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Author's note: Some of the dialogue has been taken from the original episode; Lovers' Walk, and the plot is almost the same, except for none of the relationship repercussions for the Scoobies, as Willow and Xander are not cheating on Cordelia and Oz in my cannon. I have put this into the time line of the X Files season which would have been showing the same time as Season three; Season Six. I also make references to the past two episodes of the X Files which included vampires; 3 in Season Two and Bad Blood in Season Five. Usquebaugh is an old Gaelic word for Whiskey. Enjoy.

John 52:54

"He who eats of my flesh and drinks of my blood shall have eternal life and I shall raise them up on the last day."

John 52:54, The X Files; 3.

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Washington D.C

A click. A pause, followed by another click. Gradually the charred document on the computer screen before him was restored to it's original white background and black text. Mulder dealt the latest X File to be rescued from the flames which had consumed his office no more than a cursory scan at first, for there were many more in a similar condition waiting on the hard drive for him, and there were only so many hours when he could do such work without being observed. Then his eyes caught the pertinent details such as names and locations, making him come an abrupt halt. Sighing he leaned flush against the confines of his hopefully temporary office chair.

He could still remember the smell of the smoke coming from the fires which were wrecking another part of Californian forest that season. The firmness of the asphalt as he sank down on the sidewalk, cradling her little gold cross in his hands. It was the only case he had done during her abduction, and he had felt as if it was a betrayal even before he crossed the line and slept with his main suspect. Perhaps that was why it still haunted him, though it was two years ago and more important events had occurred since then. Why he had never told her about it when she returned to work. It was so strange. He had worked alone on the X Files for so long, yet from the moment they worked their first case together he had not wanted it any other way. That want remained unchanged, despite his recent encounter with Diana Fowley, whatever she may think.

"Something wrong?" She asked as she entered, rousing him from his musings. Mulder pressed the mouse button, closing the file before he replied. "No. What's that?" he asked, noticing the small pile of papers she was carrying in her hand by the side of her waist.

"It's a case actually," Scully informed him, coming to stand beside his chair and placing the small pile of records and newspaper cuttings before him. "A sequence of unexplained murders, dating back to the thirties."

Mulder leaned forward to scan the papers his partner had put on the keyboard. "Where the earthquake occurred in '37?" He sought to confirm.

"Yes," Scully replied, leaning on the desk beside the computer screen. "A steady stream of deaths, all with the same MO, occurring until about two years ago, whereupon they suddenly lessened."

"Why?" Mulder asked. "What's the MO?"

"Two small puncture wounds to the neck, exsanguination."

Mulder raised his eyebrows, surprised that their thoughts had been thinking about the same thing, though she could have no idea of what file he had just restored. "Vampirism?"

"That would appear to be the case." Scully paused. "Are you waiting for my usual objections? Or have you forgotten that case in Texas."

"I would thought you would have had some, despite that," Mulder admitted, scanning the newspaper cutting before him. Suddenly his eyes caught a familiar name. "Giles?"

"Who?" Scully asked, following the direction of his gaze.

"Giles, Rupert Giles," Mulder replied, brushing the pile of papers aside to access the database to confirm his suspicions. "I met him while I was at Oxford. He was studying for a PhD in Historical Anthropology."

"That's a little unusual, I'll grant you," Scully said. "But why is his name important?"

"Before I met him he had dropped out with a crowd who was interested in the last course he took as his first degree; Occultology."

"You think that he's connected to the drop in cases?" Scully sought to confirm.

"If any of the rumours I heard during my time in England are true, yeah," Mulder added before rising from his chair. "Have you got the 302 from Skinner?" He asked, knowing Kersh never worked this late.

Scully nodded as she straightened to her full height. "Let's go," she agreed, handing him his jacket as they headed out.


Sunnydale High, California

"This is a nightmare. This is...... My world is spinning."

"Its not that bad, Willow, really," her best friend assured her.

"740? Verbal?" The redhead waved the results of her SATs in front of Xander's face. "I'm pathetic! Illiterate! I'm Cletus, the slack-jawed yokel."

"That's right, and the fact that your 740 verbal closely resembles my combined scores in no way compromises your position as the village idiot," he returned.

Willow ignored his sarcasm, sitting upon the small wall in front of the school. "Where did I go wrong?" She asked the world aloud.

Xander smiled and put a friendly arm around her. "Nowhere. You did amazing, Willow. As usual."

"Did you guys get your scores?" Cordelia asked as she and Oz came upon them.

"Willow is very saddened by her academic failure," Xander replied, standing up. "How did you do?" He opened the slip of paper she had been carrying. "This is not good," he commented as he registered the result.

"What's not good?" Cordelia queried.

"Well I'm just worried that it may hurt my standing as campus stud when people find out I'm dating a brain."

