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Author's Note: Superstar was one of my few favourites for Season Four, despite the B/R scenes. When coming to rewrite the episode, I decided that the main plot concerning Jonathan, while funny, was not relevant to my new plot for the season, so I did this instead, which includes a lovely B/A scene and keeps continuity with the Initiative developments. Enjoy.

Nutrisco et Extinguo.

I nourish and extinguish;

Motto of Francis I of France (1515-47).

"And now for the weather. Latest predictions from our meteorologists report that the heat wave through certain parts of California is set to continue this week, and we advise all viewers to take extra precaution with regards to sun exposure. Particular warning is given to all residents in Los Angeles and Sunnydale, as there is the additional risk of forest fires in those areas, with temperatures rising to....."

Thanks for stating the obvious, Buffy thought to herself as she turned off the television set and collapsed back on the still warm cotton covered mattress of their bed. She turned to see if her boyfriend was still asleep, and blushed at the sight, even though they had been dating for nearly two years, and living together for almost one. Angel was lying on his side, his front facing her, completely devoid of clothing. His eyes were closed, his demeanour looked relaxed, but if one were to cast their eyes further down, they would discover that one part of him was definitely awake.

With a small smile, she reached across and began to stroke it. Barely had she begun to touch him, when his hand came down and clasped her wrist, causing her to look up and meet his eyes. "Hey."

"Hey," he replied, before leaning forward to touch her lips with his. When he had kissed her thoroughly, he added, "good morning."

"With you, always," Buffy replied, "with today's weather, however, not so good."

"I know, I think its the first time since my part Shanshu that I've actually felt the heat," Angel replied, before his eyes lowered to find her fingers still moving. "Do you intend to finish what you started?" He asked her softly.

Buffy reluctantly stopped. "Far too hot," she confessed.

"And we both have early lectures," Angel added.

"Later, if it cools?" She suggested.

"Even if it doesn't, I have a few theories on ways to keep us cool," Angel smiled at her, making her blush.

Buffy nodded, and withdrew her hand from his clasp, then rose from their bed. She made her way over to the walk in wardrobe. Angel watched her as she selected the most cooling items of clothing that would be considered decent by Sunnydale UC; a short pleated skirt and short sleeved t-shirt. She grabbed her undergarments out of the drawer and walked into the ensuite bathroom before he chose to rise also.

Her ablutions over, Buffy returned to find him dressed in a short sleeved shirt with slacks, and matching light jacket, no tie. He turned as she closed the ensuite door, and did a double take as he realised she would be wearing a bikini underneath her clothes.

"Are you deliberately trying to make us late?" he asked her as she finished dressing.

"No, the girls and I will probably sunbathe during recess and lunch," she replied. She kissed him. "I'll see you downstairs."

Buffy made her way downstairs, thankful that the living room of the mansion held a double-height ceiling, making it slightly cooler. She walked into the hot kitchen to find Spike already up, tucking into what looked like wheetabix and blood, his usual choice of meal.

"Why haven't you made Angel install aircon?" Spike practically growled at her as she entered the room.

"I thought vampires didn't have body heat?" Buffy countered, as she went to get her breakfast and prepare Angel's.

"Still feel the warmth, luv," Spike informed her.

"Is that's what's making you grumpy?" She asked him.

He frowned at her, before performing a double take grin of evil and smug appreciation. "Love the outfit."

Buffy shook her head and ignored his leer, before sitting down to eat her meal. Angel came in just then, and his look to Spike made him take his eyes off her and return them back on his breakfast.

"Seen the news?" The slayer asked Spike.

"No TV in my room," was the chipped vampire's reply and subtle hint.

"Well, the forest fires are likely to hit here today, so avoid the woods," Buffy informed him, ignoring the hint.

"Oh don't worry, I'm only going as far as the garden," Spike said, "or the nearest electrical store for fans, if I had any money," he added.

"No demon poker night wins lately?" Angel inquired.

"As it happens," Spike answered curtly. "And Pryce has had no cases requiring my services lately either."

"Only because the last time he asked you refused to lift a finger," Buffy pointed out. "Despite being your job," she added.

"I'm freelance," Spike replied, "and I refused nicely."

"If I remember correctly, your exact words were, 'I'm not getting covered in green slime for those wages, mate,'" Buffy quoted.

