by Karen

Drusilla wants a new kitten, and finds it in Cordelia.

Rating: PG-13
Feedback: Yes please.
Disclaimer: Joss owns the players.


Cordelia hit the flagstones. She was so weak. The pain brought tears to her eyes and her vision was going black along the edges. Drusilla leaned down, stroking Cordelia's bruised cheek. The pain was too great, Cordy couldn't even manage a flinch.

"Dark hair, dark eyes . ." The demon yellow eyes swung back and forth. Cordy let the black leech the world away. "I've got a pretty kitten." Cordelia's face was soaked in tears as the demon tore open her wrist. Salt from tears and blood touched the teen's lips as her heart slowed. Slowed. Then stopped. Dead.


The body was heavy. Drusilla dragged it into the mansion's main chamber and dumped it next to the sofa. Spike looked up from his paper. Drusilla wiped at her mouth. Then she murmured sadly to the body.

"Have to wait, kitten. Tomorrow we shall play."

Sighing, he handed his love the comics section. "Slayer's going to be pissed, Love. That's one of her kittens."

Dru collapsed into his arms. Snuggling she burped daintily. "Had to do it. Her heart cried out for me. True love comes in darkness and death."

Spike kissed her shoulder. "Pet, love and darkness are my favorite things."


The sun rose and Spike spread out across the bed. Drusilla appeared, arms full of kitten. The girl's, Cordelia, body was ridiculously oversized for Dru's arms. Grinning at her, Spike tried to sound firm. "No. Beds are for Spike and his princess."

Dru pouted. Spike almost gave in to her, but the bed wasn't large enough for the three of them and Cordelia wouldn't be animated until the sunset. It wasn't fun to sleep with a corpse before the demon awoke. "Put your baby in the chair and come to bed, Dru."

Drusilla propped the body up in the large stuffed chair. The plush velvet complimented Dru's dress and looked ghastly against the corpse's stiffening limbs. Spike sighed, at least this time Dru had closed the body's eyes. It was hard enough to have sex with the dolls looking on.

Tumbling into bed, Dru purred. Spike wrapped his arms around her. She licked him. Spike grinned into her head. "Settle down mother. You're going to have a long night ahead of you."

Dru nipped at his throat. "She is a beautiful kitten. Tonight I'll brush her hair. You, father, need to bring us supper."

Spike laughed. "Am I hunting for three now?"


The demon absorbed everything, personality traits, memories, mannerisms and even remembered slights. Awoken in dead flesh, she started to make herself at home. And when the sun dropped below the horizon, Cordelia woke up dead.

Confused, the remains of her humanity cried. Suddenly arms surrounded her. They felt cool against her own icy flesh. Cordelia looked up into the stormy blue eyes of her dam and whispered, "Mother?"


Spike leaned back. This new one was swift. Dru clapped her hands in delight. Then the brush appeared in her hands. Cordelia offered her a shaky grin as Dru dragged the soft brush through her dark hair.

"What happened?" Cordelia asked.

Dru swept long strands of dark hair back away from the girl's face. "You're very pretty. Stars were crying in your eyes and mine. We must ever be together."

Spike sat down on his haunches. "What do you remember?"

"I, ah . . was at Harmony's. She was wearing this horrible green eye shadow. She said it was the newest rage. I told her it certainly was capable of causing road rage. And she . . she started talking about Xander."

Spike touched her face. A line of salty tears streaked the girls make up. It had already been ruined by last night's tears, but now the mascara was just so many smudges. Cordelia looked bruised. The girl would be an excellent killer. "This girl, Harmony, she hurt you."

Dru hissed. "Want to hurt back?"


Cordelia had spent an hour in the bathroom. Dru had laid out a beautiful blouse of forest green silk. The skirt Dru placed next to it was brocaded and matched the blouse's darkness. The girl had hugged her dam and let Dru brush her hair again. Spike watched the two of them and grinned. The girl would look stunning.


