Part Three: 1:45 A.M.Sunday, June 8,1998

Angelus moved stealthily through the night, carrying the unconscious girl over one shoulder. It was late enough in the night where no one would be out and see him. He moved quickly down the street, the shadows of the trees providing some cover in case an adventurous human was out so late..

The ritual had been successful; the Anti-Slayer was now alive and well in Cordelia. Angelus thought back to earlier that night...

Drusilla had not rested a minute after completing the ritual, talking to her daughter and explaining to her what was going on, where she was. The Anti-Slayer had listened to her quietly, transfixed by Dru as she caressed her face and stroked her hair, talking in a soothing voice. Spike had quietly observed the scene, appearing unsure of what to do next. The Anti-Slayer had acknowledged him and offered a small smile as if she recognized him.

Angelus continued to lurk behind them, quietly observing of the scene. He could feel the Anti-Slayerís power and potential, felt it through Dru. The psychic connection Dru had with the Anti-Slayer was strong and because he and Dru were connected...he was her grandfather of sorts. The girl was strong and powerful, oh so powerful. And she had intense passion, which when manipulated right-could present her as a great weapon. Screw Spike Angelus thought as he watched the happy Ďfamilyí. This family trip was too inane, even for Spike and Drusilla. The Anti-Slayer had the ability to be a great destructive force-especially against the Slayer, not some toy child for Dru to play with. The more Angelus thought about it, the more sense it made-Take the Anti-Slayer for himself. He could do it at the second part of the transformation. Take Spikeís place at the table and he would be tied to her and control her. He had to be careful though and not allow Spike and Dru to suspect what he was thinking. He would wait for an opportunity to...persuade...yes, persuade the Anti-Slayer to follow his lead. All that power and strength, and beauty too. Cordelia had been an attractive girl, Xander had seemed to think so. Angelus smirked The little twerp will definitely be pissed that I took not one but two of the women he cared for

Yes, Angelus had a plan; take the Anti-Slayer for himself, cleaning house afterwards of course-Buffy and her crew would go first and then Spike. Dru may be dealt with in some way, Angelus wasnít sure how yet. He had to figure out a way to get to the Anti-Slayer alone so he could redirect her sense of loyalty.

"Kitten, you look exhausted, why donít you rest?" Spike asked Drusilla as she continued to stroke the childís hair. The Anti-Slayer was sleeping again, the hostís body weak from the ritual.

"Isnít she beautiful?" Dru asked as she gazed at her daughter. "Our child is sooo pretty and she is all ours Spike."

"Yes, my pet, she is a beauty like her mother," Spike said as he watched the sleeping form on the table. He felt...what did he feel? He felt wonder, protectiveness, or even love for this child of his and Druís. It must be the because of the blood that he and Dru share with the Anti-Slayer now. Spike could swear he felt a bond with the child and it unnerved him. Unlike the feelings of blood lust that he experienced over and over during the years, the feelings he felt for the child were that of protector. He saw how much Dru loved and doted on her and it made him want to preserve that for Dru- no matter what. Spike looked around at Angelus and could sense him brooding over something -his predatory eyes slowly going over the girlís form. Heís up to something Spike noticed that Drusilla was asking him something. "What did you say Dru?"

"Darling, What do you think we should name her? I like the name Mordra. It was the name of my great-grandmother who gave me little dollies to play with. You remember her Angel, the one you killed so long ago?" Drusilla looked to Angelus.

"Yeah, I do remember her," Angelus said as he moved closer to the table watching ĎMordraí. "Mordra sounds like a perfectly suitable name," Angelus smiled as Dru looked towards Spike. He looked up at her and nodded silently.

Mordra Spike thought as he gazed at his daughter.

Dru smiled and leaned over Mordra who was beginning to stir. "Kitten, you need to rest," Spike reminded her as she sighed. "And we need to figure how to prepare Mordra to face the Slayer."

"Spike, she is still weak and needs to rest for at least another day," Dru whimpered as she cradled Mordra in her arms. "And I donít want her to leave me quite yet."

"Dru, Spike is right," Angelus began. "Cordelia canít be missing for too long, it will look suspicious. Weíll have to return her to her house for the time being and plan the slayerís defeat when she is rested. Because she looks like Cordelia, Mordra can get close enough to Buffy without arousing suspicion and observe her and determine the best way to attack."

"But I want her to stay here with me," Dru whined again.

" I know Dru and once the Slayer is gone, she can be with you," Angelus said. And me as well

"Listen, pet. We must bide our time, but in the end everyone will be where they should be and weíll be a happy family," Spike said as he picked up Druís hand and kissed. Dru looked to Spike and then Angelus, and then finally to Mordra. "How long do you think we must wait?" she asked.

"Not long," Angelus stated as he began to untie Mordraís feet. "Soon sheíll be back here with us, the slayer will be gone and weíll then really have some fun."

