Joyce Summers sat down on a stool in her gallery. She was supposed to be unpacking her latest shipment, but too many other things were on her mind.
Less than a year ago she had thought her daughter simply was going through a stage of rebellion. Buffy was a good kid, and everything would be made better if Joyce could only be there for her daughter.
Then in a few short hours, she learned that her daughter masqueraded as a superhero by night. Her 18-year old child was the Slayer, the only person with the power to stop vampires, the no longer mythical undead creatures of the night. And if that weren’t enough, a few short hours later, Buffy ran away and Joyce was left alone, no knowing if she was safe.
When Buffy got back things hadn’t miraculously gotten better, like they were supposed to. First, one of her best friends died, became a zombie, and then was destroyed by Buffy. Then there was that whole band candy thing. The less said about that, the better.
And if all that wasn’t enough, Joyce had to start a witch-hunt in Sunnydale that almost ended with her burning her daughter at the stake.
No, Joyce had been through a very stressful time, and she needed a break. Reaching a decision, she went over and picked up the phone, dialing a long distance number.
It rang three times before the person on the other end picked it up. “Hello,” a deep, masculine voice greeted.
“Hi Duncan. This is Joyce. I’ve been thinking about what you said, and I’d like to take you up on your offer.”
“You’re what?” Willow exclaimed.
“I’m going to Seacouver with my mom for spring break,” Buffy repeated.
“But you can’t go.”
“Try telling my mom that,” Buffy said dryly.
“But who will stop all the vampires and demons when you’re gone?” asked Willow.
“You guys will just have to survive without me. You’ve done it before.”
“I suppose,” Willow said reluctantly. “Why Seacouver?”
“An old friend of my mom’s lives there and has invited us to stay for the week,” Buffy explained.
“Have you told Giles yet?”
“Yes. He’s a bit worried, but mom sort of insisted.”
“Your mom does seem to be stubborn about some things, doesn’t she.”
“Yeah, she does.” Buffy looked at her watch. “Oh. I promised Giles I’d stop by the library. Gotta run. See ya later!” With that, Buffy ran off towards the library.
Willow gathered her books and headed for class, praying that the local vampires didn’t decide the time to play was while the Slayer’s away.
“So who’s this friend of yours that’s coming?” Joe Dawson asked his friend.
“Joyce Summers. She and Tessa used to be good friends. She’s bringing her daughter, Buffy, with her.”
Joe inwardly winced at the name. Poor girl. Who in their right mind would call their daughter Buffy? He kept a straight face, however, as he asked the girl’s age.
“16 or 17, I think,” Duncan answered. “I haven’t seen either of them in years.”
Duncan broke off and turned towards the door. He had the “look” that meant another immortal was nearby.
Sure enough, the door opened to reveal Methos, the world’s oldest immortal. The 5000 year old man came up to the bar counter. He greeted Joe and Duncan and asked for a beer.
“Where’ve you been?” Duncan asked. He hadn’t seen the old man in months.
“Around,” Methos told him. “What have you been up to?”
“Not much. Life’s been pretty boring for the last few months.”
Methos gave him a look that spoke volumes. He did no believe the Highlander. Duncan MacLeod’s life was never boring. It often seemed like Seacouver was an Immortal hotspot. Rarely did a week pass in which some immortal did not show up.
“I’m sure,” Methos said sarcastically.
Duncan ignored him. Instead he said, “Actually, an old friend of mine is coming tomorrow for the week. You should meet her.”
“An old friend?” Methos repeated skeptically, “I think I’ll pass.”
“She’s not that kind of old friend. She’s mortal.”
“I suppose I’ll see her tomorrow, then.”
The conversation turned away from talk of the Summers. The two Immortals and the Watcher spent the rest of the night drinking and catching up on old times.
Buffy was upset. She had pleaded with her mom all week, but her mother wouldn’t give in. She insisted Buffy had to come with her. They had just gotten off the plan and retrieved their luggage. Her mother was looking through the crowds, trying to find Duncan.
“Joyce!” Duncan cried.
He was off to their left. He was waving his hand to catch their attention. He was also a lot more handsome than Buffy remembered. Of course, she hadn’t seen him since before she had really hit puberty.
“Duncan!” Joyce exclaimed. She ran over to greet her friend leaving Buffy to carry the luggage. She dragged it over and waited for them to stop hugging each other.
“You haven’t changed a bit,” Joyce was saying. “I’d swear you don’t look a day older than you did when I met you.”
Duncan laughed a bit uncomfortably. “Neither do you,” he lied. “And Buffy! You’ve grown up. How old are you now?”
“18,” she told him, a bit coldly. She was still resenting the trip and fully planned on sulking for the first couple of days.
