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Fic: Fated
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

love love love this!

why couldnt the show happen this way Mad
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BA4eva wrote:
love love love this!

why couldnt the show happen this way Mad

Joss is actually the First Evil.

Also, any more speculation as to the identity of the Angel of Death?
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mmm...Angel of Death? No. A clue please?
"Been playing a little Ahab."
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's the list of possibilities. Basically, it's someone who:
1) Appeared in "Fated" prior to "Phases"
2) Hasn't been killed onscreen

Ted Buchanan
Jenny Calendar
Cordelia Chase
Rupert Giles
Xander Harris
Enyos Kalderash
Harmony Kendall
Willow Rosenberg
John Sagan
Buffy Summers
Joyce Summers
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mmm...that leaves only two possibles.

And I was going to say you were mean giving us all those to choose from.

So, Giles or Xander.

"Been playing a little Ahab."
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PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 9:05 pm    Post subject: Domestic Strife: Act One Reply with quote

Bzzt! Bzzt! Bzzt!

Buffy lazily reached over and hit her alarm clock. She didn’t even pick her head up from Angel’s chest.

“You need to get up, Buffy,” Angel whispered.

“I don’t want to get up. Your chest is too comfortable.”

Angel responded by sitting up in bed.


“You need to get to school.”


Buffy slowly got out of bed, and walked right into the shower. It was one of the few luxuries Angel’s apartment had. When she had first moved in, all he had had was soap, shampoo, and hair gel. But last weekend, Buffy, Willow, and Xander had snuck into her old house while Joyce and Ted were out, and Buffy had retrieved her toiletries.

Buffy stepped out of the shower, toweled herself off, and then opened her dresser. This was the “big haul” as Xander had called it. Rather than just taking her clothes, Buffy had taken her entire dresser from her room. It was now sitting next to the washing machine. Rather odd, but it was a piece of home. It also had the only large mirror Buffy could get her hands on – Angel had no use for one. On top were her various personal effects – a framed picture of herself ice-skating, Mr. Gordo, a jewelry box.

She stood before the mirror to apply her makeup. She had used to have a bunch of photos taped to it, mostly featuring her parents. But those photos were gone – kept in a small drawer. All that remained were a few of herself with Willow and Xander. Angel was completely absent. Buffy was planning on rectifying that.

Buffy sat down at the table for breakfast. The one thing she hated the most about living with Angel was his lack of a proper kitchen. He had no oven, no stove, no microwave, not even a toaster – just a refrigerator for blood. Breakfast for the last month – in fact, it was one month, to the day, since she had moved in with Angel – had consisted of cereal. Angel joined her, drinking his usual cup of blood. It was one of the things that disturbed Buffy, but she was willing to overlook it.

Classes were the usual. Science was boring beyond words – Dr. Jones, the science teacher who had replaced Dr. Gregory, was up there with your average Watcher. History was better – Mr. Miller was generally regarded as both easygoing and enthusiastic. Also, Buffy was actually proud of her report on the Irish Potato Famine – Angel had helped with that. Not only had he and Darla had spent some time in Ireland during the famine, but Angel had closely read the newspapers covering it (mostly for entertainment). There were certainly advantages to having a 200-year-old fiancé.

As Buffy walked towards her English class – usually almost as boring as science – she continued to think about Angel. Her reverie was broken by Cordelia tapping her on the shoulder.

“Buffy, Giles wants you in the library. Something about a bunch of murders.”

“Thanks. Give me the Cliff Notes later?”

“No problem.”

Buffy turned around and headed to the library. She found Giles poring over the Sunnydale Press.

“Giles?” she knocked on the door.

“Ah.” Giles got out of his chair and turned around. “There you are.”

“Cordelia sent me. She mentioned murders?”

“Yes.” He pointed to the headline, which she read aloud: “’Veteran police officer murdered in home’.” She set the paper down. “Doesn’t strike me as monster-related, necessarily. Definitely not vampires.”

“The police believe it was gang-related.” Giles started pacing. “But it doesn’t quite fit. The man was stabbed to death, so the murderer obviously entered his house. But no valuables were taken. And there’s this.”

Giles turned the paper to the third page.

“Two other murders – an old man and a doctor. Same M.O., same lack of stolen valuables.”

“Any ideas?”

“None right now. I’ll – I’ll do some research for now. But I’d like you to look out for anything on your patrol tonight.”

“Got it.”

Buffy arrived home shortly after sunset. Angel was there to greet his fiancée.