Drusilla sighed as Angelus moved to untie Mordraís hands. "She can come visit us though, right my love? My little girl will need some help from her mommy and daddy before her big day. And when she returns for good weíll have a big party."

"Right," Angelus said as he finished freeing Mordra. "But right now we must get her back to Cordeliaís house. It will be light soon and we canít keep her here any longer."

"Iíll go with you,"Dru sat up.

"No, Dru," Angelus said. "You are too tired to be going out now and I must move fast. Spike here will keep you company and Iíll be back soon." Angelus hoisted Mordra over his shoulder, noticing Spikeís curious stare as he moved towards the door.

"Wait," Dru cried out as she ran to Mordra and whispered in her ear, "Now be good my girl. Mommy and daddy will miss you lots." Dru kissed her on her cheek and watched as Angelus moved quickly out the door.

Well that worked well enough Angelus thought as he approached his old apartment. They would need a little privacy. He would have a good two hours with Mordra before he needed to drop her off at home.

He entered his apartment and placed Mordra on the bed. He turned her face towards his. "Come on now. Wakey wakey little Mordra. We are going to play a little game..."

Two hours later Angelus made it to Cordeliaís house. She was groggy, but somewhat awake as Angelus helped her to the back door of her house.

"Open the door," he told her.

She fumbled with the knob and opened the door. Angelus gently set her down in the doorway and told her "Go and rest. You have a big day coming soon and we want you ready to party."

Angelus leaned over her a moment and kissed her on the lips, got up smiling, and disappeared into the darkness of the remaining night. Mordra pulled herself inside the house and up to Cordeliaís room where she locked the door and passed out onto the floor.


8:00 A.M., Monday, June 9, 1998

Ah, glorious school Xander walked slowly down the hallway of Sunnydale High. His first exam was in ten minutes, but his thoughts were not on the hell that was English Literature, but rather on Cordelia. He had tried to push her out of his mind and focus on other things: whether to flip burgers at the local burger joint or be the ball waxer at the bowling alley, whether Buffy was over Angel, why twinkies wouldnít freeze. No matter what he always returned to the scene in the parking lot last Friday. Damn it what is wrong with me He ran his fingers though his hair and leaned against a locker. He had tried calling Cordy Saturday and Sunday. To say what he didnít know, but he wanted to see if she was at least okay.. He didnít get an answer at her house until Sunday night and that had been her father. She wasnít feeling too well and wasnít taking any calls he said, would he like to leave a message.Sure, I dumped her on Friday and just wanted to call to see how she was doing. Like is she crying her eyes out over me or just sitting around doing her nails?

"Hey Xander," Willow joined him against the lockers. "Ready for the English final?" Willow stopped and looked at Xander a little more closely. He was definitely in muse mode, but not about English. What is up with him?

"Willow...," Xander started.

"Hi guys." Buffy said as she met them in front in the lockers. "Are you two ready for the final? I mean multiple choice, fill in the blank, and a gazillion essays. Are they really serious about us knowing all this stuff about Dickens, Bronte, and all those other long boring writers? Come on how can we know all that stuff and still know math too?" They started moving towards the English classroom.

"Well we just have to the best we can. I mean there are things that are more important than English. Like chemistry, computer class, and..." Willow stopped as she noticed Xander was off in la la land and Buffy was looking at him.

"Come on Xander, donít be so gloomy. Exams will be over in a matter of days. Summer vacation is just around the corner and it looks like Hellmouth is behaving for once so that I can have some semblance of a normal life," Buffy said with a smile as they stopped in front of the English classroom.

"Yeah well, finals arenít really a big concern for me right now...," Xander began. He stopped when he saw Cordelia coming towards the door.. He quickly moved out of the way as she entered the room. She looked up and their eyes held contact for a moment before Xander looked away. Buffy turned around at Xanderís sudden stop and turned right into Cordelia as she entered.

"Oops, sorry," Buffy said as Cordeliaís books went tumbling towards the floor. Both Xander and Cordelia bent down to pick up the books at the same time. Xander quickly handed her a book when he looked up into Cordeliaís face again. She watched him with an odd expression.

"Uh, here," he said as he handed her her pen. Cordelia took it and they both stood up.

"Thank you," Cordelia said flatly. She moved to go to her seat but not before flicking a glance at Buffy who had cleared out of her path. Cordelia sat down at her desk and sat back ignoring the rest of the class.

"Okay, can we say the ice queen cometh?" Buffy said as they moved to their seats. Xander quickly went to his seat and busied himself with a random page in his book just as the teacher came in.

"Okay class, the teacher said. "This is a three part exam; each part should take you about thirty minutes each for a 1 and a half hour exam. I will give you two hours to complete it. Good luck." She began passing out exams.

