The Groom of Rosenberg...

PG-13

Archived at www.buffyrebecca.com...

PG-13...One or two violent scenes...

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant
Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

Summary: Just for fun...I wanted to do a big creation scene in Sunnydalopolis but a "Bride of
Frankenstein" scene couldn't quite work...So...Since I'm home sick today...

An alternate season 5 ending...

Willow resurrects Buffy the hard way...The really hard way...

With results not very pleasing to our reanimated Slayer...

Yeah, another Cicelyverse story...

***



In 1891, Drusilla tells a tale...Of the mad Willow Rosenberg and her dream
to recreate living men from the dust of the dead...In 2002...

                                            
 Willow visits the fiendish Praetorius to see his creations...                ..."this one is the very devil..."

                     
An embittered resurrected Buffy has her own problems thanks to her "best friend"...

                         
My dinner with Andrew...                                      Praetorius has a grand idea...

=                         
Willow and Andrew hard at it...                               A Mad Scientist's work is never done...

                         
A distraught Buffy finds...The Lever...                         Oops!...




Prologue...

An evening in 1891...Darkness...We vaguely see a large English manor house appearing out of the
mists...Well isolated from intruding eyes...

A heavy rainstorm, accompanied by severe gusts of wind, punctuated by blasts of thunder and
lightning tears the fabric of night...

But the glow of a warm and cheery fire is spied through a large side window...We hear strains of
music playing as we move up to that window...And see, scattered in chairs about the large
fireplace...Angelis, Spike, and diligently working at needlepoint...Drusilla...

All in rather elegant clothes of the era...

Angelis strides to the window, looking out at the storm...

"What a marvelous night!..." he exults... "Mother Nature at her worst...While we three...We elegant
three safe within..."

Yeah...Spike notes, whispering to Dru...And when Darla gets back from having to hunt on her own
in this weather...Mother Nature's wrath won't begin to compare...

"I should like to think that an irate Jehovah was aiming those thunderbolts directly at me...At the
unbowed head of Angelis..." Angelis continues grandiosely...Peering out into the fierce storm...

Ireland's greatest sinner...he gloats...

Spike rolls his eyes, grinning at Drusilla...

"But...I mustn't be too quick...Perhaps these represent an accolade for our dear William...
Heaven's applause for England's worst poet..." Angelis eyes William, sneering...

Spike snarles at him...

A distinguished butler, human...enters, forcing Spike to cut short his challenge...Good servants being
just too precious to kill...

Angelis nods to him and the butler sets out a tray, glasses, and a bottle of the master's "special"
vintage...

"Well..." Spike glares at Angelis as the butler leaves...

"What of my Drusilla then...?"

She is an angel...Angelis leers...

As long as Darla insisted on being out on hunt for the evening...He can hope to get away with a pass
or two...

"You think so...?" Dru smiles up at him from her work...

"Come, Dru...Come and watch the storm..." Angelis moves to her...

"You know how lightning alarms me..." Dru notes...Looking to William...

"Spike, dear...? Would you light these candles...All of them?..." Dru pleads...

He rises...And begins lighting...

"Look at her, Will...Such an enchanting creature...Fearful of the lightning...Afraid of the dark..."
Angelis smiles at her...

"And yet...So capable a killer..."

Not to mention that you have written a story that caused my blood to run even colder than
usual...Angelis notes, smiling at her...

"Well..." Dru smiles... "What do you expect...? With such company, it takes more than a pretty
little love story..."

"Ah...But such a story...A story from the future...Our very own futures, if your visions be true...The
story of Willow Rosenberg who sought to create living men, to restore her own best friend...A Slayer
no less...From the rifled graves of cadavers..."

Angelis chuckles...

"Murray, the latest publisher I took it to, refuses to touch it...He says the reading public would be
too shocked..."

Right...Spike sneers to himself...If either of these lot ever opened a book, they'd see why a cheap rip-
off of Frankenstein isn't publishable...But mustn't hurt poor ole Dru, poor dear girl...he sighs to
himself...Smiling at her as well...

Angelis trying to pass it off as his own work, no doubt...No wonder he wouldn't let us come...he
whispers to her, slipping over...

"It will be published, I think..." Drusilla smiles...

Saw it in a vision on a bookstore shelf, she explains...

"Of course it would help if you'd stop eating the publishers we bring it to, Dru..." Angelis notes...

"Well..." Spike notes in turn... "If it is ever published...You will have much to answer for, dear
heart..."

Especially as regards Mary Shelley's copywrite he does not say...

"The publishers I ate..." Dru notes, still a bit miffed at the memory... "Refused to see that I was
presenting a moral lesson...Of the punishment that will befall a mortal woman who dares emulate
God..."

"Well...Whatever your purpose in writing it...I adored every hideous moment..." Angelis beams...

"Don't Angelis...Don't remind me of it tonight..." Drusilla nervously eyes him...

"I savor each horror..." Angelis sneers... "I roll them on my tongue..."

The graveyard where Willow and her unholy lover and assistant Tara waited...

The sobbing women...The first clods of earth on the coffin...

That was a pretty chill...

Willow and her unholy lover cutting the hanged woman down from where she hung, creaking in the
wind...

(You think I should cut out the lesbian love story?...Dru looks at Spike...I know that might be
pushing things for 1891...? Nah, he replies...Horror stories can have unholy love relationships...he
notes)

"The cunning of Rosenberg..." Angelis grins... "In her hilltop laboratory, picking together dead
people to create a human monster...So fearful that only a half-crazed...And really desperate
friend...Could conceive of it..."

And then...The near-murders...

Certainly my favorite part, Spike chimes in...

"Little Dawny...Almost drowned..."

"Willow Rosenberg herself thrown from the tower by the very monster she'd resurrected..."

And...Angelis takes Dru's hands...It was these little hands that penned the horror...

"Oh...You've made me prick myself, Angelis!..." Dru gasps...

It's bleeding...she turns to Spike...

Want some?...she offers...

Fine with the bottled stuff...he notes...Thanks, dear heart...

"I do think, darling..." Spike dabs at the well-licked bleeding finger with a napkin... "It's a shame
you didn't continue the story..."

Oh...You'd like to hear more of that Slayer and you, eh?..Dru frowns...

Heh-heh...Angelis chuckles...

Trouble in Paradise for our own little imitation Shelley?...he thinks happily...

"Well...That wasn't the end of the story...Would you like to hear what happened after that?..." Dru
asks...

Or better, what will happen?...It is my vision of the future after all...she notes...

"I'm all ears!..." Angelis comes over eagerly...

"While Heaven blasts the night away, open up your pits of Hell..."

They all resume their seats...

"Well..." Dru begins...

"Imagine yourself by the old mill tower...The crowd still howling for the monster's blood...The fire
is slowly burning down...Soon the gaunt rafters of the old mill will be left alone, blackened against
the sky..."

***

Part I...

The fire in the old mill continues to burn...Bystanders cheer as parts crumble down into the stream
below...A group clustered about the dead?...Willow Rosenberg where she lies, thrown by her
embittered creation in their final battle...

"Hey...What are you cryin' for?..." Anya nudges Xander...Who weeps openly watching the burning
mill...

"It's horrible...Horrible..." Xander shakes his head...

My poor Buffy...

"I know it's horrible..."Anya pats him, but turns grim...

But after she nearly drowned Dawn, nearly strangled Giles, almost killed us...And what with poor
Willow about to be taken home to die...

It can't be our Buffy in there...she shakes her head...

"I'm glad to see this thing...Her evil side no doubt...Roasted to death..."

It was evil, Xander...And I oughta be able to tell an evil nature...

Now kiss me and go get the car...I'll see to poor Willow...she kisses and hugs him...

He wanders off to the car, forlornly...

"Ah..."Anya sighs...Parting the group about Willow...

"Poor Willow...She was to be married in Vermont tomorrow...To that lovely girl Tara..."

The group eye each other...Jonathan and Warren among them...

"C'mon...Geesh..." Anya stares at all...
This is the twenty-first century, you know...

(Women marry each other in 2002?...Angelis interrupts Dru... Oh, yes...she happily replies...Men
too...I have seen it...she notes... "Nice for you, Angelis..." Spike grins...)

Xander returns...Got the car...

We gotta a van...Jonathan notes...Eyeing Warren...

"We'll bring her home to the Rosenberg estate..." he offers...

Ok...Anya turns to Xander...

"You better drive to Castle Rosenberg...And tell Dawn and Tara we're bringing..." she pauses
sadly...Eyeing the dead?...Wish we had a doctor here...Willow...

"...Willow home..."

***
The old mill, shrouded in darkness...now abandoned by all but two...

Vampires...Just emerged, but determined to see the last of the Slayer...

At least...One is...

"Hans...?" the female addresses him...

"Why do you stay...? The Slayer must be burned up by now...And burned up or no...Nothing will
bring our vicious little Maria back to us?"

Besides...If the Slayer's friends...Or that traitor Spike...catch us...

"Why do you stay here...?!" she shakes him...

"I want to see..." Hans grumbles...

"If I can see her blackened bones with my own eyes...I can sleep at day..."

He shakes his mate off and begins climbing into the rubble of the mill...

"Hans...!" the female cries... "You will be burned yourself...Come back..."

He falls through the charred remains of the floor to the cellar and stream below...

Hans!...the female collapses in a faint...

In the cellar of the mill...The former location of the mill's water wheel...Hans struggles to find
something to grab onto...But...from a darkened corner...

A hideously deformed and scarred...Now badly burned as well...And extremely pissed...though still
blonde...And one benefit of Willow's work, rather tall...Buffy is seen emerging slowly...

With a loud growl...Meant actually to be her trademark "Here's the deal..." but the best she can
currently manage given the lightening-induced damage to her brain...

Thanks, Willow...

She rushes over to the now terrified Hans...And thrusts his head under the water...

He cries out, struggling to no avail...

Hmmn...Buffy thinks...Vampire no dead yet...Ummn?...

Hans continues to struggle...

Oh..Buffy gotta stake to kill vamp...Right...she remembers...And tears a wooden stick loose from the
mill beams...

So much for poor Hans...She climbs to beams and the remains of an old stairway...Slowly moving to
the surface...

God...Look at dress...she thinks, looking at her torn and burned dress...And was bad choice by
Willow to begin with...

Grrr...Re-Life suck...she thinks...

"Hans...?" the female vamp, now revived...Calls...

"I hear you, Hans...Let me help you..."

Buffy puts up a burned hand...The female lifts her out, not realizing...

Until too late...

And Buffy is in no mood to make allowances for the female's help as the vamp lets out an annoying
scream...

Like all others she's encountered since Willow resurrected her...And this one's a vamp for crying
out loud...

She tosses the female down the old mill stairs...And heads off...

All have left...

Except Anya who found she must walk...No more room in Jonathan's van he had apologetically
noted...She lags behind the tail end of the Sunnydalers making for Castle Rosenberg...And pauses to
look back...Hearing...

Buffy lumbers over...Scarred, burned...Greenish skinned...Tall...Very tall...Buffy looks at her old
friend a mo...Rather exhausted after this long day...

Anya's jaw drops...Bu...Bu...Bu...

"AHHHHH!!!!" she runs off, racing after the others...

Buffy stares after her...

Was Anya?...she thinks...

"Bye-bye..." she waves...A little downcast...And still rather pissed, now that she thinks about it...

Where go now?...she wonders...Looking around at the woods around the crumbled old mill...

