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Author's Note: Some of the dialogue has been taken from the original episode; Goodbye Iowa. The title changed due to the original one having a reference to Riley, because I have different plans for him- none of which involve B/R. I called it Friday instead for a mild reference to Friday 13th, a day when best laid plans can go awry, which what happens here. Additionally, there is a hot B/A scene, as well an additional cliffhanger which will start a storyline for episode 20, and which you are probably all gonna hate me for until it is resolved. I will remind you though that Buffy is in Season Five, so you know the ending of this story already. Enjoy.


Thwack! Punch! Kick!

Punch! Kick! Thwack!

Thwack! Kick! Punch!

"Come on, you're meant to be down by now!"

"I am down!"

Buffy turned to her other 'opponent' and smiled at him as she went to help him up from the floor. "Not you Xand, Angel."

"Oh," Xander uttered in understanding, then shied away from the slayer's hand. "Thanks, but I need to stay on the ground rolling around in agony for awhile."

"Beloved, I am a vampire, remember?" Angel, who was still standing, unbruised, reminded his soulmate.

"I know, but for the purpose of this exercise, you're both meant to be your average male. Not that either of you are average, by the way."

"Nor are the Initiative, remember?" Xander added as he cautiously rose from the floor. "They have those steroids, which you guys advised me to avoid."

"Oh yeah," Buffy uttered in remembrance.

The Scoobies took a collective shiver at the thought of the 'vitamins' which were standard issue to the Initiative and when they tested them after Xander had brought his prescription to them after being issued with acceptance to the military team. Aside from their strength enhancing and pain desensitising effects, they had found them to be highly addictive, with potentially deadly side effects if the prescription was suddenly abandoned, similar to the withdrawal from harmful drugs like heroin and cocaine, which, if their plans for the Initiative worked like they wanted them to, Xander would have had to endure.

"Still, steroids or no steroids, Buffy does have a point," Giles added his voice to the discussion. "The Initiative will not match up to the strength of a two hundred and forty-seven year old souled vampire."

"Hey, they proved a match for me," Spike pointed out.

"Er, you're several years younger, not souled and chipped," Buffy reminded the other vampire of the team, who was now working for Wyndam-Pryce Investigations, the small operation which Wesley had set up after settling into neighbourhood, an organisation which in the future would include all members of the Scooby gang, working to pay for killing demons as a side job to the destiny of a slayer.

"Buffy's right," Wesley now added to the discussion, "but we're also wasting time. This 'test' of Professor Walsh's is only a few hours away, and you need to be ready for anything they throw at you."

"I know," Buffy said as she and Angel began parrying each others punches and kicks once more. "I need to show them how powerful a slayer can be. I need to impress them and Walsh, while at the same learn their strengths, weaknesses and knowledge without anyone of them knowing about it." She recited the instructions Giles had given her when they had first decided to accept Walsh's suggestion of an exchange of ideas between military and slayer.

The next phase of Operation 314 had always been for Buffy to join the Initiative. From the moment of their discovery of the team, they had realised that one Scooby working undercover was not going to be enough, and if he was ever found to be looking where he should not, they would lose one of the few advantages they had. Hence Buffy's entrance. She would be perceived by Walsh as an unpredictable element, someone to watch; the perfect distraction from their main double agent.

On this day, as the afternoon hours slowly winded down into the evening, the slayer was preparing for the test which Walsh had devised to see a slayer at work. Xander and Angel had been given the difficult task of helping Buffy train but be ready to be unprepared for what the Initiative would throw at her, because too much alertness could betray Xander's involvement. This was most dangerous part of their plans involving the Initiative, and everything had to go smoothly so they could learn what was behind Room 314 without Walsh finding out about it.

And they were getting close. Last night Xander had managed to gain the access code to the door which guarded the Research rooms, and this morning between classes Willow and Oz had been working on a constructing a fake key card for him to use while Buffy was providing distraction. All they needed to find out was Walsh's access code to Room 314, and then what was inside it.

Buffy and Angel broke from another play fight, as the clock chimed, causing Xander to glance at the hour then pull his commando military green suit on.