“18!’ Duncan repeated, surprised, “Already? Last time I saw you, you were only 11.”
“That was 7 years ago.”
“Buffy,” Joyce warned. She knew how annoyed Buffy was, but she didn’t know why. She assumed Buffy would want a break from her slaying duties once in awhile.
“Here, let me help you with your bags. The car’s this way.” Duncan led them over to the airport parking lot where he had parked the car. Buffy sat in the back, looking forlornly out the window while Joyce and Duncan talked about old times. She wished for the hundredth time she could be back in Sunnydale with her friends.
Presently they got to Duncan’s apartment. Buffy unpacked her suitcase, carefully hiding the stakes and holy water she couldn’t bring herself to leave behind. After everything was put away, she wandered back out to the kitchen.
“Buffy,” her mother said, “Duncan and I were about to go to this gallery that just opened. Do you want to join us?”
“Not really.” Actually there were a billion things Buffy would rather be doing.
“Are you sure? It’ll be boring staying here by yourself.”
Buffy rolled her eyes. ‘Not as boring as the gallery would be,’ she thought. Aloud she said, “I’m sure, mom. I’ll find something to do.”
“Okay then. We won’t be long.”
“Help yourself to anything,” Duncan told her.
“Bye honey.” They left and Buffy was finally alone.
She grabbed a snack and waited ten minutes to be safe. Then Buffy went out exploring.
She found a payphone and called Willow using the phone card she’d bought back in Sunnydale.
“Hello?” the hacker said when she answered the phone.
“Hi Will. It’s Buffy.”
“Buffy!” Willow exclaimed cheerfully, “How was your flight?”
“It was fine. We got here about an hour ago.”
“How is it?”
“Not very nice. Mom and Duncan have already abandoned me, and they’ll probably do that a lot more before the end of the week.”
“Do you actually want to hang out with them?”
“Not really, it’s just . . . ” Buffy sighed. I don’t know what it is. I wish I was back in Sunnydale.”
“Why?” Willow asked. “I would’ve thought you’d want a vacation. Especially from slaying.”
“Not really. I mean, I always wanted to be rid of being the Slayer, but all this talk about Faith taking over for me when I go to college has changed my mind.”
Willow laughed at that.
“No really,” Buffy insisted. “And then that whole thing on my birthday. I like being the Slayer, and killing vampires and saving the world,” she confided to her best friend.
“Buffy, we aren’t about to replace you. You’re just on vacation. Enjoy yourself.”
“Maybe you’re right,” the Slayer admitted. “I have to go now. Talk to ya later.”
“Bye,” Willow said.
Buffy hung up and went back to Duncan’s place. Her mother and Duncan weren’t back yet, luckily. Buffy grabbed a book and read until they returned.
They were laughing, of course. Neither of them could see Buffy’s face, which was a good thing. She thought she could feel some kind of weird sensation, similar to the one she sometimes got from vampires. Similar, but different. Of course, Buffy wasn’t very good at sensing, so she just ignored it. The sun was still out; it couldn’t be a vampire.
When they did turn to Buffy, the slayer had gotten control of her emotions. She soon forgot about, because Joyce told her to go get changed. They were going out to dinner.
Duncan took them to a fancy restaurant. Buffy felt more than a little out of place. Everyone was dressed up and everything looked really expensive. It also didn’t help that her two companions were still playing ‘Do you remember?’ You’d think that they’d had enough already. They had been talking about the past all day.
“Do you still ice skate?” Duncan asked, in an attempt to include his friend’s daughter.
It failed miserably. Buffy simply said no, while that reminded Joyce of the time she, Tessa, Hank and Duncan had gone to the ice capades.
After dinner, which Duncan insisted on paying for, he suggested they head over to Joe’s. Joyce was reluctant, Buffy was underage after all, but he convinced her.
The presence informed him that Methos was already there. He was sitting at the bar, talking to Joe. Duncan waved at them and headed over.
“Joyce, Buffy,” he said, “Allow me to introduce Joe Dawson and Adam Pierson. Adam, Joe, this is Joyce Summers and her daughter Buffy.”
Buffy looked wearily at them. She felt that sensation again, like Duncan’s, only stronger, and it came from one of his friends.
“Pleasure to meet you,” Adam said.
“Nice to meet you, too,” Joyce replied.
Buffy gave them a brief smile.
“Can I get you guys a drink?” Joe asked.
“A beer for me. Buffy?” Joyce asked her daughter. Turning back to Joe, she asked, “Do you have any pop?”
“Yes, we do. What would you like, Buffy?”
“Coke, please,” Buffy responded politely. “Where are the washrooms?”