“Hey,” she greeted him.

“Hey.” They kissed briefly. The first time she had come home after a normal day, they had made out for thirty minutes. But now things were mellowing out – not that Angel really minded.

“How was your day?” he asked.

“Normal.” Buffy set her bag down by the table. “There’s been a rash of knife killings recently – Giles thinks there might be a cult in town.” She opened the refrigerator.

“Angel? We’re out of food.”

“We are?” Angel came over. It was indeed empty, apart from half a dozen packets of blood hanging from a rack, and a carton of milk in the door.

“Well, maybe you should get some food yourself,” Angel said, in a fairly condescending tone. “You’re the one making money.”

“You’ve got that bank account!” Buffy replied. “You’ve been able to buy blood for a year, you couldn’t buy your fiancée anything?”

“Buffy, you need to learn to take care of yourself. I am not your mother, it is not my job to coddle you, and you need to grow up!”

“Ugh!” Buffy threw her hands in the air in frustration.

“Besides,” Angel lowered his voice slightly, “there’s still milk.” He eyed the counter where a box of raisin bran was sitting. “And there’s raisin bran. You could have cereal.”

“Angel, I have had cereal for breakfast every single day for the past month!” Buffy shouted. She reached into the refrigerator, and pulled out four of the packets of blood. Before Angel could stop her, she had ripped them open over the sink. He watched as two days worth of blood went down the drain.

Angel simply stood there in shock as Buffy stormed out.

The minute Buffy stepped outside, she started crying.

It felt horrible, fighting with Angel. She loved him. For months, she had wanted to spend as much time with him as possible. But for a moment there, she wanted nothing to do with him. She hadn’t physically attacked him, but by destroying the blood, she had hurt him. And she felt ashamed.

The door opened, and Angel came out. “Buffy…” he started.

“Angel.” Buffy rushed into his arms. “Angel, I’m so sorry.”

“It’s OK,” he assured her.

“No, it’s not OK.”

“It was just a fight. It wasn’t even our first.”

That was true, Buffy had to admit. Before she and Angel had started dating, there had been multiple fights.

They stood apart, hands on each other’s shoulders.

“I’ll get you some blood on the way home after patrol,” Buffy promised.

“I’ll go get some groceries,” Angel replied “and look into a microwave.”

Buffy smiled – not just at the prospect of having cooked food, but at the thought that Angel would get her something he had no use for. A microwave would take a large chunk out of his savings.

“See you later.” Buffy gave Angel a quick kiss, then headed off on patrol.
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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice interlude there. I liked the fact that Buffy had settled her dresser and mirror into Angel's place. And good to see that Cordelia is willing to help Buffy out with her school work.

Although, I can't really see Angel not providing groceries for Buffy. He didn't have anything in his fridge in LA most times, but he seemed to have fruit and eggs and bread and butter for when he cooked eggs for Cordelia and Wesley. Plus, I know Buffy would have said something about the lack of food sooner. She's not shy when it comes to Angel. She knows what she wants.

However, I did like the storming out of the place, Buffy in tears, and she coming to her senses, as well as Angel coming after her and taking her in his arms. So, maybe I can see that Angel is a bit more reticent when it comes to Buffy, here.

Looking forward to the next part, please.
"Been playing a little Ahab."
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:40 am    Post subject: Domestic Strife: Act Two Reply with quote

A/N: Sorry for the extra-long wait. So much has been going on – school, a new job, other fanfic ideas – but I haven’t abandoned this story!

“Morning, Giles,” Buffy called as she, Willow, and Xander came into the library.

“Oh, good morning,” Giles came out of his office, a steaming cup of tea in his hand. “So, how was your patrol last night?”

“Pretty uneventful,” Buffy plopped down at the table. “Killed two vamps at the Bronze. You know, maybe we should hang a few crosses around there.”

“Would help keep the vamps away,” Xander nodded.

“Ooh!” Willow got her “clever idea” look. “You could put holy water in the sprinkler system, then set it off!”

“You know, I tried that once with a casino in Vegas,” Buffy smiled. “Cleaned the whole place out, but not the kind of thing you can do repeatedly.”

“While normally I would be happy to discuss creative ways to kill vampires,” Giles sat down, “we have more immediate problems.” He pulled out the newspaper. “There was another murder last night – a man named Arnold Newsome. Same M.O. as the previous ones.”

Colonel Arnold Newsome?” Xander grabbed the paper.