"I better get going if I wanna make Walsh's meeting before the test."

Buffy stopped fighting and touched his arm. "Good luck."

"You too," Xander nodded before disappearing into the night.

Night time. Bushes surrounding a small clearing, situated near one of the many graveyards which occupied the town that housed the hellmouth, but out of the way from your usual visiting populous, be they native or tourist. Even the demons had been cleared out of the neighbourhood for this night, as one of the most unusual events took place.

Buffy advanced carefully, watching the small but subtle movements of the bushes which told her that the Initiative were near by. Inwardly she smiled. They might have had difficulty tracking her, but she had no problem knowing they were on her trail.

She took a look at each of the moving bushes, evaluating and picking out her first target. Then there was no more time for thinking as she jumped into the bush and threw the first of the assault team out into the open, making him land flat on his ass.

Two more followed before the rest of the team had come out into the clearing, expecting outnumbered odds only to be confronted with just a girl who could fight better than all of them put together and then some.

Buffy delivered her customary roundhouse kicks and punches; going for the places where she knew it would hurt the most; groin, arm and knee joints, aiming to bring them down and out as fast she could.

One of the commandos popped out from the bushes with a taser rifle. She moved one of the ones she was fighting into the firing path of the weapon, sending twelve thousand volts into him, instantly taking him out of the running.

The lead commando who had fired the shot jumped out of the bushes to advance on her. Buffy readied herself, then halted as the situation changed.

"Lights!" Professor Walsh stepped out of hiding, and the outline of a humvee became visible to the slayer as the day was made suddenly brighter by the effect of several hundred wattage fluorescent lights, placed strategically around the clearing. "It took the patrol team 42 minutes to track you and you neutralised them in 28 seconds."

Buffy went for the modest approach. "I was just lucky."

"I see." Walsh paused. "Well. . . still. Very impressive."

She walked back to the vehicle, while Riley stayed standing in front of her. Despite all of Buffy's blatant attempts to remind him she was taken, he could not seem to take the hint and stop trying to chat her up. "I was just being modest with the whole 'lucky' thing. You got that, right?"

"I got it."

Graham walked passed her to the humvee. "Awesome, Buffy."

Forrest shrugged and muttered in annoyance, while the rest of the team muttered congratulations to her.

Riley smiled. "See? You're a hit. Everybody loves you."

He moved to put his arm around her but Buffy moved ahead, exchanging an unseen glance with Xander while Walsh watched Riley's expression with a frown on her face.

"You sure about this?"

Buffy smiled. "I'm ready." Inwardly she grimaced, wishing Riley would just get on with it and stop trying to hit on her.

Riley turned to the mirror before them and reached to pull open a small concealed wall panel beside it. He pulled a switch and a green laser beam swept over her.

Buffy pretended surprise, but Xander had already warned her about all of this after his first time when he was confronted with the location of the secret underground lab.

"New retinal scan recorded. Summers. Buffy." A computer voice said. The mirror slid back to reveal an elevator.

Riley stepped in first, followed by Buffy. It descended into the hangar sized complex beneath the frat house.

Buffy took a glance around, pretending to be impressed once more. "My God. You said it was big. You told me, but you never said it was huge!"

Riley fell for it hook, line and sinker. "I don't like to brag."

"I had no idea," Buffy replied. "This is incredible. But not that I thought it was some fly-by-night operation. Unless it is! I mean, can you guys fly? At night. With those jet-pack things, do you have those?"

Riley tried to play coy. "I can't really talk about it."

Buffy stuck to her adopted awed tone. "This is unreal."

"So, you like our little operation?" Walsh said at that moment.

Buffy pretended to be at a loss for words. "Yeah. Yes. It's very . . . clean."

Walsh handed her a small ID badge. "Your visitor's pass. And I've assembled some reading material to bring you up to speed."

Buffy frowned. "Oh. And I thought I was never gonna get homework from you again."

"You can't take that home," Walsh informed her. "That's classified material. Highly sensitive. When you're through reading those pages you'll have to eat them."