No go home...Hurt Dawn before...Remember...she remembers...

Just playing but...Caught her by stream...Depressed Dawn trying to cheer herself making flower
boats for the kids there...

Didn't mean to hurt...Thought she'd float like flowers...

Only one day old then...

And Willow...she frowns...

Bad...Lock her in cellar...No see friends...

Leave Warren watching her...Bastard...Wave fire at her...Hit her with whip...

Even Giles want hurt her...Woke up on table...Giles about to...

Cut her up...

"Painlessly dissecting subject..." she remembers him speaking into his pocket recorder...

Painlessly...Geesh...

Well...Don't think he dead after she grab by throat...

But they all mad at her after...Geesh...

Chase her...Shoot her...Hit her...Run away from her...
And me...World-saving Slayer...she notes...I think, anyway...

Oh...she sobs...

No ask for this...Geesh...

Willow...Very bad...

She wanders off into the woods...

***

The rather nice castle of the Rosenberg estate...Massive with the usual ramparts and turrets, an import from Europe...Willow's stricken parents are in seclusion...Tara
watches the road from a large bay window in a room of the one of the towers...Dawn by her side...

Xander's car pulls up...And they can see a procession of Sunnydalers following Jonathan and
Warren's van at a distance up the road...

"Xander...?" Tara calls to him from the open window as he emerges from his car...

He waves a bit...

Ummn...

"Buffy...?" Dawn calls...

Ummn...Guys...Xander calls back...

"Things didn't go so well between Willow and the mon...er Buffy..." he stares at Dawn...

See...They had a little...Fight...And...

The van pulls up...Jonathan, Warren, and several Sunnydale residents lift Willow's body
out...Carrying it to the castle door on a stretcher...

"Oh, Heaven...What is this?..." Tara cries...Turning and running from the room, downstairs to the
great hall of the castle where Willow's body is being brought in...A weeping Dawn following...

She rushes to Willow, lying prone on a large table...

Xander silently embraces poor Dawn...

Anya comes running from the road to the front door...

"AHHH!!!" she yelps still...

"What the hell's with you...?" Warren beside Jonathan at the door eyes her...

"The monster...Buffy...She's alive...She wasn't burned up at all...She lived right through the
fire...Ohhh..." Anya trembles...

She the old vengeance demon Harris is marrying...? Warren hisses to Jonathan...

Yeah...he nods...

Eh...They're all crazy...Warren notes...

"Hey wacko...We don't believe in ghosts here..." Warren sneers at Anya...

Yeah, right...Jonathan thinks...Just vampires, demons, werewolves, witches, and...Monsters...

Come on Jonathan...Warren calls...They leave her...

"Nobody'll believe me?...All right...I wash my hands of it...Let them all be murdered in their
beds...For all of me..." Anya shakes her head...

XANDER!...she cries...Hearing another noise and running in...
***

By the table on which Willow rests, the others mournfully stand by...

"Willow...?" Tara calls to her... "Speak to me..."

"Oh...Tara..." Anya sighs, shaking her head... "She'll never speak again..."

Tara looks at her...

And turns back to Willow...Sighing...

"I was foretold of this...I was told...Beware my wedding night..."

Wouldn't that be tomorrow night...? Anya hisses to Xander...

Heck every girl gets that advice...Man of the world Warren hisses to his friend Jonathan...

My wife Katrina was told to run like Hell from our wedding bed...he notes

Say...? Tara eyes Anya...

"You have had a doctor to see her?..." she eyes Xander as well...

Ummn...Well...Things were kinda busy back at the burning mill...Xander notes...

"Fetch a doctor..." Tara calls to a servant...

As they back away to await the doctor, Anya is left by Willow...And suddenly sees her hand drop...

"Oh...My lady Tara!...Tara!!..." Anya cries...

"Look!!! She's alive...Alive!!!..."

Hmmn...That's just the way Willow said it when Buffy came back to life in that horror of a
body...Tara notes to herself...Rushing over...

"Tara..." Willow gasps...Touching her face gently...

"Willow...Oh, Willow..." Tara sobs...

You know...Rosenberg is kinda the cause of all this...Warren notes quietly to Jonathan...

"Well you and your "low cost" organs for transplant didn't help much..." Jonathan hisses back...

God, taking them out of the folks you were supposed to be burying...he shakes his head...

"Hey...I'm just a supplier..." Warren replies... "Willow wanted anything I could get her...And I gave
no guarantees the parts would work for something like this..."

Lucky poor Buffy didn't wind up with a case of HIV on top of everything else...Jonathan harshly
whispers back...

Hey...Everything Willow got from me worked...Right?...Warren notes...

Well..Jonathan reluctantly has to concede the point...

Not my fault if crazy Rosenberg's surgical technique is lousy...Warren concludes...

***

***

Part II...

Later that night...A recovering Willow is tended by her devoted Tara in her room...A typically
enormous Castle Rosenberg bedroom...

"Better Wil?..." Tara smiles gently at her beloved...Now sitting up in bed a bit...

"Much..." Willow smiles back...But sighs...

"You'll soon be well, darling...And we'll put all of this horror behind us...Forget everything and go
away..." Tara hugs her..

"If only I could forget..." Willow sighs... "But it's never out of my mind...I've been punished for
delving into the mysteries of life..."

Perhaps...Death is sacred...And I've profaned it...

However, she brightens a bit...

"Oh...What a wonderful dream it was though, wasn't it Tara?...I dreamt of giving to the world the
secret God...And several minor deities...Are so jealous of...The formula for life..."

Think of the power...To recreate a human being...And I did it...Willow exults...I recreated a
woman...

"And who knows...In time, I could've trained her to do my will..."

I thought we were just trying to bring back poor Buffy to save the world for us...? Tara thinks...

"I could have bred a race...Perhaps I'd of even found the secret of eternal life..."

Ummn...Tara looks at her beloved...

You never mentioned this kind of Nazi-ish crap when we started this little resurrection project,
sweetie...she thinks...

"Willow...I think we're getting into dangerous waters here..." Tara notes to her...

"It may be that I'm intended to know these things...It may be part of the Divine Plan..." Willow
babbles on...

No...No...Tara insists...You mustn't say such things...It's blasphemous and wicked...We are not
meant to know these things...Death not life is the cause of it all and at the end of it all...Listen,
sweetie...

A loud thunderous knocking at the front door...

Willow and Tara look at each other...

You don't suppose Anya could've been right...? Willow eyes Tara...

***

Anya in nightgown runs to the front door, bearing a candle...Storm having knocking the power out...

"Warren?!...Jonathan?!...Drat them!...Never here when they're wanted...I mean what's the good of
stepfootmen anyhow?..."

All right, all right!...she cries at the hammering at the front door...

We're not all dead yet...You don't have to knock the castle over!...she opens the door...

A tall, gaunt, somewhat older...Andrew...On a really bad hair day...Stands glaring at her...

"I have come to see Willow Rosenberg..." he coldly announces...

"She's not here...Go away..."

"Come, come...My good woman...I know Ms. Rosenberg is at home..."

"Well...She's in bed...Where all decent folks should be at this time of night..." Anya hisses back...

"Tell her...Dr. Andrew Praetorius is here and must see her...Tonight...On a secret matter of grave
importance..." he glares...

Praetorius...? Anya stares at him...

***
Anya leads Praetorius through the dark castle rooms...As he stares round...

"Now...You stay there..." she points at him...And knocks at the bedroom...

"Who is it?..." Willow calls...

Anya...Anya calls back...

"Oh, come in..." Willow impatiently summons her...

Geesh Willow...Tara thinks...Ever since you managed that resurrection mess, you've been getting
pretty rude towards everybody...And considering what a mess you made of poor Buffy...How's bout
getting off the high-horse a bit...?

Anya enters...

"There's someone here to see you, Willow...A very queer-looking...And I mean queer...Old
bird...Says his name's Dr. Andrew Praetorius..."

Wants to see you...On a secret grave matter, he says...Anya notes...

Praetorius...? Willow gasps...

Praetorius...? Willow's old biology teacher from UCal-Sunnydale?...Tara thinks, looking at her...

And it was right after taking his course that she got this crazy resurrection idea in her head...

Send him in...Willow tells Anya...

"Who is this man, Willow...?" Tara looks at her...

Dr....Praetorius...Anya announces...

"My dear Miss Rosenberg..." Praetorius beams...

"So kind of you to allow me the pleasure..."

"This is Professor Praetorius, Tara...He used to be chairman of the Biology department at the
university...But..." Willow hesitates...

"But was booted out...Booted, dear Willow is the word...For knowing...Too much..." Praetorius
sneers...

"Willow's been very ill Professor...She's really not in any condition to receive guests..." Tara
notes...

"I am also...A doctor...Miss?..."
"My fiancee, Ms. Maclauy..." Willow introduces her...

Ah...Praetorius leers...

Charming...

"I hope you will forgive me for coming to you tonight, Willow..." Praetorius smiles coldly... "But I
have a communication to make to you...Of great personal interest and of the highest importance..."

"Willow...?" Tara stares...

"My business with Ms. Rosenberg, Ms. Maclauy..." Praetorius sniffs... "Is private..."

Please, Tara...Willow smiles at her...

Tara reluctantly leaves the room, glaring a bit at Andrew...Who smiles coldly back...

"What do you want?..." Willow eyes Praetorius...

"We must work together..." Andrew hisses...

"No...Never...This is outrageous...I've done with it...I've had enough of this hell-spawn...Soon as
I'm better...We're going to Vermont and are to be married..." Willow glares at the tall gaunt man...

"Well...But I suppose you realize that you really are responsible for all those near-murders...And
property damage..." Andrew smiles benignly at her... "And with your creature still loose in the
countryside..."

There are penalties to be paid...For killing people...he grins evilly...

"Are you threatening me...?" Willow stares at him...

"Don't put it so crudely..." Andrew smiles... "I had ventured to hope that you and I...No longer as
instructor and student...But as fellow scientists...Might probe the mysteries of life...Together..."

"No..." Willow looks away... "No further..."

"And reach a goal undreamt of by Science..." Andrew continues...

No...I can't make any more experiments...I can't...I've had a terrible lesson...Willow twists
anxiously, staring at him...

At my best friend's expense, too...she notes sadly...

"That is sad...That is very sad..." Praetorius nods...

"But you and I have gone too far to stop now...Nor can it be stopped...So easily..."
You must see my creations, Willow...he leers...

Willow stares at him...

"Have you...Also....Succeeded at bringing life to the dead?..." she asks...

"After twenty years of secret scientific research...And countless failures...I too have succeeded my
dear pupil...In creating life...In God's own image..." Praetorius gloats...

Willow looks away, trembling...

"I must know...Where is it...?"

"I thought you might change your mind..." Andrew smiles thinly...

When can I see it?...

Why not tonight?...Andrew notes...

***

A car pulls up to a small condo complex in the least attractive side of Sunnydale...

Willow and Praetorius emerge...

"Just up here..." Andrew points...

Had to move my stuff from the university after I was given the boot, he grimly notes...

Somehow...We stuffed it all in...

They enter his condo...He waves his guest to a chair in the kitchen...

"Before I bring out my creation, Willow...Let us drink to our partnership..." he smiles, bringing out
a bottle and glasses...

Did he bring me here to get me drunk?...Willow fumes inside...Well...Drunk or no...It's gay, now
Andrew...she thinks...