"Be that as it may," Spike said, "I'm still broke."

Angel rose from his chair, reached into his pocket, took out his wallet, and tossed a few notes in Spike direction. "If it will stop you moaning, and as long as you get a couple for the ground floor and mine and Buffy's bedroom."

Spike caught the notes. "Can't I have your credit card?"

His souled grandsire glared at him. "Don't push it."

"Thanks mate," Spike replied, as he counted the notes. "Hope you both have a nice day," he added in a fake American accent as the couple left.

Buffy and Angel arrived at the University in time for their first lectures, and parted with the arrangement to meet during recess.

By the time that morning break occurred, the Slayerettes had learned along with the rest of the students on campus, that the university's air conditioning had broken down, causing fans to be placed in lecture halls and professors' rooms. Everywhere else on campus was practically baking.

The new psychology professor had just arrived, causing an impromptu meeting of Operation 314 members at lunchtime, in a shady secluded part of the campus, away from lecture halls and frat houses.

"Well, I didn't get any vibes from him, so I think he's okay," Buffy remarked, finishing her judgement on Maggie Walsh's replacement.

"God, its even hot in the shade," Anya commented before copying the rest of the girls and taking off her top.

"Xand, have you plans to visit Lowell House?" Buffy asked him.

There was a moment of silence.


Still silence.

"Xander!" The slayer repeated, more forcefully.

Her friend finally took his eyes off Anya's bikini top and turned to her. "Er, what sorry?"

"Do you have plans to visit Initiative HQ?" Buffy asked again.

"Yeah, I was gonna pay a quick visit this afternoon. I haven't received a page lately, but I assume that's because of Walsh's death and Adam's escape."

"Has he killed anyone else?" Cordelia asked.

"I've found nothing on my patrols," Buffy replied, "and the news hasn't reported anything, so either he hasn't, or he's more careful." She paused before adding, "anyone seen the other Initiative guys today? Only Riley didn't show up for Psych."

"Now that you mention it, no," Cordelia replied, while the rest shook their heads.

"I'll check the absentee list after lunch," Giles informed them. "It is a concern if they're all missing, and Xander hasn't been paged."

"What do you think's happened to them?" Willow asked.

"I don't know," her best friend replied. "But I have feeling that we're not gonna like the answer when we've found it."

Xander was surprised to receive a page from the Initiative just as he stepped into their underground headquarters after lunch.

"Harris, what are you doing here?" Dr Angleman asked him as he saw him enter.

"I was paged," Xander replied as he walked past the doctor's station to the briefing room.

"I've gotta a good mind to inform the review committee that you're a double agent," Angleman informed Xander, as he fell into step with him.

"Yeah, well, since I think I'm the only one of your initiative members likely to answer their page, I don't think that knowledge qualifies as blackmail material," Xander replied before opening the door into the briefing room.

As suspected, there was one person in the room, looking very annoyed. "Dr Angleman, where are these guys?" He asked angrily. "And who are you?" He asked Xander.

"Agent Harris reporting, sir." Xander said, saluting and standing to attention, his undercover mask in place.

"At ease. Harris, do you know where the others are?"

"No, sir. None of them have shown up for classes today, and their beds haven't been slept in either, I checked," he informed the man truthfully. After Giles had checked the absentee list, he had told Xander to be truthful with anyone at the headquarters regarding the disappearance of the other members of the Initiative, just in case the officers at the HQ had more information than they did.

"Right, so we'll just have to assume they're missing until further notice," the officer motioned Xander to a chair. "Angleman, fetch everyone else, we're having this meeting now."

When everyone had arrived, the man began. "For those of you who don't already know my name is Colonel George Haviland. I'm commanding officer here until such time as the facility review is completed. This review does not mean our primary mission is changed in any way. Recovery of the hostile known as Adam is our first and most important job. Men, before we can locate Adam we need to understand him better. I have studied some of Professor Walsh's original design schematics and I've found something - his power source is not biological at all. The design attempts to hide it, but I believe that there's a small reservoir of uranium 235."

"Sir, how long will it last?"

"Indefinitely," the Colonel revealed. "It also means that cutting off his head is useless. Killing Adam means annihilating him completely. But first we have to find him."

"What about the missing members?" Dr Angleman asked.

"Their pagers contain tracking signals, I believe?" Colonel Haviland asked. When he had received a nod of confirmation, he added, "then we shall put a trace on them."