Joe pointed her to them. When she came out again, Joyce, Joe and Duncan were sitting at a table, laughing and chatting like old friends.
Not wishing to listen to that any more, Buffy went over to the counter and sat on one of the stools out of the way.
She jumped when Adam spoke. “Would you like your Coke?”
Buffy hadn’t heard him come up. Now that they were alone, there was no doubt the feeling was coming from him.
“Yeah, thanks,” she said.
He gave her the drink and sat down beside her. He pointed towards the others. “Aren’t you going to join them?”
“I had enough of being left out over supper. I don’t really want to sit there and listen to their stories.” She paused and took a drink before asking, “Why aren’t you there?”
Joyce chose that moment to come over. “Buffy, Adam, why don’t you join us?”
Buffy made a face. “I’d rather not.”
“Buffy,” Joyce said, exasperated and annoyed, “Why are you being so difficult?”
“I’m not, mom. I’m just sick of feeling left out.”
Joyce was about to respond when Adam cut in, surprising both women. They had forgotten he was there. “I was just about to leave,” he said, “I can give Buffy a ride back, if you’d like.”
“Sure,” Buffy said, before her mom could decline. “Let’s go.”
Joyce looked uncertain, but didn’t say anything about it. She knew how stubborn Buffy could get, and she didn’t want to cause a scene if they started arguing. “Go say goodbye to Duncan and Joe before you leave.”
“Yes, mother,” Buffy said patronizingly. She went over to their table.
“Thank you, Adam,” Joyce said. “I’m sorry about Buffy’s behaviour. She’s just –“
Adam cut her of with a wave of his hand. “Don’t worry about it. It’s no problem.”
Duncan was suspicious when he heard the news. Methos rarely left so early, nor did he often do favours for people. Especially those he just met. He shot a look at Methos, telling him he was going to ask for an explanation later.
Adam had parked a couple of blocks away. It was dark, with almost no streetlights. Buffy nervously put her hand close to the stake she had concealed in her clothing. It wasn’t Sunnydale, but she’d rather be safe than sorry.
In a nearby alley, someone screamed. Buffy ran off towards it without thinking.
A young woman, probably in her early 20s, was there, surrounded by a bunch of vampires.
‘Just my luck,’ Buffy thought. ‘I leave the Hellmouth just to find more vampires.’
“Hey!” she said aloud. “Get away from her!”
A couple of them actually listened, and turned to her instead. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Adam enter the alley. “Damn,” she muttered. Why couldn’t he have just stayed away. It looked like yet another civilian was going to learn about her so called secret identity.
Buffy didn’t have anymore time to think about it. Two vamps rushed her. She surprised them and took one of them out before they realized what had happened. The second one was a bit more cautious the second time he attacked her, but still underestimated the Slayer. He, too, was killed less than a minute later.
The next batch of vampires was much more careful. They knew she wasn’t their average human. They still underestimated her, though. Buffy was able to kill them without too much difficulty. It took her some time to finish them off, because there were many attacking at once.
Buffy went to check on the woman. She was in bad shape. Buffy wasn’t sure if she’d survive. “I’ll just find Adam and – “ she broke off and swore. She’d forgotten about Adam. She turned around just in time to see him behead a vampire with a sword. She was so surprised that she did not notice the other vampires arrive. Her first sign of them happened when one of them hit her on the back of her head. She crumpled down as the blackness claimed her.
When Buffy ran off to investigate the scream, Methos swore. He had no choice but to follow her.
He could just see himself trying to explain to MacLeod. “Oh, I just let her run off by herself. She’s a vampire slayer, how was I supposed to know she couldn’t take care of herself.”
Yeah, Duncan would accept that. He’d have Methos’s head before he could finish.
The Slayer caught the vampires’ attention. Two of them headed towards her, while three others headed towards him.
He dodged the first’s attack. With a single fluid motion, he pulled out his sword and beheaded it. He managed to behead the second one easily too; it was too shocked to move out of the way of the blade. The third proved more of a challenge. It took nearly five minutes for Methos to deal with it.
He may have killed it quickly, but more vampires came to take the place of their dusted comrades. They, unfortunately, did not believe in the one on one rule that immortals adhere by.
He finally dusted the last one and looked to see how Buffy was doing. She had killed the rest of the group, and was looking at him and his sword in shock. She’d obviously seen something. Too late he saw a new vampire sneak up behind her. He shouted a warning, but the demon had already knocked her out.
Dozens of vampires appeared. The new troops easily disarmed him and, surprisingly, knocked him out too.
He awoke with a minor headache, which was already fading away. Thank the gods for immortal healing. The Slayer was beside him, and was also waking up.
“Where are we?” she asked.