“You know him?” Giles inquired.

“He was one of the bigwigs at Vandeburg Air Force Base – where we got the rocket launcher and grenades from.”

“Well, that is… interesting.” Giles peered at the article. “I had thought that the victims might be randomly selected, but the chances of them picking a senior Air Force officer out of everyone in Sunnydale are fairly low. We should find out more about the other victims.”

“Hey guys, I’ve got some information on the other victims,” Cordelia announced as she entered.

“Good timing, Cordy!” Xander said.

“Well, the dead cop’s name was Jack Crossworth. He’d been on the force for eight years. Before him, there was Michael Polinger, a retired airline pilot. And the first victim was Dr. Alexandra Maher, a surgeon at Sunnydale General.”

“That’s a lot of information,” Giles took off his glasses. “Where did you get it?”

“I went over to the police station last night, told them I was a reporter writing an article on the murders. One of the officers told me just about everything.”

“Good work,” Buffy got up. “Anything else?”

“Well, according to the cop I spoke with, Jack Crossworth was an outstanding cop. Several citations for bravery, worked with underprivileged kids, that sort of thing. Polinger, the old guy, won the Medal of Honor in Vietnam. And I think that Dr. Maher had just won some sort of medical award.”

“Thank you, Cordelia.” Giles replaced his glasses. “Now we have to determine what connects these people.

“They were all heroes,” Willow said.

“Come again?” Giles asked.

“Well, you’ve got the cop – he had citations for bravery. The surgeon – she’s saving lives every day!”

“The retired guy won the Medal of Honor,” Xander deadpanned. “Which can only be awarded for risking your life above and beyond the call of duty.” Buffy should have one, he thought.

“Right. Well, look at Colonel Newcombe’s obituary on page nine,” Willow pointed to the page.

“’Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions as a pilot in the Gulf War’,” Cordelia read aloud.

“So, Giles, know of any demons that go after heroes?” Buffy asked.

“More than I would like to,” Giles got up. His voice took on a very grim tone.

“Most demons are basically selfish. They seek food, pleasure, or power. They see humans as prey, nothing more. But demons that target heroes, they aspire to be something more than just demons. They hold up evil as an ideal, committing evil acts for their own sake.”

“Like the Master,” Buffy got an uncomfortable look.

“Precisely. Had he succeeded in opening the Hellmouth, he would not have become ruler of the world. At best, he would have served one of the pure demons that came through. But that wasn’t the point. What mattered was that every single human would eventually suffer a horrible death because of what he did. To put it very bluntly, it was the worst thing imaginable that he could do.”

Everyone was silent for a moment as they digested what Giles had said. Xander had never really considered why the Master had wanted to destroy the world. He had just thought of him as a comic book supervillain, who didn’t need a reason to do evil – all too true. It was difficult to grasp that someone – even a vampire – would actually want to do something like that.

Finally, Buffy spoke.

“Well, Angel said that he’d see if he could find anything.”

Angel sauntered into Willy’s Bar. It was the middle of the day, and the place was empty. Perfect for gathering information. Angel didn’t get along with Willy’s usual clientele, and Willy was much more open when he was alone.

“Hey, Angel,” Willy greeted him. “What can I get you?”

“Well, I could use some information,” Angel replied, putting a hint of menace in his voice. “Someone’s been killing humans in their own homes. Know anything?”

“Apart from what I read in the paper?” Willy shook his head. “I haven’t heard anything. Sorry.”

“You’re sure?” Angel upped the menace. “Three humans have been stabbed to death in their homes, but no valuables taken.”

“Four, actually – wait, did you say ‘stabbed’?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Well, recently, several vampires have been booted out of their lairs and crypts. Apparently, a lot of the demons that normally live underground are moving to the surface. There was this one vamp last night, said he heard something about guys with knives underground.”

That was… actually quite a bit of information. Though “underground” wasn’t that helpful in Sunnydale. “Did he say anything more specific?”

“Something about not even demons being safe in the Hellmouth. Anyway, the vamps have moved back into the factory. Place was deserted after you and your girl kicked Spike and his gang out.”

“Thanks, Willy.” Angel turned around and left.

“Anytime, Angel.”


Cordelia turned around to see Xander standing behind her in the hallway.

“What is it?”

“Can we talk?

And by “talk” you mean “make out”. Not that Cordelia particularly minded. “OK.”

Xander led Cordelia into a nearby closet. She leaned in to kiss him. Surprisingly, he put his hand up.