He pours some out...Into lab beakers, she notes...

God, what a nerd...No matter how distinguished a scientist he was when I first met him...she thinks...

"The creation of life is enthralling...Distinctly enthralling...Is it not, Willow?"...he leers...
Passing a beaker to her...

Ok..ok...she admits to herself within...I was kinda attracted...But only by the nerd science stuff...and
later by his ideas on resurrection when I was trying to get Buffy back...

"Do you like gin?..." Andrew smiles... "It is my only weakness..." he offers a toast...
To a new world...Of Gods and monsters...ha, ha...!...he leers...

"I cannot account for all I am going to show you, Willow..." he pauses as he turns to go into a back
room...

"But now that you are my partner...Perhaps you can..." he enters the back room...

Willow squirms nervously in her seat...Watch the gin, Rosenberg...she tells herself putting down the
glass...Ole Andrew had a rep back at UCal-Sunnydale, after all...

Andrew re-emerges, carrying a large coffin-like box...And wearing a skull-cap...

Andrew...? Willow blinks at the cap...

I didn't know...

"My experiments did not quite turn out like yours, my dear..." Andrew nods at her...Unlocking his
box...

But Science...Like Love, has her little surprises...he notes...

"There is a pleasing variety about my experiments, Willow..." he grins as he opens the box and pulls
out a number of bag-covered large glass cylinders...Open, but paper-covered at the top...

"My first experiment...Was so lovely that we made her a queen..." he smiles...Lifting the bag to
reveal a tiny woman sitting on a tiny throne in her cylinder...

"Then of course...We had to have a king..." he uncovers the next cylinder...A tiny king in Henry
VIII style...Who eyes the queen from his jar...

And now he's so madly in love with her that we had to separate them...Andrew sighs...

Willow blinks...

The tiny king bangs on his glass, blowing kisses at the queen...

"Now...Quiet you..." Andrew taps on his glass...

"The next one looked so disapprovingly on the other two that we made him an archbishop...He
seems to be asleep...I must wake him..." Andrew taps on the third glass...The tiny man inside hops
up in his chair, frowning and waving at the king and queen...

"This next one is the very devil..." Andrew leers...Revealing experiment four...

"Very bizarre this little chap...Rather a resemblance to me, don't you think...Or do I flatter
myself..." he chuckles...

"Ah..." he frowns...Noting the king has climbed out the paper-top of his jar... "I see the king is out
again..."

The tiny king runs to the queen's jar and bangs on it...

Well...Willow sighs to herself watching as Andrew catches the king and restores him to his own jar...

His little guys are kinda cute...And he did manage to avoid the scarring and brain-damage...

"My little ballerina..." Andrew lifts the cover of experiment five... "Is charming...But such a
bore...She won't dance to anything but Mendelssohn's "Spring Song" and it gets to be so tedious..."

The ballerina smiles and dances...Kinda looks like...Buffy?...Willow notes...Eyeing Andrew...Who
pastes an innocent look on his features...

"These...Are clones, aren't they?..." she eyes him...

And you had access to the University hospital and student medical center labs...Their blood and
tissue storage banks...she notes...

He grins...

"My next experiment is very conventional I'm afraid...But one never knows how these things will
work out...It was an experiment with seaweed..." he pulls off the covering bag...

A tiny mermaid under water...A mermaid she recognizes...

"Me?..." she glares at him...

Still...Breathing under water...Not bad...She has to admit...

He does know his stuff, no doubt about it...

"But this isn't Science..." Willow stares at Praetorius... "It's more like...Black magic..."

Gee...Andrew leers at her...And you oughta know, right?...his sneer says...

He takes a seat and glares at her...She sews a bunch of rotting body parts together, puts her best
friend's brain in, fries the whole mess with lightning and cosmic rays...And she's gonna sit in
judgment of me...?

"You think I'm mad..." Andrew angrily hisses at her... "But listen to me, Willow Rosenberg...While
you were digging in your graves, piecing together bits of Warren-purloined...Yeah, I know him and
his little "service"...dead tissues...I, my dear pupil, went to the very source of life...I grew my little
clones...As Nature does...From seed cells..."

Still...he pauses...You have achieved results which I have missed...Now think, Willow...He puts a
hand on her knee...she glares...He pulls it off hastily...

Sorry...

"Think what a world-astounding collaboration we should make...You and I...Together..." he leers...

"I daren't think of it..." Willow frowns...Really I daren't she thinks, staring at his leering face...

Course...He does have a kinda way about him...she thinks in spite of herself...Eyeing him...

And the work is really neat...If I could make use of some of his ideas...Maybe even help poor
Buffy...

No...God...Geesh...What am I doin'?...

"Leave the charnel house and follow the Way of Nature..." Andrew grins...

Or God, if you like your Bible stories...he sneers...

"Create a race...A man...er person, he corrects hastily...-made race upon the face of the earth...Why
not?..."

What?...Gee I was thinkin' along those lines before...Willow notes to herself...

And Buffy probably would appreciate some company...

"Our mad dream is only half-complete..." Andrew notes... "Alone, you have made a woman...Now,
together...We shall create her mate..."

You...mean...? Willow pauses, staring...

Yes...A resurrected man...That should really be interesting...Andrew leers...

God...he must be gay too...Willow notes...Eyeing him...

Hmmn...Well I do have a candidate for the brain/soul...Willow thinks...

If Spike really...I mean Really...Loves her...
***
***
Part III...

Next morning...

A crowd surrounds the Summers' home...In an understandably angry mood...

Police holding them back...

Inside, Dawn grumbles to Xander and his dear Anya...

"Why are they so hot and bothered over Buffy now?...She didn't kill anyone...Just smashed up a few
houses, trashed a few stores, and scared some folks..."

God, where were they when she needed help with Glory?...Dawn notes...

(Say...? Spike interrupts Drusilla...When am I...My future self...Coming back into the story, love?...

Soon, Spike...she pats him...Besides, your name has already come up, remember...? she notes...

Hell, Angelis grouses...I don't even figure in this one...)

Well..ok...Dawn eyes Xander...Buffy was a little crazed when she saw what she looks like
now...And she did seem a little...Lacking in self-control since the resurrection...

And she did try to hurt you and Giles...Anya notes...

And everyone else she's met since she escaped Willow's confinement cell...

"Geesh..." Dawn grouses... "Some "confinement cell"...That was a dungeon...And a preety filthy
one too..."

She wasn't trying to hurt me...Really...I think...Dawn notes...

And as for Giles...Well, if I woke up on an operating table and found my Watcher trying to dissect
me...Even for my own good...

And he'll recover...In time...she points out...

"Well...We really can't tell how Buffy feels now..." Xander notes... "She wasn't able to speak a
single word...She may be too brain-damaged to even know what's going on..."

I think Willow's loused this one up from beginning to end...And my poor sis is the one really
suffering for it...Dawn insists...

"But Dawny...You saw how deformed and ugly Buffy was..." Anya notes...

And we all know...Deformed and ugly equals evil...That's why we keep cripples, congenitally
deformed, and lunatic types confined in camps away from the rest of us nowadays...she looks
away....

At least...The government says they're all in camps...Confined...she thinks...Though no one is
allowed to visit them...

(A wise policy...Angelis notes...Was that in your vision of this future?...

No, Dru notes...Didn't see it...But it stands to reason given our current approach to such things...The
logical outcome of our present-day Victorian Social Darwinism...)

***

Outside the house, the mayor...Not The Mayor...A bumbling, well-meaning type elected after
Richard's demise...has arrived...

To safeguard life and property he pompously announces...

Anya comes out, demanding protection...Why are they bothering poor Dawn Summers...?

What would she know about some...Monster...?

Course...You might get some answers from that Willow Rosenberg...If you went and stormed her
place...

"Storm the Castle Rosenberg?...Our third biggest employer's home?...Are you crazy?..." one of the
mob notes...

Anyway...They say the monster is dead Buffy Summers, revived...another notes...

So...We take or kill Dawn Summers and the monster will leave us be...another finishes...

Kinda fail to see the logic in that...Xander, now out to join Anya, notes...

"Here...Now...You foolish people..." the mayor calls... "No one is storming anything...Go back to
your homes and your work...This strange woman you called "the Monster" is dead...We want no
rioting...No riots..."

No riots...he glares at Anya...

Geesh...Who's rioting?...she glares back...Pompous jackass...

Say is he the guy my would've been last client wanted boiled in oil for philandering?...

***

In the hills around Sunnydale, the same morning...

An exhausted, thirsty, starving...Willow never had even bothered to feed her...Buffy stumbles
through the woods...Tearing out some roots to eat...She spies a stream and runs over...Drinking
frantically...

She sees her hideous reflection in the still water and screams at it...AHH!GRR!...Splashing the water
angrily to disperse it...

And rising, catches sight of a young girl tending ostriches up on a ledge above her stream...

(Ostriches...? Spike looks at Dru...Who shrugs...In my vision, ostriches...Maybe the future people
like the large eggs...she notes...)

Buffy, in a somewhat calmer mood now, hurries over to try to make contact...Really very
hungry...But no hurting...

"Hi there..." she tries to call...Waving as best she can with her burned arms...

Unfortunately...It still comes out as Grrr...Arggh...Just a bit more gentle...

The girl screams at the hideous apparition below her...And stumbling, falls off the ledge into the
stream below...

Hmmn...Buffy thinks...No float...Bad...

Guess better help...she runs in and drags the girl to safety...
The Slayer is back to saving...she thinks happily...

"AHHHH!!!!..." the girl screams at her on reviving...

"Don't you touch me!!!..."

My mother told me about strange women like you...!...she continues...

Hey...?!...That's mean...Buffy thinks...

I save...She tries...

Unfortunately...Only..."Grrr..." comes out as yet...

"AHHHH!!!!..." the girl continues...

Conversation becoming monotonous...Buffy notes to herself, once again reaching pissed level...

Grrr...she barks at the girl, meaning it this time...

Would please be quiet...No want lynch mob...

Again...she thinks...

Two hunters appear out of the woods, rushing to the sounds of screaming...

"Look...It's the monster!..."one notes...

Buffy backs off...Gently waving her hands in pleading mode...

Hmmn...Hideous...But nice eyes...One of the hunters notes...

"Hi...Could you guys help?...Hurt..." she tries...

Grrr...again only...

God damn that Willow she thinks...What the hell did she do to speech center...?

The first hunter fires...Hitting her arm..She rears back in pain...

"Quick..." he turns to his companion... "Drive back to town and fetch the mayor...Tell him it's the
monster..."

Monster...?...Buffy thinks...Running off...

That's no way to talk...About Slayer who save world...

Geesh...

***

***
Part IV...

The angry would-be lynch mob around the Summers' home is now distracted by the news from the
hunter returning from the woods...

"She's in the woods...! The monster!..." he cries, running up to the mayor...

The mayor takes decisive action...Turning to the Sunnydale PD chief beside him...

"Get out the bloodhounds!...Gather up all the adults you can!...Lock the children and any pregnant
women indoors and wait for me!...Monster, indeed!...I'll show her... " he fumes...

Xander...? Dawn looks at him as they both stare out the living room window at the rapidly moving
crowd...
Rapidly moving crowd...Away from the house...he notes with relief...But they don't seem to be
dispersing...


Anya bursts in excitedly...The shouts of the moving mob, now actually swelling in size, Dawn
notes...Are heard through the door as she enters...