“I have no idea,” Methos told her. “They knocked me out, too.”
“Why’d they do that?” Buffy asked.
“How should I know?” Methos snapped. He didn’t like vampires or any other type of demons. He’s spent a great deal of his life avoiding them. Now, not only had they captured him, but he was also imprisoned with the Slayer.
“I don’t know!” Buffy snapped back. She didn’t like their situation any more than he did. They glared at each other for a couple of minutes, until Methos relaxed.
“I guess I don’t need to ask you why you’re here anymore,” Methos said, more to himself than to her.
“Obviously you’ve been sent here to deal with these vampires.”
“What!” exclaimed Buffy.
“Please don’t tell me there’re others. I hate demons.”
“How should I know?” demanded Buffy, referring to his first statement.
“Well, you are the Slayer, aren’t you?”
To say Buffy was stunned was an understatement. “How’d you know?” she asked before thinking it would probably be a better idea to play dumb.
“It’s rather obvious. Few humans would be so blasé about seeing a bunch of vampires. Fewer still would attack them. Only the Slayer would managed to fight so many and survive.” Methos didn’t add that he already knew who she was. The Slayer’s presence was very strong and unique. That would just lead to questions he didn’t want to answer.
Buffy accepted the explanation. It did make sense if he had already known about the existence of Slayers. That brought up an interesting point, how did he know? She asked him.
Methos took a moment to think of an answer. “They killed my family.” It was partially true. Vampires had killed one of his families, long ago. Of course, he had known about them before then, everyone had. But that was not true of this day and age, and his lie would suffice.
“I’m sorry,” Buffy said. She couldn’t help but think of a similar conversation she’d once had with Angel. “You’re not a vampire with a soul, are you?” she blurted out before she could stop herself.
“What?” exclaimed Methos.
Buffy blushed. “Nothing,” she said quickly. “Never mind.”
Methos looked at her suspiciously, but thankfully didn’t say anything. Neither did Buffy.
“Buffy! We’re back,” Joyce called out into the dark apartment. There was no answer. Joyce was about to call out again, but Duncan stopped her.
“Shh. She’s probably sleeping. It’s after midnight.”
Joyce giggled in agreement. She was a little drunk. Both she and Duncan went to bed quietly without checking in on Buffy and slept soundly all night.
Duncan was up early the next morning to workout. He was almost finished when Joyce walked in.
“Oww,” she moaned. “My head hurts. I really shouldn’t have had that much to drink. Why don’t you have a hangover?”
“I didn’t have as much to drink,” he answered. “Is Buffy up yet?”
“No. I’ll go wake her.” Joyce went back upstairs.
Duncan started to clean up when Joyce came bursting back into the dojo. “Buffy’s gone!” she shouted.
“She’s not there. Her bed hasn’t been slept in. She never came back last night.” Joyce was frantic.
Duncan was no less worried. His mind raced through several unpleasant possibilities about what may have happened. Had there been an accident? Methos wouldn’t have been hurt, but Buffy could have. Did they run into another Immortal?
“You’re sure she didn’t leave early,” he asked.
“Of course I’m sure,” Joyce snapped. “Nothing in her room has been touched. She wasn’t there.”
Her mind had also been thinking of things that may occurred. Seacouver should be safe from vampires, but who knew? Did something attack her?
“I’ll call Adam,” Duncan said.
He went over to the phone and dialed the old man’s number. He let it ring for a couple of minutes before giving up.
“He’s not answering,” he told Joyce. “He may not be awake. Why don’t we go over to see if he’s there.
There wasn’t anything else to do so Joyce nodded. They grabbed their coats and left.
Methos’s apartment was empty. The next place Duncan thought he might be was Joe’s.
When they were a couple of blocks away from the bar, Duncan suddenly pulled over.
“What is it,” asked Joyce, concerned.
“That’s Adam’s cars,” Duncan said, referring to the car parked in front of them.
“Maybe he’s at Joe’s,” Joyce suggested.
“Maybe,” Duncan said.
Duncan drove to the bar and parked out in front. They got out of the car and knocked on the door.
“We’re close,” Joe called out.
“Joe, it’s Duncan. Let me in.”
“One minute,” Joe called back.
He went over to the door and opened it. “Duncan, Joyce, what are you doing here?”
“Have you seen Adam?” Duncan asked.
“No, not since last night,” Joe replied, puzzled, “Why?”
“Buffy didn’t come home last night,” Joyce told him, her voice strained.
“Adam’s car is still parked where it was last night,” Duncan added.
Joe’s face grew serious. “Do you think it – “ he cut himself off before saying anything else. Joyce didn’t know about immortals. “What do you think happened?”