His girlfriend rolled her eyes in mild irritation and yanked the scores from his grasp. "Please! I have some experience in covering these things up."

Meanwhile, Oz was reading Willow's. "Well, I can see why you'd be upset." Willow looked at him, hurt. "That was my sarcastic voice," he explained.

"You know, it sounds a lot like your regular voice," Xander commented.

Oz nodded in understanding. "I've been told that."

"Buffy!" Cried Willow, looking up and catching sight of her friend's arrival. "Hey, did you get your SAT scores?"

The slayer nodded weakly, causing Xander to comment, "by the look on your face, I'm guessing you and I are gonna be manning the drive-through window side by side."

"They're just test scores, right?" Buffy remarked, handing the paper to Willow. "What do they really mean, anyway?"

"1430! Buffy, you kicked ass!" Willow cried.

Everyone looked at her strangely, causing her to add, "okay, so academic achievement gets me a little excited."

"Buff, that's amazing," Xander commented as he looked at her results.

"Let me see that," Cordelia remarked, snatching the paper from him.

"Yeah," Oz agreed with Xander. "With scores like that, you can apply pretty much anywhere you want."

"Buffy, this could, like, change your whole future," Willow added.

"The thought had occurred to me," the slayer agreed.

"Then why the sour puss?" Xander asked.

Buffy shook her head. "I don't know. I guess... my future. I never really thought about it. I wasn't even sure I was going to have one."

"Well, I think this is great!" Cordelia cried. "Now you can leave and never come back!" She added, causing everyone to look at her. "Well, I mean that in a positive way. Get out of Sunnydale. That's a good thing. What kind of moron would ever wanna come back here?"

"It doesn't really matter anyway," the slayer began as they walked back into school, "whatever I get, the only place I can go to is Sunnydale UCA."

"Its not a bad university," Oz reminded her, who, as a senior who had stayed down already had friends there. "It's actually considered one of the good ones."

"And we're coming as well," Xander rejoined. "We wouldn't desert you in protecting the Hellmouth."

This made the slayer smile, to hear of their simple support after all the trouble she had caused for them in the previous months when she had given up. "Thanks guys."

"Most importantly, Angel's a Professor there now, remember," Willow reminded her best friend as they stepped into the Library.

"Remember what?" Giles questioned, looking up from the thick volume in his hands. In reply Buffy handed him her test scores. "Oh yes, the SATs. How did you all do?"

"Willow performed excellently, Oz.....?" Xander trailed off in a question.

The stoic boy shrugged. "I test well," he replied.

"Cordelia's a brain," Xander continued, "but mine are best left unsaid."

"Buffy, that's marvellous, well done," Giles handed her the results back with a wide grin. "What did your mother say?"

"She saw these scores and her head spun around and exploded."

The Watcher paled. "I've been on the Hellmouth too long. That was metaphorical, yes?"

"Yes. She was happy." Buffy looked at him solemnly. "Whatever you said her while I was gone worked miracles, Giles. I've never known her to be this supportive."

"Oh, I didn't do that much," Giles uttered modestly.

"I think you did," Buffy returned. "Thank you."

Her watcher smiled at her. "My pleasure," he murmured.

The telephone in his office rang then, disturbing the serious moment. Giles went to answer the call, and the slayer turned to her friends.

"So, how should we celebrate?" She asked them.

"I was thinking bowling," Xander suggested.

"Bowling?" Cordelia echoed incredulously.

"Come on. It'll be fun!" Xander argued.

His girlfriend shrugged. "I don't know. I just thought we were gonna do something... you know, classy?"

"What's classier than bowling?" Xander asked.

Cordelia raised her eyebrows. "Apart from everything ever? Let's see..."

"I guarantee fun," Xander smiled at her, causing her to laugh as she sorted out the books for her next class. Peering into her bookbag, he saw a pile of photos. "Hey, those are from the pier."

"Yeah," Cordelia confirmed. "Uh, I just got them developed, I was going to stick some in my locker."

"There will be pictures. Of me. In your locker." Xander didn't know what to say. "I never knew I was locker door material."

"Well... just barely," Cordelia replied, but without any real malice. "Besides, I look really cute in those pictures."

Buffy, Willow and Oz exchanged smiles. "So what's the verdict?" the latter asked the couple. "Do we bowl?"

Cordelia glanced at her boyfriend's pleading expression and surrendered. "We bowl."

Willow beamed. "Great! Triple bowling date. I'm on Oz's team."

"Yeah? Well, prepare to be crushed," Xander joked. "Maybe we should practice," he murmured to his girlfriend.

Willow turned to her boyfriend, who was holding a small package in his hand, wrapped in newspaper. "What's this?" She asked, taking it as he offered it to her.

"It's a gift," Oz replied.