"Kill her!...The monster's in the woods!...Get her!...Get the hounds!..." various cries are heard...

"They've got a lead on the..." Anya eyes a terrified Dawn...

"On Buffy...She's in the woods!...They're heading out to..."

Xander shakes his head at her...

Bring her home...she lamely finishes...Patting Dawn...Who shakes it off...

"They're gonna kill her!...Xander, can't you do something?!..." Dawn cries...

Don't think telling the mob I'll still love them no matter what is gonna work here, Dawn...he notes...

Even if it did stop Buffy from completely strangling Giles and Anya back in the lab the other day...

"We've gotta find her first...!" Dawn notes...Rushing for the door...

Anya and Xander look at each other...Finding Buffy first...Alone...In her present state...?

Not exactly something close to their hearts...Much as they regret what's happened to their friend...

Still...Dawny is right, Xander notes...We gotta try to save her...

They head out for the car...

***

The mob...Er, posse of duly deputized law enforcement officials...Well, that's how the Sunnydale
Express will call the story tomorrow...Has reached the wooded hills around town...

Heavily armed, with baying hounds howling through the trees...

A terrified Buffy is racing ahead of them...Almost cornered...

Far at the rear of the mob, Xander and Dawn try to make their way through...Hoping to reach the
mayor and police chief...Persuade them somehow to go easy...

Anya is pushing through rather better to the head...But is more concerned with seeing Buffy taken
than providing for her survival...
No offense but Xander and Dawny just don't know evil when they see it...And she has had 1000
years experience...

If Buffy can be taken and dealt with later, all well and good...But she has no intention of seeing the
monstrous new Buffy smashing into her and Xander's home one night with a chip on her shoulder
regarding her resurrection process...

And she's been on the receiving end of resurrected Buf's choke hold...Not a pleasant experience, she
can tell you...

***

Surrounded on all sides...Buffy races up a small hill...Hiding behind a boulder...But the hounds are
on to her...

Geesh...You bastards...I'm the Slayer who saved you all...she thinks...

Damn...What a week...What a year...That damn Glory bothering me after Mommy die...Oh,
Mommy...she thinks, sobbing at the memory....

The dogs lead their masters to her hill...She tries frightening them by rolling a boulder down on
them...No good...They swarm up the hill and all over her...Too many...She can't fight them, at first
not without inflicting serious damage and then...Not at all, even with her anger pushing her over the
edge...

Ow!...Ow!...Stop it...Hurting me!!!...Hey!...she cries, sobbing, as they beat and kick her...Hey!!...she
sobs...

Grrr...! Is all they hear...

Hey!...she sobs...That's my only dress...! As they tear at her...

Several begin tying her up securely...Most continue to hit or throw rocks at her...

The mayor comes forward...

"Now, now...Bind her securely...We don't want anything slipshod...Tie her feet first...Her feet
first!..." he vainly calls...

"Oh, I get no cooperation..." he sighs... "None at all..."

"Have you got her?..." Anya cries, reaching him... "That's what I want to know...? Have you got
her?..."

Of course we've got her, my good woman...Nothing to worry about...the mayor insists...

"Well...Mind you she doesn't get loose again...She might do some damage...And hurt somebody..."
"Bring her down as soon as you've got her bound securely..." the mayor calls...

"Need any help up there?..." Anya cries, forgetting herself in the heat of the moment...

"I'll bind her!..."

Oops...She notes Dawn and Xander coming up...

"They've got her..." Anya tells them...

"She's fine..." she smiles at Dawn...

"They're just restraining her..."

Dawn stares up the hill...To see the mob carrying Buffy down, bound to a pole...

"Buffy!..." she cries...Trying to run over...

Xander holds her back...

"We can't help her now, Dawn..." he tells her...Staring at the howling mass in front of them... "This
mob will turn on us if we don't keep quiet...Lets get her back to town in one piece and we'll speak to
the mayor and see what we can do later..."

She'll be ok...he assures her...

Members of the mob...Er duly deputized posse...Bring a large cart over...The pole is raised up with
a sobbing, bleeding Buffy gasping in agony, bound to it...

Gee...Anya thinks, moved in spite of her previous anger...She looks just like that guy on the cross in
Xander's church...

Her country not having been Christianized at the time of her demon transformation...And Xander not
the most devout member of his church, she's not quite up on all the Christian lore...

Dawn, however, sees it too...And sobs...

Buffy!...she cries...Xander hugs her, crying himself...

Poor Buffy too far away to hear...And surrounded by screaming maniacs...Pelted by sticks and
stones...

The mob releases the pole and it and the bound Buffy fall into the cart...They drag it triumphantly to
downtown Sunnydale...Several men holding pitchforks round her neck, arms, and legs...

God...No demon or vamp ever treat me like this...the sobbing, but enraging Buffy moans to herself...

Oh...Where Dawny?...Where my friends?...No one...All hate me...she thinks...


"Someone did read her her rights, right...?" the police chief briefly eyes one of his men in the crowd
as they reach the main police station...

Oh, yeah...Louie did that, right Louie?...the cop eyes another cop among those now surrounding the
cart...Preparing to move the "monster" into the station...

Yeah, yeah...Louie nods...Just before we tied her up...

"Well...Good..." the mayor notes...

Nothing slipshod...

"Thank God the thing can't speak..." the chief hisses to one of his subordinates as he moves off to
supervise the booking of the strange maniacal woman thing...

We'd be facing quite a lawsuit...

"Take her to the old cells in the sub-basement..." the mayor calls to the chief...Who nods...

***
"Please...Can't we see her?..." Dawn sobs, pleading with Xander to the desk attendant...

She's...My sister...Dawn blurts out...

Right...The desk cop eyes her...

"Fill out this form..." he pushes a form...

They'll let you know in a couple of days...

What?!...Xander stares at him...

"That's the procedure..." the cop notes...

But...She has a right to an attorney...A phone call...

"She doesn't speak...She's dangerously violent...The court will appoint a legal guardian...Fill out
the forms and you'll hear back in a couple of days..." the cop closes the discussion...

God...Some clown already claiming to be that thing's relative...he thinks...Eyeing Xander...

Just wanta get a picture of it and try to make up some story for the tabloids...

Jesus...Do I need a transfer from this town...he notes to himself...
***

In the dank sub-basement cells, the mayor, police chief and a quartet of cops "secure" the prisoner...

Chaining her to a huge chair with a stocks-like head-board...Binding her with more chain and finally
pounding two huge stakes also chained to her into the ground...

"Come, come..." the mayor grouses... "Lets not take all day over this..."

I wanta lawyer...Let me outta here!...Bastards!...Buffy cries...

Unfortunately only... "GRRR!..ARGGH!..." still coming out...

Hey, she cries at one cop...I know you...Me save you from vamp last year...OW!...as he and his
partner shove her head into the stocks...

GRRRRR! GRRRRR!...OW!!...All they hear...

"Quiet down..." the cop she'd saved once whacks her face...

You guys all dead!!!! she howls...As they leave...

No more human exemptions!!...Bastards!...she sobs...

Somebody!...Help!...she screams...Rattling her chains...

Nobody help...All bastards...she thinks...

Wish Will here...He help...He love me...

Will?...William?...Yes...I remember...Spike vamp...but...Love me...

Never understood...Why he love me...Vamp...But...Somehow...Almost human...Times...

Could even he love me now?...she sobs...

***

***
Part V...

Dawn sits dejectedly with Xander and Anya on a bench at the Sunnydale PD...Xander attempting to
fill out the form the cop had provided...

"Hey...?" Dawn lifts her head...

Maybe we should call Angel?...He could get her out, right?...

Ummn...Xander looks at Anya...Anya at him...

Ummn...Dawn...Remember in the first coupla days?...After Willow resurrected Buffy as the...er in
her new form?...Xander hesitantly begins...

"And she had a few of us over to see Buffy at her lab?..."

Ummn...One of the guests who came...Was Angel...

Oh?...Dawn looks at them...

What happened...?

Well...Of course Angel was preoccupied with that new kid of his and all...Working out his feelings
about Darla...Xander cautiously replies...

"He took one look at Buffy and ran for the door..." Anya chimes in...

An?!...Xander looks at her...

Well...There's no sense in pretending...Anya notes...

Great...I knew she couldn't count on that brooding creep in a pinch...Dawn sighs...

I always...Well my faked memories tell me I always...Wondered about him when he left...

"But...Wait a minute...? What about Will?...Ummn, Spike, I mean..." Dawn looks at them...

No one's even told him about Buffy's resurrection yet...she notes...

"Yeah...And he sees what Willow resurrected...He'll be flying out the door as well.." Xander
frowns...

I think we should tell him...Dawn insists...He'll help her, I know it...

"Even if he would...What can he do?...These are humans...He's got the chip..." Xander notes...

He'd help her...I know it...Dawn frowns...

"Anya...Take me over to Spike's...Now..." she hops up...

Xander, you finish the forms...See if the mayor will listen to you if you can see him...Then come
over...

He and Anya look at each other...

Well, at least it's a plan...

***

But, in the bowels of the sub-basement...Buffy has reached her breaking points...As have the
chains...

She tears the spikes out of the ground, rips the stock and chain from her neck...Howling with rage...

Two cops race back...

"She's loose...Shoot her!..." one screams to his partner as Buffy tears off the last chains...

The shot misses as she reaches and batters at the door...In a instant it's down...She tosses one cop
aside...The other races for an open cell, screaming...

"She's loose!!!..."

ARGH!!! GRRR!!!...she tears at the sub-basement main door, ripping it off its hinges...And races
for the stairs...

***
The mayor in the main lobby of the police station faces a group of reporters and concerned
citizens...Xander waiting his chance to speak to him...As Anya and Dawn prepare to head out...

"Yes..." the mayor proudly notes... "Just an escaped lunatic...Merely wanted someone to handle
her..."

Several cops run up the lower level stairs from below, screaming in panic...

A raging, seven-foot tall Buffy hot on their trail...

In no mood to stop and chat with her dear sis...

The fleeing crowd cutting Dawn and Anya off from any chance of reaching Buffy in any case...

Anya spies Xander in the raging Buffy's path...

"Shoot her!..." she cries to several cops... "Why don't you shoot her?..."

Anya!...Dawn backs away from her...

I won't let that thing hurt my Xander!...Anya glares fiercely...

Meanwhile Xander has been trying to unsuccessfully make some contact with his beloved,
tormented friend...

But she's rather busy tossing cops aside and dodging bullets...

Before he can try to get close, she's fled out the door...Chasing the fleeing mayor and police chief as
well as several cops and reporters...

Xander...! Anya runs to him...He's been knocked down and trampled by some of the last fleeing
cops...

Dawn stands away from her...But sees the station full of injured cops, reporters, bystanders...

"Dawn..." Anya looks up to her from where she kneels by Xander...

"I'm sorry...But..."

Dawn glares at her and heads for the door...

Go after her...Xander hisses...

I'll be fine...
***

In the early twilight, Buffy finds herself at what she remembers suddenly is a graveyard...

She races through...Hearing faint cries of pursuit in the distance...Seeing a familiar-looking
monument in the distance...

Rushing to it...The cries fade away...No one looking for her here...Yet...

She hears the faint sounds of a television inside the monument...Comforting her somehow...

But...She is afraid...Why have I come here?...Wait...Yes...I know this place...

She moves, knocking a standing rake by the monument to the ground...

At the doorway to the crypt, Spike appears...Looking cautiously out...