“What’s wrong, Xander?” He had never acted this way before.

“I actually wanted to talk, for once.” Off her expression: “Seriously.”

“About what?” This was rather new. Most of time, talking with Xander meant fighting with Xander.

“About you going to the police, getting information from them.”

Cordelia blushed. “Yeah, I know, it was –“

“- very impressive.”


“Well, for one, I would never have thought of going to the cops and pretending to be a reporter. I don’t think I’d be able to pull it off. Usually, I just let Willow hack into their servers.”

“Oh.” Now Cordelia felt superior again.

“But more importantly, you did it on your own. You did it without me or Giles or Buffy or Willow telling you to. Why did you do it?”

Cordelia got defensive. “I did it because some demon is killing people, Xander!”

He smiled. “Exactly. You did it because it was the right thing to do.” He put his hands on her shoulders. “Congratulations – you are officially a member of the Scooby Gang.”

Had Xander said that two months ago, she would have scoffed. But now, she actually felt honored.

“I still feel kinda bad about lying to the cops,” she said.

“Lying to people who don’t know about vampires and demons is an essential part of being in the Scooby Gang,” he assured her. “I mean, I lie to my parents all the time. Buffy lies to pretty much everyone. It’s for their own protection.”

“I see.” She was silent for a moment. Finally, her mind wandered back to the start of the conversation. “Now can we make out?”


“Honey? I’m home!” Buffy smiled as she said it. It was so cheesy, but it felt right. It was… domestic. Which was exactly what she needed in order to settle in to her new home.

“Buffy!” Angel got up from the table. He came over and kissed her.

“So, how was your day?” he asked.

“Oh, the usual. Giles thinks that whatever’s behind these murders is targeting heroes.” She set down her bag. “Anything on your end?”

“I went to see Willy. Nothing much, but he mentioned that something’s been driving demons away from the Hellmouth – guys with knives. The demons, in turn, are driving out the vamps from their crypts, so they’re moving onto the surface. A bunch are at the factory.”

“You went to Willy?” Buffy was surprised. “And you trust him after he sold you out to Spike?”

“Buffy, the world isn’t as black-and-white as you think. Sure, there are good people like us, and there are demons like Spike. But then there’s people like Willy. He may not have much in the way of morals, but he’s useful to us. Don’t worry, you’ll understand eventually?”

“’Eventually’?” Buffy set down her bags. “Like I’m not old enough to understand it now? As far as I see it, Willy sold you to Spike. He can’t be trusted.”

“I’m not trying to insult you, Buffy!” Angel’s voice rose slightly. “But you’re only seventeen. I’m over 200. I have life experience that you don’t.”

“’Life experience’?” Buffy scoffed. “Let’s summarize your ‘life experience’. You spent your youth drinking and whoring, without any accomplishments you could feel proud of.”


“Then you became a vampire, and spent the next hundred years killing and torturing as many people as you could.”

“Buffy…” Angel was really getting agitated now.

“Then you got a soul – and not because you wanted one – and spent another hundred years moping around before the Powers got you off your ass.”

“Buffy!” he shouted. She didn’t let up.

“On the other hand, I may not have much ‘life experience’, but I’ve spent the last two years actually doing things. Fighting vampires. Saving the world. I have been in a mental asylum, I was cursed by a witch, hell I died! So don’t talk to me as if I’m some kid and you’re a wise old man. I’ve done more in my life than you ever have!”

She turned around and walked out the door.

The minute she got outside, she started crying. And once again, Angel was there to comfort her.

“I’m sorry, Angel. I shouldn’t have brought up your past,” she sobbed.

“I shouldn’t have talked down to you,” he replied. “It’s easy to forget all you’ve done, all you’ve been through.”

“Got any ‘life experience’ in dealing with fights like this?” she asked dryly.

“Well, if Darla and I got angry with each other, we’d find some people to kill. Let off some steam.” He laughed a little. “Not much help here.”

A light bulb went off in Buffy’s head. She pulled away from Angel.

“Didn’t you say that a bunch of vamps had moved back into the factory?”

“I did.” Angel was getting the are-you-thinking-what-I’m-thinking look.

“Get out the weapons.”
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:29 am    Post subject: Domestic Strife: Act Three Reply with quote

Buffy drove a stake through the heart of yet another vampire. Another grabbed her from behind. She gave him a good head butt, which knocked her out of his grip. She swung around with a roundhouse kick, sending him flying into a wall.