"What's the occasion?" Willow asked as she unwrapped it.

"Pretty much you are."

Willow finished unwrapping and cried happily. "It's a little, uh, PEZ witch!"

"It's kind of a theme present," Oz explained. "Do you like it?"

"I like... I more than like," Willow uttered softly. "Oz, this is probably the sweetest... We have to find a little PEZ werewolf, so little PEZ witch can have a boyfriend."

"I don't think they make a werewolf PEZ," Oz informed her. "You might have to settle for a wacky cartoon dog."

"This is... just so thoughtful," Willow murmured.

"Well, I think about you," Oz returned.

"Oh... I don't have anything to give you," Willow realised.

Oz just smiled at her. "Yeah, you do," he said, kissing her.

Buffy smiled at her friends, wishing the school hours were over so her boyfriend could be here too. Since their decision to take the previously forbidden step in their relationship, they were closer than ever. It was as if the act erased the final barriers between them, insecurities caused by his first moment of pure happiness. She felt a tremendous freedom in the security which the permanence of his soul had given them, another part of the future which she was only recently realising was now a possibility.

Giles emerged from his office with a grim expression, causing her to exit her thoughts. "What's wrong?" She asked him.

"That was the Council," he answered, referring to the telephone call. "They told me that two agents from the FBI were coming to Sunnydale."

"Why would the FBI want to come to one Starbucks town like Sunnydale?" Xander wondered aloud.

"Well, there was that time with the invisible girl," Cordelia reminded him.

"I take it that the Council know something we don't?" Buffy remarked.

"Yes. The two agents manage a small department in the Bureau, known as the X Files. They investigate the paranormal."

"And the Council thinks they might find out about the vampires stalking the sewers and the mouth of hell which opens in the library," Buffy guessed.

Giles nodded. "Yes, they warned us to make sure they don't. And for the slayer to keep a low profile while they're here."

"Wouldn't they just visit the police?" Cordelia queried.

"These are not your typical agents," Giles replied. "I used to know one of them actually, during my university days."

"Before or after Ripper?" Buffy asked.

"After," Giles answered. "He was fascinated about the rumours which were flying around Oxford's campus about me and what I was studying. If he hasn't changed, he'll know I'm here and wonder why."

"So low profile," Buffy repeated.

"If that's possible," Giles agreed.

"Sure," Buffy assured him. "How hard could it be?"


As if those in power had heard Giles' plea for the hellmouth to be quiet, as darkness came to Sunnydale, like the unholy beast it was, Inferno closed his mouth to sleep, choosing not to disturb the Chosen One from her normal life, or at least whatever remained of it.

Unfortunately for the slayer though, not all demons were able to hear her Watcher's hope for serenity while the FBI were in town. One of those was the owner of a battered, banged up Dodge Desoto Fire Flite with blackened windows, whose chose this night to crash said vehicle into one of the 'welcome to Sunnydale' signs as he breached it's limits.

Screeching to halt, the driver's door opened, causing a practically empty bottle of liquor to make a kamikaze break for freedom, smashing on the asphalt. The owner followed, sliding out of the car and on to the street, the broken glass crushing beneath his drunken form.

"Home, sweet home," he chuckled, before passing out.

Time passes, and sobriety in its drunken form, came to the driver, who managed the nearly impossible feat of finding his previous haunt in such a sodden state. He stumbled through the old burned out factory, the alcohol he had imbibed causing him to sing.

"And more, much more than this," he sang, "I did it my way."

His drunkenness had caused within him a temporary happiness, causing him to smile as he descended the stairs to the basement room which once housed his bed.

"Druscilla! I'm home!" He called out before breaking into a fit of giggles. The combined effect of the empty room, his drunken state and the memory of why he was in such a state in the first place soon caused those giggles to turn into sobs.

Reaching charred remains of his paramour's dresser, he picked up a burned souvenir of their time here, a much damaged porcelain doll.

"Why did you do it, baby?" He asked the doll softly, as if it were Druscilla. "Why did you leave me? We were happy here."

Sadness tried to possess him once more, but with a growl he shook it off, letting his demon show his true colours. Swinging round, he grabbed an iron candlestick, and vented his angered grief out on the innocent doll.

"YOU... STUPID... WORTHLESS... BITCH!" He cried, and the anger passed as quickly as it came. "Look what you've done to me."

Spike's face resumed his human features as he dropped the candlestick on the now scattered remains of the doll, as his grief consumed him once more.


Having changed planes in Los Angeles, the two agents were just exiting customs in Sunnydale's small airport at about the same time Spike drowned his sorrows in the factory. Collecting their rental car from the lot, Mulder drove them to the Hampton Inn where their rooms had been reserved before leaving Washington.