“I don’t know.”
“Should we call the police?” Joyce asked.
“That’s probably a good idea,” Duncan said.
“The phone’s over there.” Joe pointed towards it.
Joyce went off to make her call. Making sure she couldn’t overhear the conversation, Joe asked, “Do you think it was an immortal?”
“I don’t know. Are there any in town?”
Joe shook his head. “Not that I know of. I’ll find out.
“Where!” Joyce suddenly cried out. The two men looked over at her. She was very pale. “Okay, I’ll be there in a few minutes.”
Joyce turned to face them. “The police found a body this morning, two blocks away from here. They think it may be Buffy.” As she was saying this, Joyce was heading towards the door. Duncan followed her.
There were many police cars at the scene. They tried at first to keep Joyce and Duncan back, but let them through when Joyce said she thought she could identify the body.
She gave a small sob when she saw the bloody blond body. “Oh my god,” she said as she rushed over.
A police officer turned the body over and Joyce got a good look at its face. She almost cried with relief. “It isn’t her!” she exclaimed. “It isn’t Buffy!”
“What happened, officer,” Duncan asked.
“The girl was attacked. She died from blood loss. Now, you’ll have to leave. This is a crime scene.”
Duncan and Joyce were scooted away. The body was placed in a bag and zipped up. But not before both of them saw the two puncture wounds in the neck.
Joyce paled considerably. She knew what that meant. She had left Sunnydale to get away from vampires. Why did they have to show up here?
Duncan was also concerned. He did not believe in vampires, but he knew of some people who had disguised murders as such. It never failed to bring a general panic to the people.
Just before they were about to head back, Duncan spotted a sword at the edge of the alley. An Ivanhoe, Methos’s sword. Apparently he wasn’t the only one to see it, for an officer came by and picked it up before Duncan could sneak it away.
When they went back to Joe’s bar, the owner was waiting anxiously. “Was it – “ he asked, leaving the question hanging.
“No,” Joyce said wearily, but relieved. “It was someone else. If you’ll excuse me, I have to go make a phone call.”
She left, planning on calling Giles. Surely he would know what to do. It gave Joe and Duncan a chance to talk freely.
“There wasn’t any signs of a quickening, but I found Methos’s sword there,” Duncan said.
“What!” exclaimed Joe.
“He dropped it in the alley. The cops found it.”
“Methos would never do something as reckless as losing his sword.”
“I know. Something serious must have happened.”
“So what do we know so far? Methos and Buffy have disappeared. Methos’s sword is found at a murder scene, but no signs of a quickening. A girl has been murdered, at the last place we can place them.”
“And the girl’s murder has been disguised to look like a vampires,” Duncan added.
“She died of blood loss with two puncture wounds at the neck.”
“So where does that leave us?” Joe asked.
“I don’t know,” Duncan admitted.
Joyce chose that moment to come back into the bar, so they couldn’t talk anymore. “Duncan, could you give me a ride to the police station? I should tell them about Buffy.”
They spent the rest of the day at the station, getting nothing done. By the time the police were finished taking statements and filling out their reports, the sun had already set. Joyce hadn’t found out anything from Giles. He promised to do some research, but there wasn’t enough information to really find anything useful.
The door opened, causing both Buffy and Methos to wake up. A couple of vampires came in.
“Get up!” one of them barked.
The others went and grabbed them.
“Where are we going?” Buffy demanded.
“You’ll see,” the first one said.
“Don’t say anything,” Methos hissed quietly to Buffy.
The vampires dragged the two struggling prisoners through the door and down the hall.
They were brought into a large room, devoid of any furniture. Instead, about two dozen of vampires filled the room. They moved to the side, forming a path that Methos and Buffy were pushed along until they were in front of the vampire that seemed to be in charge.
“So these are the mortals you claim killed my troops,” he said, eyeing them doubtfully. “They don’t look like they could do much harm.”
“They did, master,” the demon who had brought them in said.
“Did I ask you to speak?” the master asked archly. The other vampire looked frightened and hesitantly said no.
“Did anyone actually see them do this?” No one answered. The master took their silence to mean no one had. “Then what makes you think these mortals,” he spat the word out in disgust, “Could kill my best troops?”
Another vampire that had captured Buffy and Methos answered. “They were in the alley you told us the girl was going to be. Thomas and the others were not there. They would not abandon their posts while alive.”
“This is not the girl I sent you to capture. Where is she?”
Once again no one answered. There were many vampires looking guiltily at anything but the master.
“Am I to understand you did not bring her back?”
The silence was an answer in itself. The master was furious, and everyone knew it. The vampires closest to him started to back off slowly, not wanting to be the receptor of their ruler’s rage. There were a few that weren’t fast enough, and a stake through their hearts quickly put them out of their pain.