"All right, kiddies...Very funny..." he calls...

Now say hello to the bogeyman and get the hell out of here...he grouses...

Before I feed you lot to the real bogeymen...

"Well?...Cat got your tongue?..." he peers out...

Right...he turns and goes back inside...

Spike...Buffy breathes...

William...Oh...Please...

But if he no like me...Like I am...Now...

Oh God, William...Help me...Please...

If you ever loved me...

If you ever cared for your...

Cicely?...The name pops into her head...

Who...

She moves toward the entrance...

Crunching some gravel...She pulls back a bit...

Spike comes over again...

"Damn...Who is it?...Nibs, is that you?..."

I keep telling you to stay away from here at nightfall...God damn...he sighs...

What would your sis think of me?...he calls out to the night...

William...? Buffy growls out...Stepping forward...

Oh my God...he gasps...

Buffy...?...What?

Oh God, Buffy...he embraces her...She grabs at him...Sobbing...

Come in, come in...He leads her in...

"Christ Jesus...What happened to you...?" he looks her over...

She stares at him...Trying to speak...

DAMNIT!!...he shrieks...Startling her...

"Those goddamn fools!...I knew they'd try something!..."

Morons...Stupid assholes!...Didn't even consider speaking to me first...

Oh, my poor lamb...he hugs her...My poor Buffy...What have they done to you?...he sobs...

William...William...she moans...Stroking his hair as she sobs...

***

***
Part VI...

With angry searchers combing the streets and nearby hills of Sunnydale, Dawn is finally persuaded
by Anya and a slightly injured Xander to give up any further attempt to find Buffy this night...

But they agree it's time Willow got involved...No way is she scooting off to Vermont in a few days
with Tara to forget all about the mess she's made...

After some angry words by phone from Xander and Dawn, strongly backed by Tara, Willow agrees
to join the search tomorrow with helpers from her family estate...

Geesh, why are they all so mad at me?...she thinks, looking at Tara's face as she hangs up...

After all, Buffy nearly killed me when I tried to capture her before...

I mean I resurrected our old friend...Where's the gratitude?...

***

The next day, early morning in Spike's crypt...

"Feeling better, pet?..." Spike kneels by Buffy, carefully washing her wounds, putting more salve on
her burns...

She nods...And signs for him to come over for a kiss...

Staring at him as he does so happily...

Can't you see what I am now?...she tries to say...Holding his hands and looking into his eyes...

Choking out... "Can't...see...me..now.?.." harshly...

"You are my Buffy, pet...That's what I see...Whatever Willow did to you..." he pats her...

Buffy having managed to choke out enough the night before to give him a basic idea of what had
happened...

Red and her damned arrogance...Always knew it'd get her into trouble one of these days...

Just...Why didn't she confine it to her own damned self...Or her damned gal-pal/assistant...?

"Ci...Ci..Cicely...?" Buffy chokes out...

He stares at her...Cicely?...

Ah...Yeah...he nods...That was my old girl...

Well, he grins sheepishly...My disastrous little love affair...Before I met Dru...

I told you about her a little one night...When you asked me about how I killed those Slayers...?

"Well...Score one for memory, pet...Very good...But let me get you something to eat..." he rises...

"Mar..Married...?" she calls...

"Cicely...You?"

He halts by the groceries he'd bought last night...

"How did you know?..." he stares at her...I never told you that...

"Yes, pet..." he looks at her in wonder... "Cicely Addams and I were married...Just a day or
so...Before she decided she's made the biggest mistake of her Victorian princess' life and drove her
worst investment off...Cut her losses, you might say..."

How did you know...? he pauses and grins...Ah...

You lot have been checking up on me...Before you fought Glory...What, did ole Giles look up my
records back in England?...

Nice to be an object of curiosity...he notes...

"No...Not...I..." she groans, trying to make him understand...

William...I...she thinks...

And suddenly...her features change a bit...And she bursts out for a stream of words in a clear, precise
British accented voice...Cicely's voice...

"William...I sent you away to save you, my darling...I never stopped loving
you...William...Please..."

Please...Buffy groans...Losing the brief flash of clarity that had possessed her a moment...

"C-C-Cicely?..." he gasps...

It can't be...You?...

She nods at him, sadly...After a century...She is too late...The retrieval of past memory too slow...

She can't save him from his unjust condemnation...And now, she is lost as well...God has turned his
back on them both...For no reason...

She's failed...Again...As she did when she let herself be persuaded to let the demon Halfreck take her
place and drive her poor Will away...Never realizing til too late that she'd been tricked by her own
Watcher...And Drusilla lay in wait...

(You're not telling William about this part?...Angelis stares at Dru...Spike having gone to fetch a
servant to bring more firewood and restoke the fire...

Best not to...she smiles back...I'll just censor it a little when he returns...No need to make him feel
badly about that foolish Miss Addams...

Hmmn...Well, I'll tell him later...Angelis gloats to himself...All the more fun for me...)


William sits down, in shock...Staring at her...

"Sorry...Sorry, William...Sorry..." she sobs...Seeing him start to cry as well...

"No...No, Cics..." he grins through his tears, waving a hand...

"Somewhere...Here inside..." he looks at her...

I knew...Will knew...Well, I hoped...You still loved me...

"And ever since I met you...Buffy..." he sighs...

I knew there was something...About you...

That night...When you left me at the bar...After I'd told you a little of my past...And you said...

"You're beneath me..." Buffy eyes him...Again speaking in her Cicely voice...

"Sorry..." she croaks...

"No, sweet, don't be sorry...That was when I knew...Yes..."

"I knew even then that it was more than coincidence...I knew..." he sobs...Lowering his head...

She staggers over to him...Hugging him...

"But it's all right now..." he looks up at her...

No matter what they did to us both...We found each other...At last...

She kneels and puts her head in his lap, sobbing...As he strokes her hair...

***

Willow and Tara, backed by Warren and Jonathan arrive at the Summers' home...Dawn, Anya, and
Xander waiting by his car...

"We don't need guns!..." Dawn glares at Jonathan's shotgun...And the pistols Warren offers Xander
and Anya...

"Dawn...She is dangerous..." Willow notes...

Thanks to you!...Dawn eyes her...

"Making a mess of her...Who asked you to resurrect her?...Then, locking her up like an animal!...Oh
God?!..." as she spies who else is in Willow's car....

"Hello Dawny!..." Buffy-bot calls out happily, waving...

"Warren and Willow fixed me all up!..."

Xander looks at Willow...

I told you...Dawn says coldly, staring at Willow...I don't need that thing anymore...I won't have
Buffy tormented seeing her again...

"Especially after you brought her into the lab just to let Buffy see her and see what reaction it would
trigger..." Dawn glares...

No wonder she wanted to kill everyone in sight...

"I just wanted to see if it would jog a few brain cells into firing...Help with her memory...Geesh..."
Willow looks sheepishly at her...

"She didn't mean to hurt Buffy, Dawn..." Tara chimes in...

"But that's all changed now, right?..." Dawn eyes the guns...
"It's just in case, Dawny..." Willow tries...

Actually we got tranquillizer dart guns...she points to a box in her open trunk...And this...she has
Jonathan bring out a large net...

"It's magically reinforced...Even our new Buffy won't break through..." Jonathan notes proudly...

I hope...he looks a bit uncertain...Backing off...

Moron...Warren whacks him as they stand together...

"Well...It's never been tested on Buffy, you know..." Jonathan hisses back...

"As for Botty..." Willow continues... "She's stronger than any of us...She may be able to help...And
I've told her to go slow with Buffy..."

My created Buffy's better than your re-created Buffy...Warren hums to Jonathan in the
back...Grinning...

"But...Even if we catch Buffy...What are we gonna do?...Chain her up in your lab again...?" Dawn
glares at Willow...

Well...I was thinking along those lines...Willow thinks sheepishly...

I'm certainly not gonna let her stay in my parents' castle...

"We'll try to help her, Dawn...But we can't do that until we capture her...Before the search parties
do...Or she kills some of them..."

And gets me in a hell of a lot of hot water...Willow notes to herself...

"We'll find a way to help her, Dawn..." Tara tries to reassure her...

Great...Dawn glares...Then we start by ditching the guns...

She never liked them anyway...

"Ok..." Willow sighs...Dump the guns in the house, guys...she turns to her employees...

What?!...Warren looks at Jonathan...

"Well..."your created Buffy's better than her re-created Buffy", right?..." Jonathan whispers back,
grinning...

And the magic net was your idea...he notes...

"So..." Xander eyes the others as Warren grumblingly assists Jonathan in carrying the guns to the
Summers' house...Naturally retaining one pistol for himself...

"Where do we start?..."

"We should try seeing Spike first..." Dawn notes...

Even if she didn't go there, he might have some ideas...

If he doesn't kill you, Willow after we tell him what you did...she glares at Willow...

"Geesh...Why is she so mad at me?..." Willow grumbles to Tara as they get in their cars...
***

"So...How's about a lesson?..." William smiles at Buffy...Now sitting at table with him...

He raises a loaf of bread...Really nice bread, she notes...Not the processed crap...

She thinks...Ummn...

C'mon Cicely half, help me out here...

"Br...Bread..." she proudly croaks out...

"Good...Wonderful, lamb..." he hands her the loaf and she tears into it with her teeth...

"Good...Good..." she chokes out...

God is it ever...After four days without food...Damn that bad Willow...Some friend...Geesh...

"And this is...?"

Wine...? she hopefully asks...

"Hmmn...I want to go easy on the alcohol with you, pet...That one drink last night seemed to get you
flying...This is soda..." Spike notes...

"So...da..." she repeats happily...

"Diet...?" she asks...Looking at the mug in which he's poured her drink...

"With Buffy Summers?...Naturally..." he grins back...

Can't let you lose that figure...Though really, pet...You could stand to put a few pounds on...

"We are lovers...Husband and wife, really if you go back to our beginnings...And friends...You and
I..." William smiles gently at her...

"Lovers...Friends..." she croaks, beaming at him...

"Good...Lovers and Friends...Husband...Good..." she hugs him...Knocking over the table things...

Oh...Sorry...she sits, trying to recover her Cicely decorum...

No problem, pet...he grins...And very good with the speaking...

"Will...iam..." she tries...

"Me...I so...Ug...Ugly..." she turns away...

"Look at me, Buffy..." he firmly calls to her...

And assumes work face...

She pulls back a bit...It's all right, pet...he assures her hastily...

"But you see...That is Spike...And but for the damned chip holding him back...That would be most
of me now..." he sighs...Resuming human face...

"Me...Am...I..." she pauses, searching...

Bad...?...Evil...

"No, pet...Never Buffy...No matter what the Fates and the Powers that Be have done to you...Never
Evil, my sweet girl...My Cicely..." he pats her...

And I see only my Buffy in there...And my Cicely...

"Oh..." she tears up...

Smashing her mug on the table...Oops...

Sorry...Stronger now...



"What...?" she pauses, staring at him...

"What we do...Now...Will?"

"I'm going to take you away, Buffy...If you want to come..." he pauses...

Somewhere where we can live our lives in peace...Far away...And where we won't be threatened by
anyone...Human or demon...

"Yes...Please...Will..." she sighs...Closing her eyes...At peace at last...Like Heaven again...And with
my love this time...

Maybe we can arrange a visit by the Nibs...If you want her sometime...he continues...

"Dawny ran...But I hurt her, first time..."