Riley grinned while Buffy pretended to look concerned. In reality, she had read most of the stuff when Xander had been presented with the same papers on his joining. "She's joking."

"Don't worry, it doesn't happen very often. Shall we?" She led the way down the stairs and into the bowls of the hanger. "Much of our hands-on research with the H.S.T's is performed here. We call this The Pit."

Buffy peered down into it, noticing the demons inside. Mentally she took a note of their appearance, filing the information away for Giles later. "And what do you call those?"

"Tough," Riley answered. "It took eight of us to bring those two down."

"They'll be under our control soon enough," Walsh added. "Doctor Angleman! Head of our science team. He's a leader in the field of zenomorphic behaviour modification."

"Behaviour modification?" Buffy asked, though part of her already had an idea of what Walsh was referring to.

"We've made significant advances in reconditioning the sub-terrestrials. Bringing them to a point where they no longer pose a threat."

So I've seen, Buffy thought silently. "What's over there?" She asked.

"The armoury. You'll have to be cleared for use on each of these weapons. The more advance arsenal can be complicated, but I'm certain, in time, you'll pick that up." She turned and saw Buffy fiddling with something else. "Don't pick that up."

"What is it?" Buffy asked.

"About twenty-thousand dollars," Walsh replied.

"It's a prototype for a com-cam," Riley explained. "Communications camera. Soon to be standard issue. Gives us a direct comlink to Control when we're out in the field."

"Also monitors the heart rate of the wearer," Walsh added. "A valuable tool for research in stress in combat condition. If you'll follow me, I'll show you the H.S.T containment area. We have a few more things to give you."

They were passing the door to the restricted area. "What's in there?" Buffy asked.

"Research area," Walsh answered. "Very restricted for security reasons. Here is your security card and your pager."

Buffy held the pager, which was very similar to the one Giles had issued to all of the Scooby gang during the summer before college, along with a mobile phone and walkie talkies. "Been thinking about getting one of these," she commented.

Walsh was stern. "We're the only ones with the number and it stays that way."

"Right," Buffy nodded.

"Lose either one of them and there's hell to pay and down here we mean that literally," Walsh added. She shook Buffy's hand. "Again, welcome to the team."

She walked away, leaving Buffy standing with Riley, who turned to her. "So, what do want to do now?"

"Actually, I have a prior engagement," Buffy remarked before walking to the stairs which lead to the lift. She felt the sudden urge to be out of the hanger which in her mind bore a terrifying resemblance to a twenty-first century concentration camp, except for demons not persecuted Jews.

And the similarities were not the one bit reassuring. Not in the least.

"How did it go?" Willow asked.

The Scoobies had moved from Giles and Jenny's place to the Bronze, a semi neutral environment where she could pass off that she was out hanging with her friends just in case the Initiative happened to wander in.

Buffy shivered, causing Xander to comment, "that bad, huh?"

She nodded. "I know you warned me, but I had no idea it would look like that. The place was literally out of some documentary on World War II, only frighteningly hi-tech and catering to demons. I know I kill them, but surely I'm not on a par with that level of horror."

"You're not," Anya assured her. "Speaking as a former demon, I'd rather be killed than vivisected by doctors for experiments. At least your way is a fair fight."

"We've got to bring them down," Buffy decided, leaning back into the arms of her Angel. "As soon as we possibly can."

"What happened to the softly, softly approach?" Tara asked.

"It was shot down as soon as I stepped into that hanger." Buffy paused. "I know we need to find out what's in Room 314, but once we've done that, can we break from them? They're giving me the creeps."

"Well, if there's an op tonight, I could find out what's in there," Xander volunteered.

"Are you sure you can do it without getting detected?" Wesley asked him.

"We've got the fake surveillance feed, the key card and the proper access code," Xander ticked the items one by one off his fingers. "What else do we need?"

"The distraction to draw attention away," Buffy remarked, her eyes on the entrance as it admitted some new people to the club. "Xand?"

"I see them," Xander withdrew from the gang and walked a circular route to the bar where the manager was supposed to be.