Harmony climbed off her French divan and answered the door. Cordelia stood there, lit up by porch lights. Trying to look upper class, the loser dater had on a great green outfit. It set off every curve and Harmony clamped down on her need to fawn. Cordelia wasn't number one anymore. Hell, she wasn't even a number. Filling her voice with scorn, Harmony demanded. "What are you doing here?"


Something in Cordelia was grinning darkly. Her eyes flicked once to where Spike and Drusilla were hiding, then she went into her routine. She had it all worked out and Harmony didn't stand a chance. Putting on her best prom queen smile, Cordelia opened with, "You'll never believe what I just heard!"

"Xander's screwing sheep?" Harmony shot back with both barrels.

Cordelia swayed, but her smile never wavered. She could feel her demon's hunger and she wanted to make it and her happy. No time to think about stupid Xander. "No."

Harmony acted bored. "Then what?"

It took some doing, but Cordelia kept smiling. "Andre is coming to our school." Top fashion designer coming to Sunnydale, Harmony would let her in. Harmony grabbed her arm. Stupid fashion victim. "Get in here."

Three seconds later, Harmony was dead. Cordelia dropped the empty carcass onto the divan. "Right. Like Andre would ever talk to you. You still think brown shoes are in. Yuk."

Spike was applauding. Drusilla grinned. "Come and hug, mummie."

Cordelia slipped into her arms. She had never felt more content. Spike handed her a square of white cloth. "Wipe your mouth. I think you got bits of her on ya. Baby's girl is a bit of a messy eater. She gets that from you, love."

"Cordelia?" Surprised, Xander stood on the driveway.

Cordelia spun out of her mother's arms. Xander's eyes widened. There was blood tracks down her blouse, glinting wetly and her face. Cordelia raised her hands to feel the ridges as they melted away. "Xander?"

"Oh, my God. Cordy?" His voice was weak and sad. Tears were running down his face. Then he was off like a jack rabbit. And Cordy was left standing there, watching him go.


Spike's face shifted to the demon. "I'll get him."

Cordelia grabbed his arm. "No! No please, Spike."

Drusilla crooned. "Her heart is broken. Mummie's kitten is lonely. Mrrrruhhh." Clutching her dark hair the dark goddess dropped to the cement. Spike was at her side in a moment. "Leave him."

"Brat'll tell the slayer and she'll dust your kitten, Dru." Spike was angry. "She'll dust your kitten and come back for you. I'll just kill him now . . Cordelia, take Mother home."

"Can't." Cordy moaned. Her face was tragic. "Promise me you won't hurt him."

Spike growled. "Why?!"

Drusilla grinned. "Wants to do it herself." Then copying one of Spike's favorite sayings, Dru whispered. "Baby likes to play."

A laugh burst free of him. "C'mon kittens, he's long gone by now and we need to get ready. Tomorrow night we're in for it. The Slayer is going to hit us hard. And she's going to hit us hard. Baby's part of her inner circle of pet humans. Brassed off is not even an option. We are talking all out Slayer war." Grabbing Dru's hand, Spike turned and offered the other to Cordelia. She hesitated. "I'm not angry girl, if that's what you're worried about."

Cordelia chewed on her lower lip. "Spike, I need to do something . . ."

Drusilla waved her hand. A queer smile appeared on her lips. "You may go."

A grin burst across the girl's face. It would have been quite angelic if she hadn't been coated in blood. Then she disappeared into the night. Spike just shrugged. Dru snuggled against him. "She knows where he lives."

"Oh, right." A wicked smirk crossed the Brit's face. Lightening up a cigarette, Spike disappeared into the darkness. Dru melted away with him and all that remained was a few burnt embers from the match.


Xander's side hurt. He imagined he could taste blood at the back of his throat. It was hard to breath. Fluid kept sloshing around in his lungs and tears kept choking him. The near blindness was a perfect canvas for his mind's eye. Over and over she spun to face him. Over and over he saw the demon yellow eyes. Over and over the blood trails and the soaked blouse.