Buffy looked behind her at Xander who looked back at her and Willow giving them both a thumbs up sign and a big if hollow grin. When they turned around Xander quickly glanced at Cordelia with a puzzled look on his face. When he had first seen her when he walked in he felt that same feeling from Saturday night-something was wrong. Something is wrong in general pal. You broke it off and yet you are still wigging over her. Let it go and move on to what you want-Buffy. She is what you want right stupid? Xander shrugged. He didnít know what he wanted-he did have more than friendship feelings for Buffy-but he was realizing that he cared for Cordelia too. He needed to talk to someone about this, but who? Mom and Dad ? Yeah right and they know Iím alive right? Buffy was off limits-this was Cordelia related and he needed an objective person to talk to. Scratch Willow for the same reason. There had to be...well there was Giles and well they werenít close. As a matter of fact Xander had a feeling Giles just put up with him on most occasions, but he had survived being around women for a long time and was the older and wiser one of the group. Xander definitely needed help and its was coming to the point where he needed to do something before he lost it. But first take care of exams and the big ones would be over tomorrow.

Okay exams and then talk to the G-man. That is a plan-maybe not the best one, but the only one I have.

Xander groaned as began working on his exam, pushing the thoughts of Cordelia out of his mind for the moment.


3:12 P.M.,Tuesday, June 10, 1998

Giles sat in the library savoring the solitude. Thank God for some peace at last School would be over as of tomorrow and he could finally put forward all his energies in his Watcher duties; catch up in the Watcher diaries, read more on the slayerís prophecies, and most importantly read up more on Angelus.

There hadnít been any unusual vampire activity as of late. The last major assault made by Angelus being Jennyís murder, Angelus had remained threatening, but not active in attacking Buffy nor her friends. Although it was too much to hope for that Spike, Drusilla and Angelus would remain inactive for long, Giles hoped that they would give him enough time to gather enough information to formulate a more offensive rather than defensive course of action. In the meantime he just learned to savor the lull in the ongoing storm.

"Uh, Giles?"

Giles looked up from his book and saw Xander standing in the doorway. Hmph, well there goes peace and solitude "Oh, Hello Xander. I would have thought that you would be off preparing to celebrate the end of school."

Xander moved closer to the table where Giles sat. "Yeah, well I do have two more exams tomorrow, canít quit studying too soon." Xander plastered a goofy smile on his face.

Giles just looked at Xander as he babbled on. "Yes, um. Is there something that I can help you with? I was planning to do a little research this afternoon." Giles got up from the table and began walking up the stairs to place the books on the shelves.

"I kinda need to talk to you about something, but if youíre busy I can come back later." Xander moved towards the door.

"No, no come here," Giles said as he came down the stairs.Unusual

"Well, I donít know quite how to start this. I mean this is kinda a personal thing." Xander sat at the table, obviously ill at ease.

"Well, Xander I canít help you if you donít tell me what is wrong." Giles looked at the boy waiting for him to talk. Giles became a little concerned: Xander didnít ever come to him for help except for that time he cast that spell.Oh, God, just when things were so peaceful.

"Okay let me just blurt it out. You know Cordy and I were dating this year. I mean you could call it dating; we went out together, we smooched a lot, we fought a lot." Xander watched as Giles nodded. "Well it surprised everyone, me, Cordy, Wills, Buffy. The entire school thought we were the weird couple- the may queen and loser slacker."

"Yes, Xander. I know," said Giles as he held his breath waiting for the shoe to drop.Please boy, donít have done anything stupid

"Well, the thing is. I...uh...I kinda like Buffy. I mean really like, as in more than friends like." Xander avoided Gilesís stare.

"Oh, I see. And you are having conflicts of the heart as to..." Giles encouraged him to finish.

"Well, I realized that I shouldnít lead Cordy on, not that I thought our relationship was all that deep, at least before last Friday I didnít."

"Last Friday?í Giles asked.

"Last Friday...I broke it off with Cordelia. I thought that since my feelings for Buffy were so strong and Cordy and I were so an weird together, that I should end it. But now," Xander paused.

Giles looked at Xander with confusion. "Xander what has happened since then to make you doubt your decision?"

"Nothing really, except now that Cordy and I are over I think about her all the time. When I broke up with her Friday she didnít seem like herself. No screaming, no ranting, nothing. She just took it and left." Xander scratched his head. "I think that I might have.. I dunno.. hurt her."

Giles took his glasses off and began cleaning them with a handkerchief he took from his pocket. "Xander, it sounds as if you really do have feelings for Cordelia, feelings that you didnít know you had. And from your description of how she left, Cordelia obviously has feelings for you too.."

"I kinda figured that, but I donít know what to do. I like Cordy , but I really like Buffy and yet when Iím with one I think of the other. This whole weekend I have found myself really missing Cordy and worried that I made a mistake." Xander sighed and leaned back in his chair.