Scully cast an amused glance at her partner as they walked the short distance from their parked Ford Taurus to their hotel rooms. "What were you expecting? The Sam Houston Motor Lodge?"

"From what research we did during the flight here, I wasn't expecting an ordinary small town," Mulder replied as he unlocked the door before. "I'm still hoping there's a copy of Bram Stoker rather than the Bible in every room."

"Don't you think that would clue more people in?" Scully pointed out. "I think few residents here realise what might be behind the town's unusually high mortality rate."

Mulder nodded, conceding the point. "Maybe tomorrow we should check in with the police and you can read their autopsy files."

"Then see your old friend in the afternoon?" Scully asked.

"Yeah, he might be willing to talk more after school," Mulder agreed. "I still find it strange that he left the position of Curator at the British Museum to work as a High School Librarian here of all places."

"Maybe he met someone," Scully suggested.

"Or something," Mulder returned as they entered their hotel rooms.


At first Buffy was reluctant to disturb the scene she witnessed as she stood at the threshold of the Crawford Mansion; Angel reading Jean-Paul Sartre's debut novel La Nausea, an extension of the philosopher's thoughts on existentialism. She had given him the book a couple of days ago, one of many for the collection he was beginning to build in an area of the large double height living room. Unsure a little still about what her boyfriend liked to read, Buffy was pleased to see him engrossed in the work, as oppose to his new scholarly requirements as Sunnydale UCA Professor of Art History.

Then Angel looked up, noticing her silent arrival. He smiled and closed the book, leaving the volume on the hearth where he had been resting to rise to his feet and meet his beloved at the doorway with a kiss. A powerful, passionate kiss which spoke volumes of the depth of love between them, newly deepened by their recent consummation.

"How did you do?" He asked her, when he pulled away to let her breathe.

"1430," Buffy replied, causing him to smile.

"That's incredible, well done," he praised, before taking her hand to lead her to the warm fire burning in the large hearth. Together they sat down before the flames.

"Yeah, just think, soon we'll see each other at College everyday," Buffy said, looking at him carefully for his approval.

"Buffy, you could go anywhere you wanted to with this kind of result," Angel uttered, surprising her.

"You think I should explore my options?" she asked him softly, suddenly aware of her pounding heartbeat.

Angel caught the uncertainty in her face, and realised how she had misunderstood him. "No, my love, I want you to stay here, with me," he assured her. "But I also think you should apply to other colleges, to see who accepts you. You may not realise it now, but the feedback you get will do wonders to your confidence."

"You're right," Buffy agreed, climbing on to his lap. She smiled at him as she settled herself upon him. "When did you get to be so wise?"

"I read a lot," Angel replied, wrapping his arms around her. "Thank you for the books," he added, looking deep into her hazel eyes.

"I'm glad you're enjoying them," Buffy returned, as well as the look.

"Not as much as I enjoy you," he uttered softly before kissing her.

As they wrapped their arms around each other, continuing to kiss and caress, the flames from the fire behind them unknowingly outlined their amorous movements for the audience of one who had decided to visit.

Outside Spike watched. "Yeah, you. You think I'm afraid of you?" He drunkenly uttered, surprisingly still sober enough to realise the need for discretion and safety in a low tone of voice. "We were happy! You brainwashed her. I could just..." he broke off to take another sip of the new bottle he was carrying. At least it had been new when the night began. Now the alcohol he sipped were the last dregs. "Yeah, I'll show you who's a cool guy. You're going down."

He turned to leave, not wanting to witness any more of another couple's happiness, and for once his needs were met, though not in the way he would have intended if he were not perhaps quite so drunk.

A flower bed of night blooming jasmines served first as a weapon to trip over, then as a cushion to break the vampire's fall as he passed out.


The one handicap of the garden attached to the Crawford Mansion was that while it was enclosed to allow for the floor of the master bedroom suite above, it also had windows to let the plants receive their necessary sunlight.

And burn any vampires who decided, even unknowingly, to be trespassers come sunrise.

It was the pain which this celestial object caused to Spike that made him wake into full undead sobriety, the addition of a thoroughly alcohol induced hangover only adding the agony of watching one's hand burst into flames.

"Whoa!" Spike cried, before leaping to his feet and running to the water feature in the centre of the garden. He stuck his hand in the rain of the fountain, which was anything but. With a growl of frustration he stuck the injured limb in the granite lined pool below.

Considering the size of his hangover, it was surprising that he realised within a few seconds of his body starting to smoke that the centre of the garden was not shielded from the direct sunlit windows either.

Yanking his coat over his bleached head, Spike dashed for the sanctuary of his Desoto, smashing empty beer cans and various other containers of liquor in his wake. Finding a new bottle, he pulled out the cork with his fangs, and used the liquid medicinally for once, over his injured hand. Then he put the rest in his mouth.