The slayer adopted a casual pose and leaned into the arms of her boyfriend, who kissed her hair, half his attention also on the new arrivals. "Just as well Spike is at the Mansion and Giles and Jenny are at home," she uttered softly to him, watching Riley and his friends cast their eyes around the place. "God knows what they would do if they found out I was hanging with Hostile Seventeen."

"They're coming over," Willow warned them softly, as Oz placed an arm round her shoulder. Anya and Tara stayed close to Wesley, while Cordelia claimed Doyle who prayed he would not sneeze at this crucial moment.

"Hey Buffy," Riley remarked as he and his friends came to a stop before her full booth of nine people who had spread out to make sure there was no possibility of anyone else trying to join them.

"Hey, Riley," Buffy returned, taking Angel's hand in her own. "I didn't realise anyone at the college knew about this place."

"Oh, one of our members is the manager of the place." Riley indicated Xander with his finger, grinning in the hope it would impress the slayer.

Buffy took a glance at Xander, holding back her smile. "Oh, Xander Harris. Yeah, he used to attend Sunnydale High. I don't remember what happened to him after graduation. But then we lost track of a lot of people."

Riley nodded disappointed, then he and his group moved away.

The slayer smiled at their departure. "Mission accomplished." She relaxed in Angel's arms, who smiled at her.

Just then a beeping sound began, causing the Initiative guys, Xander and Buffy to reach into their pockets.

"Just what the slayerettes ordered," Buffy remarked softly before kissing her soulmate farewell. "I'll meet you back at the Mansion."

At the Initiative headquarters, Walsh slid her key card through the entrance to the restricted area, then Room 314.

"How did the tour go?" Dr Angleman asked her as she entered.

"I'm not sure. She's unpredictable," Walsh walked to the surgical table which contained their most secret of projects.

"She's an unnecessary risk," Dr Angleman commented with conviction.

"Possibly." Walsh paused, her eyes on the project. "How's our baby doing today?"

"Adjusting nicely. Reflexes, motor-functions. All off the charts."

"That's what I like to hear." She bent down, looking at the amalgamation of demon and human body parts that they was their own Frankenstein. "Almost time to wake up, Adam. And take your first look at the world. I know you're gonna make me proud."

A knock sounded on the door, causing her to turn and exit the room. She stared at the technician. "Yes?"

"The team is here for briefing, ma'am."


Walsh walked back into the main part of the hanger. Her eyes fixed on the team, singling out the only one not dressed in military green. A possible problem for her operation. Or not. At this point she was not sure.

She advanced to stand before the projection screen. "This is your objective. Sub-T: 67119. Demon class: Polgara species. Though visual confirmation has not yet been made, we're confident of the target's approximate position as it leaves behind a distinct protein marker. Dr. Angleman will brief you on its defences."

"When threatened," Angleman paused to place an overlay of a slider on the demon to reveal the new weaponry he was about to explain, "bone skewers jut from the creature's forearms during battle. It's imperative when ensnaring it not to damage its arms. That's all you really need to know."

Buffy looked to Xander, who nodded his acceptance to the strategy which the Scoobies had decided on when she was confronted with her first operation with the Initiative. Ask as many questions as she could without causing risk. "Question."

"Buffy?" Walsh asked.

"Why exactly can't we damage this polka thing's arms? I, uh, not that I want to, it's just in my experience when fighting for your life body parts get damaged and better its bits than mine. Or . . . ours." She added, making the latter word sounded unnatural to her, keeping with the story that she worked on her own.

"We wish to study the physiology of every subterrestrial's natural defences," Dr Angleman answered. "It's part of the research we do here. Uh, Yes?"

"What do they want?" Buffy asked.


"Why are they here? Sacrifices, treasure, or they just get rampagy? I find it's easier to predict their responses if I know....."

Angleman cut her off. "They're not sentient. Just destructive, I believe."

"They do have keen eyesight, however," Walsh added, with a direct reference to what she was wearing; a orange halter top and jeans. "You might want to be suited up for this."