Giles thought a moment, slipped his glasses back on and turned to Xander. "I think that the best thing for you to do is hold off on doing anything drastic- take some time to really think about your feelings. These feelings that teenage boys and girls have can be quite frustrating, but fickle. You might find that you feel completely different about everything once summer starts and youíve been away from Cordelia for a while."

Xander nodded and was about to comment when the library doors slammed open and Buffy came rushing in with Willow rushing behind her.

"This is just great. I thought that Spike and Dru could just hold off on messing with me, but no they just had to ruin the beginning of summer vacation for me didnít they?" Buffy came to a stop at the table Xander and Giles were sitting at.

"I found this in my locker. Way too creepy to even try to describe." she slapped a red and black card on the table. "What are you doing here?"Buffy asked Xander.

"I , uh, I was helping Giles..." Xander stuttered and looked to Giles for help.

"He was helping me with a special project," Giles said absent-mindedly as he picked up the card.

"Xander?" Willow and Buffy said in unison.

Xander just shrugged and smiled. "Whatís in the note? Looks like a cute little valentine even though it is like four months too late."

"Its an invitation from Drusilla and Spike," Willow said as Giles quickly got up from the table and went up into the stacks.

"What shindig are ole Spike and Dru inviting you too?" Xander asked.

"Their kidís," Buffy said disgustedly as she flopped in a chair.

"Their kid? You mean Dru and Spike are parentís? Thatís as freaky as the thought of my having kids.Why havenít we ever heard about this before?" Xander asked as Giles rushed from shelf to shelf collecting books.

"I tell you whatís freaky, the thought of Dru being a mother or for that matter Spike being a father. I mean what kind of monster will that kid be?" Willow squirmed in her seat.

"A very deadly one," Giles said as he came back to the table with an armload of books.

"I kinda picked up on the possibility that their kid would be wacked out, Giles. What are you looking up?" Buffy asked.

"There is a line in latin written at the bottom on the card. A dialect that I know I have seen before, but canít readily translate. Spike and Dru have obviously something going on and this invitation is just to taunt you." Giles sighed.

"Should I really be worried about it?í Buffy said. "They havenít really done anything except send me an invite to a party which I have no intention of going to. Besides we donít even know if they really do have a kid, this could all be a little game to occupy themselves and bother me."

"That could be true, but all the same I suggest you be a little more on guard starting now. Iím not sure what is going on-yet but Iíd rather you be ready for anything. Iíll get started reading up on this," Giles finished as he took off his jacket.

"Well weíll just get out of your way," Buffy said as she got up from the table. "As long as they donít cause trouble Iím gonna enjoy the little fun time I have."

"Well if Giles doesnít need any help, Iíll go too," Willow looked at Giles who shook his head. "Cool we can go to the Bronze and watch Ozís band rehearse for the summer blowout. Both Willow and Buffy started towards the door, "Xander you coming?" Willow asked.

"Uh sure. Gimme a minute Iíll catch up." Xander watched until they had left. He then turned back to Giles. "Thanks for your advice earlier," he said.

Giles looked up and smiled faintly, "I hope I was helpful. Donít worry over it too much--everything will work out. Youíll see." Xander nodded and ran for the door leaving Giles to his books.

Giles looked at the red and black card again and sighed. Here we go, he thought.


9:45 P.M.

"The invitation has been sent," Mordra said as she sat on the stone bench in the garden. She looked up at the dark midnight blue sky and reveled in the coolness of the night.

"Look at her Spike," Drusilla whispered as they watched Mordra look upward. "She likes the night, the darkness. Isnít she precious?"

"That she is, my pet," said Spike. In spite of himself he was fascinated by Mordra. She was a playful little imp, twirling around the garden, looking at everything with an intense fascination. In many ways she was like Dru but in others she was like him. When they had tested her against some rookie vampire minions she had taken them all out quickly. Cold, calculating-she wasted no time in destroying them and took a certain cold satisfaction in her methods. She could definitely have control and focus when needed-like him.

Mordra seemed grateful to them both for giving her life again. The host she inhabited had been resistant initially-hence her exhaustion-but was really a great choice. Cordelia Chase had been in great physical shape and of a certain strong spirit. A spirit that Mordra used to her advantage.. She was able to use the feelings of Cordelia to understand the slayer and her friends-what they were like and how to handle them. The hatred for the slayer-inborn in the Anti-Slayer-was constantly active inside Mordra.. She felt Cordeliaís dislike for Buffy and fed off it, used it to fuel her to her goal-defeating the Slayer.

Mordra swung her legs off the bench and stood up stretching her lengthy body. She loved the feel of the satin black dress against her skin. She had not felt anything for sooo long. Lost in that nothingness...trapped away from this world. But Drusilla and Spike had saved her. They brought her back here, to this world and she loved them for that. The only thing that unnerved her was Angelus. She remembered when Angelus had taken her to his place and what he had done had tried to do to her-turn her against her family. What he did she would not forgive- or forget.