Breath rushed in sharply and stuttered on the way out. "Oh, my God. Harmony's house. Harmony's blood. God. Cordelia . . . damn it." Xander stumbled. Before he knew it he was retching all over the side walk.

"Xander?" A soft voice called. Was it? No. "Xander? Are you all right?" Buffy. It was Buffy. Buffy the vampire Slayer. Xander had never been so disgusted by anyone in his life. He rounded on her. Startled, Buffy's green eyes flew open.

"Xander, what the hell happened to you?" The concern was genuine. Clinically, Buffy surveyed him and the state of his clothes. Unfortunately heart ache was hard to accurately deduct.

Dark and rumbly, Xander found his voice. "You'll kill her now, won't you?" It was belligerent. Xander would have been surprised at himself but he was too damned angry. "It won't matter!! You won't help her! You'll kill her!!! Damn you!" Fresh tears were welling up.

Buffy was reeling. The verbal attack had been so uncalled for. "Xander? Is somebody? My God, Xander, what happened? Is Willow okay?? Xander?"

Xander bit back his angry response. Cordelia had come up behind Buffy. Her eyes were bright brown like warm chocolate and her expression was normal, human. Xander's eyes widened and he stepped back. "Get away from me!"

Buffy whirled. Her body tensed up as if someone had slapped her. "Cordelia."
It would take her half a second to notice the blood and the stance and know. Buffy back pedaled a few steps. "I should have known." Her voice was trembly. "You were gone too long. Xander went to Harmony's to look for you. God."

The thing that had been Cordelia frowned. "You were looking for me?" Xander saw the confused look. "But you hate me. Harmony hated me."

Xander took a step towards her. But that's when Buffy went into action. "So you killed her right? You murdered Harmony. You're not Cordelia. She's dead!" Buffy sprang forward. The kick caught the Cordy vamp square in the chest. She went down, but rolled away from the stake. Then she bitch slapped Buffy. The slayer crashed into the concrete.

Cordelia sprang to her feet and ran. She was fast and graceful. Cordelia slipped into the woods like a shadow. Buffy was up in a second and after her for a second. Xander knocked her to the ground. Buffy rounded on him.

Angry green eyes burned holes into Xander. "What the hell did you do that for?"

Xander stared off into the forest. "It's all my fault."


Cordelia tumbled into the factory. Spike barely managed to catch her. Crying, she turned her brown eyes to meet his icy stare. "Buffy."

Spike carried her into Dru's bedroom. Gently, he placed her on the bed. "Did she see you? Did you kill the boy?"

Drucilla started humming. "No. The slayer was there. She tried to hurt you." Mournfully she patted the girl's cheek. "Don't worry. Slayer's crying. Hurt, hurtful hurting. Cry . . ." Her gaze drifted away. "Won't last." She exclaimed, normally.

Cordelia curled up on the chair. "Yuk. Harmony's turned all sour in my stomach. Uck. Shoulda known she'd give me heart burn."

Spike glared at her. "You shoulda let me kill him before he got to her. To the slayer. Get some sleep you two. I'll keep watch. Or get some damned minions to do it. Useless the lot of them. At least if she attacks we'll be alerted by the sound of their bodies turning to ashes." Spike slammed the door behind him.


Xander stared at the dark glossy wood of the table. Words chased themselves around in his brain. He was too tired to grab them and make them into thoughts. His reflection wavered in the wood and he could just about make out the redness in his eyes. The pain that only he could feel behind the eyes.

A hand touched his shoulder. A cup of tea appeared next to him. Lashing out, Xander felt his hand contact the porcelain. Felt the cup and scalding liquid go flying. Somewhere he heard the cup shattering and someone yelp but it was so far away from him. Then the voices started yelling at him again. Xander let his head slide forward and hit the table.



Drusilla opened her eyes and Cordelia felt lost in their depths. They were like great gray opals swirling with everything. Her dark hair fell away and her pale face turned to face her daughter. "Sh, You feel it."

Cordelia searched herself. She was full of new desires to kill, to hunt, to hurt, to hide from daylight and one old thing. "What do I feel?