"Not mean to..." she hastily notes...Looking down...

"Well...In time...When she sees you've recovered your memory and so on...She'll come round..." he
hugs her a bit...

"God bless...Will..." she hugs him...

***

***
Part VII...

Buffy's well meaning friends and sister have reached the graveyard where Spike's crypt lays...

Along with Willow's assistants the sympathetic Jonathan and the not-really-giving-a-damn-so-long-as-I'm-paid-and-Buffy-doesn't-get-another-whack-at-me Warren...

And the always pleasant Buffy-bot...Prepped by Willow to restrain Buffy but "go easy"...

"Spike's place is just over here..." Dawn notes...Taking the lead...

Wait, Dawny...Xander calls...Hurrying up to her...

"Let Botty go in first and check things out..."

"Botty..." he turns to her...Smiling pleasantly at him...

Yes, Xander?...My dear friend who is like a brother to me...she blinks happily at him...

"Would you go on into Spike's place and let him know we're here?...And see if there's any signs of
Buffy...I mean the resurrected one...Around?..."

Spike...? she blinks, beaming...Oh, yes...she hurries over to the crypt...

Thought I'd deleted all that from her programming...Willow thinks...

"Sp...ike!..." Botty calls, entering...

***

"Oh...Hello, Buffy..." Botty beams...

Buffy hops from her seat at the table where she's been happily if a little frustratedly trying to relearn
the use of a knife and fork...While William reads some of his newer poetry to her...

Grrr...she growls at the bot...She knows who sent her...

"Spike...You look so nice..." the robot smiles...Turning back to Buffy, now standing back against
the crypt wall...

Buffy...? Would you come with me?...Willow wants me to bring you back to her lab...

GRRRR!!!!...F-Willow...!...Buffy yelps...Moving at the bot...

"No, Buffy..." Will waves her back...

"Willow!..." Botty calls from the entrance...

Buffy's here...She doesn't want to come...What should I do...?
***
Buffy rushes the bot...Not wanting to go against Will's suggestion of a non-violent approach but
given the situation...Best to at least restrain the robot in her view...Until they know what they're up
against...

Botty dodges...And grabs her...

"Willow!..." she calls...

Dawn, Xander, Anya, and Willow, followed by Tara, appear at the entrance...

"Don't hurt her!..." William calls to the bot...Now struggling with a very pissed Buffy...

"Oh, no Spike...Willow said not to..."Botty turns to him as she tries to take Buffy's hand off her
throat and grab her other arm...

OW!...Buffy screams as the bot takes her badly burned arm...

Hurt!...she yells at the bot...Ripping her arm out of its socket...

The bot sparks a bit...Backing off...

Looking a bit flustered...

Buffy?...she asks...Turning to Will...

"Please tell Buffy I only want to restrain her...Willow told me not to hurt her..." smiling pleasantly...

"HURT!!..." Buffy yells, touching her arm...

Sorry...she eyes the bot's sparking arm socket...

She sees the others cautiously entering...

GRRR!!!...she waves an arm at them...

So much for my little romantic tryst...Damn these people, she thinks...

"Buffy...It's me..." Dawn cries...

Xander begins loading his tranquillizer gun...

"I...Know...You..." Buffy growls...

All Bad...!!! she snarls at them...

Excepting you, Will...she thinks, smiling at him...As he comes over beside her...
"You...Hurt..." she waves her burned arm at Willow and Xander...

My, she's doing better...Willow notes to herself...Smiling at Tara...

Hey...Maybe I didn't screw her up so bad at that...

The bot tries to grab her again...Buffy tosses Botty back...

Xander takes aim...A clear shot...

"No, Xander!...Wait!..." Dawn cries...

He fires several times...Hitting William who leaps in front of Buffy...

Damn...Will groans...

Staggering groggily...

Buffy grabs at him...

"William!..." she cries...And glares hideously at the others...

Is something going on between them?...Willow hisses to Tara...

Botty tries again...And this time Buffy is no mood for gentle handling...She throws the bot back
against the crypt wall...Shorting her out...The sparks landing in some of Will's books and papers...

"Leave...us...be..." Will gasps as he collapses in Buffy's arms...

Stupid...Sots...You don't under...he passes out...

"Willy...?...Will..." Buffy shakes him...

She stares at the others...Grimly...Icily...

"My patience..." her Cicely voice taking hold, to their astonishment...

"With you people...Is at an end..."

Well...Willow grins to Tara...I didn't do such a bad job at that...Though where she picked up that
Brit accent I'll never know...

Holding Will in one arm, Buffy charges the group as they face her, standing by the door...

No time for Xander to reload...They scatter a bit...

Dawn calling out to her...Buffy! No!...As she runs...Out the crypt door, Will under her arm...
Into Warren and Jonathan's waiting magic net...

OW!!...she screams...

And screams in far greater terror as she sees Will beginning to smoke...

Oh...Vamps no like daylight...Bad...

Oh God...

"Help!..." she cries...At Jonathan and Warren...

"Will!...Help!..."

She tears at the net, in spite of the agony the magic field around it inflicts, lifting it off...

Buffy!...The others call to her as they emerge...

She races back for the crypt entrance...William still in hand...Burned and unconscious...Tossing
Xander and Dawn beside him aside, she runs in...

"William...!" she looks for water, a blanket...

The others rush back in...She turns on them...

GRRR!!!!...Bastards!!!...she howls...Throwing a chair at them...

Then realizes...A fire is burning in the crypt...From the fire caused by Botty's sparks...

God...Not another fire!...Fire undoubtedly Bad...No question about it...

"Water!..." she screams at the group...The fire and smoke filling the room...

"Come on, Buffy!...You gotta come!..." Dawn screams...

No!!!!...she yells, hugging Will...The flames surrounding them now...

"Dawn!!..." Tara grabs her...

"We can't leave them...!..." Dawn cries...

"Dawn...We've got to get out...!..." Xander pulls her back...Out of the door...

"Buffy...Please...!!..." Willow calls to her...

No!!!!...Buffy screams at her...Searching for anything to put the flames out...

Tara drags Willow back...Outside

Stairs...There are stairs here Buffy thinks...Where...?

Her dress and Will's clothing are burning now...

"God...!...Mommy!...Help!!" Buffy screams in torment...

Outside, Dawn screams at the others...Smoke billowing out of the crypt...

"Do something!...They're burning in there!..."

Called 911...Anya notes...Tending Xander's burns...He rises and looks at the door...

"No! Xander, you can't help them now!..." Anya screams...Pulling him back...

Tara hugs the shrieking Dawn...

Stairs...Stairs...Buffy stumbles, blinded...Desperately holding to Will...Heedless of her burning
flesh...

Stairs...she tumbles down the stairs to Spike's inner crypt...Smoke filling the space here as well...

She struggles to the bed...The fire has spread down here as well...

And throwing Will on the bed tries to smother the flames burning him...

To find...Nothing is left but ashes in his clothes...

And gives a howl so hideous...So loud...That the others outside can hear even over the flames, the
blaring fire trucks, and their own cries...

***

"I don't know what to say..." Jonathan sighs, patting Dawn's shoulder...

She saved my life so many times...I wish...I could have done something...

"Yeah...Real shame..." Warren notes...

The firemen have found nothing in the crypt but ashes, charred clothing and furniture, and a hell of a
lot of code violations...

Dawn, held by Tara, stares at the crypt entrance blankly...

But...Turns to Willow, standing beside Tara...

"Buffy lived through the other fire...?"

I don't know, Dawn...They didn't find anything...And there was a stream for Buf to hide in last
time...Willow notes...Shaking her head sadly...

But if they didn't find...Anything...? Dawn eyes her...

Willow looks at Tara...

Xander limps over...

"Dawny...I'm so sorry..." he hugs her...Sobbing...

She pats him...

"Did your best, Xander...She knows you tried..." Dawn kisses him...

Anya helps him back to the ambulance...Smoke inhalation and burns spells a trip to Sunnydale
Hospital...For Dawn as well...

"She could still be alive..." Willow notes to Tara after they get Dawn settled in her ambulance...

And more pissed at us than ever...Tara replies...

She loved Will...I thought so...But...I guess this proves it...Tara notes...

And now...He's gone...Even she couldn't have saved him in that...

Yeah...Willow sighs...Staring at the crypt...

But...Maybe...she thinks...

Nah...Enough...I've messed things up enough...

And Andrew Praetorius is just too sick a puppy to gamble on...

***

“I wish we could reach Giles in England...” Dawn sighs to Willow, Anya,
and Tara as she sits in the Sunnydale Hospital ER waiting room...
Xander’s treatment requiring a little more time...

“Olivia’s blocking all calls...Especially from us...” Tara notes...
And having to try and dissect his own resurrected Slayer and almost daughter
did take a toll, you know...Not to mention Buffy’s strangling...she continues...

I don’t think he could help us now even if he wanted to...

Wish he’d done a faster job on that dissection after we realized how deranged
monster Buffy was when she nearly drowned Dawn...Anya
thinks...None of this would have happened and Xander and I could be on our own honeymoon by now...

“Tara...?” Dawn looks at her... “Do you think Buffy could have
survived...Again?”

I don’t know sweetie...But..We’ll have to see later...Check out
the crypt when the fire below is completely put out and
the smoke clears...

Poor Spike...Poor Will...I should call him Will from now on...Dawn sighs, sobbing...

“He really must’ve loved her...To help her even when she was like that...”

Yeah...Tara nods...And she must’ve loved him...

***

Deep in the Sunnydale sewers...Not far from the sewer stream which had
run a few inches from Spike’s crypt’s lower chamber...
A sobbing Buffy soaks her wounds...Clutching William’s shirt still
containing some of his ashes...

She smears the ashes over her face and body...Smothering her face in his shirt...

William...William...William...she sobs...

*** ***
Part VIII...

A large graveyard in Sunnydale...Even larger than Spike's old place...After midnight...

Buffy is seen stumbling among the monuments...Pausing to howl at the statues in human form she
passes...Still clutching William's shirt...

Finally she smashes into the door of one and crawling inside finds it leads to a network of tunnels
connecting many crypts...

Too bad Will hadn't known about this place...

(In the future I live in a crypt?...Love a Slayer?...A deformed one named Buffy to boot?...And get
burned to death?...Spike eyes Dru...Who shrugs...

You want me to tell this one or no?...she asks...

Besides...There's more about you coming...Don't write yourself off just yet...she pats his arm...

Sounds about right for you, Spike...Angelis grins...)

***
She spies a flash from an electric lantern and hears low murmuring sounds of several...Humans...she
senses...

Hiding herself in a dark corner, she waits...Listening...Adults she notes...

There's only two possible reasons for humans who are over eighteen to be in a crypt after midnight...

Searching for monsters or vamps...And the Slayer has no great interest in saving any more humans
right now, thank you...

Or...Grave-robbing...

***

"Carefully..." Praetorius eyes Warren and Jonathan...As they fumble with the lock on a crypt vault...

This should be the one...Fresh laid today...

"Read the inscription..." he eyes Warren...

"Martin Ernest...Beloved son of ..."

Marty Ern...? I knew him...Buffy thinks...We went to high school together...He was a sophomore
when I graduated...Poor kid...

"Never mind about that..." Praetorius glares... "How old was he...?"

"Age 19 years, six months..." Warren reads...

"This is the one...Open it..." Praetorius nods...

Warren eyes Jonathan...Who looks back...