"Well, the happy family," Angelus entered the garden. Mordra visibly stiffened at his presence and Spike, who had been watching her, raised an eyebrow.

"Angelus, darling the invitation has been sent and we are getting ready for Mordraís birthday party," Dru walked slowly over to Mordra and hugged her close. "The Slayer and her little friends will be our guests soon and will be present when Mordra gets her big birthday present."

"So how do you plan to do all this?"Angelus asked. "You arenít gonna walk right up to Buffy and drag her back here are you?"

"Donít worry about how I do it, Angelus, I will get it done," Mordra hissed.

"Right, right," he said as he moved down the stairs. Mordra moved closer to Spike and stood next to him as Angel came up behind Dru. "So when the Slayer arrives what then?" Angelus asked as he stroked Druís hair.

"Then Mordra kicks the Slayerís ass and we become a permanent little family. Me, Dru, and Mordra that is," Spike said. Mordra squealed with delight and picked up one of the daggers that were left on the table, playing with it in anticipation of her birthday.

Angelus picked up on Spikeís comment and looked him dead in the eye. "Oh, I donít know Spike. Many so called families are broken up only to be put back together again- with a few substitutions of course. They often work better than the original version ever did."

Spike started, but Mordra stopped him. "Donít worry father, everything will work out fine," Mordra patted Spike on the arm and flashed him a quick smile.

Dru slipped away from Angelus and towards Mordra. "Little one, we will be sooo happy. Soon you will be here with us forever. " She hugged her close and completed the portrait of the perfect little family: Spike and Dru with Mordra in the center.

Dru continued to babble on and Mordra smiled back at her mother then quickly glanced at Angelus-defiance and loathing emanating from her glare.

Angelus returned the stare, amused at Mordraís challenge. He accepted and relished the game. She would turn to him, she would be his. He would make sure of that. A small smile played at his lips as he watched them together.

In the end you will be mine he mused.



 

Part Four: 11:30P.M., Tuesday, June 10,1998


"Atta girl," Spike said as he watched Mordra finish off the last of five vamps. She was an excellent fighter-neat, accurate, precise in her movements and attack. She didnít play with her prey, she finished them in a matter of seconds-determining their weaknesses and going directly for them. This last group of vamps were especially strong-Angelus had tortured them quite well and they had become a vicious lot. Angelus had suggested Mordra continue to practice her fighting skills as her match with the Slayer approached. She had successfully defeated two groups without so much as a scratch on her. In the third group, one of the vamps had made a small cut on Mordraís forearm. It had paid very quickly and very dearly winding up in two pieces before turning into dust.

Angelus and Dru were out prowling, but Spike stayed behind to watch Mordra. She looked up at Spike and smiled as she brushed the ashes off her sweater. "I am not as out of shape as I once thought," she said. "Spending what seemed to be eternity in that hell...I never thought I would be the same ever again." She walked over to Spike and sat in the chair beside his wheelchair. "You and Dru gave me life again. I am able to see and feel and touch real things again. I am grateful to you both for what youíve done."

Spike looked at Mordra, slightly unnerved by this outpouring of emotion.

"I sense Iíve made you uncomfortable. That was not my intention." Mordra quickly got up and walked over to the center of the floor to pick up her weapons, turning her back to Spike.

"No, Mordra. Itís just that, that I am not use to these damned feelings of paternal love and such. I mock the emotions that humans feel, they only result in your not doing what is the best course of action when in a situation. I only know the emotion of rage and perhaps a little lust where Dru is concerned." Spike finished with a smile.

"But father, the power emotions give a person can make them more focused in taking action. For instance this hostís body carries a great deal of emotion regarding the Slayer and her friends." Mordra paused a moment, seemingly lost in thought.

"Mordra?" Spike asked warily. He rolled his wheelchair closer to her. She had paled a bit and looked off into space.

"This host has...a strong emotional tie to the one called Xander," Mordra said softly as she slowly sank to the floor. "The emotion is not one but many-love, fear, pain. Heís hurt her somehow. And it is because of the Slayer." Mordra continued to stare off , the night silent and dark around them as they sat in the garden.

"How is the slayer involved?" Spike asked as he saw Mordraís face contort in pain at the mention of the slayer.

"I donít know, but the hostís emotions are strong. She has great feelings of contempt for her-this Buffy- and I can use that to my advantage when the time comes." Mordraís eyes darkened at the thought of meeting the slayer.

Spike watched as Mordra lifted her eyes to meet his. "The rage and anger you feel can help you focus against those you want to destroy." Mordra stopped and then continued, " Father, I think you should know that Angelus is not to be trusted. I Ďve watched you when he is here and you definitely dislike him. You are right to do so." Mordra bowed her head and looked away.