“Bring those mortals to me!” the master shouted. The vampires that had been holding Buffy and Methos quickly obeyed him.
The master put his hand around Buffy’s neck and brought her closer to him. Against her will, she started to breathe faster. She was close enough to feel his breath on her face, or at least she would have if the vampire had any breath. He suddenly laughed and threw her back. Another vampire caught her and brought her back beside Methos.
“The girl has power,” the master said. “She will do well in the place of the other. You have done well.”
“What about the man?” someone from the crowd asked.
“He, too, will take place in the ceremony. Take them back to their cell.”
With a wave of his hand, he dismissed them. The vampires holding Methos and Buffy bowed slightly, careful to keep a good hold on their captives, then left the room.
Methos and Buffy were thrown in the room, and the door was locked. They waited until the vampires’ footsteps had faded away before talking.
“That was weird,” Buffy said.
“Yes,” Methos agreed. “Do you know what this ceremony they were talking about is?”
“No, but ceremonies usually equal trouble. I don’t think we want to know.”
“Well, considering we seem to be expected to take place in this one, I rather know. I don’t much like surprises,” Methos said in a sarcastic tone.
“So if you didn’t know about this ceremony, why are you here in Seacouver?” Methos asked.
Buffy gave a little laugh. “My mom thought I needed a vacation.”
Methos stared at her. “Are you serious?” Buffy nodded. Methos threw his head back and laughed. “What about your Watcher? How’d you get him to agree?”
“My mom is very insistent. She wouldn’t take no for an answer. Besides, Faith can take care of Sunnydale while I’m gone.”
“Sunnydale? You live on the Hellmouth?”
“I take it you’ve heard of it.”
Methos nodded. “I can see why your mother thought you need a vacation. The Hellmouth is a death trap.”
“You’re telling me,” Buffy muttered.
Methos suddenly remembered the other thing Buffy said. “Faith? Who’s Faith?”
Buffy hesitated before deciding that it was okay to tell him. Adam was obviously not one of the bad guys. “Faith is the other Slayer.”
“There is no other Slayer,” Methos stated. “There’s only ever one at a time. The new one is only called when the old one dies.”
“Yeah, yeah, I know the drill,” Buffy said, a little uncomfortably. Dying wasn’t a very pleasant experience, and her memory of that night wasn’t a nice one.
“You died,” Methos said, his eyes lighting up with comprehension. Buffy nodded. “But what happened?” Methos asked, “I mean, you’re clearly alive now.”
“I drowned,” Buffy admitted. “Luckily, a friend of mine found me in time and gave me CPR.”
“And now there are two Slayers. That would make your life a lot easier.”
"You'd think so," Buffy muttered. At Methos's quizzical look, she shook her head. "Never mind."
Methos didn't press the issue. Instead he looked around the room. “It seems as if we’re in agreement that this ceremony is something we want to avoid. Any ideas how?”
“The room seems pretty secure. There are no ways in or out except for the door.”
Buffy went over to the door and kicked it as hard as she could. It didn’t budge. “And the door seems to be pretty secure.”
Methos just gave her a look. “I see,” he said. “So it seems as if we are stuck in here at least until the vampires deem to let us out. Then we’ll be at their mercy again.”
“Definitely not the option I want to go with.”
“Me neither. I don’t suppose they were nice enough to leave you with any of your weapons.” Buffy shook her head. “I didn’t think so.”
The talk of weapons suddenly reminded Buffy of something. “You,” she hesitated, “You had a *sword.* In the alley. When the vampires attacked, you took out a *sword!*”
Methos avoided her gaze. “Yes, I did,” he admitted.
Buffy waited for him to continue. When he didn’t, she prompted, “And. . . ”
Methos turned and looked into her eyes. “And what?” he asked, with a perfectly straight face.
“Well, most people don’t go around carrying swords.”
“And most people don’t fight vampires on a nightly basis.”
Buffy was getting impatient. “Yeah, we already went over that. I’m the Slayer, what’s your excuse?”
“It’s a long story,” Methos said. He caught sight of a vent and went over to examine it. “Want to give me a hand here?” he asked, changing the subject. He reached up and tried to pull the cover off. It wasn’t budging.
Buffy walked over and placed herself between Methos and the vent. “We’ve got a lot of time,” she said, a little coldly. It wasn’t fair that he knew her secret, but she didn’t know his. It made her feel a bit uncomfortable and rather nervous. In her experience, secrets led to trouble.
“I’d rather spend it trying to get out of here than exchanging life stories.”
“Uh, uh,” Buffy said. “You’re not getting off that easily. Tell me.”
