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Author's note: As Oz never left this season, he had no reason to return, so I had to come up with a completely different plot line. I decided to focus on the Adam arc, as we're four episodes away from the end of this season, which meant advancing some scenes further than JW's canon, which is why there is dialogue here from Primeval as well as New Moon Rising. I have also focused more B/A than the last episode, to which there is a slight reference, but with the assumption that the slayerettes know of the case, even though they didn't have a hand in it. As with Joss, there were often moments we never saw, and here there will be moments referred to that I may not have written. Cliffhanger ending, as Buffy's illness will be revealed in the next episode. Enjoy.



SHADES OF Grey.


Buffy jumped down from the wall, landing with a forward roll before returning to her upright attack stance. Her opponent waited patiently, letting her make the next strike; an outward thrust of the stake arm, which he grabbed by the wrist and squeezed, making her drop the weapon. He wrung her hand, using the grip to flick her back on to the ground.

Anticipating the move, Buffy hit the grass rolling again, this time performing a back flip before resuming her stance once more. She rushed at the vampire, knocking him to the ground, then jumping back up, using his body as a springboard before retrieving her weapon. Stake in hand, she backed away from her opponent, letting him recover. This was the first slay she had had in a week, and she wanted a real workout from it.

The vampire rose up growling, hissing at her. Buffy put up her hands, and beckoned him forward, grinning. Seduced by the idea of killing a slayer, he came forward willingly. She let him thrust a leg at her, aiming to kick her abdomen, but then grabbed his boot before it could make any kind of impact.

Buffy twisted his ankle, then yanked his leg upwards, making the vampire lose his footing. He landed flat on the ground, hitting his head. She jumped on his chest before he could rise, and pushed the stake into his heart.

Her opponent dissembled into ashes beneath her, and she jumped up, letting the remains settle among the grass. Dusting herself off, she glanced around, surveying the campus, letting herself become accustomed once more to the sounds of the night. For a moment she savoured her body's apparent return to fitness, the excursion unusually not causing further damage to the internal injury she presumed was behind her recent daily retching.

A car revving alerted her to new dangers, and she hurried towards the road, only to find a dark and familiar vehicle waiting for her.

"Hey," she said leaning slightly forward and resting her arms on the open window on the passenger side. "How was it?"

"Surprisingly well attended," the driver replied.

"How did you know where to find me?" She asked him as she strapped herself in.

Angel shrugged. "I may be half-human, but I can still sense a slayer when she's on the hunt." He smiled at her and turned the steering wheel, moving the car back on to the road.

"Find any prey tonight?" He asked her.

"Just the one. I'm beginning to wonder if they're deliberately letting themselves be captured by the Initiative. Can't be that many volunteers to Adam's crusade."

Angel looked at her, taking in the brushed down appearance, the fire in her eyes, the wildness of her long blond hair. "Just the one?" He queried.

"I may have gone a little terminator on him," Buffy confessed. "I've hadn't a slay all week. I needed the workout."

"I don't give you enough of a workout?"

She smiled at him. "You give me plenty workout, honey. Just sometimes a girl needs to vent her other frustration." She paused and then asked, "so are they making this night class thing a regular event?"

"Once every two weeks, for now," Angel replied, having agreed to teach to join the list of night class lecturers available when he was asked a week ago. "That okay with you?"

"Provided the vamps level keeps so low, its fine," Buffy replied. "Though its unsettling when you're not with me at the Mansion. And not because Spike persists in freaking me out with those absurd additions to his blood diet."

"You could always come," Angel offered. "And you've been alone in the Mansion before."

"I know, but that was when you had to bring back Jenny, and you were risking life and limbs in that trial. Plus, I miss you."

Angel reached out, clasped one of her hands in his and brought it to his lips. "Same here," he returned huskily.

"Come on, let's go home," Buffy said softly after he had returned her hand to her lap in order to clasp the steering wheel properly. "We have that dinner for Giles, Jenny and Joyce to prepare and serve."

"Is Spike joining us?" Angel asked as he manoeuvred the car back on to the road from his temporary parking space.

"No, he has another poker night." Buffy sighed. "I dread to think what happens to all those kittens. Do you know?"

Angel shook his head. "When I was evil, money was still the only thing to wager with." He paused to turn the car. "At least we can be assured that he can't harm them himself."

"True," Buffy agreed. "He seems to be adjusting to the chip inside him. I wonder if...." she trailed off, thinking.

"What?" Angel asked her.

"Oh, its just that, what if Walsh decided to experiment on other chips as well?" Buffy remarked. "One for every demon, or one for each of her soldiers."