Dru propped her head against her hand. "A pull, from you to him."

"Him?" The old thing burned just below her heart. Drusilla smiled and it wasn't a pleasant one. Cordelia shivered before she realized that was exactly how she smiled.

"Go now. At night he will be protected. Go like the worms. Go to him."


Buffy couldn't stand it. Willow just hugged Oz and Giles half heartedly swiped at his glasses. But as usual being useless made the Slayer belligerent. So she shouted at Xander. "SAY SOMETHING!!!! Yell at me!! Tell me you hate me like last night! Tell me it's all my fault! Blame me, damn you! BLAME ME! Because I can take it!"

Giles grabbed her arm. She shook him off. Xander just kept his eyes on the table. Buffy glared at Willow shedding her stupid silent tears. Rounding on her, she screamed. "He's your friend! Your best friend! DO SOMETHING!"

Oz held up his hands. "Not the right response. Buffy, leave her alone. Leave him alone. You're hurting, but he's hurting more and you know what that does to Willow. Ripping into us isn't making anyone feel any better."

Xander turned his head to face Oz. "She should have killed you."

"XANDER!" Willow clutched Oz.

"No, she should have. You're a werewolf. And then there's Angel. Now he had to die. He was rabid and she didn't kill him. But she'll kill her. Think about it."

Buffy couldn't help the tears. "Do you think I like this? Sure we didn't get along all the time but . . . Do you think I'm walking around with a song in my heart? This is killing me!"

Xander stood up. "IS IT? Angel murdered Miss Calendar and tortured Giles yet he's still alive!!! You thought Oz ate a coupla people, but you didn't even hesitate. You decided to help them. So here's your chance. HELP HER!"

He stared into her eyes. Buffy stared back but she knew he'd never see what he wanted there. Buffy was the slayer. The vampire slayer and sometimes she felt more damned then the monsters she dusted. Xander turned away, defeated. "I want to be alone."

Buffy wanted to protest. Wanted to yell at him. Rant at him. She didn't choose this life, damn it. Giles encircled her left arm and Oz snagged her left. Even Willow was shaking her head. Frustrated, the slayer let them lead her away from her friends. "Why won't he fight?"

Oz sighed. "It's not always the answer. Besides we have bigger problems. What id Cordy comes back for Xander? Bad break up, worse reunion." Willow's hand was like a vine clinging to him. Buffy watched him try to comfort her.

"We must keep a eye on him at all times after sundown. Never let him alone." Giles instructed. Buffy nodded with the others. "Now go to class. I'll write some sort of excuse for Xander." Then softly he spoke to himself. "Although I fear Xander may already be damned."

No one heard him. No one breathing, actually.


Xander stood in front of the stacks. "All these books." He fought to get control.

A shadow stepped out of the stacks. "And not a single Cosmo."

Xander backed away as the figure removed her overcoat and let it fall to the carpet. "Get away from me." He whispered, trying to keep his eyes off of her. Her chocolate hair was styled to perfection and fell to her shoulders in waves. And her shirt was low cut red silk embroidered all around the edges setting off all these highlights in her hair and complimenting the sage skirt and set her eyes sparkling. His voice betrayed him. "My God, you're beautiful."

Cordelia grinned. It was painfully like her. Xander took another step back. "Really? I was a little worried the trip over here would ruin my hair. It took over an hour to do it and the humidity in the sewers is criminal. I mean why do they have to be so wet? It's gross. Look at my shoes."

Xander laughed. He couldn't help it but it came out nervous and high pitched. "Even dead you're a fashion victim."

"Fine. I'm a fashion victim but have you ever seen the inside of an Old Navy? Since I've been . . ." Cordelia trailed off. "Dead. Right. I'm dead. Oh God."

"Maybe you should . . ." Xander waved at a chair. He really needed to call for help.

Cordelia sighed. "It's new. Sometimes I forget. Not really forget. I mean I'm not brain damaged. I know I'm not . ." She struggled for a word, "Like you anymore, not that I was ever as geeky as you. You know what I mean. Then there's Harmony, I killed her ya know."