Buffy smiled. "Oh. You mean the cammo and stuff? I thought about it but, I mean, it's gonna look all 'Private Benjamin.'" She paused as chuckles passed around the commandos. "Don't worry I've patrolled in this halter many times."

Further laughter. Walsh grimaced and added, "why don't we give our attention to Dr. Angleman and save all questions until the end."

"Actually, I'm finished."

"Oh. Uh, well, Agent Finn, deploy the teams."

"Okay, listen up. We'll be going in a four squad set-up. Team Leaders: Gates, Taggart, and Stavros. Alpha Team, you're with me."

"Report for TLs for assignment and weapons requisitions," Walsh added. "Reminder: this is a zap-n-trap, people. Capture not a kill. Any questions?" She sighed as she saw one. "Buffy."

"So," Riley remarked as he and Alpha team accompanied the slayer, "how does your briefing go with Giles?"

Buffy smiled and took out her mobile, causing Xander to hide his own smile. "Like this." she pressed speed dial and waited for the line to be picked up. "Giles, got a situation. Demon called Polgara. Has bone like swords popping out of its arms. Anything you can give me?" She paused to listen for the reply, hearing Giles pretending to rustle through the books when in reality they had sent a picture of said demon back to them via the mobile as a listening device during the meeting. "Right, no reason, just a general visit, okay. See you later." She paused and turned to Riley. "So I guess she hates me now, professor Walsh. Questions. An Initiative faux pas, yes?"

"It's . . . a little unusual," Riley admitted. "She's just not used to it. Maybe because you barely ever opened your mouth in her classroom. But I know she likes you. In fact, she liked you before I did. Can we talk about this later? There's a dangerous hostile out here and since I don't have your reflexes, I kinda need to focus."

"Okay," Buffy said, inwardly smiling.

Then the demon came up, causing Buffy to drop her interrogation tactics and go into her slayer mode.

The team fought the Polgara demon, careful to avoid its arms, trying to surround it and get a clear shot for their tasers. Buffy easily put it down to the ground, though she thought it was struggle due to it's strength, height and the fact that she could not hurt it's arms, or take it alone as the Initiative insisted on helping.

Finally with a roundhouse kick it was winded enough for the taser. Riley, out of breath like team, in comparison to Buffy who was just breaking a sweat, turned to her and asked the following: "So, what do you wanna do now?"

Buffy smiled at him, then pointed ahead of them. Riley looked up to see a talk dark figure waiting for the slayer, who smiled in farewell then ran to join the figure. He grimaced in annoyance before ferrying the demon to base.

"I think we've got a situation."

Dr Angleman looked up from his work, and pulled down his surgical mask so he could talk. "The Slayer?"

Walsh paced the floor. "She's becoming a liability."

"We knew that was a danger," Angleman reminded her. "We prepared for it in fact. Does she know about the project?"

"I'm not sure, but she has too much influence over Agent Finn." Walsh paused. "It's only a matter of time before she asks the question."

"So w move to the contingency scenario?" Angleman sought to confirm.

Walsh nodded. "Right away."

Angleman sighed. "That's too bad. She could have been a powerful ally. Even after the first condition was resolved."

"I know," Walsh murmured. "I wish now I not made that so gradual. The progression of symptoms seemingly strange and slow."

"Agent Finn will take it hard," he reminded her.

"That's why sooner is better." Walsh paused and took a look at the new arm their Frankenstein had, from the Polgara demon. "Soon, Adam, soon," she whispered."

They ran back to the Mansion, stopping to stake a couple of vampires out on the way, upping levels of endorphins for both of them.

Buffy jumped Angel as soon as they were through the door, causing Spike who could see them from his place on the sofa to groan, then breathe a sigh of relief as Angel took the slayer in his arms and raced up the stairs with her.

Once in their bedroom things slowed down. Angel switched on a slow song, while Buffy seductively undid the lacing's of her halter top. He watched the display with a smile, then pulled her into arms.