At the end of the final classes, the members of Operation 314, including Joyce, Wesley and, more reluctantly, Spike, arrived at their usual meeting place; Giles and Jenny's air conditioned apartment.

"So none of them have any idea of their whereabouts either?" Giles questioned Xander when the meeting began.

"No, and so far the tracer's coming up with nothing," Xander replied.

"Any idea when this heat is going to end?" Anya asked as she took her iced tea from the tray, the drink which Giles decided to serve instead of the usual hot variety.

"There's a storm being predicted on the Weather Channel, for later this evening," Jenny replied, having had a light day, due to the heat and her pregnancy, thus time to catch up on the latest news.

"And what do they plan to do with Adam?" Giles asked Xander.

"At the moment they're trying to trace him via the uranium power source, but its having little success," Xander informed the group at large. "And Angleman's threatening to tell Colonel Haviland that I'm working against them, so I doubt I'll be able to get back in."

"Don't worry, Oz and I think we have the means to hack into the place now," Willow replied. "Walsh's death and Adam's escape left the security systems in a mess."

"Where do they think he's likely to be?" Buffy asked Xander.

"Haviland said anything that masks uranium signatures."

"Most likely the caves," Willow replied, after tapping away on her laptop for a few minutes.

"I don't think we should go in search of him in there," Giles decided, "we have no idea what we'd be up against, especially if he's still trying to recruit vampires."

"So, in other words, we do nothing until we can find some way to defeat him, then lure him out into the open?" Buffy sought to confirm.

"I'm afraid we have little choice," Giles informed her.

The Slayerettes fell silent at that news, and the apartment joined them in the silence, until a loud crack of thunder startled everybody.

"Thank god," Spike declared as he glanced outside and saw the rain starting to come down.

"I believe on that note, this meeting should come to an end," Giles announced. "Drive safe, all of you."

"What are you doing?"

Adam looked up from stance before the cave's entrance. "I am listening to the weather, brother," he replied.

"Why, it's only a storm," Riley remarked.

"I am as alive as those electrical currents this weather pattern sends out, known to you as lightning," Adam remarked. "I am more alive than any of the humans. Shadows they are to me. I know how they work now, how demons work. My resources are capable of defeating them with a single blow. But these electrical currents, they are of a different nature. They have the ability to affect my circuity, like the rain, if I did not have my water resistant coating."

"It won't harm us in this cave," Riley assured him.

"Like the forest fires," Adam mused.

"Which this storm will end."

Adam looked out into the night. "I doubt that," he remarked.

"That tickles," Buffy managed to utter.

"Do you want me to stop?" Angel asked.

"No," she confessed, and watched him as his fingers continued to roll the ice cube down her body.

After returning to the Mansion Spike had hijacked the television in the living room to watch the latest episode of Passions, leaving Buffy and Angel the chance to retire to their bedroom. Angel had nipped into the kitchen on their way, and brought up a bucket full of ice with which he was now cooling her off with.

As well as arousing the hell out of her.

Now he paused in the rolling to lick off the trail of water the ice cube's journey had caused, his tongue lingering on her bare skin.

Buffy sighed and then arched her back as Angel began to move the ice cube once more. The combination of the ice and the fan were cooling her down, but the Mansion still felt warm despite the rainstorm which had not stopped since beginning two hours ago. Both of them had shed their clothes since returning to their bedroom, and now a combination of water and sweat glistened on their bodies.

Angel rose up and leaned over her to fetch another ice cube. He rolled it gently over her breasts, pausing to press it against each of her hard nipples, and the sensation it produced caused her to shiver with pleasure. Then he balanced the cube on her abdomen and crushed it between their bodies as his mouth replaced the pressure of the ice on her breasts.

Buffy gasped at the sensation of the crushed ice, and her soulmate's ministrations before uttering a groan when he suddenly stopped. She heard some more rustling in the ice bucket and opened her eyes to him looming above her with an ice cube in his mouth. His lips touched hers and together they sucked the ice cube between them. She thought she had been inventive during her turns with the first half of the ice bucket, but Angel had surpassed her in his attempts. She smiled at him as they continued to suck the cube, while her mind thought up another journey for the ice once her turn came again.
The cube slowly disappeared, causing them to exchange a proper kiss, which led to the ice being temporarily forgotten, as Angel wrapped his arms around her. Buffy used the moment to roll them over until she was on top, then parted from him to sit up on his thighs.