"Where is she Dru? Where's baby's kitten?" Spike lifted Drusilla's chin so she met his steady gaze. Dru smiled sleepily at him. Playfully she nipped at his fingers. Her eyes were glazed and unfocused. "The cat's gotten into the cream." She purred.

Spike kissed her. "I just hope it wasn't in the slayer's cabinet. Go on back to sleep."
Spike moved to the heavily curtained windows. If Cordelia was out there she had better be careful.


"I know." Xander wanted to run. Harmony's blood appeared like a phantom swirling around Cordelia but another image kept blocking it out. Cordelia, laying at the bottom of the collapsed staircase, impaled and bleeding. And his stupid flowers. As if flowers could make anything better. She had hated him. He'd deserved it. His mind flashed to the bottom of the stair case and his hands covered in her blood. 'Xander? I can't see you . . .' Xander stepped closer to the demon that killed his ex-girlfriend. "This is all my fault."

Cordelia didn't respond. She just stood there looking incredibly beautiful.

"I did this to you. If I hadn't . . ." "We wouldn't have broken up. I would have been there to protect you. Or at least yell for help."

Cordy closed the gap between them. "Instead I'm dead. A demon killed me and placed a baby demon inside me and now my soul's in a better place. Cut the crap Xander. I've heard the speech before. I came here for a reason and it wasn't for transcripts."

Her hands snaked out faster then Xander could follow. He was trapped. Frightened, he spotted something dark moving behind her eyes. Then he seemed to be falling into those perfect brown eyes. "Did you ever love me?" The demon asked as her eyes slid to a golden yellow.


Drusilla giggled a bit, rolling on to her side. She could see everything. The room was transparent and her kitten was talking to the boy. Stars danced and Drusilla whimpered as the sun became to bright in her mind. The images jumbled and were gone. It was okay though, she had seen enough.


Xander was finding it difficult to breath. Cordelia's eyes were fixed on his. The question hung like a blade above his head. "Did you ever love me?" His thoughts were whirling. His mind lead him on a rollercoaster. The kiss at Buffy's house, the broom closets, the horror of Willow finding out about them, the broom closets, and then there was Valentine's Day.

It was hard not to remember it. The speech came back to him easily . . . Maybe something in you sees something special in me and vice versa . . . Xander moaned low in his throat. He couldn't help it. The speech he had so lovingly prepared gave him away. He had loved her that night. Buffy had made fun off him even as she picked out clothes that would make him look acceptable and the necklace had been carefully saved for, but the speech was the dead give away. Three days in the making, three hours of rehearsal and almost three minutes to say, it was his best almost Romantic thing he had ever done. And he'd done it all for her.

"Yes I loved you."

Cordelia's smile was slow and deadly perfect. "Good."

Xander rolled his eyes as her grip on him tightened. The stress of the past two days had made him weak. "Cordy we're not meant for each other. You said so yourself. I'm a jerk and . . . well you're a demon. Please."

"Your parents hate you." Cordelia breathed. "All they do is drink and pretend you're not there and hope that someday you won't be."

Xander tried to quip. Tried to make light but all that came back to him was his mother's empty voice. "Who?" Your son, Xander. "It's me. Xander."

Cordelia knew all his weak spots. "And what about your friends? Buffy's too busy saving the world and pining after Angel to ever notice you. She will never love you. And then there's Willow. How many conversations have you had since her and Oz got back together? Two?"

"We've had . . just the other day she borrowed my pencil." She's right, whispered a voice deep inside. It was the same voice he heard everyday. You're useless. Not a slayer, not a witch, not a research guy . . . just the doughnut guy. Usually he ignored it. He knew he was important. Knew they needed him. Knew they loved him.

"Then why do you feel so alone?" Cordelia whispered, putting every ounce of cruelty in it. She ran a hand through his dark hair. "Where's your stupid slayer now? I mean here you are about to die and no one cares."

"Please. . ."

