will ever care for me...?"

Calendar stared. "That's a sacrifice, all right."

"What? what?" Xander demanded.

"Whatever you do, better make it fast," Darla-the-organiser snapped. "Trouble's on its way."

"Trouble's here," Buffy corrected, slowly standing. "Ms Calendar, do your stuff, fast. I'll handle this."

She smiled, just a little, and went to meet The Anointed Snyder.

The principal-cum-demon smiled back.

Part 15-- by Beth Arritt

"Okay," Ms. Calendar looked up at Willow. "First thing we need is a tangible representation of your sacrifice."

"Excuse me?"

"Something that symbolizes what you're sacrificing."

"I have to show it to everyone? Here? Now?"

"Yes, and quick. We don't have much time."

"Uh, I think we have a problem..."


Buffy raced down the hallway after Principal Snyder. Possession must have dulled his sense of direction, because she followed him into a dead end. When he realized he was trapped, he turned around and snarled at her. "You're going to be sorry you followed me, little girl."

"What are you gonna do, give me detention?"

He let out an inhuman yell and raced toward her. Buffy braced herself, waiting until the principal launched his whole body at her. She reached up and grabbed the first thing her hand could reach--his ear--and flung him into the wall. He lay there dazed for a moment, giving her time to pull out a stake and stab him in the heart. She watched him twitch for a moment before his body went limp. Since she wasn't sure exactly what possessed him, she broke the glass on the nearby fire emergency hatchet, took it out and chopped off the former principal's head. "*That's* for forcing me into that talent show," she quipped before she turned and ran back down the hall to the library.

Buffy burst thorough the library doors to find Willow and Ms. Calendar huddled together in the circle, arguing in whispers.

"Did it work?"

"Not yet," Xander replied impatiently. "Willow seems to think whatever she's sacrificing she can live without, she just can't live without it out loud."

Buffy crossed to the circle, where Willow and Ms. Calendar were arguing. "Will, come on, what's so bad that you can't give it up in front of your friends?"

Ms. Calendar met Buffy's eyes. "She was planning to sacrifice her hope that Xander will ever care for her."

"Oh, I see the problem." Buffy bit her lip. "Okay, fixable. Is there anything else you can sacrifice?"

"I don't know," Willow answered miserably. "I can't think of anything else that means something to me."

"There has to be something..." Buffy studied her best friend intently. "I've got it! Willow, you know I love you, right?"

"I've seen that look. I don't like that look. What do you want me to do?"

"Well, I know how you're sorta proud of your image..."

"You mean I'm a nerd."

"No, I mean you think you're a nerd. You're happy that way. Safe."

Willow was getting defensive. "What's your point?"?

"Well, what if you sacrifice your image?"

"I'm *not* cutting my hair!"

"You don't have to. What if you just... I don't know, dress differently or something?"

"That's it!" Ms. Calendar exclaimed. Both girls gave her confused looks. "Willow, we have to burn your clothes."

"Uh... I'm kind of wearing them..."

"You have to change. Wear something flashier."

"Where am I going to find something like that in a hurry?"

"No problem," Buffy said immediately. "What?" she asked when they stared at her. "I'm the Slayer, I always keep extra clothes around. You wouldn't believe how many outfits I've ruined. I had this *incredible* dress on once and this vampire--"

"Buffy!" both Willow and Ms. Calendar yelled at the same time.

"Right. Sorry. Willow, come with me." She took Willow by the hand. "Get ready for the sacrifice," she yelled over her shoulder to Ms. Calendar as they ran out.


When they reached Buffy's locker, Buffy yanked it open without using the combination. She pulled out a duffle bag and glanced at and discarded three short dresses, shorts and a tank top before stopping at a light blue tank dress. "*This* is perfect!" She held it up to Willow, who eyed it uncertainly.

"I don't know, Buffy, it's not really me."

"Exactly! Besides, this color will look much better on you than on me. Come on," she said, grabbing shoes and her makeup bag. "Let's go." They ran for the bathroom.


A few minutes later, Buffy came running back into the library, carrying Willow's clothes. "Everything ready in here?"