It was a shock attack. These vampires were completely unprepared. Nor did they have the benefit of proper leadership.

Less than a minute after Buffy and Angel had popped out of the sewers, only one vampire remained, unconscious by a pillar.

“You want to finish him off?” Angel asked Buffy. The bloodlust in his voice was palpable. Buffy knew that the demon Angelus was still in there. She wondered if Angel had decided to let him out for a minute against the vampires.

“Actually, I thought we might question him first. Maybe he can tell us more about what’s going on.”

Angel tensed, then calmed down. Buffy sauntered over to the vampire, a young Hispanic male dressed in a white tank top. Buffy noticed what looked like gang tattoos on his left arm – he was probably from Los Angeles. She removed the cross from around her neck and touched his ear with it.

That woke him up. He jerked up and nearly kicked Buffy back. His eyes opened and darted around. He shifted back to human, and his expression became even more terrified.

“What – what’s going on?” he asked, his voice trembling.

“What’s going on with the Hellmouth?” Buffy stared at him.

“I don’t know!”

Angel knelt beside him. He was in full vamp mode. He grabbed the vampire’s hand.

“Listen, pal. We can either do this the easy way…”

He bent the vampire’s index finger back 90 degrees. The vampire screamed in pain.

“…or the hard way.”

“Okay! Okay! I’ll talk!”

“Good,” Buffy smiled evilly.

“About a week ago, these guys showed up in the Hellmouth – the Master’s old crypt, beneath the school. They smelled human, but they killed anyone who got in their way. That’s why we came up here – to get away from them.”

“What did they look like?” Buffy asked.

“Red robes, bald, black eyes, weird tattoos on their forehead. And they had these wicked sharp knives they used to kill. I think they might be a cult of some kind. There was this older vamp, saw them, said he was leaving Sunnydale and never coming back. Said we should do the same.” He looked around, noting the absence of his former buddies. “Maybe he was right.”

“That’s all?”

“That’s all I know. Now can I go?”

Buffy staked him without a word.

Buffy had never been to the Master’s lair since that terrible day last year. Even on her occasional patrols underground, she had avoided it. The memory of dying was extremely traumatic. Her last thought had been utter horror at the realization that her death would bring about the end of the world.

When they arrived, it seemed almost the same as the last time they were there. Candles illuminated the space. Natural rock formations were interspersed with pieces of a building – Giles had said that this had once been a church.

And in the center, a single figure wearing a dark red robe. He looked up at Buffy as she entered. He had a strange tattoo on his forehead, and his eyes were solid black.

“So, you’re what’s got all the vampires scared?” Buffy asked. The man did not respond, instead drawing a wicked-looking knife. By now, he was the poster boy for “evil cultist”. He charged at Buffy, but he did so at human speed. She easily grabbed him and threw him against a stone column. There was a sickening crack as his head hit the column. He didn’t move after that.

“Man, the vampires around here have gotten really pathetic,” Angel said.

“Maybe I killed all the brave ones,” Buffy replied.

Thirty minutes later, they returned home. Buffy was a little tired, but mostly she was hungry. She opened the fridge, only to find that the fresh groceries that Angel had bought were covered in blood. On closer inspection, one of the bags of blood was partially empty, and had two fang marks in the side.

“ANGEL!” she yelled.

“Did you drink half a bag and then put it back into the fridge?”

Angel had a what-did-I-do-wrong look. “Yes?”

“Well now it’s leaking all over my food, and I have nothing to eat!”

“I’m sorry, Buffy…”

“Sorry?” She slapped him.

“When will you finally get it through your head that I live here now?! You keep acting like you’re the only one here!”

“To be fair, the place is a little small,” Angel replied. “And while we’re on the subject, I don’t appreciate you taking up all the shower space with your shampoos and conditioners.”

“It was your idea for me to live here!”

“And now I’m thinking that that was a bad idea.” Angel didn’t raise his voice, but his tone was quite angry nonetheless.

“I’m thinking you’re right.” Buffy grabbed her duffel bag and threw a few clothes in. “I’m going to Willow’s.”

“Don’t let the door hit you on the ass!” Angel called as she walked out.

Buffy had had it. This whole “living with Angel” thing wasn’t working out. She’d stay at Willow’s for a while, then try to find –

Her train of thought was interrupted when a dozen cultists charged her.