"My turn," she said softly, before reaching into the ice bucket.

Her hand had just clasped one of the cubes, when the phone rang, disturbing both the peace and the mood.

Both groaned, and Buffy sat up, placing the ice cube on Angel's stomach as they waited for the answer machine to click in.

"Buffy, Angel," a voice remarked after the beep, "pick up."

"Hey Doyle," Buffy answered as she held the receiver to her ear. "What's up?" She asked, and then blushed as she caught Angel's grin and his motion to his sex, which was currently rising between them.

"I just had a rather disturbing vision," Doyle replied, oblivious to what was going on at the other end. "And then I checked the news, and it was confirmed. The forest fires aren't being affected by the storm."

Buffy stilled, her mind suddenly serious. "They aren't? How come?"

"The fire is not caused by the heat," Doyle answered. "Its been caused by the Initiative."


"I'm not sure entirely, the vision wasn't very clear on that," he replied. "But it's definitely of a mechanical nature."

"Call the others and warn Giles we're all coming over," Buffy said before ending the call. She put the receiver down and then sat back up.

"What's wrong?" Angel asked her.

She told him, chucking the ice cube back in the bucket, before reluctantly rising from the bed. Both of them tossed on the nearest clothes they had to hand, and then made their way to the mansion.

"No, it was more lizard like," Doyle said.

Angel grabbed an erasure, rubbed out the mistake, and corrected the sketch. "Like that?" He asked the seer.

"Yeah, that looks about right."

Angel turned the pad round and showed it to the rest of the Scooby gang who had all turned up for the meeting at Giles' apartment.

The Watchers took one look at the sketch then abruptly closed the books each of them had been studying.

"Definitely man made," Giles confirmed while Wesley put the volumes away.

"Looks like something out of James Bond," Xander commented.

"Except this is a heck of a lot more dangerous," Buffy remarked. "How do you suppose we put a stop to it?"

"Why should we?" Anya asked. "Isn't the Initiative using to defeat Adam?"

"Once that and his uranium power source meet," Buffy replied, "a nuclear explosion will occur. Not to mention the damage it will do to the people and the environment." She looked at Anya. "Haven't you learned about nuclear in your chem classes?"

"Barely started on the elements," Anya replied.

"Oh. So, suggestions on how we take this fire-breathing thing down?" The slayer asked the group at large.

"Well, assuming we won't have time or the chance to get near enough to disable it," Willow replied, "I suggest a spell." She turned to Jenny. "Can it be done?"

"I believe there's one which might suit," Jenny answered. "It's in the red wiccan bible on the third shelf."

"I'll get it," Tara volunteered. She took the tome out and handed it to Jenny.

Professor Calendar-Giles flicked through the pages until she found it, then handed the book to Willow. "There's a list of ingredients you'll need too."

Willow nodded as she and Tara studied the volume. "I should be able to get most these tonight," she added. "Good thing the Magic shop doesn't close till midnight."

"Me and Angel will meet you in the forest when you're ready," Buffy decided.

"Be careful," Giles advised them before he drew the meeting to a close.

It was just after midnight when the chosen warriors met Willow in a clearing of the woods of Sunnydale, away from the fire crews who were trying to contain the fire away from the town, and just infront of one set of flames.

"You sure this the right place?" Willow asked as she took out the potion bag.

"Positive," Angel replied. He reach out and pointed with his hand. "You can just see it beyond that tree."

Buffy flashed the torch she carrying on it, and Willow shuddered when she caught sight of it. "Looks a lot more fierce in the man-made flesh," she uttered.

"How close does it need to be for the spell to work?" Buffy asked.

"Very close, unfortunately," Willow replied.

They stood still, watching the flames catch the trees which surrounded the front part of the clearing that they were standing in. The black shape loomed closer and closer towards them, until they could hear the whining of the fire-breathing mechanism. Until they could see the red lights of its glass bulb eyes.

Willow opened the potion bag, reached in and handed them each a handful of the mixture within.

In one motion they stepped forward and chucked the mixture onto the head of the black lizard-like shaped machine.

Stepping back, Willow chanted the spell. "Nutrisco et Extinguo. I nourish and extinguish. This potion claims your flames and kills your breath. Destroys your flesh and renders you vanquished."