"Yes," Ms. Calendar replied. "Where's Willow? She has to burn the clothes."

"She's right behind--" Buffy turned around, but Willow wasn't there. She went back to the doors and peaked through to the other side. "Are you ready?" There was an unintelligible response from the other side. Buffy turned to the group scattered around the library. "Ladies and gentlemen, may I present the new Willow Rosenberg."

Willow walked slowly into the room. Xander, who had been standing next to the library's check out counter, suddenly felt the need to grab the counter for support, except he missed by a few inches and almost fell over. Fortunately his head hit the counter and kept him from hitting the floor. Even Angel's mouth dropped open for a moment.

The pale blue tank dress ended many inches above her knees. She was wearing chunky black sandals, and her hair had been pulled back on one side with a comb. Buffy had done her makeup, highlighting her eyes and using a dark red lipstick.

"Willow!" Xander finally found his voice. "You look... you look..."

"I knew it!" She turned to Buffy. "I look ridiculous!"

Xander hurried over to her. "No, you look great! Trust me!"

"Uh, hello, guys?" Ms. Calendar called out from the circle. "I would like to leave this circle some time this century."

"Oh, yeah, sorry," Willow apologized. She headed toward the circle, Buffy following close behind. Just as Buffy was almost to the circle, the clothes were yanked from her hands.

"Pretty!" Giles exclaimed from his perch on the floor.

"Giles, you have to give those back to me," Buffy told him as patiently as she could while trying to pull the clothes out of his hands.

"No! Mine!" He pulled harder. "Gimmee!!"

"Giles, I have to have these--OUCH!" Giles opened his mouth and clamped down on Buffy's wrist with his teeth. "You little..."

Giles laughed gleefully, holding Willow's colorful sweater out of Buffy's immediate reach. Buffy glared at him. "Remind me to apologize to you later," she said through clenched teeth right before she punched him with all her might. The clothes fell out of his hands as he went sliding backwards across the floor until he found a wall and stayed there, unconscious.

The organizer spouted out Darla's voice. "I always thought someone should do that to that obnoxious library freak."

"Shut up, you interloper!" Cordelia yelled, kicking the organizer against the wall.

"Cordelia!" Xander momentarily forgot his fascination with Willow's appearance. "I didn't know you knew any four syllable words."

"Duh! I am in a library!"

Ms. Calendar let out a frustrated sigh. "Hello! Can we do this, please?"

Buffy snatched up the clothes and ran to the circle. "Ready, Will?"

"I guess." Willow held her sweater over a trash can and took the candle Ms. Calendar offered. "Here it goes..."

A Brief Intermission-- by Dianne DeSha

Mary Beth (after seeing the season premiere promo): Your attention please, the round robin will be coming along shortly--as soon as the author regains consciousness and is able to stay conscious for longer than a few moments upon reflecting on red crushed velvet and black satin shirts.

Don't be surprised if there are sudden wardrobe changes toward the very end of the round robin.


Buffy, Willow, Giles, Xander, Angel, Cordelia, and whoever-the-hell-else- is-still-hangin'-around all look up and blink in amazement.

"Who or what was _that_?"

Giles: //frowns in thought// "I do believe that it may be The Author."

Buffy, Willow, Xander, Angel, Cordelia, etc.: "..."

Giles: //becoming more animated, moving quickly to (what remains of) the check-out desk and digging around behind it, begins to Watcher-babble distractedly// "The Author. You see... (Oh, wait!... //*shuffleshuffle*// No...) there is, of course, The Watcher and... well... (Drat! Where did that blasted thing... oh... there! //pulls out musty tome//)... and The Slayer... and... //flips pages//..."

Buffy: "Yeah, Giles, I think we've all got that bit by now.... //rolls eyes// The Slayer, The Watcher, The Master, The Annointed One, The Chosen One.... So what? We're all out of capital letters on the Movie Marquee of Life, or what?"

Giles: //still distracted// "No, no, you see, there are also prophecies... writings telling about...."

Angel: "Oh no..."