"This is just too much," he growled.


A few blocks away, stood the headquarters of Sunnydale's finest, who, aside from they were not answering calls from Mayor, spent their days in blissful ignorance, even to the point of making it annoying to any outside figures of authority who happened to visit.

Agents Mulder and Scully exited the building barely two hours since their entrance, both feeling that the passage of time had been too long and not entirely well spent.

"I've never known autopsy files to be so incomplete," Scully remarked to her partner as they walked the short distance to the rental. "Or quite so incompetent."
"I'll admit while I was expecting someone with a pronounced set of teeth," Mulder commented, earning a glare from Scully as he referred to their days spent in Texas investigating vampires, "I wasn't expecting such a scale of ignorance."

"It was almost too perfect," Scully agreed. "Maybe I've been working on the X Files for too long, but the ignorance felt deliberate, as though something was telling them to remain that way."

"I agree," Mulder nodded as he started the ignition and carefully reversed out of the parking lot. "So let's see if my friend is free now, instead of waiting for school to end."

"Mulder, I doubt that a librarian has this much control over the police of this town," Scully remarked with her usual style of grounding him in the real world.

"I'm not suggesting he's controlling them," Mulder revealed, once more displaying his intuitive style of thinking, one which always suggested he knew more than he feasibly could at this stage in the case. "I'm suggesting he knows why."


"So these visions are not a common trait of a Brackens?" Giles queried, fascinated by the conversation he was having with the newest member of Sunnydale High's teaching staff. "Half-Bracken I should say," he added, remembering.

Doyle shook his head as he leaned back against the chair. "No, they're unique to me," he replied. "Gift from the Powers That Be."

"And they sent you here?" Jenny Calendar asked from her position at the research table. Three of the four adults who were unofficial members of the Scooby gang had come together during free periods for a small conference of alike minds.

"Well, them and Whistler," Doyle revealed, causing them to glance at each in surprise. "I see you've met the guy."

"Yes, he visited during the Acathla days," Giles replied. "And afterwards, to warn Buffy and Angel about the forthcoming evil, though he did not mentioned what form said evil would take."

"He didn't reveal anything to me either," Doyle commented. "Beyond that if I didn't find a reason to come to the hellmouth, the visions would soon give me no other choice."

"Do you receive any warning?" Jenny asked him.

Sunnydale's newest addition to the teaching staff shook his head. "No, they just come and go when they please. Usually accompanied by a headache which entails a need for aspirin and usquebaugh."

"I imagine they would be quite painful," Giles uttered in compassion. "According to what I've read about them."

"Yeah, if I were human, I would soon be insane, no doubt," Doyle remarked feelingly.

Jenny was about to ask another question, if it hadn't been for the double entrance doors abruptly flicking open.

The three members of staff looked up at the same time, though Giles gave a cursory glance around the room to make sure that his usual collection of occult reference was out of plain sight for once before taking in the new arrivals.

"Hi, Giles," Mulder remarked. "Remember me?"


Buffy usually paid her first port of call to the library before she made her way home after school, but this time it was Revello Drive which she visited first, having experienced a sudden attack of conscience about not staying there the night before. The first night she spent with Angel she had returned home early enough for her mother not to notice that her daughter had not spent the night in her bedroom, though from the looks she received that morning during breakfast, she half suspected that was not true. This time however she had completely forgot to return home before first period, despite leaving Crawford Street in plenty of time for it, as Angel's new working commitments required him to be punctual, and likewise for his beloved to be just so concerning school.

"Mom, I'm home," she called out as she walked through the hall, trying to sound as breezy about it as she could. "Where are you?" She called out, having eliminated both the empty living and dining rooms from her inquiries.

Another voice became audible to the slayer as she reached the kitchen, one which she was surprised to hear, and not just because it familiar. Or daylight for that matter. So it was with some haste that she covered the remaining distance from the hall to the kitchen.

"So I'm strolling through the park, looking for a meal, and I happen to walk by, and she's making out with the chaos demon! And so I said, 'You know, I don't have to put up with this.' And she said, 'Fine!' So I said, 'Fine, do whatever you like!' I mean, I thought we were going to make up, you know."

"Well, she sounds very unreasonable," Joyce offered soothingly as she sat down across from him by the counter.

"She is," Spike answered. "She's out of her mind. That's what I miss most about her."

Joyce sipped her hot chocolate which her guest had requested for drinks. "Well, Spike, sometimes even when two people seem right for each other, their lives just take different paths. When Buffy's father and I..."

The vampire shook his head. "No, this is different. Our love was eternal. Literally." He sighed. "You got any of those little marshmallows?"