"Mercy on us..." Jonathan quakes...

God...Haven't we seen enough of all this what with Buffy and all...? he thinks...

"Do you two want me to expose your little "transplant organ" business...? Or your delving into
black magic..." Praetorius snarls...

No...Warren sighs...

"Well...Are you ready...?"

Yes...they glumly nod and set to work prying open the coffin...It pops open...

Hmmn...

"Pretty little fellow..In his way...Wasn't he?..." Warren notes...

"I only hope his bones are firm..." Praetorius eyes him...

***
"All right...You can put it back there..." Praetorius tells them...Packing the last of his surgical
implements...

"It seems lighter now..." Warren notes as he and Jonathan return the coffin to its resting place...

Yes...Andrew chuckles...

"Can we go home now?..." Jonathan sighs...

Yes...I shan't need you again tonight...Praetorius nods, paying them off...

"I think I'll stay a bit though...I rather like this place..." he smiles...

Be quiet leaving...

Yes, yes...Warren replies...

"And leave me that lantern..."

"All right, all right..." Warren sighs as they head out...

He and Jonathan pause just outside...

"Whatdaya say Sparky?...If there's much more like this we turn ourselves in...?"

That goes for me...Jonathan nods...

"This is no life for nerd lab assistants/stepfootmen/organ stealers..." Warren sighs as they head off...

***

Andrew sits by the coffin...A considerable picnic meal spread out...Drinking a toast to the skull of
the poor boy whose body he's just removed various skeletal and tissue odds and ends from...

"I give you...The monster!..." he cackles...Leering at the skull...

Buffy steps forward out of the shadows...Guy's a weird old bird but must be used to the dead and
hideous...And she hasn't eaten all day since leaving Spike's...

Will's shirt still clutched in her hands...

She coughs politely...

"Oh..." Andrew eyes her coolly... "I thought I was alone..."

"Friend...?" she gently waves her hands...Pleading...
"Why, yes...I certainly hope so..." he notes...

Please...Do come in...he waves her in...

"Drink...Good...?" she waves at his bottle of wine...

"Please...Do have a glass of wine...It is my only weakness..." Praetorius smiles...Pouring her a
glass...

Good...good...she notes...Slobbering the drink down...

Hell, she's only six days old...And half-dead from thirst to boot...

Watch the alcohol, Summers...she notes to herself...Remember what Will said...And this guy looks
weird enough to even try something with you...

She eyes the spread of baked chicken, bread...

Good...she points...

"If I may...?" her Cicely kicking in...

"By all means..." Andrew smiles...

Remarkable job by that Rosenberg, he thinks...And with my new cloning technique to make the
brain...

She falls on the chicken, tearing it apart...

She eyes Praetorius shrewdly...Pointing at the skull....

"You...Make...Woman...? Like...Me?..."

No...he shakes his head...Man...

Friend for you...

Whoa...she stares at him...

"Yes...I want...Well, no..." she sighs...

Clutching the shirt...

"Want William...No one else..." she eyes him...

Ah...And who pray...? Praetorius stares at her...

"William...Soames...Walthrop..."

Husband...

Vamp...she sighs...

Not his fault...Good man...she notes...

Dead...Gone...

His...? Andrew notes the burned shirt...

Yeah...They did...

"Friends..." she grumbles...

Let me tell ya about..."friends.." she thinks...

"A vampire...And dead now...?" Andrew nods...

William the Bloody by any chance?...You were known to be close to him, Ms. Summers...

She beams...About time someone called her Ms. Summers again...But...

"Mrs....Summers-Walthrop..." she corrects...

Will good...Husband...In...she ponders...

1880...

Ah...Praetorius nods...

So...You were reincarnated, eh...

To save him, perhaps...? he notes...

Sharp as a tack, doc...she thinks, nodding...

"I forgot...Him...Remember too late..." she hangs her head, sadly...

No help...No save...Lose him...Again...

"That is sad...Very sad..." Praetorius nods...

But...Perhaps...I could still help you...

"Have you any knowledge of cloning, my dear...?"
Yeah...she eyes him...

Read about...College...

Not an idiot...Just trouble talk...she notes...

"Well...My little specialty...In this project...Is cloning..." Andrew smiles...

And I was planning to clone a new brain for our creature...

He eyes Will's shirt...

Clone...Brain...? she eyes him...And looks down at the shirt...

But...Soul...?

Want Will's soul...she notes...

"Well, my partner may be able to assure that we obtain his soul..." Andrew notes...

"Do you know who Willow Rosenberg is...? And who you are?..."

"Yes..." she growls, looking away...

I know...

"Willow..." she spits the name out... "Made me from dead..."

I love dead...she hugs the shirt...

Hate living...

And am out of the human saving business...she notes...

"Well..." Andrew sneers...

"You're wise in your generation..."

And your career move...he notes...

"Willow Rosenberg used the Wolfram-Hart resurrection ceremony to bring your soul into this
body..." Andrew nods at Buffy...

That process could be repeated...For your William...he leers...

Using a brain cloned by me...From the material which should still be present on that shirt...he
points...
Whoa...she blinks at him...

Yes...Andrew nods...I think you could be very useful...And you will add a little force to the
argument if necessary...

"We must have a long talk together...And then I have an important call to make..." he smiles at her...

"Just...Talk..." Buffy eyes him...Firmly...

My dear...I am a physician...And a gentleman...Andrew notes...

Buffy takes the skull...Handling it gently...

"William...Friend...Lover..."

Husband...she beams...

Praetorius leers into the dark...Eyes glowing...

I think she's got it...

****

Part IX...

Two days later at the Castle Rosenberg...After some fruitless searching by the gang for any trace of
Buffy having survived the crypt fire Willow and Tara have decided to carry on with their plans to
leave for Vermont and be married at last...

Anya enters Willow's room where she and Tara are finishing their packing...

'That Dr. Praetorius is back again..." she frowns...

"See...What did I tell you?..." Willow looks at Tara...

"Send him away...Say we've left..."

I certainly will...Anya nods, shutting the bedroom door...The main door...

Praetorius enters via an upper door to a balcony above the enormous bedroom...And descends...

"Ah...Willow..." he smiles...

"Ms. Maclauy...I fear I did not properly convey my congratulations on your upcoming marriage
when I was last here...Pray accept them now..." he bows...

"Dr. Praetorius..." Tara frowns sternly... "I want you to know that whatever your business with
Willow is...I am not frightened of it...Or of you..." She pauses, looking at Willow anxiously...

"Willow's been very ill and is in no condition to be disturbed or annoyed...We're awaiting our
car...And after that...We're leaving..."

"I'll be in my dressing room, Willow...I'll call you as soon as the car arrives..."

Willow nods and Tara leaves...Glaring at Andrew who sneers back...

He rushes over to Willow as Tara shuts the door and heads over to her dressing room...

"I think you know why I am here, Willow..." he eagerly beams at her...

My part in our experiment is complete...I have created...By my cloning methods...An artificial
human brain...Already living, but dormant...

"From the person you recommended, actually..." he smiles...

William?...Willow eyes him...But...? How the hell?...

"Everything is ready for our supreme collaboration..." Praetorius gleefully notes...

"No...Don't tell me about it...I don't want to hear..." Willow twists in her chair...

I..I've changed my mind...I won't do it...

Praetorius rises in fury...

"I expected this..." he calms a moment...

I thought we might need another assistant, Willow...he moves to the outside door...

"Perhaps...She can persuade you..."

He opens the door to reveal a rather annoyed looking, seven-foot tall, greenish-skinned, scarred,
burned...but still blonde...Buffy...

Who enters slowly, glaring at Willow...

"No...!" Willow gasps...Rising up...

Not that...

"Is that any way to greet an old and dear friend...?" Praetorius sneers...

Who only wishes to ask a simple favor of her old friend...?

"Rosen...Berg..." Buffy growls...

Waving her hands in front of her for Willow to sit...

"Sit down..." she croaks...

"Yes..." Praetorius nods at Willow...

There have been developments since she came to me...

"What do you want?..." Willow stares at Buffy...

You...Know...Buffy growls at her...

"This is your doing, Andrew..." Willow eyes Praetorius...

Yes...he leers...Nodding...

"No...I won't do it..."

Do it...Must!...Buffy glares...Advancing a bit...

Praetorius waving her back...

"Nothing can make me go on with it..." Willow shakes her head...

Buffy glares in fury...Grrr...

"She must go away...I won't even discuss it with her here..." Willow insists...

My "best friend"...Buffy thinks in anger...

GRRR...!

"That is enough for now...Go..." Praetorius points to the door...

GRRR...!! she glares at Willow...And halts by the door backing away...

"Must...Do it!..." she growls...

"Never...Nothing can make me!..." Willow cries...

GRRRR!!!...she waves a hand angrily at her...

"Go!..." Praetorius opens the door...

Now...he quietly whispers to her as he closes the door...

***

Anya helps Tara with the last of her luggage...And summons servants to carry it down to the now?
waiting car...

Tara puts on her coat...And asks Anya to let Willow know the car is here and it's time to gently
shove Praetorius out the door...

Anya hesitates by the door...

"What's up Anya?" Tara eyes her...

"Oh...I don't like leaving you alone Tara...Not with that strange "doctor" in the house and all the
other goings-on..."

Also don't like going out into that big empty castle hallway all alone either, Anya thinks...

"Nonsense, An...I'll be fine...Just let Willow know I'm ready and the car is here..."

Right...Anya sighs...Leaving...

God, when Giles gets better I am buying out his interest in the Magic Box...Or at least a controlling
interest and going to work there full-time, she thinks...

This part-time servant thing is for the birds...Even if Willow and her parents do let Xander and me
stay on the estate rent free...
***

Buffy creeps along in back of the Rosenberg castle...Looking for just the right...Ah...

She spies Tara in her dressing room...Primping herself and staring in the mirror...And slowly twists
the handle of the door to the outside...

Geesh...All this castle with these huge rooms...And Willow never invited her and Dawn for a sleep-
over...

Some "best friend"...

She enters quietly...Tara hearing a noise, calls out...That you, Willow?...she looks around to see...

"Hi..." Buffy growls...Nice to see ya again Tara...

All comes out as Grrr...Grrr...Argh...

She still has to concentrate to get clear words out...Only eight days old, after all...

The usual "AHHHH!!!"...But Buf's getting used to that by now...

Though she did expect better from Tara...

She grabs her old friend and drags her off...Making more noise than she needs to...Deliberately...

Anya rushes in...And shrieks...AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!...As Tara is dragged out the door,
unconscious now, thanks to some ether provided by Andrew...

Willow and Andrew hear the shrieks and Willow rushes out into the main hall to find Anya
screaming in fright...

"Tara!!!!...Tara!!!...The monster!!!..." Anya screams...

Dawn and Xander and servants emerge...

"Buffy...!..." Anya kindly corrects, eyeing Dawn...

"Tara?!!!..." Willow runs to her...

"Buffy?...Alive!?...:" Dawn eyes Xander...

"What about Tara!..." Willow shakes her...

"Gone!!...Buffy's taken her!...Tara is gone!..." Anya screams...

"There must be a good reason..." Dawn hastily cries...

Maybe she just wanted to talk to one of us alone...she notes...

"This is Praetorius' work..." Willow replies...Shaking her head...

Quick...Xander, Jonathan...Search parties...There's not a moment to lose!...she cries...

A loud crash startles them all...Praetorius standing in Willow's bedroom doorway...Having smashed
a large glass lamp globe...