Xander: "...not *again*!"

//They both look at each other, scowl, and turn away//

Giles: //finally realizing no one's listening properly to his declamation straightens up and stares at them all over his glasses// "Telling about The Author. See, it is fortold that there is one Author for each segment. One girl in all the world who is chosen to stand against the boredom. One born to protect the list against the demons of re-run hell." //everyone's listening now// "*She* is the Author."

Nikki Calendar: //turns around, surveying the devestation which surrounds them// "*She's* responsible for all this???"

Giles: "No, no... only this last bit. 'One Author wigs and another is chosen.' It is _written_!" //glares at Buffy//

Willow: "So... uh... what does she want?"

Buffy: //striding foward and looking up, in full Slayer mode// "Show yourself!"

Giles: //hisses at her// "No! No, no. That would be a very bad thing. If she does we might well have a condition on our hands known as 'Maria Suius'."

Angel: //shudders//

Buffy: //blinks// "Oh, and that would be a not good thing, huh?"

Giles: "*Very*... uh... 'not good'..."

Buffy: //turning back to the... um... ceiling// "So what do you want?"


Buffy, Willow, Giles, Xander, Angel: "..."

Cordelia: "It's about time!"

Part 16 (Finale)-- by Mary Beth Neilsen

Willow stood over the trash can, set fire to the sweater, and started thinking sacrificial thoughts. At least, she thought they were sacrificial thoughts. She hoped they were sacrificial thoughts. Because if they weren't sacrificial thoughts then this just might not work and then ....

"Willow!" Buffy and Ms. Calendar yelled in unison.

"Wha? OH!" Willow was sufficiently startled out of her reverie to drop the sweater in the can just before she could set fire to herself.

"Now what?" Willow turned to Ms. Calendar, but she was already sitting cross-legged on the floor in her circle, eyes closed, murmuring something that Willow thought definitely sounded sacrificial.

So, Willow turned to the others.

Cordelia was perched delicately on the edge of the table. Incredibly, she still looked relatively unscathed from this ordeal. Buffy was watching Ms. Calendar. Angel was watching Buffy--and scratching his neck where the itchy tweed coat was really starting to irritate him. And Xander.... Xander was watching Willow. His shock had worn off and had been replaced by something that looked like.... well, she couldn't decide what it looked like. But he'd definitely moved closer to her and is eyes had gone kinda soft and mushy-like. She didn't like what that did to her knees. Well, she did like it, but not right now. Now was entirely too complicated for mushy. So she just let him stand close--that was definitely a Good Thing--and she turned back to watch Ms. Calendar finish her.... Sacrificial Thing.

Suddenly, Ms. Calendar opened her eyes. "Okay. That should do it."

"That's it? No candles? No chants? Not even a power circle?" Buffy asked.

"Yup. It doesn't really take much to ward off an impending possession."

"So, it's gone?" Willow piped up.

"Yup." Ms. Calendar stood up and began brushing the school-floor dust off her pants.

"It's about time." Cordelia hopped down off the table and headed toward the organizer, which had landed--miraculously--in one piece next to a wall of bookshelves near the door.

"Great. It's gone. Finito. Adios. One question." Xander had snapped out of his Willow-induced stupor long enough to grasp a key point. "What, exactly, were we risking life and sprinkler system for? What did we get rid of?"

Silence. All eyes turned to Ms. Calendar.

She stared back. "Well. There's only one way to find out."

She took a deep breath and stepped out of the circle. At the same moment, Cordelia reached down and grasped her organizer. Just as she did, it began to emit a loud (for an organizer) insistent beeping. Cordelia shrieked and dropped it. Ms. Calendar and everyone else in the room tensed.... and a loud groan sounded from the other side of the room.

"Ohmigosh!" Buffy gasped as she remembered the Watcher she'd basically smacked silly a few minutes earlier. "Giles!"

She ran to where the groggy librarian was just sitting up, rubbing his head. "Are you okay? I didn't hurt you too much did I? Giles? Giles.... um... do you want your mummy?"