"That's a frightening thought," Angel murmured. "But possible."

Buffy nodded solemnly.


Deep in the outskirts of the forest of Sunnydale, in the depths of the surrounding caves, a evil master explained the nature of the universe to his newest partner.

"Your thoughts are troubled. In turmoil. I understand, brother. We have a lot to discuss. Speak."

"I think you're going about this the wrong way," Riley remarked. "Recruiting demons and vampires. That wasn't in Professor Walsh's plans."

"When our enemy is the natural prey of vampires and demons, then it becomes necessary to have them on our side," Adam reasoned.

"I still don't see why you killed Forrest and everyone else except me."

"They were just boys. Imperfect. Incapable of understanding Mother's plans."

"And do you think you're any different?" Riley queried. "You're a botched science experiment. A patchwork Frankenstein."

"I am what mother intended me to be. A human demon hybrid. The perfect combination of human and demon strengths, with none of the weaknesses." Adam turned to face him. "I was her son. As are you."

Riley swallowed hard. "I don't understand."

"Mother implanted a behaviour modifier within you. She had plans for both of us."

"A chip in my head," Riley uttered, shocked.

"Actually, the chip is here," Adam replied, touching his chest. "Tied directly into your central nervous system through your thoracic nerve. This is Phase One of your preparation. It lay dormant until the time came. I simply activated it, brother. You have no power. Not yet. Once you forget your old life and embrace your destiny as I have, you will know power you've never dreamed of. I think you're going to like it." He paused to step away and patrol the confines of the cave. "Humans cling to old ways and ancient feuds. And they're hopeless with technology. Unworthy."

"Not really wanting a lecture right now," Riley muttered, still focusing on the chip inside him, and its possible consequences.

"Disappointed by demon-kind, we turned to humans. Smart, adaptive, but emotional and weak. Blind. There's imperfection everywhere. Something must be done. Who will deliver us?" When he received no reply, he answered the question himself. "Mother. She saw our future. Yours and mine. She saw that you were necessary. She saw the role you will play by my side. Stand up."

Without warning, Riley felt his body obey the command.

"You see, we are brothers after all," Adam said dangerously. He walked deeper into the caves. "Come with me, there's more for you to see."


"So, are you enjoying your maternity leave?"

Jenny looked up at Joyce. "Not really. I'm feeling energised. I keep running out of things to do."

"Didn't Giles give you the chance to catalogue the spells?" Buffy asked.

They were at the Mansion on Crawford Street, Angel and the slayer having invited Joyce, Jenny and Giles over for a non-slayer, vampire, demon or Adam talk dinner.

"He did," Jenny acknowledged, with a smile to her husband. "But I finished it a couple of days ago."

"Found anything capable of defeating Adam?" Angel asked.

"I thought we agreed no shop talk?" Giles queried.

"The subject's not very avoidable these days," Buffy reasoned before finishing off her desert.

"No, I didn't find anything," Jenny confessed.

"What's happened with the Initiative?" Joyce asked.

"Well, with the bodies of most of them being eviscerated, there was no evidence on them," Buffy recapped for her mother had been in Los Angeles, supervising the transfer of some museum acquisitions the weeks before. "And Lowell House's entrances to the underground complex have been sealed up and destroyed."

"What?" Joyce questioned. "When did that happen?"

"We're not sure," Buffy answered her mother. "Anyway, I think the Initiative have been shut down and withdrawn from Sunnydale. Which is all to the good."

"What about the computer files?" Joyce queried.

"Still accessible, according to Willow and Oz. I think they're still hunting for Adam, but with a skeleton team," Giles concluded.

"Considering their numbers are pretty thin on the ground, they're doing well in the vamp and demon capture quota," Buffy remarked. "I'm rarely slaying anything these nights."

"At all?" Giles queried.

"A vamp a night, at most," Buffy replied.

"And what's left of the Initiative is capturing all of them?" Giles sought to confirm.

Buffy nodded. "Pretty much."

"Strange," Giles mused, concerned.

"I'm starting to think Adam is recruiting," Buffy admitted. "After all, the Initiative remnants can't be catching all of them."

"It would account for the scarcity," Giles agreed. "But do you think that's what Walsh had in mind when she made him?"

"Well, if she was rendering vamps useless, she had to have something up her sleeves other than drawn out starvation and suicide," Buffy argued. "We did agree that the chip could control other behaviour, not just aversion to human blood."

"I do believe you're right," Giles murmured. "And I don't like the thought of it."