“ANGEL!” she screamed.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:19 am    Post subject: Domestic Strife: Act Four Reply with quote

Angel dashed outside, finding Buffy surrounded by cultists. Buffy swiftly became a blur of motion, dodging and ducking while she delivered her own blows. She sent a kick right to the chest of one cultist, which, judging by the crack, the way he collapsed to the ground, and the blood that spurted from his mouth, must have crushed several internal organs. Buffy grabbed another and flung him at two of his buddies, sending them all sprawling to the ground. Angel snapped his neck before he had a chance to get back up.

Even outnumbered six-to-one and unarmed, Buffy and Angel still had the advantage in strength, speed, and endurance. It had taken them mere seconds to disable or kill one third of their attackers. Then Buffy seized a knife from one of the fallen and tore into the rest.

Angel knew from experience that strength alone did not make one invincible. The existence of humans who fought vampires without superpowers and lived to tell about it proved this. A clever enough man could outwit his enemies by various means. But these cultists had not been clever. And numbers alone did not guarantee victory. If they did, Spike “Hey-let’s-fight-that-large-and-angry-mob-for-fun” would have been dust ages ago. No human could hope to match a vampire – or for that matter a slayer – in close combat without much better weapons, a good plan, or a ton of luck.

When the last cultist fell, Buffy dropped her knife and embraced Angel.

“Are you okay?” he asked, one hand on the back of her head.

“I’m fine,” she replied.

“Let’s get you inside the house.” He broke the embrace.

Buffy looked at him oddly.

“So the Rus practiced cremation in order to –“

“DING-DONG!” Jenny was rudely interrupted. Giles groaned and pried himself off the couch.

“Who the bloody hell is it –” Giles opened the door to find Buffy and Angel standing there. They looked like they had just been in a fight, and not with each other. Buffy’s hair was a mess, and both of them had blood on their clothes. Hopefully not theirs.

“Uh, hi,” Angel said.

“Our place is cursed,” Buffy deadpanned. “Can we crash here?”

Giles was, for once, speechless.

When Buffy saw the wine glasses – and Ms. Calendar’s outfit – she felt rather embarrassed. As weird as it was to think of Giles in a relationship, she knew how he and Ms. Calendar felt about each other. In fact, she had done quite a bit of work to get them together.

“So, your apartment is cursed?” Giles asked, pulling over a chair for Angel.

“Every time we go inside, we fight,” Buffy explained. “And the minute we go outside, all those feelings go away.”

“And it’s a new development.” Angel sat down in the proffered chair. “It’s not the first time we’ve had our disagreements, but we’ve had three fights in the last two days.”

“And our last fight sent me right into an ambush,” Buffy added.

“I see.” Giles sat back down next to Ms. Calendar.

“Could someone have cursed our apartment somehow?” Angel asked. “A spell?”

Giles shook his head. “Homes are sacred ground. They’re immune to harmful magic. Just as vampires and certain other creatures cannot enter a home without an invitation, magic must be invited in. Has anyone else been inside your home?”

“Just you two, Willow, Xander, Cordelia, and Oz for the housewarming party,” Buffy replied.

“Darla got in without an invitation,” Angel said. Buffy and Giles looked at him with shock. Ms. Calendar was confused.

“Darla was in your apartment?” Giles spoke deliberately. “When did this happen?”

“Shortly before I killed her. Just after Buffy found out I was a vampire.”

The reminder that Angel had been the one to kill Darla calmed Buffy.

“Vampire homes are not sacred ground,” Angel continued.

“But that was before I moved in,” Buffy pointed out. “It’s my home now – we even changed the address in my school records. And this all started after I moved in.”

“But I’m still living there,” Angel retorted. “Maybe having a demon on the premises changes things.”

“It shouldn’t.” Giles was looking glum, the way he normally did when he couldn’t come up with an answer to a problem.

A thought came to Buffy’s head. “What if someone – a human – broke into the apartment while we were out and cast a spell?”

“Still an intruder.” Giles sighed. “If they tried, the spell wouldn’t work. Or it would backfire.”

“Unless,” Jenny raised a finger, “they didn’t cast a spell per se. They could have left a cursed object behind, something that causes strife.”

“So we find the cursed object and destroy it,” Angel concluded.

“That may not be so easy,” Jenny frowned. “It’s probably small. It could be hidden in an out-of-the-way place.”

“Could there be a spell to find it?”

“I imagine so…” Giles started for his books. Buffy raised a hand to stop him.

“Shouldn’t we call the gang together? Research party?”

“Yes, I suppose that would be a good idea.” Giles didn’t stop moving.