"My mummy?!" He looked up at the concerned group hovering over him. All except for Cordelia had rushed to help him. She was watching from afar, but keeping an eye on the possessed organizer, too.

"What on Earth is going on here?" He fairly bellowed as he began to take note of the destruction that had yet again descended upon his beloved library. Only in America, he thought as he began to get up.

"Giles! It's you! You're back!" Willow threw herself at the man, knocking him back down. "Oops. Sorry."

"That's alright, Willow. You didn't mean any--- Willow?" Shock and confusion registered in the Watcher's eyes as he took in the transformation Willow had undergone. Thankfully, he thought, the true Willow was still in there as he saw her blush and tuck a stray strand of hair behind her ear.

"It was Buffy's idea. But at least it worked." She said as she got up and then helped Giles to his feet.

"Well, good. It worked. Worked on what?" He looked at the others. His eyes stopped at Angel. "That looks familiar."

"It's a long story."

Giles nodded and looked questioningly at Buffy.


"Why am I the one you always accuse? This is all Cordelia's mess."

Just then Cordelia decided to join the conversation with a loud yell. "Get away from that you little demon!"

Too late, Colin had snuck in when everyone else was distracted. He reached the organizer and promptly crushed the thing, finally silencing its annoyingly insistent beeping.

He turned and flashed the group a truly disturbing smile.

"I'll handle this." Buffy, Angel, Xander, and Giles all took a step toward the demon child but could get no further because suddenly Cordelia reached out, grabbed Colin by the shoulders, kicked his feet out from under him, threw him to the floor, and sat on him.

You could have heard the proverbial pin drop.

"C-Cordelia?" Xander finally broke the silence.

"What? I have a little brother you know." She looked around at the still shocked slayerettes. "Hello? Will someone please do something before I lose another valuable possession."

It was at this moment that Colin remembered that he was the vampire--albeit a small one--and Cordelia was the human. He let out an inhuman screech, which was really all he needed to make Cordelia move, but he helped her along by reaching around, grabbing her, and flinging her off of him. She landed a few feet away. Hard. On her butt.

"Owwwww! You are so very dead you little brat! Get him Buffy!!"

Colin scurried away and pulled something from the pocket of his jacket. Buffy and Angel followed, but stopped when the saw what he was holding -- the remote control.

With evil glee, Colin manipulated the remote and Cordelia's Beamer roared to life--and headed straight for Angel and Buffy.


Meanwhile, the others basically scrambled out of the way. Willow and Xander were in one corner alternately watching the action and watching each other. Xander was hovering; Willow was tugging at the bottom of her really short dress and smiling shyly at Xander. In the other corner, Ms. Calendar was taking the opportunity to catch Giles up on the action as quickly as possible. She was nodding, trying not to show her amusement; Giles looked shocked. "Arf?"


"Move!" Buffy yelled. She shoved Angel out of the way, leaped in the air, and grabbed on to one of the crossbeams just below the library ceiling.

The Beamer continued its forward momentum, passed under Buffy, and headed straight for Colin. He didn't have time to get out of the way. The look of a demon caught in headlights registered on his small face as the heavy foreign car smashed first into him and then into the library wall, once again totaling Cordelia's precious car.

Buffy dropped from the beam and kicked one the car's tires. "That'll teach him for trying to drive without a license."

"Not again!" Cordelia shrieked. "I am never coming to you people for help again."

Buffy helped Angel up and the others came out of their respective corners. Xander was still hovering, and Giles was still struggling to understand. "I stole Willow's sweater? She wasn't.... well, that is to say... um... was she wearing it at the time?"

"Is that it? Is it over?" Willow asked.

"Is that it?" Xander repeated. His sarcasm still fully intact. "Has this not been nearly enough for you? Could you possibly want more?"

Willow sighed. "The more things change...." She murmured to herself.

"Uh.... guys." Cordelia called to the others. "Something's happening."

"Oh no," said Xander.

"Big mouth," said Willow.

Ms. Calendar moved toward Cordelia. "What is it?"

Cordelia opened her mouth to reply, but it wasn't Cordelia's voice that came out.