Spikeís chest tightened as he studied Mordra. Sheís hiding something "Mordra why so you say that? I mean yes I donít like Angelus-heís a guest of mine and Druís but acts as if this is his bloody house."Spike stopped and lowered his voice. "But I have no proof that he is definitely up to no good. Dru still thinks of him as her ĎAngelí and if I outwardly accuse him- it could get ugly for all of us."

"Father," Mordra started. "Remember when I was first born? Dru and I were tired from the ritual, but I had to be returned to Cordeliaís house soon. Angelus volunteered to take me." Mordra stopped and took a breath. "Only he didnít take me directly home."

Spike tightly gripped his chair as two things became startlingly clear to him: Mordra had become important to him, as important to him as Dru and he would do whatever he could to protect them both. The other was that in all his life he had never experience a rage as black and insipid as he felt towards Angelus. As Mordra continued on with her story, Spike realized that for the sake of the women who were his world , the time had come that Angelus had to be dealt with- once and for all.

9:30 P.M.,Wednesday, June 10, 1998

Willow and Xander sat in the Bronze and stared at the band players as they exited the stage.

"I swear I am soo glad summer vacation is here. I donít think I could take another test or read another book right now," Xander said as he picked at his muffin.

"Well now you can focus on your usual pastimes; t.v., junk food, and more junk food, Willow chided.

Xander just looked at her and shook his head. He looked around the Bronze his eyes wandering slowly over the room. his eyes rested on the table where Harmony and her cronies sat. He didnít see Cordelia there and frowned.

After talking with Giles, Xander had felt a little better or at least a little less confused. He accepted that he and Cordelia had something going on that had been more than physical. He did still like Buffy a lot, but the more he thought about it the more he realized that Buffy was still hung up over Angel. And probably always would. Buffy had already said that she didnít see him in the way he saw her-and that had hurt. Think about what Cordelia had felt At least Buffy hadnít given him any iota of an idea that she liked him as more than a friend, but he had fooled around with Cordelia and then broke it off. She probably felt like I used her She deserved better than what he had done and he deserved better than mooning over Buffy when he might have something with Cordelia.

"Hey Xander, are you okay?" Willow asked as she watched him fumbled with the plastic straw in his drink. "Youíve been really quiet , which so very unlike you, especially since it is the end of school. Iíd think youíd be more hyper than your usual self."

Xander smiled at Willow. " Well Iím kinda in a mellow mood. Thinking about-"

"Cordelia. I know." Willow looked at Xander as he sat back in his chair. "I mean I guess I understand that youíd be thinking about her after last week, but you broke it off , not her. And you said that it was the best thing for both of you-you being still so hung up on Buffy and Cordelia being...well Cordelia."

" Iknow, but-" Xander sighed. "I need to get over Buffy--She is never going to see me as more than a friend and even if she did, Iím not sure Iíd really want the chance--not anymore."

"Wow" Willow stared wide-eyed at Xander. Heíd turn over Buffy for Cordelia? Is this the twilight zone? "Xander, youíve wanted Buffy from the moment we met her. And weíve known Cordy forever. You and I formed the I hate Cordelia fan club and yet your telling me that you really like Cordy so much youíd forget all about Buffy?" God, Boys are such a headache

Xander stared at the table a moment and finally said, " I just know that maybe I was hasty in breaking it off with Cordy. I mean our relationship started out ya know, physical and stuff and we fought a lot but that was just us. I got a kick out of it in a sense. She definitely wouldnít back down from any comment I said and really pissed me off at times, but there were times over the last few months that she has really shown me a side of herself that I really like." Xander stopped and looked up at Willow.

"You have to admit she has helped us out many times when she didnít have to, "Xander commented. "When Buffy was in the hospital and I stayed at the hospital to keep an eye out for Angelus, Cordy came to the hospital and brought me doughnuts and coffee and stayed with me. I knew she was ticked about my staying with Buffy, but she stayed with me regardless. I mean donít get me wrong she definitely is a snob and can be a real pain in the ass...but she was my pain in the ass and I liked it."

"Well, I guess I can see some of your points and I do admit Cordy has come through for us a few times. If you really think that there is something to you and Cordy there is only one thing you can do." Willow said.

"What?" Xander asked.

"Go talk to her," Willow said as she nodded in towards the right. Xander looked behind him and saw Cordelia sitting at a table in the back of the Bronze.

"Iím going to go talk to Oz before he starts his next set. Good luck." Willow headed out of the cafeteria.

Xander turned and looked at Cordelia as she continued to sit alone, not bothering to even touch the food on her tray. Xander got up and quickly walked over to her. Okay, I can do this. Sheíll scream and shout and maybe make a scene, but I need to do this

Xander stepped over to her table and cleared his throat. Cordelia slowly looked up. She had her hair pulled back in a low ponytail, dressed in a bright red top and slacks. Hope that isnít a sign The color made her look paler than usual. And her eyes. She looked so tired. Xander stood speechless for a moment as he saw a mixture of emotion pass over her face- anger, happiness, and pain- it was quick but he still saw it. "Uh Cordelia, can we talk?"