"Nor me," Buffy added. "It was bad enough when the Mayor recruited. Adam's already a demon, which probably increases the inducement."

"We also wondered if her experiments were not just directed towards the demons, but to the soldiers as well," Angel said.

Giles' cup of Earl Grey froze mid journey to his mouth as he considered that potentially gruesome revelation. "If that is true, then Riley would be as important to her as Adam was," he concluded. "Which explains why she tried to kill you, Buffy."

"Something bothers me about that," Buffy confessed as she rose from the table to begin tidying things away. "Sending a couple of demons after me isn't her style. She's usually far more subtle than that."

"You think that was just a test?" Jenny asked.

"A dangerous one," Joyce remarked. "How did she know if you would survived? Assuming she even intended you to."

"I don't think she did," Buffy replied. "I just think that it was her contingency plan. Before Adam, we were all worried that perhaps what lay within room 314 was something designed to combat or control a slayer. I wouldn't be surprised if she had another, far more insidious plan in mind."


"This is where it all happens. Where the new race begins."

Riley glanced around the lab, mystified. "Where are we?"

"In the Initiative," Adam replied. "There are areas no one knew about beyond those that needed to. Mother kept her secrets well. Didn't you?"

Riley took a closer look at the woman Adam was talking to. Her identity shocked him. "Professor Walsh?"

"This is all how she planned it, except she thought she would be alive," Adam continued.

Riley took a look at the other zombies, noticing Dr. Angleman. "Is that what you were gonna do to me?" He asked Adam.

"They're just workers. You know your destiny is much greater."

A zombie sat up on his gurney, startling Riley. He gazed at him, shocked. "Forrest? Oh, God."

"God has nothing to do with it," Forrest replied.

Riley turned to his old once living mentor. "Professor Walsh. Professor Walsh, it's Riley Finn. Can you hear me?"

"She's dead." Forrest explained. "Artificially reanimated with basic to moderate brain activity. Mommy can hear you, but she's still a walking corpse."

"So are you," Riley countered.

"No. Got that wrong. I'm surging with life....... and strength. Adam made me to be nearly as bad as he is. Really looking forward to trying out the slayer again."

Riley looked at him sadly. "I'm sorry, Forrest."

His former friend and comrade managed a grimace of a smile. "Don't be. This is the best thing that ever happened to me. I'm free of all my weaknesses....... my doubts. He's gonna fix you up too, soon as we got some choice parts. Then you and me will be back on the same side again. Moving toward a new future."

Riley stepped back. "I'll never let that happen."

"You don't get it brother, you don't have a choice. Your will belongs to us now."

"No. That's not true."

"Then why don't you just walk out of here?"

"Maybe I will," Riley added before turning around and doing so.

Forrest went to restrain him, but Adam held him back. "No, let him go. He'll be back."


"So, any leads?"

Willow looked up from her laptop into the face of her best friend. "Not about Adam no. It does make reference to some files, but as far as I can tell, they're stored somewhere externally."

The Scoobies had gathered at the Mansion, Giles calling them all over after he had discovered the lack of kills during Buffy's recent patrols.

"No doubt they're on disks, buried deep in the bowels of the Initiative complex," the slayer declared gloomily.

"Don't suppose you remember the way in from the ground?" Angel asked his grandchilde.

Spike, whose only contribution to the meeting so far had been turning up, took another slurp of his wheetabix and O positive, before shrugging. "It was a very traumatic experience for me, being zapped and all. I doubt if I'd remember where the entrances were. Plus, shouldn't nightclub manager here know better than I?"

Xander jumped down from the mid-height bookshelf that stood against the wall which supported the stairs to the first floor. "Worth a shot. I'll go check them out."

"Don't go alone," the slayer advised. "We don't know what's down there. And take one of the mike's aswell."

"I'll come with you," Wes volunteered. "My field skills could use a little brush up. Apart from the exorcism last week, cases have been few and far between, for the same reasons as patrols."


Instead of heading there first, Riley did a thing he hadn't done in months. He patrolled. Sunnydale Campus had been scarce of vampires recently, due to not only the Initiative but the slayer becoming an undergraduate aswell. Yet he had barely walked past the first residence hall before he encountered one. A girl, attacking a male victim. Strangely they always fought harder than a man and more viciously too, as she tried to bite him when he prised the victim away.

A grateful 'thanks mate' was expressed before the student rapidly cleared the area, leaving Riley free to focus only on the killer. His routine might have been a little rusty, but his skills certainly weren't. He went straight into attack, slayer style, with nothing more than a piece of broken wooden branch, which he had taken from an obliging tree upon exiting the caves.