Fortunately, it was still early enough in the evening that Xander, Willow, Cordelia, and Oz were awake and available for research. Willow and Oz arrived shortly – they both lived nearby. Cordelia and Xander arrived fifteen minutes later. Cordelia’s hair was noticeably unkempt, which left little to the imagination about what she and Xander had been up to.

“So, I didn’t quite catch what’s going on,” Cordelia . “All I got was ‘Buffy’s house is cursed, and we need to figure out a way to break the curse.’”

“It’s more complicated than that,” Giles handed her a book of spells. “We think there’s a cursed object inside Buffy’s house that’s making her and Angel fight. We need a spell to find the object.”

“Look for spells that find cursed objects. Got it.” Cordelia sat down and began reading.

The problem wasn’t just finding spells – there were plenty to detect other spells in effect. The problem was finding one they could actually use. A lot required a practicing witch to cast the spell. Others required components that would be difficult or immoral to obtain, like bamboo from the grove of Din Phu in Vietnam, seven ounces of diamond dust, or the still-beating heart of a virgin. Some Ms. Calendar rejected because they sounded fraudulent.

After three hours, Buffy could barely focus. Reading had never been her strong suit, and it didn’t help that the fights with Angel and the cultists had taken a lot out of her. So she set down Polinger’s Spells And Charms and scanned the room.

It was the first time the gang had ever met at Giles’ house. Angel, Xander, Cordelia, Oz, and Giles were scattered around the living room, with varying levels of focus on what they were doing. Giles was, of course, completely fixated on the pile of open books on his coffee table. Angel, standing, was speed-reading, skimming the books for useful information before returning them to the shelf. Oz sat in a green/red patterned chair, slowly paging through a modern-looking Wicca book. Cordelia and Xander sat at the kitchen counter. Cordelia was taking copious notes, as she often did in class, while Xander was mostly looking at her notes. Willow and Ms. Calendar had moved to the dining room, where they were busy with their laptops – unsurprisingly, Giles did not have a computer in his house.

“Aw, crap,” Willow broke the silence. Everyone else immediately looked up from their books and at her, as much in a “what was that noise?” way as a “what is Willow saying?” way.

“What is it?” Buffy asked.

“I thought I had found a database of spells, but it’s in Chinese.”

“I’m afraid I don’t speak Chinese,” Giles said glumly.

“I do,” Angel got up and walked over. “Willow, could you help me navigate?”

“Sure, just translate what everything says.”

They began chatting away as Angel read everything from spell descriptions to menu buttons aloud. The others returned to their reading, but Buffy listened in.

“OK, I think we’ve got something!” Willow announced cheerfully after an hour.

“You’ve found a spell we can use? No witch, no virgin’s heart?”

Angel scanned the text. “It says nothing about a practiced caster – it’s a charm used to counter evil curses. We’ll need some supplies – gingko tea and incense.”

Giles stood up from the couch and walked over to a cupboard, where he kept his occult supplies. “I should have some incense…”

Cordelia sat up. “I have gingko at my house.” She slipped off her stool and ran out the door without a word, keys held in her hand. Buffy heard the sound of her car starting a moment later.

“What else do we need to do?” Buffy asked, walking over.

Angel focused intently on the computer screen. “There’s an incantation you’ll need to read – in Chinese.”

“You’ll help me through it?” Buffy placed her hand on Angel’s. He looked into her eyes.

“We’ll do it together,” he half-whispered.

“You’ll need to be careful,” Giles warned. “I’ve been looking into these kinds of curses. They play on your emotions. In this case, any disagreement, no matter how small, could turn into another fight. From the moment you step into your home, you cannot disagree with each other on anything. Otherwise, you will surely fail.”

Cordelia returned unusually fast. Giles had prepared the tea for them, then poured it into a flask. He then dropped Buffy and Angel off at their apartment.

Buffy turned to Angel. “So, before we go inside, anything we need to work out?”

“Well, I was thinking that the space in front of the bed would be good to do the ritual…” he started.

“I meant about our relationship,” Buffy’s voice was measured but firm.

“Buffy…” Angel took her hands in his, bending slightly at the waist to bring his head closer to hers.

“We both have our issues. We’re not perfect. What I said about maturity the other day is true. You’re still a seventeen-year-old girl.”

Buffy’s eyes widened, then narrowed. “Angel…”

“But what you said is also true. You’ve done far more good in your short life than I have in mine. And that you were able to grasp that shows exceptional wisdom and insight on your part. It’s taken me over two hundred years to get to where I am now. Your wisdom comes naturally.”