"Help me!"

It seemed that Darla had tired of taking over Cordelia's electronic collection and had decided to just take over Cordelia instead.

"Oh no. No no no no no. She was gone. We burned things for her. Important things. Fabric things. Why is she still here?" Xander looked at the others and then instinctively pulled Willow closer.

"He's right." Now Buffy was really mad. "We got rid of you. Why are you still here?"

"The spirit you cast out was that of the Master. And now that you've done away with all your other distractions, I think someone needs to help me get out of here!" Amazingly, the self-involved Darla didn't sound much different from a self-involved Cordelia.

Ms. Calendar and Giles were arguing in whispers over something, so they were no help.

Buffy had an idea. She squared off and readied herself to give Cordelia the same treatment that had worked on Giles, but Angel stepped in the way.

"Don't. Let me talk to her." He insisted quietly. Then he turned to face the spirit of the one person he'd known far longer than anyone else.

Buffy looked as though she wanted to protest--loudly--when Giles stopped her with a hand on her arm. "Let him. We think it's what must be done," he whispered.

Buffy looked from Giles to Ms. Calendar and back. She nodded, but she remained tense, ready for action if the need arose.

"Darla? What do you want?" Angel stood directly in front of Cordelia's possessed body--only a few feet separated them. His expression gave nothing away. This had to be done, but he wasn't happy about it.

"Angelus?" Darla softly whispered his given name--savoring the familiarity of it. "Is it really you?"


She reached out to touch his face, but he pushed her hand away.

"Why are you here?"

"I told your friends I don't know. I ... awoke... in my body just before ...." Her voice trailed off for a moment. Angel looked away. "Then, I was in the car." Cordelia/Darla gestured toward the damaged vehicle. She turned back Angel. "Will you help me?"

The room had grown silent. Buffy was not convinced this wasn't a trick. But she sounded so... helpless. Willow had the serious wig. It was just too totally weird to hear that evil, or what used to be evil, voice coming out of Cordelia's mouth. And Willow didn't think Cordy would be too entirely happy to know someone else had occupied her personal space while she was... um... out.

"I don't know what you want me to do." Angel was getting frustrated, this had gone on too long.

"Let me go."


"Angel," Giles called softly. "Most restless spirits need something.... some kind of, um, gesture to set them free from this world."

Angel thought for moment, then nodded almost imperceptibly. He took Cordelia's hand, looked into her eyes, and addressed the spirit trapped inside.

"You're forgiven," he whispered.

Darla smiled. "Good bye Angelus." She lightly brushed her hand across his cheek. "I will always love you."

Cordelia's eyes fluttered and then snapped back open. "Excuse me!" She shoved Angel away. "What is your damage? Don't you know it's rude to hover?" She brushed her hair off her face and then stopped as she noticed the others staring at her. "What? Is there something in my hair? Oh my gosh!" She rushed for her purse and makeup case.

Buffy approached Angel and softly placed her hand on his arm. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah. It wasn't so hard."

"You forgave her for.... for making you, didn't you?" She was looking into those deep, dark eyes that she could just lose herself in so easily.

He nodded.

"And that wasn't hard?" She asked.

He looked away for a moment and then looked back into her eyes. He shrugged slightly and his voice cracked as he answered, "I know how she feels."

His eyes lingered on hers for a moment. Then he shook the feelings off, took Buffy's hand and, together, they went to see what the others were up to.

They were standing around Cordelia's busted up BMW.

"So, guys. Another disaster averted, huh?" Buffy fairly bounced up to the gang. "We're getting pretty good at this. And with the help of a new member, too." She gestured toward Cordelia, then stopped. They didn't look happy.

"You don't look happy," she said, suspicion quickly filled her voice. "What's wrong?"

"We have a problem," answered Giles.

"I figured that," she said. "What's wrong?" she repeated.

Xander pointed to the front of the car.

"The Annoying One," he said, "is gone."

Finis! And if you want more, you're going to have to wait until we're crazy enough to do this again. Should be about a week after the first rerun....*eg*

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