“Let’s just say I know there is more things in this world than most people know about. I like staying alive.”
“But with a sword?” Buffy asked skeptically.
“Why not a sword? We both know how useful a gun is,” Methos responded.
“You have a point,” Buffy admitted. She knew he wasn’t telling her the whole story, but it seemed unlikely he would say anymore. She decided just to drop the subject.
“So are you going to help me or not,” Methos asked.
“What are you trying to do?” she asked.
“I’m trying to get this vent open. It looks big enough for you to get through.”
Buffy looked at the vent doubtfully. It didn’t look big enough to her. “Are you sure?”
“Here, I’ll give you a boost.”
He lifted Buffy up and she took off the vent cover. She was about to go in when the door opened. Three vampires came into their cell. Buffy looked at them. “I think we’re busted,” she said.
“I would have to agree with you,” Methos replied.
The vampires also agreed with them, although not verbally. They rushed over and tore the two escapee wannabes away from the wall. They weren’t exactly gentle, and both Methos and Buffy were nursing bruised arms. Or at least they would be if the vampires hadn’t pinned the two prisoners’ arms behind their backs.
“Ow, that hurts,” Buffy complained. She had slipped back into her habit of provoking vampires.
The look Adam shot her was full of venom and its meaning very clear: keep your mouth shut. They were in enough trouble already. It would not be very good if their captors decided to use violence to keep them quiet. Things would only get worse when they realized that neither of the two supposed mortals weren’t being wounded as easily as they should.
Luckily Buffy did what Methos asked, though for a different reason. She did not yet know of Methos’s immortality. Enough people had been killed because of her in her lifetime; she didn’t want to add another to the list. She decided to keep her mouth shut until they were out of there, or at least until she could be sure they would take out there anger on her alone.
“What should we do with them, Paul?” one of them asked.
“Bring them to the master,” another, presumably Paul, answered.
“He said he didn’t want to be disturbed,” the third added cautiously. “I for one don’t want to go against his wishes.”
“But he would want to know about this,” Paul argued. “Would you rather face is anger if he finds out later on, Mark?”
“I’d rather not be at the receiving end of his anger at all!” Mark loosened his grip on Buffy and turned to face Paul.
It was a painful mistake. Buffy took advantage of the distraction. She wrenched herself out of Paul’s grasp and spun around, kicking him in his face.
Methos, who had been expecting the Slayer to do something like that, managed to free himself of Mark’s hold. The demon was so surprised he was barely able to put up a fight. Methos knocked him to the ground.
The third vampire had gone after Buffy, which was a good thing. Methos knew he wouldn’t be able to handle more than one vampire without any weapons. He was actually a bit surprised he had been able to dispatch of that one so fast.
Buffy, on the other hand, was more than capable of taking care of two vampires, even without a stake. The vampires hadn’t been stupid enough to leave anything wooden in the room, unfortunately, so Buffy could only send them flying to the other side of the room, giving her and Adam enough time to escape.
They ran out of the room and closed the door, locking it. “So which way do we go?” Buffy asked.
“That way,” Methos said, pointing a hall on their right.
“How do you know?”
“That doesn’t exactly reassure me,” Buffy told him.
“It’s not supposed to,” Methos replied. “But unless you know where we are, and how to get out, we’re lost. And that way is just as good as any other way.”
Buffy had to admit Adam was right, at least in her mind she did. She refused to acknowledge the truth in his words aloud. She was still annoyed at him for keeping secrets. There was something about him that made her rather uneasy.
They made there way done the hall, amazingly managing to keep from running into any vampires. Their luck soon ran out. Shouts were heard from behind them. Their escape had been discovered. Methos and Buffy both started to walk faster.
It seemed as if fate was against them. A few minutes after the alarm had gone out, the hall came to a dead end. Well, actually to a door. Methos tried to open it, but it was, of course, locked.
“This way is just as good as any other way,” Buffy mimicked.
“Oh, shut up,” Methos told her.
He was about to say more when he suddenly froze. They could hear footsteps echoing down the hall. Buffy and Methos looked at each other, dread mirrored in both their faces.
“Shit,” Methos said.
“Quick, in here,” Buffy said, her voice barely above a whisper. She kicked the door open and they slipped into the dark room.
“It’s not going to take them long to discover out where we’ve gone,” Methos muttered no louder than she had been.
“Well, I’ll think of something we that happens,” Buffy retorted. “It may take awhile. They don’t even know for sure which hall we went down.”
“Yeah, but they’ll figure it out when they see the broken door. They’re vampires, not idiots.”
“I didn’t see you coming up with any other plans,” Buffy growled, becoming louder in anger.