Riley matched her move for more, punch for punch, thrust for thrust. He stared at her amber eyes, his gaze never moving from her ridged forehead, hard boned eyebrows, and white glowing fangs. Deftly he managed to pin her to the ground, stake pressed to her chest. As he gazed at her, the face changed, startling him. The forehead ridges softened, the fangs retreated, leaving Riley for the first time face to face with the vampire's first victim. In all his time as a member of the Initiative, he had never seen the human, innocent face of the demon. It made him reflective as he thrust the stake home, turning the body into ash, making his body fall a short distance to the ground. His clothes were dampened by the wet grass, for it had been raining earlier that evening, but he paid it no mind as he rose up and tossed the wooden weapon aside.

Riley walked away from the supernatural crime scene, heading out of the university campus. He had done some research after encountering the slayer, trying to learn the mythology behind the prey he had been trained to hunt. He had discovered much, including the fabled- but now true, as he had just witnessed for himself -human face of the demon, but not enough to understand completely the motives or makeup of both slayer and vampire. The information had given him a desire to know more, causing him to turn on to Crawford Street. Guided by the lights emanating from the living room, he found himself outside number 1902, knocking on the front door, almost before he was even aware of it.

The slayer opened the door. "Riley?" She uttered in surprise.

"Can we talk?" He asked her.

Buffy merely nodded in reply and widened the gap of entry, stepping aside to allow him access. Once he was in the hall, she locked the door and led him into the large double height living room.

Nine pairs of eyes met their entrance. Riley took their gaze in, returning it as he looked at each one. The bleached white blond hair attracted his attention immediately.

"Aren't you Hostile 17?" Riley accused.

"Me?" Spike countered innocently, falling into a ridiculously fake Irish accent. "Must have me confused with someone else, mate. I'm Angel's cousin."

"Why are you here, Riley?" Buffy asked after she returned to her seat beside Angel.

"I didn't know where else to go. I had some questions I wanted answered." He paused. "Adam's recruiting demons and vampires to fight you. I can't understand why he would associate himself with them."

"Perhaps because he is made of them," Angel murmured.

"'Monsters begetting monsters,'" Riley quoted.

"Monsters are rarely wholly monsters," Buffy revealed. "Humanity is their prey, to hunt them well they must have a human intelligence. None of them are pure demon. All descend from the one who was the last of their race to inhabit the earth, that bit a human, who bit another, who bit another. Vampires inhabit human bodies, take over their memories, their intellect. Werewolves are only wolf three nights of the month, human the rest of the year."

"But they're all evil, aren't they?" Riley sought to confirm.

"Not all," Buffy disappointed him. "A lot of races are harmless. Some even mate with humans. Most lead ordinary lives. Including vampires. Their bloodlust can be controlled, even eliminated, as your chips have proved. One has been cursed with his first victim, the soul that inhabited the body he stole."

Riley shook his head in disbelief. "They're nothing more than monsters. Evil in its various forms." He shook his head again. "You're the slayer. You're supposed to kill them, not psyche them."

Buffy shook her head. "That attitude's fine for the young ones. But those who are older, who have been around for centuries; to kill them you have to understand them. Why they've survived for so long. They're not just killers, they're masters at their craft. Adapted to the times they live in, learned to stay hidden, invisible. To seduce as well as kill."

"You sound like you admire them," Riley said slowly.

"I respect them," Buffy corrected. "We're alike in many ways. Great strength combined with fatal weaknesses. If you don't respect your kill, you will underestimate their skills, and they can easily over power you."

"This conversation has shifted direction," Riley remarked after a length of silence at that opinion. "We were talking about Adam working with demons and vampires."

"Yes we were," Buffy agreed.

"How all demons and vamps are nothing more than killers. Monsters."

"You include werewolves in that category?" Buffy asked.

"Evil is evil, no matter what face it wears. I learned that tonight. After I saw the human face of a vampire. It didn't stop me killing her."

"I'm surprised that tonight is the first time you have seen their human face," Buffy said, before adding, "you're a bigot, Riley. You think all supernatural is evil. You don't understand them, you don't even want to. They're demon, therefore they're evil, therefore you must kill them." She turned to her companion. "I think its time for a demonstration."

"Buffy...." Angel uttered cautiously.

"We've come this far, Angel," she interrupted. "We have nothing to lose or gain by hiding them anymore."

"Very well," Angel assented. He closed his eyes and breathed in.