The machine gave the equivalent of a cough, then packed up and collapsed before the trio, it's parts scattering to the forest floor.

Buffy and Angel put the heat resistant gloves on they had brought with them, and Willow held the bag open she had brought with her to collect the evidence.

Together the warriors filled it, making sure they found and tidied away all the pieces they could see via the help of flashlights before leaving the forest.

Reaching the edge which lay on the boundary of the university campus, the trio came to a sudden halt.

The light of the dawn had yet to reach the city, but their still alive flashlights betrayed all that they needed to know of the sight just in front of them.

It was a disgusting vision, one of reality, complete with horrific sights that few expected to ever see, even on the Hellmouth.

Before them were the remains of the Initiative members, dead. Even more gruesome, all had been completely eviscerated. Adam, in his violent quest for knowledge, had clearly not decided to begin and end with just a small boy. He also did not seem to care about who he killed, including the Initiative who were now sent out after him to try and kill him.

"Any missing?" Willow asked as Buffy and Angel grimly examined the mutilated bodies one by one.

"Yes," Buffy announced. "Riley."

"Why hasn't Adam killed him?" Willow wondered.

"He was Walsh's favourite," Angel pointed out. "May be the professor wasn't just experimenting with steroids and drugs."

"You think she did something to him?" Buffy asked.

Angel nodded grimly. "I think Walsh was capable of anything she put her mind to. And Riley meant a lot to her. More than any of us perhaps realised."

"I dread to think what Adam has in mind for him," Buffy murmured.

"We'd better get these parts back to Giles," Willow proposed. "Inform him what we else we found too."

"What about the Initiative?" Angel queried. "Do we inform them what has happened to their men?"

"Through Xander, yes," Buffy replied. "That's if he can still be counted as a member. Dr Angleman was threatening to expose him. I doubt they trust the information."

"Still, it would cause them to search, wouldn't it?" Willow pointed out. "It might help us narrow down where Adam and Riley are hiding out."

Buffy nodded, then coughed abruptly, causing them to glance at her as she put her hand to her lips to contain it. "You guys mind taking these back? I think I should patrol, see if the vamps have decided to capitalise on this heat wave."

"Are you alright?" Angel asked her.

"Yeah, I'm fine," Buffy assured him, brushing her hand away to kiss his lips, the affectionate gesture erasing his concern. "Don't wait up."

"I always will," he murmured, kissing her again before walking away. Buffy waited for Willow to follow, watching them until they were out of sight, then turned and ran to the nearest graveyard, where she finally gave full release to what had caused her coughing, the result falling from her mouth to soak the consecrated ground below.

Buffy tried not to cough, but it was impossible. Red liquid dripped from inside her mouth, slowly down her lips, before soaking into the scarlet towel which she had now resorted to carrying with her. First the Mansion, then in between classes, now during patrols as well. She was just grateful Angel offered to take Willow home while she checked the town for vampires. A wave of guilt flowed through her at that thought, but one she was becoming used to, ever since the first symptoms of whatever this was occurred. The justification not to confide in him and or Giles was fading away every time she felt like this. Now that it was affecting her during patrol, she could not afford to keep silent any longer, lest she wind up having her blood drained by a vampire instead.

If they chose to drink from her that is. Buffy recalled when Angelus had grabbed one of the fish boys to take, but then pushed him back to her protection, spitting the blood out of his mouth in disgust. Later they had found out that the steroids caused him to reject the normally unlife giving nutrients which the blood provided. She wondered if her thing would produce the same reaction. Not that she fancied trying it out any time soon.

The blood dripping from her mouth ceased, causing her to wipe her lips, then step around and away the small puddle soaking into the grass in front of her. Resolutely she avoided looking at it, not wanting to compare the quantity to the previous occasions. Already her mind was adding this incident to the others, summing up the answer and not liking it. Why had she not told Giles and Angel already? It wasn't because she feared their disappointment in her concealment, she realised now. Revealing this to them would make it real, push it past the point of denial. And if they researched, would they find a cure? She doubted one would be forthcoming. Not if the cause was who she thought it was.

Silently she refolded the towel and shoved back in her jacket pocket. Wrapping Angel's leather gift around her, she headed off into the night.

The End.
To Be Continued In