"Spent your whole life begging. Please don't hit me. Please don't take my lunch money. Please don't leave me. . . Please. Help. Me." Cordelia dropped him to the carpet and straddled him. "Please." She drawled trailing a finger along his jawline.

She leaned down and kissed him. "It'll only hurt for a second."

Xander tried to push her off. She easily pinned him to the ground. Shifting completely, ridges marred her perfect brow and she sank her teeth into his throat. Xander tried to speak. Tried to move. Tried to stop the feeling that he was dying. Then the panic as his body began to respond to her touch. He stopped fighting.


Buffy stormed into the library. This time she was going to get through to Xander. She had even come up with one of those backwards psychological things to trick him into well, something other than horribly upset. The doors made a loud crashing sound against the walls and light from the hall blazed a trail across the carpet. Swinging back into place the light vanished behind the doors. It was too late. Buffy had seen it. Seen him.

The world stopped and for one horrifying second everything was silent. "Xander?"


Giles carried the cup of coffee down the hall. He rarely indulged, beastly stuff, but today he needed it. Perhaps he was getting to old for the constant excitement of caring for a slayer, or perhaps the death of Cordelia had hit him harder then he would ever admit. He allowed himself a small smile as he thought of her slapping Xander, an occupation he himself had longed to . . .

A scream from the library sent Giles running. The coffee fell away as he crossed paths with Oz and Willow. "The library?" He exclaimed.

"It's Buffy." Willow confirmed, dashing ahead of him and her boyfriend. Oz sped up, stopping Willow from entering. He pushed the doors open and let Giles pass them. The look Willow gave him would have withered the healthiest plant. Oz's face was empty of expression. Giles had the feeling he knew something of what had happened.

Giles stepped into the dark library. Dread filled him. In the center of the floor was . . . Giles was at the boy's side in a second. His flesh was so pale and Giles checked for a pulse. "Oh, God."

His words were soft but effective. Willow fell to the carpet. Small mewling cries escaping her, she crawled to Xander's side. Buffy was already there and her face was soaked with tears. Oz met Giles eyes and the Watcher saw how truly shaken the boy was. But it didn't matter. None of it mattered. Not their feelings nor his nor anything else. Xander was still dead.

Giles sat in the midst of it all unable to weep. Another horror had occurred to him.


Spike was livid. Drucilla languidly turned a cat's eye to him. Pacing the room, he grabbed Cordelia by the hair. She let out a pained gasp.

"Hey! Stop! Spike . . ."

Drusilla growled. Spike ignored her. "What the hell were you thinking? Are you so stupid you don't want to reach your first year? Damn slayer will have your eyeballs for this!!"

"Spike . ." Drusilla called.

Spike rounded on her. "Planned it this way, didn't you?" Drusilla purred. "Damn you minx. Baby better have a plan."

"Baby like's to play." Drusilla seemed to have adopted that phrase.

Spike lit a cigarette. "Baby's got me so upset I think my heart just beat. If you wanted to kill her why didn't you just let me do it?"

Cordelia curled up on the bed. Drusilla brushed the younger vamp's hair. "Not out for her. Mummie's out for love."


Spike snorted. "Why do I seriously doubt that love?" Then Spike's eyes lit up. Snatching Cordelia's arm, he dragged her off the bed. "Bitch!" His face spilt into an amazingly horrific smile. "Someone's been a naughty girl. You want to tell Daddy?"

Drusilla snapped her jaws shut tight. A grin blazed across her milk complexion.

"You didn't." He was getting excited. "You did, didn't you? Oh, daddy's in love."

"Wanted more then one." Drusilla purred reaching out to touch Cordelia's hair. Cordelia shivered.

A surprised laugh escaped Spike. "And if it doesn't work out?"

Drusilla yanked Cordy's hair. "Buffy has to kill Xander."


Giles collapsed against the mahogany table. It was too much. The funeral, the parents and friends and Joyce berating him constantly with her eyes. Two funerals. Two dead children. Two dead friends. Slamming a fist into the dark wood, Giles fought to control himself.