Cordelia looked at him steadily for a moment, cocking her head to one side and nodded.

Okay here goes "Uh, I wanted to see if you are okay. I mean about last week." he glanced down at the table. " Iím sorry about what happened. I didnít mean to hurt you like I did. I realize that how I did it was all wrong."

"How you dumped me was all wrong?" Cordelia asked flatly.

"Wait.What I meant was that I may have made a mistake in the way I handled things. I think we need to talk you know about us." Xander stopped and watch Cordelia as she looked away out of the window. She seemed so distant -so cold. The Cordelia he knew was passionate, fiery. She wouldíve gotten into his face and railed at him until he scurried off out of sight. But again like last week she was passive to everything he said.

She turned back to look at him. "Xander.."

"Hey, Xand, we are summoned to the batcave," Buffy said as she rushed over to the table.

Damn Xander looked at Cordelia and froze. If looks could kill he thought as he saw Cordeliaís face harden as Buffy approached.

"Giles has found something about Spike and Druís little love child. Oh hi, Cordy," Buffy his looked back at Xander and sighed. "I just hope that this whole stupid birthday card is a bad joke. Spike and Druís kid. Give me a break."

Xander looked up at Buffy and said, "Give me a minute." He looked back at Cordelia and could see she was fighting to keep from mouthing off.

"Uh, we need to move now. This whole thing is going down soon and we need as much time as we can to prepare." Buffy said as she glanced at Cordelia.

"Well weíll need some help wonít we?" Xander looked at Cordelia. "Will you help us with this mess? Weíll need all the help we can get."

Cordelia flashed a smile. "Sure, whatever I can do to help the Slayer." She quickly got up and followed them out of the Bronze.

10:30 P.M.

"So this Anti-Slayer is Dru and Spikeís Ďkidí?" Buffy asked as Giles finally finished explaining what he had uncovered in his mountain of books.

He had spent the past day and a half researching and cross checking the quote that was on the invitation Spike and Dru had sent. He had found very little regarding the quote that was recent. It was only until he had researched further back did he find what he was looking for and understood the problem that they were about to be confronted with.

"Yes, well, not their biological child of course, but a protege of sorts. They must have found a way to bring the spirit out of the alternate dimension that it was banished to. Many have tried , but were obviously unsuccessful. There isnít any mention of the Anti-Slayer for hundreds of years."

"But how would Spike and Dru have been able to get the Anti-Slayer out? What did they have that others didnít?" asked Willow.

"The Anti-Slayerís powers are very much like that of a slayer-strength, speed, battle instincts-everything that the chosen one has. But it also possesses a kind of psychic powers that allows it some type of mental control over her opponents. According to the books the Watcher that banished the Anti-Slayer used a kind of psychic oriented spell. Dru has some type of psychic abilities, which were probably what enabled her to be successful in bringing the Anti-Slayer back into our world."

"Well now that we know the problem, what do we do? Does Buffy just stake Dru Jr. or what?" Xander asked. He noticed that Cordelia moved suddenly and glanced over at her.

"No. Despite the Anti-Slayer being a protector of vampires, it is not a vampire itself, it is a spirit that inhabits a human body. The host is no longer in control of their actions-their consciousness overpowered by the spirit itself. In attacking the body itself, you attack the person and not the spirit. Upon the host being severely injured or killed, the spirit simply leaves the body and inhabits another," Giles finished.

"So how do I stop this freak of nature, then? It uses innocent people to attack me, but I canít attack it? Well that bites. It could be anybody in Sunnydale whose been inhabited by this freak who has it in for me and we have no idea who it is?" Buffy huffed back in her seat.

"Well, we may not know who it is, but we can prepare for it. Do we have a way to remove the spirit and destroy it? I mean there must be copies of the original spell that the Watcher used to banish it in the first place." Willow asked.

"Yes well, I do have the spell, but again it requires someone with psychic abilities to connect with the spirit and force it back into the other dimension. None of us have those capabilities. We can assume that part one of the ritual has been done -what we must do is keep the transformation ritual from being completed. If the Anti-Slayer cannot complete the ritual soon it will be sucked back into the other dimension. It will need your blood, Buffy, to complete the ritual."

"So I decline to give a blood sample and she goes bye-bye. Well that sounds like no muss, no fuss solution," Buffy said.

"Yes well, it isnít that simple. It will seek you out to challenge you. It was created to defeat slayerís after all and it knows that it needs you to return to this world. It will do whatever it must to find and force you to do what it wants," Giles finished as he sat back in his chair.

"Yeah, right. Iím just loving this," Buffy rolled her eyes.

"Well there are other concerns that should be taken into consideration,"Giles continued.