Riley gasped when he opened them; the irises changing colour from brown to gold. The forehead became a mass of ridges, his fangs displayed. Despite his half-human convergence, Angel could still put on a good show for the horror factor, as well as still possessing the strength to back it up.

Riley stepped back in fear.

Spike chuckled at his reaction, before adding his own game face to the display. Angel put away his as Doyle showed his father's heritage.

To their surprise, Riley suddenly chuckled. "Adam suspected as much," he explained tellingly.

Still in game face, Spike growled. "We've been played," he ground out.

"Yes, well and truly," Riley confirmed. "I'll be going now," he added, before walking back out into the night.


"Did we lose anything?" Buffy asked her soulmate, hours later after everyone had left, and they were preparing for bed. Xander and Wes' search for entrances to the underground complex of the Initiative had yielded no results either, causing the evening to end on a despondent note. "Apart from what little advantage the mystery behind yours, Spike's and Doyle's source of strength gained us?"

"No," Angel assured her, his arms wrapping themselves around her waist from behind. "They would have been found out eventually. If not from us, from the vamps and demons they're recruiting."

"True." Buffy leaned back against his chest. "I'm still worried though."

"About what?" He asked her before kissing her hair.

"How we're gonna defeat then. There's so much we still don't know."

"We'll find out all we need to know soon. And defeat them."

"How can you be so sure?"

"Because I have faith."

"In us?"

Angel nodded. "Surviving against all who try to defeat us."

"When did you get so certain?"

"Everytime I'm inside you," Angel replied huskily, making her turn around in his embrace.

Buffy blushed, then forgot her embarrassment, as he caught her lips in his. Her arms came around his neck as he swept her up into his and carried her to their bed.

He put her down and she pulled him down to the luxury of silken sheets, their lips still melded together. Their mouths and tongues duelled playfully as they shrugged off what little was left of their clothing. Then the slayer deftly flipped them so she was on top.

Buffy broke from his kiss and displayed herself before him. Blond hair caressing her bare skin, slightly bronzed by the spring pre-summer sun. Breasts jutting out, nipples hardening from the cold air and the pleasurable sensations created by their foreplay. She ground her sex on his thighs, her arousal dampening his skin.

Angel's manhood rose up, straining towards her. She ran her fingers down his chest, then circled his sex, the touch making it hard and rigid. She teased him with her hands until he could stand no more, and surprised her by grabbing her butt and pulling her up and over it, impaling her.

As her sex closed around his, Buffy sighed in pure bliss. His hands rose from their resting place on her hips to her breasts, pressing her nipples in, teasing them out with finger and thumbs, then circling them until they became pebble hard.

Buffy pressed herself against his hands, while she squeezed him and shook her hips, grinding herself against him until their combined arousal reached each other's peak and over flowed into orgasmic ecstasy. She collapsed against him in the afterglow, his arms clasping and caressing, exploring the planes of her back.

"I think," she said, after her breathing had returned to normal, "that I'm beginning to believe in your certainty."


Later, as the morning quietly began to dawn on the hellmouth, Angel woke from slumber to find Buffy absent from his arms. Unbeknownst to her, he had come to realise that this was a common feature of their mornings; too common for his liking. However, he had kept his counsel silent on the subject, not wishing to confront her, knowing she would tell him whatever was bothering her when she was ready.

It had crossed his mind that she wanted to surprise him, until a few days ago when he was forced to rule that particular event out. Not that he had expected such a thing to occur, he was only half human after all, but he could not deny that he wouldn't have been overjoyed at hearing confirmation. He knew she didn't believe herself ready for it yet, but he also knew that she was more capable of dealing with the unknown than anyone he had ever met. Plus she would have some experience as godmother when Giles and Jenny became parents soon.

Angel rose from the bed, grabbing his pants on the way and slipping them on. Fastening the zip, he walked towards the bathroom door, stretching out his senses to see if he could hear what was going on behind that wooden barrier.

When silence met his ears, his concerned factor raised itself from mild to full blown paranoia. His hand reached out for the doorknob, praying she had not locked herself in. To his relief, the handle turned quite easily.

However, any relief he might have felt faded away as soon as he had opened the door and caught sight of pale, unconscious figure of the slayer, slumped by the toilet. Rushing towards her, he checked the contents before tenderly reaching to cradle his beloved in his arms. He blanched at the sight of the blood, an unusual reaction for him, except where the chosen one was concerned. Carefully he picked her up and moved her out of the bathroom to rest on their bed, reluctantly leaving her the embrace of the sheets before picking up the phone and calling Giles.

The End.
To Be Continued In

Consumption.