Willow wasn't speaking. Oz wouldn't leave her side. The Rosenberg's had had to allow the boy to stay in their living room. As it was he ended up sleeping in the hall outside her door. Buffy had patrolled and staked ten vampires. Each one was more brutally tortured then the last and she had very nearly staked her own mother. The woman had come up behind her daughter. Surprised, Buffy had stopped the stake just before it broke the skin. And Giles had a worse fate in store then them all.

Grabbing the flashlight and the stake, he left the library. The sun was setting.


Cordelia ran a thin line of mascara around her dark brown eyes. A dab of blush touched her skin and she worried that being dead was ruining her natural tan. What would he think of her? Shrugging into a red blouse, Cordelia sighed. "If she touches one hair on Xander's head I'll kill everyone who's ever met her. I am so much more then the prom queen now." Flashing her fangs, Cordelia set out.


Oz stood in front of the grave. The sun was sinking away into the earth. Soon the moon would rise. Even half full he could feel it burning in him. Pulling the stake out of his pocket, Oz waited.

A branch snapped behind him. Scenting the air, Oz spoke. "Giles."

"Oz," The librarian was startled. "I didn't know. I had to be sure . . Why, why are you here?"

"Blood." There had been two distinct scents on the library floor. One smelled too much like vampire to be ignored. Oz had been freaked out by his senses and he wasn't proud of them, not then. Not tonight.

Giles nodded.

"It's a party." Buffy looked like hell. "I've brought something for the pinyata."

"Damn it Buffy, go home this instant." Giles sounded exhausted.

"I'm here. Accept. I'm surprised Willow isn't."

Oz bowed his head. "I drugged her."

Watcher and Slayer stared. Oz ignored the looks. "Just some Tylenol PM. She hasn't slept and she should never have to see this. Neither should you. Go home Buffy."

"Too late." Cordelia purred. "She's the all mighty slayer bitch. She has to see this through, don't you?"

"Baby's got a point." Spike stepped out from behind a tree. "So has your friend. Go home slayer. Cry yourself to sleep and forget about Xander." Dru leaned against him in a beautiful ball gown. "Go home."

The dirt rustled. Oz spun, staring down at the grave. A hand burst free of the earth.


Disoriented, the demon pushed his fingers free of the earth. As air filled the hole, Xander gasped it in. It didn't do a damn bit of good. Realizing he no longer needed to breath, the thing that used to be Xander panicked. Clawing his way into the open, Xander grabbed hold of the first thing that came into view.
Oz grabbed Xander's hand and pulled him free of his grave. Oz dragged the demon until it was at least a foot clear. The demon looked up at him with yellow eyes and the ridged forehead that always reminded Oz of Klingons. He was ready for that. He wasn't ready for the thing to sound exactly like Xander.

"Thanks man. You'd think Willow would have packed a shovel. Talk about cramped."

Oz backed away as if burned.

"Oz? I feel different." Xander placed his hands up to his face. "Oh." His voice was so innocently surprised.

Cordelia moved closer. "Xander?"

"Hey . . . this isn't permanent is it? This is one of those nightmares and I'm gonna wake up soon." Xander pinched himself. "Ow."

Buffy's face was wet with tears. "No Xand." She whispered. "Not this time."


Thoughts rolled around in Xander's mind as the demon absorbed his personality. Vampires always jumped out of their graves and killed people. He knew that. Then Buffy staked them. Xander/demon panicked. Buffy was coming closer. One hand was behind her back. He knew what she was carrying. And part of him knew it was right. He shouldn't exist, but the other part was hungry.


"Mummie's kitten's got a kitten." Dru sang. Then her eyes focused on Giles. The grin chilled the librarian down several layers past the bones. "Oh, I like you. Come to me." She raised her hands. "Come to mummie. Give us a kiss."

Spike laughed. "You skipped out before she had a chance to play."

Giles raised his stake in unsteady hands. "I have no intention of playing."