"Okay what else could there be?" Xander asked morosely. Cordelia remained silent beside him the entire time.Why is she so quiet? She usually is asking as many questions as we are.

"Well, as I said the Anti-Slayer has some very unique mental capabilities. It essentially knows everything about the host-who they are, what their life is like, who they know and what their feelings towards them are. The few survivors of possession by the Anti-Slayer were forever changed by the experience-it used their feelings and emotions to fuel its hatred of the slayer. They experienced everything it experienced and vice versa and thus they become very connected mentally. If they are suddenly separated it could have dire effects for the person who host the spirit."said Giles.

"Okay so you either are driven loopy by this evil spirit or are condemned to be possessed by it until it gets you killed. Can we say, lifeís a bitch?" Xander said. Cordelia tried to hide a smile.

"Yes, well if the separation between the spirit and its host is made soon enough, the person could perhaps recover. But if the Anti-Slayer is at full power, that is the transformation has been completed, it would have too strong a hold on its hostís body for the separation spell to do any good. The Anti-Slayer would be permanently restored to this world and would resume its role to seek out and destroy the Slayer."

They all were silent for a moment as they contemplated what Giles had said.

Cordelia looked around and yawned. The four at the table looked over at her as she began playing with a piece of fuzz on her dress.

"What the hell is the matter with you?" Buffy asked crossly. "Have you not been listening to what is going on here?"

Cordelia shook her head, giggled, tried to stop, and giggled again.

"Something funny?" Buffy asked as she looked squarely at Cordelia.

"You, all of you, are so -how do I say this? Uh stupid." Cordelia continued laughing as Buffy quickly stood up, knocking her chair backwards.

"Listen, moron, I canít believe after everything that has happened over the year you could sit here and listen to all this and laugh about in front of us. I mean. you really havenít changed at all have you? You still only look out for yourself. Itís no wonder Xander dropped your ass. It was about damn time." Buffy glared at Cordelia as Cordelia stood up, smile gone, eyes dark as onyx. The two stared at each other for what seemed like eternity.

Oh, Man, what the hell? Xander jumped between them hoping to thwart any actual physical contact. While Cordelia would be no match for Buffy, Xander saw the look in her eyes. She looked like to could really kill her. The thought chilled him for he had never seen Cordy that angry before. But what was wrong with her anyway? She was quiet earlier and then started giggling about this Anti-Slayer?

"Hey you two, this isnít the time for this," Giles said sternly as he came around the table behind Buffy.

"Why not?" Cordelia said. "The Slayer here is ready for a little rumble and I am game if she is."

Buffy snorted, "Donít tempt me Cordy. It wouldnít be hard for me to bash you a couple of times to teach you some manners."

"Manners?" Cordelia said icily. She walked past Xander towards Buffy."Well I must say that I thought my parents had taught me the proper way to behave in anotherís place. But then again my parents, that is Spike and Dru, would say that in this situation, I should trash the place."

The next thing everyone knew was that a chair slammed straight into Giles sending him backwards over the counter behind him. As Xander tried to make a grab for Cordelia, another chair knocked him off his feet. As he tried to get up, books came flying off the shelves forcing him and Willow to seek cover. Buffy realizing what was happening prepared to throw a punch when Cordelia blocked the shot and quickly grabbed Buffyís shirt and threw her down on the floor.

Xander and Willow tried to make a run for the door, but Mordra willed the cables from the computer to snake out from under the table and trip them. They fell and struggled against the cords which quickly coiled around their bodies trapping them.

"Cordy!" Xander grunted as he continued to kick against the cables.

"Sorry Xander, the name is Mordra," Mordra said, turning to him, "I think you should know that Cordy has gone bye-bye."

Buffy scanned the room: Xander and Willow were tied up, Giles was knocked out on the floor. She looked up into Cordeliaís-Mordraís- face and moved to get up, but Mordra landed a kick in Buffyís midsection and then quickly straddled her.

"Now, now I canít have you wasting your energy fighting me now. We have to wait for my birthday party. It is going to be so much fun-Papa Spike and Mama Dru will be there and we have a few games to play. Fun games" Mordra said coldly as Buffy struggled against her.

"Ah, ah , ah. Kitten, donít play with the Slayer before the party," Buffy and Mordra turned towards the library entrance and saw Dru and five other vampires watching the scene.

"Oh hello mother," Mordra said as she quickly got up off of Buffy as two of the vampires grabbed Buffy and the others each grabbed Willow, Xander, and Giles.

"I sensed that you were ready for your party tonight so I brought some helpers," Dru smiled as she inspected her daughterís work.

Mordra smiled back at her and then looked at Buffy as she struggled against the vampires. She looked at her a moment, her eyes dancing brightly and suddenly hardening as she backhanded Buffy, knocking her out.

"Mother," Mordra said turning back to Dru, "It is time for my party"



 

Go on to Part Five