They kissed as though neither had tasted each other in months, drinking up the touch of skin to skin, mouth to mouth, tongue to tongue, saliva and arousal combined as a wanderer in the desert would coming across an oasis of water. Buffy almost ripped his shirt off, while Angel showered her neck and bare front with kisses, then groaned when she had gained access to his chest and returned the favour.

Jeans were lost under the haste and mounting desire, and the couple moved to the bed, relishing the feel of silk on their naked bodies as they slowly and powerfully became one.

Angel and Buffy took turns in rolling each other until both of them had been on top, then sighed in bliss as they came.

A few moments later, Angel took her into his arms, and smiled as she chuckled softly, the sound vibrating against his chest.

"Did you see his face?" She asked through her soft laughter, speaking of Riley. "I really wish he'd get the hint, but its amusing to witness all the same."

"So how was the fight?" Angel asked her.

"Tough. I'd forgotten how hard it is not to work with someone who isn't attuned to your every move and can compliment it magnificently." She stroked his chest, confirming that the praise was meant for him alone. "I'm concerned though," she added, in afterthought.

"Why?" Angel asked her.

"Walsh did not seem happy that I asked so many questions. I know that was the whole idea of the plan, but I'm not sure if she'll wait. She's already annoyed with Riley's interest in me."

"Well, just remember, anything suspicious, page us, and we'll be there in a heartbeat," Angel kissed her hair.

"I know," Buffy answered, reassured, and turned to kiss him, intending for a repeat performance of their love making.

Then a pager beeped, causing her to groan and pick it up. She grimaced, reading the message. "Speak of the devil. I'll be back."

"It's a small job. Reconnaissance. Probably a waste of a Slayer's abilities, but my boys are on assignment so I......."

Buffy interrupted Walsh with a polite voice. "No. It's okay. I'm up for some action."

"I doubt you'll get any on this one." She led her to a map and pointed to the search coordinates. "We have a reading of a class three subterrestrial moving through the sewer tunnels just on the edge of town."

"Class three?"

"It's a low-level threat. Minimal aggression. Meagre defences. They barely show up on the scanner and occasionally turn out to be raccoons." She handed Buffy a taser.

"Wow. You're not crazy about raccoons, huh?" Buffy commented casually, while her mind scented a trap.

"We always take precautions." Walsh picked up the expensive com-camera and handed it to her. "All we need you to do is get a visual on this thing. This will feed me back an image and I can advise you from there. I don't want to put you in any unnecessary danger."

"Oh. That's okay. Danger's my birthright." She paused then put on a nervous tone. "Um, Professor Walsh. There's, uh..... There's still some stuff about all this that I'm not clear on."

"Well, when you get back we can have a talk," Walsh replied.

Yep, definitely a trap.

Buffy nodded. "Good. Okay. When I get back. Am I supposed to salute you?"

Walsh frowned. "No."


Buffy turned to leave. As she passed the restricted area, she nodded at Xander, who was just slipping inside, disguised in a technician's white coat. Then, when she was outside the building and away from any surveillance but the com-camera, she slipped her hand into her pocket and pressed the prearranged message on her other beeper.


By the time Buffy had moved into the sewer section in question, she was on the alert for the trap. Carefully she kept her pulse calm, knowing the Walsh would be watching and spoke into the mike.

"Professor Walsh, are you getting this? Possible H.S.T?"

Something emerged out from a corner ahead of her.

"Make it a definite. And he's brought along a friend. They seem," Buffy paused, about to say controlled by something, but then remembered where she had seen them before.

Abruptly, instinct took over. A trap had been sprung on her and the next phase of Operation 314, though earlier than anticipated, had to be launched. She started to fight the demons, making moves until the com-camera slipped off in the fight and her pulse on it read a flat line, as did the surveillance.
Then she drew on her full slayer strength and defeated the demons, using the booby-trapped taser to electrify one, and slicing the other with one of their axes. Then she rose up and took out her mobile.

"Giles, it's me. I'm afraid we're gonna have put my exit from the Initiative forward."

"God, Buffy are you okay?" Giles asked on the other end, hearing her out of breath voice, clear signs of exhaustion.