Lighting a cigarette, Spike grinned. "Sooner or later they all play. Right Poodle?"

"Ruff." Drusilla intoned.

Buffy moved forward another coupla inches. She had to do it while she was still strong. The tears wouldn't stop. Angrily she pawed at them with her free hand. Oz grabbed her. His voice was soft and urgent in her ears. "Does every monster have to die?"

"I have to. It's what I do."

Oz dropped his eyes. "Then kill me quick." Buffy glared at him. "When you have to." It was unfair. Buffy wiped at the fresh tears. Xander sat there watching her like a cat. Buffy tried to look nonthreatening for the moment. She had to get close enough to strike.

"Can you?" Xander asked. His voice had lowered. Buffy made it sinister in her head. Maybe it would help. Mostly it just made her cry harder. Then Xander's face changed back to normal and she was
flooded with memories of every silly wonderful thing he'd ever done all the way back to their very first conversation. She'd
heard him. He said, "Can I have you." Buffy had pretended not to hear him, but she had known right away they would be
friends in her heart.

"Hell of a way to end a friendship. Don't you think?" Xander echoed her thoughts. "Where's Willow?"

Oz grimaced. "I drugged her. I didn't want her to see this."

Xander grinned. "Good."

Buffy sighed. Then she launched herself at him. Inches from his heart she stopped, holding the stake. It wavered. Buffy forced
herself to touch him with it. Then press. In seconds he would be a pile of ash. No more jokes, no more laughs, no chance of him
ever hurting someone. Just ashes and memories.

The tree branch hurt. Buffy collapsed to the ground and tumbled into Xander's grave. Cordy dropped the branch. Xander was
panting uselessly. His empty lungs refusing to take the air in.

"What the hell were you waiting for?" He exploded.

Cordy rolled her eyes. "I just saved you ass and this is the thanks I get? Get up Harris. And who the hell buried you in that
outfit? God!" She pulled Xander to his feet.

"Why did you bring me back Cor? The prospect of not having me to dump on for all eternity getting you down?"

Oz watched in shock. Then turned to Giles. He was huddled before Dru. She was humming to him. The terror was evident.
Buffy was climbing out of the grave. "Buf, Giles." Buffy spotted the watcher and ran towards Drusilla.

"Xander, Cordelia . . ." Two pairs of demon eyes focused on him. "Whoa." Oz dropped the stake. "Maybe you should run."

Cordelia flashed Oz a beautifully human smile. Xander waved his hand. "C'mere and give us a hug."

Oz shook his head. "It's not that I don't trust you. It's just that I don't trust you."

"Right. Let's go." Cordelia grabbed Xander's hand and dragged him off into the night.

Oz watched them go and then turned. Buffy was fighting with Spike. Oz grabbed up his stake and ran to help Giles. But when
Dru saw the two running off, she let go of Giles. Spike stepped back and let the Slayer over extend herself. She lost seconds
regaining her balance and Spike took Dru's hand. In seconds they had disappeared into the night.

Buffy rounded on Oz. "Where are they? Why did you let them go? Huh?"

Oz stared up at the moon. "Let them have tonight." He walked away.


Xander twirled Cordelia around in a circle. Breathless, rather permanently, Xander fell to the grass. Cordelia kissed him. He
pressed himself along the length of her and laughed into her hair. He rolled away and looked up at the moon. They were
together and he'd never felt better.

"Get over here and kiss me, Harris."

Xander rolled right into her arms. Cordelia resisted the urge to giggle. His lips met hers and she felt a thrill as the tips of his fangs
touched her lips. Then she did laugh, throaty and full of darkness.


Drusilla sat with Spike's head on her lap and watched them. He tickled her. She kissed him with everything she had. "Love and
darkness and sweet things grow in the grass."

Spike blinked lazily at her. "Darker sweeter things are growing in the grass, love. Come closer kitten."

Drusilla slid into the cool grass and Spike met her halfway. "Kiss me kitten before the night grows old."

"I'll kiss you a thousand times, Pet, and hopefully the sun will never rise."