“Shh.” Methos put his finger on his lip. The footsteps came nearer, and both Methos and Buffy thought it was all over.
Suddenly, a voice called out from in the hall; “They aren’t here. Let’s go back and look somewhere else.”
The footsteps faded. The only sound to be heard was the stifled breathing of Methos and Buffy. They waited several minutes just to be safe, before letting out sighs of relief.
“I thought we were done for,” Buffy admitted.
“I can’t believe they didn’t notice the door,” Methos said.
“Well, let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth.” Buffy walked over to the door and put her ear up to it to see if she could hear anything. There was no movement outside.
Meanwhile Methos went searching for a light switch. He soon found it and the room flooded with light. The Slayer and the immortal looked around the room in amazement.
“Jackpot,” Buffy murmured.
“I think this was the right way to go after all,” Methos gloated.
They were in an armoury. That was the only thing one could call it. There were weapons of every imaginable kind lining the walls. Everything from guns to swords to crossbows to grenades.
Buffy went over and looked at the crossbows while Methos selected a sword. His Ivanhoe was not among the swords, unfortunately. He didn’t like using strange weapons. At least there were several swords of good quality. He picked one up and waved it around experimentally, before slipping it into his coat.
He then went over and grabbed a couple of guns and extra ammunition. He tossed one to Buffy, who had selected a crossbow and some extra arrows. She caught it.
“What’s this for?” she asked.
“What do you think?” Methos responded in an exasperated tone.
Buffy made a face at him. It was a childish gesture, but it made her feel much better. “I know what guns are for,” she answered venomously. “But they don’t hurt vampires.”
“No,” Methos corrected. “They don’t kill vampires. They can hurt them, a lot.”
“Since when are you the expert on vampires? I’m the slayer here,” Buffy shouted.
“Then you should realize that we need every advantage we can get. We’re outnumbered and I for one, don’t particularly like dying.”
"Well, it's not my idea of a fun time, either," Buffy retorted.
"Then why are you arguing with me?"
Methos gave her a look of disbelief and Buffy found herself blushing. She was arguing with him and she knew it. He just got on her nerves and she couldn't help snapping at him.
"If you're done then maybe we should get out of here."
"This time I'm leading," Buffy told him. Methos nodded and they set off back down the hall.
Duncan and Joyce left Chez Felice's and started home. It had been a long day and neither of them felt like cooking. Joyce was worried sick about her daughter. Duncan was worried about Buffy too, but he was also rather concerned about Methos. The old man was good in a fight and Duncan didn't want to think about whom was able to kidnap him and Buffy. Assuming the two had been kidnapped and not just killed. There was also a good possibility that there was another immortal involved.
But that didn't make too much sense. It didn't explain why Methos would have dropped his sword. There was no chance in hell that Methos, the ultimate survivor, would loose his sword if there were another immortal involved. Also, as much as he liked Methos, Duncan knew his friend too well to think the ancient immortal would risk his life for Buffy. So that ruled out an immortal holding her hostage.
There was also that dead girl in the alley. How did she fit in? And why was the death made to look like a vampire was the cause? There were too many piece of the puzzle and none of them seemed to fit.
And then there was Joyce. She hadn't taken Buffy's disappearance well, but who could blame her. Duncan was aware of the stress that she'd been through lately. Nice, relaxing vacation this turned out to be.
The two adults continued walking in silence to Duncan's car. It was now night. The nearly full moon was hanging fairly low in the sky. It seemed like a scene out of a corny horror movie. The only think missing was a wolf howling at the moon off in the distance. Joyce told herself how silly it was to be nervous, but shivered anyways.
Duncan, always the gentleman, asked her if she was cold.
"No," she answered absently.
"It'll be alright," Duncan promised. "We'll find Buffy. She's fine."
"How do you know?" Joyce asked. Her voice cracked and the tears that she had been holding back all day were threatening to come.
There was no satisfactory answer to that and Duncan didn't try to make one up. Instead he repeated, "Joyce, it'll be okay."
Joyce started to sob softly. He pulled her over and gave a comforting hug. He didn't let her go until she stopped crying about ten minutes later. Joyce pulled herself away from Duncan's embrace and furiously wiped away the last hint of tears.
"I'm sorry," she apologized. "I didn't mean to break down like that."
"Don't be sorry," Duncan told her. "I don't know anyone who would be acting differently if they were in this situation."
'Actually,' he thought, 'I'm surprised she didn't do this earlier on.'
Crying had done Joyce some good. She straightened up and smoothed the wrinkles out her shirt. She was determined not to break down like that again. It wouldn't do any good.
The two adults started for the car again, but once again they didn't quite make it there without stopping.Next part