"Well, let me look," Joyce rose from her seat just as her daughter entered. Buffy stood in a state of shock at the scene before her, the slayer within her using her eyes to glance at the windows and see that the blinds were firmly down, guarding against what was left of the daylight hours, then checking to make sure her mother had no jagged wounds about the neck.

"I used to bring her rats," Spike mused. "With the morning paper."

"Great," Buffy remarked, causing him to look up. "More moping. That's gonna get Druscilla back."

"Hi Blondie," Spike remarked. "Don't worry, I haven't come here to kill. Your Mom's a lady and I respect that." He held up his drink. "She also makes damn good Coco."

"Spike," Buffy returned. "How long have you been back in town?"

"Not long," he replied. "Though I wouldn't have minded missing you and Peaches shagging. Or at least the beginning part of it, before I was thankfully knocked out."

Buffy blushed despite her glowering directed at her soulmate's grandchilde. "Thank you for giving me another reason to stake you."

"Hey, I'm not judging," Spike returned. "Dru's with a bloody chaos demon, so I can't. But I thought Peaches was past all that soul having days."

"He had his soul restored," Buffy informed him. "Permanently, I might add."

"Curses," Spike shrugged at his own incompetence. "I should have thought of that. Boils, leprosy. Even a love spell would do it."

"Why would you want her back?" Buffy asked him, inwardly wondering why she felt a little sorry for the moping vampire who had dared to cross the threshold of her home. "Dru was playing with only half a deck even on her good days."

"It was that truce with you that did it," Spike revealed. "Dru said I'd gone soft. Wasn't demon enough for the likes of her. And I told her it didn't mean anything, I was thinking of her the whole time, but she didn't care. So, we got to Brazil, and she was... she was just different. I gave her everything: beautiful jewels, beautiful dresses with beautiful girls in them, but nothing made her happy. And she would flirt! I caught her on a park bench, making out with a chaos demon! Have you ever seen a chaos demon? They're all slime and antlers. They're disgusting." He paused to sip his hot chocolate, Joyce having now bestowed upon the beverage some marshmallows. "She only did it to hurt me. So I said, 'I'm not putting up with this anymore.' And she said, 'Fine!' And I said, 'Yeah, I've got an unlife, you know!' And then she said... she said we could still be friends." He broke down then. "God, I'm so unhappy! I mean, friends! How could she be so cruel?"

"Gee, that story just gets sadder every time you hear it," Buffy commented sarcastically. "Or pathetic, take your pick." She looked to her mother. "When did he turn up?"

"Just after I came home," Joyce replied. "He stood on the doorstep smoking in his leather jacket, begging me to let him in. I did threaten him with a stake, but then he just burst into tears and I realised it wasn't worth it."

"Yeah, I see what you mean," Buffy added as she looked on the hapless grief stricken vampire sitting in her kitchen. "Giles doesn't need this though, not this week with a old friend of his from the FBI visiting. But I'm gonna need to call him and break the bad news anyway."

"Buffy, I'm safe here with him if you want to go and tell Rupert in person," Joyce assured her. "Spike won't kill me, will you?"

"No," the bleached vampire said, surprising all present, including himself. "Though I haven't had a woman in weeks. I just don't have the appetite for it."

"As long as you know where the rest of my weapons collection is," Buffy decided. "In the travelling chest in the bottom of my wardrobe."

"I will remember," Joyce assured her. "Now, go."

"Gone," Buffy uttered as she headed out. "But I will be back as quick as I can," she called down the hall before she left the house.


"Vampires?" Giles tried to inject the right amounts of humour and incredulity into his speech. "Mulder, I know you heard that I was into some strange stuff during my Oxford days, but the kind of things you're talking about only exist in novels and fairy tales. Certainly not in Sunnydale."

"Then why did you leave the British Museum for a position here?" Mulder asked.

"I met someone," Giles replied, indicating Jenny with a look, hoping his old friend would not check the teacher records and find out that there were two Miss Calendars', one of which died some months ago.

"I apologise, Mr Giles, for my partner's inquiries," Scully began, a position she felt used to whenever they found themselves in situations like this.

"No need, Agent Scully," Giles returned. "I'm sure Mulder just got carried away." He gestured to the bookshelves. "If you do need research on such subjects, I believe we do have a large occult reference here, and I'm sure Principal Snyder would not object to my lending a helping hand to the FBI."

"Thank you, but we have to be getting back to Washington," Scully said. "Come on, Mulder," she turned to him.

"Giles," Buffy called out as she entered, "we have a big........." she paused as she caught sight of the strangers. "Problem," she finished guardedly.

"This is one of the students," Giles explained. "What is it, Miss Summers?"

"It's that book you were missing," Buffy began, rapidly thinking of a way to convey the problem without revealing any details which would alert the agents' suspicions. "On the uses of railroad spikes," she continued, looking at her watcher, hoping he understood.