Buffy smiled. She had never thought of herself as wise.

“After we get rid of this curse,” she began, “we’ll sit down and figure out how to live together. Who buys food, who buys blood, where everything goes…”

“…who’s a reliable source of information,” Angel finished. That got a giggle out of Buffy.

“I love you, Angel,” she said.

“I love you, Buffy,” he replied.

“Let’s do this.”

Once they entered, Buffy was quiet. She meant to say as few words as possible until they had broken the curse. They sat down next to the bed, facing each other. Angel placed the incense in the center, and lit it with a match. Now for the tea.

First, Angel drank.

I hope he doesn’t drink it all, Buffy thought. Fortunately, when he handed the flask to her, it was still heavy with liquid. Buffy drank the rest.

“Now, repeat after me.” Angel took out a piece of paper and read aloud.

“Pingjing he zhixu.”

Buffy tried to form her mouth around the unfamiliar sounds. “Pingjing he zhixu.”

“No, you need to stress the first syllable. Pingjing he zhixu.”

Pingjing he zhixu,” Buffy repeated.

“Good,” Angel smiled. “Now in reverse. Zhixu he pingjing.”

Zhixu he pingjing.”

Pingjing he zhixu.”

Pingjing he zhixu.”

Zhixu he pingjing.”

Zhixu he pingjing.”

Suddenly, Buffy became aware of a powerful sensation coming from her dresser. Judging by the way Angel’s head snapped in the same direction as hers, he felt it too. Slowly, they got up and walked towards it. Buffy’s hand went straight for the third drawer. She pulled it out and dumped her clothes on the floor.

And there, buried in the middle of the pile, was a miniature golden apple. Buffy picked it up, and carried it over the sink. Channeling her anger, she crushed it into dust. She turned on the faucet, and the dust was washed away.

Just like the blood I destroyed.

She turned back to Angel. He smirked.

“I really didn’t think that simply crushing a magic anger-causing golden apple was the right idea.”

“Good thing it worked,” she replied brightly.

“Come here,” he opened his arms. She practically leapt into them.

“Can the long discussion wait?” he asked. “I have some other things I want to do first.”

Buffy looked into his eyes. They both smiled.

Despite all that had happened, despite the Hellmouth itself trying to tear them apart, Buffy and Angel were together. And happy.

Jenny was afraid.

She feared that Buffy or Rupert would find out that she had planted the Apple of Circe in Angel’s apartment. Everything she had done, she did for her family, but it still felt like betrayal.

But even more, she feared what her uncle would do when he learned of her failure.

It wasn’t that she had screwed up. There was no spell within her reach to make two people stop loving each other. Indeed, she didn’t think that there was one. In fact, she was sure that Enyos would realize this. And now he would have only one path left open to him, if he was to ensure that Angel never knew happiness.

Janna Kalderash collapsed on her bed, sobbing in sheer terror.

A/N: FINALLY! Thanks to everyone for sticking it out so long.

I wish I could say that the next chapter would come soon. Unfortunately, I have other fanfic to write, and I have yet to outline the next episode. Don’t worry, it will come.

The Chinese translation is courtesy of Google Translate. It means “serenity and order”. If I knew Chinese, I would probably have done something properly with the tonal element. Unfortunately, my only foreign language is Hebrew, which for historical and religious reasons is really unsuited to magical incantations. So I apologize if I butchered it. Which I probably did.

I couldn’t find a space to explain the origin of the Apple of Circe in the story, so I’ll do it here. Circe is the Greek goddess of strife. Once, there was a party on Mount Olympus held by Zeus. Circe was not invited, because Zeus is an idiot. She crashed the party, and left a golden apple, with the words “for the most beautiful” inscribed on it. Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena each lay claim to it. Zeus, not wanting to anger any of them, decided to delegate the decision to Paris, prince of Troy. Each goddess tried to bribe him. Hera offered him fame and glory, Aphrodite offered him the most beautiful woman in the world, and Athena offered him fortune on the battlefield. Paris, being a guy, went for Aphrodite’s offer. Unfortunately, the woman in question was the daughter of Menelaus, king of the Greek city of Mycenea, who did not like the idea of his daughter running off with some Trojan prince one bit. The end result was a little scrap called the Trojan War. Which, I imagined, suited Circe just fine.

So I felt that a golden apple made an appropriate symbol of strife.
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