"Yes, just. Those demons took a lot out of me."

"Angel's on his way."

"Thanks. Should I proceed as we originally planned?"

"Yes. Good luck."

"Thanks," Buffy uttered and ended the caller. Then she turned, casting her gaze around until it settled on the com-camera.

She picked it up and got to work.

"Riley," Professor began to say, her tone being appropriately concerned, after having watched the pulse rate of the slayer's heart go to flat line, and convinced she was dead, "something's happened. I-I don't know what to say. It-it-it's about Buffy."


"Two of our hostiles broke free and escaped into the tunnels. She . . .went after them on her own. She's dead, Riley. I did everything I could to stop her. I told her to wait for a back-up team, she kept insisting she didn't need any team. She could handle it by herself. I-I'm so, so sorry. I know what she meant to you."

"How could this happen?" Riley asked, lost.

"She was a very, very special girl. I didn't understand at first. But she had something. I don't know . . . maybe I could have stopped her. It's hard not to blame myself."

Right on time, the com-camera suddenly came back to life, to reveal a fully alive slayer, who was staring down and Walsh and Riley.

"Professor Walsh. That simple little recon you sent me on . . . wasn't a raccoon."

Walsh gasped and faced the camera.

"Turns out it was me trapped in the sewers with a faulty weapon and two of your pet demons. If you think that's enough to kill me, you really don't know what a Slayer is. Trust me when I say you're gonna find out."

She dropped the camera, letting it go static again, and walked out of the sewer system unseen, into Angel's arms.

Walsh looked at Riley, who gave her deadly look, then walked away. "Agent Finn. I order you to stop! Agent Finn! RILEY!!"

"So. All right. Fine. If she wants a fight, we'll give her one."

It was later in the day, and Walsh was inside Room 314, alone, talking to her pet project. "Won't we, Adam? I've worked too long. Too long . . . to let some little bitch threaten this project. Threaten me. She has no idea who she's dealing with. She may have succeeded in foiling this contingency plan, but I doubt she even knows about the first one we arranged to kill her. Once she's gone, Riley will come around. He'll understand. It's for the greater good. He'll see that. And if he doesn't . ." she paused to a surgical saw back in it's proper place, turning her back on the listener. "Well, first things first. Remove the complication and when she least expects it......"

Suddenly she felt a sharp pain. She glanced down to find a bone saw in the middle of her torso. She only had time to say one word.


Before she collapsed to the ground dead.

Adam drew his bone sword out of her chest. "Mommy." He uttered mechanically.

Xander, watching from a small gap between the opened door, quietly backed away, closing said door as softly and as hurriedly as he could.

He rushed out of the hanger, not stopping until he was outside in the fresh daylight which covered Sunnydale campus. Shaking he took out his mobile and pressed a number on his speed dial.

"Giles? It's me. We have a very serious problem."

Buffy stood before the mirror in the ensuite bathroom next door to the master bedroom on the first floor of the mansion on Crawford Street, silent and contemplative. Pressing a damp towel to her mouth, she gazed at her reflection bleakly thoughtful. A phrase seemed to repeat itself in her mind over and over again. How was this possible? The answer was simple; it wasn't. This was not supposed to happen, she had been assured of that by the best authority on the subject. Yet she could not deny the symptom, for it was impossible to ignore.

She hadn't told anyone, not even Angel, who still lay fast asleep in the bed next door. At first the incident appeared to be a one off. It freaked her out, but she put it down to the stress she had been going through, and fighting. Now, though, it seemed to pronounce that something darker was lurking beneath the surface.

Of course, she could be jumping to conclusions. Twice did not make the incident commonplace. And so far, she had no additional symptoms. Pressing the damp towel to her forehead, she closed her eyes and sought for clarity, for resolution. When she reached it, or something similar, she put the towel on the heated hand rail and exited the bathroom.

Her gaze settled upon her soulmate, sound asleep, unaware of her troubles. Buffy had not the heart or the will to burden him with this problem yet. And hopefully, it would fade away, turning out to be nothing at all.

The End.
To Be Continued In