"You mean the one by William B?" Giles asked her, returning the expressive look.

"Yes!" Buffy nodded. "My Mom found it and has it at her house. I just wanted to let you know before I fetched the volume for Mr O'Connor who was waiting to borrow it."

"Thank you for letting me know," Giles said. "I'll see you tomorrow?"

"Yes," Buffy replied, before exiting the library.

Giles turned to the agents with a modest smile. "Students," he murmured before ushering them out.


"Mulder, you're rushing me out the door," Scully pointed out as her partner almost herded them out of the library minutes later.

"I think we need to follow that girl," Mulder replied, hurrying after the slight blond who was rapidly exiting the high school campus.

"Why do we need to follow that girl?" Scully asked him.

"Because I don't think she came to Giles for a book on railroad spikes," Mulder said as they hurried out of the entrance into the night.

"Neither do I," Scully agreed, "but do you really think she is involved with this?"

"I intend to find out," Mulder replied as they followed her down the street in their rental car.

They watched her as she waited by the college campus, then the man who greeted her and drove her to a suburban house. At this point they felt ready to quit, trusting their paranoia instincts too much after five years of working on uncovering a conspiracy against the American public.

Then they saw the girl exit the house with the man, followed by another with bleached blond hair, and decided that their instincts could be right.


"The spell's gonna get her back," Spike remarked, having become fixated on this idea since Buffy and Angel arrived at Revello Drive.

"Why can't I kill him?" Buffy asked her soulmate. "He'll be dust and those agents from the FBI none the wiser."

"Because those agents have been following us from the college campus," Angel reminded her softly. "As much as neither of want to, we have to help him to keep that low profile Giles was so concerned about."

"Even if that means helping him shop for ingredients for a love spell on a crazy girl?" Buffy returned, without any need for an answer.

"What do you know?" Spike half yell, half sobbed out. "It's your fault, the both of you! She belongs with me. I'm nothing without her."

"That I'll have to agree with," Buffy commented. "You're pathetic, you know that? You're not even a loser anymore, you're a shell of a loser. Now lets get to the Magic Box, fix up this spell and have done with it."

"What's your hurry?" Spike asked, suddenly intrigued.

"My hurry is my intense desire to get you out of my life," Buffy returned. "You tend to cause trouble."

"I'll be out of your life in a few short hours," Spike assured them. "No trouble at all."

"Hello, Spike," a voice said suddenly from the darkness.

Within minutes the three were surrounded.

"No trouble at all," Buffy echoed before preparing herself for battle.


"Lenny," Spike greeted the leader who had spoken first. "How have you been?"

"Better since you left," the vampire returned. "You should have stayed gone."

"Is that right?" Spike queried challengingly.

For once, the slayer wasn't eager to follow through, and not just because Spike annoyed the hell out of her. "You know, he was just leaving," she lied, turning to Spike. "Don't you start anything." She urged.

"This piss-ant used to work for me," Spike revealed.

"We can't risk this," Buffy said softly to Angel.

Her beloved shook his head. "Look, I don't think we have a choice."

"You other two can walk away from this," Lenny offered charitably.

Spike laughed. "You do know who these two are, don't ya? The slayer and Angelus. Or Peaches with a soul rather."

"Thanks so much for spreading that term of endearment around, William," Angel said wryly. "Be sure to invite me to the next poetry recital."

"The slayer!" Lenny cried. "Not for long!"

Buffy knew what was coming the moment Spike spilled the beans, and threw a snap kick to the lead vampire's midsection, catching him off guard. Another rushed at her, causing her to step back, then spin round, aiming a kick to his face.

Angel dodged to avoid a swing from his attack, punching him in the gut. He dealt a backhand punch to another's face, then elbowed him in the gut too.

Spike was sent flying on to the hood of a car, landing of his back. He came to his senses just in time to avoid another strike from one vampire wielding a length of pipe, rolling out of the way, jumping to stand on the roof of the vehicle.

One vampire grabbed hold of Angel's sleeve, using his grip to force him to the ground. Angel turned the descent into a roll, colliding with the vampire before rising to his feet, the momentum causing his attacker to lose his hold of him. Another lunged at him, causing Angel to grab him raise him to the night sky, sending him ridged forehead first into a garbage can nearby. A third vampire attempted to come at him from behind, but Angel sensed his approach and fell into a crouch, throwing out a kick to his attacker's legs, causing him to trip and fall to the floor.

Where were the FBI agents during all this? Mulder and Scully had kept their trail of the girl and the two unusual men to a discreet distance, which was rapidly eliminated as the fight became audible. They rounded the corner on to the high street to find their three suspicious persons in the middle of a fight outside a shop called the Magic Box. Falling back on their training and years in the Bureau, they took out their guns and aimed them in that direction.
"Stop, FBI!"

Either the people did not believe them, or they were deaf, but no one stopped fighting. Another joined the bleached blond man on the roof of the car, who punched him in the face, causing him to fly backward on to the hood of the vehicle. A second decided to aid his friend and jumped on the vehicle too.

One cornered the girl, trying to slam her against a low wall, but to the agent's surprise the girl leapt sideways over the wall into the outdoor cafe area of the Espresso Pump. Landing on a table she rolled off on to her feet once more. Her attacker tried to rush her, but she raised her leg and spun round, before striking him in the stomach. The hit appeared to have been delivered with enough force to knock him out, but the man rose to feet and strode into the cafe, where the girl had entered.

Mulder and Scully rushed to see if they could help her, but witnessed instead the girl grabbing a metal table and swinging it at her attacker, smacking him hard in the face and knocking him to the floor. She turned round and snatched a mop, breaking of the end. She struck her attacker in the abdomen, then hit another in the face, sending both to the floor. They rose, and she raised her broken mop, sending it in their chests.

The agents thought they had seen everything while investigating vampires in Texas, even being sued by them for thousands of dollars. But they had never seen any of the vampires disintegrate into dust before them. Turning to each other in shock, it took some time for both of them to realise that a fight was still going on behind them. Mulder exited the cafe, Scully and the girl following, raised his gun to the cloudless night sky above and fired a couple of shots into the air.

This had the temporary effect of making everyone pause and glance towards them.

"FBI," Mulder called out. "Stop now or next time it won't be the sky we're shooting."

The bleached blond glanced at girl who had stepped in front of the agents. "Are these guys for real?"

"Yes," the girl replied, causing the agents to stare at her. "Another thing I could have done without tonight," she added.

"This is hardly a picnic for me, Blondie," the bleached blond haired guy remarked. "Fighting with the slayer hardly does wonders for your reputation, even if you've killed two of them."

The girl groaned. "Blow my cover why don't you," she muttered, while the agents glanced at her puzzled. Ignoring them, she turned to their attackers. "Guys, any other night, and I'd be happy to kill you, but for once we have a common goal. I want Spike out of here as much as you do, so if you'd just let us get to the Magic shop for some supplies, he'll be on his way."

One of their attackers nodded. "Slayer, we'll call it a truce for once," he said to the girl, before turning to his friends. "Come on, lets go."

Mulder prepared to follow them, but the girl grabbed his wrist, restraining him before he could make a move. "Don't," she ordered quietly.

"Now, that was fun," the bleached blond haired guy remarked, jumping off the car back on to the sidewalk. "Oh, don't tell me that wasn't fun. Oh, God! It's been so long since I had a decent spot of violence. Really puts things in perspective. I'm really glad I came here, you know? I've been all wrongheaded about this. Weeping, crawling, blaming everybody else. I want Dru back, I've just gotta be the man I was, the man she loved. I'm gonna do what I should have done in the first place: I'll find her, wherever she is, tie her up, torture her until she likes me again. Love's a funny thing."

He walked away, while Mulder and Scully turned to the girl. "What was all that about?" Mulder asked her.

Buffy smiled at them sheepishly. "Now, you see, this is exactly what Giles didn't want happening."


"Thank you, Giles, for explaining all of this," Mulder remarked in the library where they had returned for explanations mere hours after they had left it. "I promise we won't be making a report on this, though I doubt anyone reads them nowadays."

"I still appreciate you keeping this confidential," Giles returned. "The Council views the X Files department at the FBI with suspicion for the very reason that they fear publicity would cause widespread panic."

"Yes, well it appears to us that someone in this town is doing a great deal to keep the supernatural events which go on here private," Mulder revealed.

"Do you think so?" Giles queried. "I must admit I did wonder why the police, incompetent as they are, no offense, appeared to be doing very little to combat the crime in this town."

"I'll look into when we get back to Washington," Mulder promised him. "See what we can find out and keep you informed."

"I'd be grateful if you could," Giles replied. "My own resources in those areas are quite limited."

Mulder shook his hand in silent farewell, and the agents walked out of the library. He turned to Scully as they wandered through the deserted corridor of the High school. "Well, Scully, was the case everything you expected it to be when you brought me the files?"

"I'm grateful we didn't get sued," Scully remarked, causing her partner to smile as they walked back out into the night.


The battered banged up Desoto Fire Flite sped along the highway out of Sunnydale, further and further away from the hellmouth by every mile marker the vehicle passed. Inside a much more sober owner drove, relaxing against the confines of the weather-beaten leather interior, singing along to the song coursing through the radio.

"I plan each charted course, each little step along the highway. And more, much more than this I did it my way."

The End.
To be continued in...

The Pryce Of Faith.