Hey...! Mr. Rosenberg appearing in the hallway cries...

You gonna pay for that, pal...!...That was priceless!...

"It's ok dad..." Willow calls to him...I'll deal...

"I charge you..." Praetorius calls sternly to all.. "As you value your friend and future mistress'
life...To do nothing and say nothing of this episode...I swear that she will be returned...Unharmed...If
you will leave everything to me..."

He steps over to Willow...

"Nothing..." he leers... "Except what she demands..."

***

High in the hills beyond Sunnydale...Buffy carries Tara to a prearranged hiding place, a large cave...

Throwing her down...Tara now conscious, but bound and gagged...To prevent any spell-casting...
struggles with her ropes...

Buffy in no mood to talk over old times with her old friend...Not having known Tara all that well
anyway...And perhaps, feeling some slight guilt...I dona bad thing, William...But all for
you...Simply growls at her a bit and stalks over to the cave entrance...

My "friends"...she thinks bitterly...Glaring out over the countryside...

You better just pray Willow cooperates, ole pal...she glares over at Tara, still struggling...
It coming out as "Grrr...Arghh...Grr"..Buffy being in no mood to concentrate on her speech...
***

Willow enters Andrew's condo...

Andrew eyes her...Fortunately she didn't think to bring some muscle to intimidate him...And he's
protected himself against magics...

"I can find no trace of Tara...I admit I'm beaten..."

"She is well...And will be returned to you...As soon as our work is complete..."

"Well..." Willow sighs... "I suppose I have no choice...But if you'll promise to bring her back
safe...I'll do anything..."

"Are you ready to complete with me this final experiment?..." Andrew eyes her...

Yes...she sighs...

Ah...Praetorius beams...
***

Part X...

The next day...

A furious Katrina Mears storms out of the Mears home as Jonathan awaits Warren's emergence...

Starting a "special" job for Ms. Rosenberg...Likely the same "special" type of job that resulted in
poor Buffy, Jonathan sighs to himself...And her new partner that fellow Praetorius...Likewise their
employer in their "side business..." Though Ms. Rosenberg was unaware of her lab assistants/family
stepfootmen's side careers as organ stealers and rather amateurish magics practioners...

"Trouble...?" Jonathan innocently asks his partner as Warren comes out...

I told you...Using that "cerebral depressor" thing to get Kat to marry you was a bum idea...Jonathan
notes...

Katrina stalks back...

"Hell!...Why should I leave?!...You twerp!..." she raises a fist at Warren...

You get lost!...And if marriage weren't a sacred institution...And retaining our good family name a
vital thing...she pauses...I'd have the police on you...

"For what?...You gonna tell them I used magics on you?!..." Warren sneers...

No, sir...she halts, bowing...Still a few latent commands holding...

I must not...

"Damn you!!..." she glares waving a fist... "Get out!...Now!..."

And Warren...?!...Don't you give me any trouble about my support payments...! Or I will go to the
police...! And seek a divorce, regardless of the scandal!...

"How much will you be sending me...?" Warren smirks...Nudging Jonathan...

Whatever you deem fair, sir...she halts and bows again...

"Damn you!!!!!..." she shrieks...

(Glad to see marriage is still sacred in your future vision...Angelis notes solemnly...

Well, Dru sighs...That was just a guess...I didn't get many details about future society...But surely
some things remain inviolate...
Wonder if any of those "cerebral depressors" really exist?...Angelis wonders...)

***
Willow, Praetorius, Jonathan, and Warren enter Willow's old lab...On a distant edge of the
Rosenberg estate...Hidden from prying eyes by dirt roads, forests, and hills...The lab itself a grim,
bare, forbidding old castle tower, imported by Willow's dad from Europe years ago, like the main
castle...

Atop it, Willow's masterpiece...The Cosmic Diffuser...A rather phallic-shaped collection of energy
receivers leading to a large platform on which the corpse to be reanimated is strapped
down...Allowing the energy of lightening and cosmic rays to revivify the corpse even as the
Wolfram-Hart spell pulls the soul back into its brain...

"Mind the steps...They're a bit slick I expect..." Willow notes, shining a flashlight on the stairs to the
main lab...

"I think it's a charming house..." Andrew notes as they climb up...

***

The new creature is well underway...Andrew working diligently at the surgery...He and Willow
having agreed that given her "problems" with Buffy...It might be best to let an trained surgeon
handle the body parts stitching this time...

She busy getting the primary organs separately revivified before installation...

"You know Willow..." Andrew calls from the operating table...

"It is interesting to think that once you and I would have been burned at the stake as witch and
warlock for attempting this experiment..."

He tosses a used instrument in Warren's antiseptic bucket as he passes...

"Doctor!..." Willow cries from her bench...With rather considerable enthusiasm, Praetorius happily
notes to himself...

The heart is beating now...!

They listen to its amplified beat over a speaker...

Neat...Jonathan thinks from his bench...

Andrew races over...A key stage...

"But the rhythm of the beat is irregular..." Willow shakes her head...

"Increase the saline solution..." she nods to Andrew who pours more in the heart tank...
"Is there any life yet?..." Praetorius pauses...

No...she sighs...This is only the simulacrum of life...This action only occurs when the current is
applied...

We must be patient...Andrew notes...The human heart is one of the most complex of organs...

And this one was a little...he sighs...

"It's beating faster now..." Willow eagerly notes...

And she didn't want to be in on this one?...C'mon...Andrew smiles within...

The heartbeat increases in intensity and speed...Then...Fades...

"It's stopped..." Willow sinks in a chair...

"Shall I increase the saline solution?..." Praetorius eyes her...

Beautiful eyes she has...he thinks...And so attractive when she's all fired up about a project...

I wonder...It is really?...Always?... "Gay, now"...?

She certainly hasn't asked about her Tara in a while...

"No..." Willow glares at the heart tank...

"This heart is useless...I must have another!..."

And it must be fresh...Sound...And young..

Hmmn...Andrew nods...

Warren...he calls...Mears hustling over...

"You must go to your friend at the "accident hospital"..." Praetorius eyes him...

"What we need..." Willow looks at Warren intently... "Is a young victim of sudden death...Can you
do it?..."

It doesn't have to be male?...Warren eyes her...

Nah...My spell prevents tissue rejection...she notes...Hell, if not the whole thing would be
worthless...

And it's not like it's a sex organ here...

"You promised me ten thousand dollars..." Warren notes...

"It will be worth it..." Andrew sneers... "And Ms. Rosenberg will pay..."

Yes, yes...Go and get it...Willow hastily nods...

"I'll...Try..." Warren leers...Scurrying out the lab door...

Geesh...Jonathan frowns...I know that look...Just like when he dug poor Buffy's body up to get her
brain, and dropped it...Then said it all went just fine...

"There are always accidental deaths occurring...Right, Andrew?..." Willow eyes
Praetorius...Nervously rubbing her hands together...

"Always..." Andrew sneers... Returning to his work on the corpse...

Oh...C'mon Willow...Jonathan thinks, shaking his head...

Still she's the boss...

***
So...Female's ok...Warren thinks happily as he leaves...

And I know just the lady to be our donor...

***

Part XI...

Later that afternoon...Back in Sunnydale...

Warren seeks his heart donor...But has a perfect candidate in mind...
***

At the Mears' home he finds the locks changed but no problemo for a skilled grave-robber cum nerd
magics practitioner/lab assistant cum stepfootman...

"Hey, babe..." he calls upstairs from the hallway...

"Daddy's home...!"

"Warren!?...Damn you!..." Katrina calls down...Rushing to the stairs...

"I told you to get..."

He flashes the cerebral depressor...Good for one more heavy jolt, at least...

As he thought...Poor kid still hadn't protected herself against magics...Part his mental block placed
via the depressor, part her own trusting nature...

"I love you, Master...Welcome home..." she obediently bows...

"You, too, baby...Would you like to do me and a friend a favor?...And make a major contribution to
Science...?" he grins...

She nods...

Well...How's about you go take a little walk in the street?...With your eyes closed, please...Once
you get into the middle of traffic?...he leers...

"Yes, Master..." she eagerly nods...And heads out...

Hey...He wasn't about to do it himself...To his own wife?...That'd be sick...

Just...Taking advantage of an opportunity...

(Now this is a part I like...Angelis nods...

Though when Spike burned to death was the best so far...

Spike snarls but cans it as the butler returns to ask if anything else is required before he retires...)

***

The new heart is an immediate hit...Kat's amplified beat filling the lab...

"It's beating perfectly..." Willow beams...

Oh if only I can keep it going...

"It was a very...Fresh one..." Warren happily calls...

Andrew drops his scalpel...Damn!...Moron...he thinks...

Jesus...Jonathan sighs from his workbench...I can just guess...

"Where did you get it?..." Willow glares...

"I gave the EMT a thousand bucks..." Warren hastily notes...

"What EMT?..." Willow scowls at him, anxiously staring at the heart in its tank...

"It was...A..." he eyes Praetorius...

Police case...Andrew mouths...

"Police case..." Warren finishes...

Willow eyes him...

Andrew rushes over...

"Yes, yes...Very sad...Only we can't bother about that now...Can I do anything...?"

Anything?...he thinks, eyeing her...Such beautiful eyes...

"No, no, no..." Willow turns back to the heart, applying more current...

"I can work better alone..." she nervously stares at the heart, rubbing her exhausted face...

Andrew turns back to his work...And gives Mears orders to head out to Tara's holding place...
Time to give Willow some incentive for her work...Poor girl's just about ready to drop from
exhaustion...

Just as Buffy appears at the lab doorway...And fiercely glares at the departing Warren...

"Hey...There..." Warren nervously smiles...

"Bastard..." she eyes one of her burned arms...She remembers Willow's fiendish lab assistant...The
one who delighted in torturing her those first coupla days when she was locked in Willow's
dungeon...

He gulps...But hey, he hastily notes...As she stares at him...

"All on the same team, Slayer...Workin' for the same final goal, right?..." he points down into the
lab...

She growls at him...

"Hey...Andrew?...You got a visitor?..." he calls nervously...

Gotta go...Keep an eye on little Willow's girl, ya know?...he smiles at Buffy...Who just glares but
lets him go by...

Deal later...she thinks...Glaring after him...

She rushes down the stairs...To see Willow asleep at her bench...

Hurrying over she shakes her awake...Violently...

"Work..!" she points at the bench...

"Where's Tara...Have you brought her?..." Willow asks her anxiously...

What...Not even a "hi, Buffy...How ya doin'..."? Some "best friend"...Buffy thinks angrily...

"I wait...She wait..." Buffy glares at her...

"I can't go on like this...I'm exhausted!...I must get sleep!..." Willow cries...Andrew hastening
over...

"Work!...Finish!...Then, sleep!..." Buffy growls...

The Slayer still runs the scooby operation, bitch...For all your family's cash...Buffy thinks...

She nervously stares around the lab...Rather interested in the work's progress...Jonathan waves from
his bench...Hey, Buf...Things are going pretty well...he calls...

She hovers over Willow, glaring...Also knocking over test tubes, sticking her finger in the heart
saline solution, and generally becoming a nuisance...Only eight days old, after all...And with
probable brain-damage thanks to Warren's brain-manhandling and Willow's overuse of lightning...

"I can't work like this!...She must go away!..." Willow twists anxiously in her chair...

Just tryin' to help...Buffy thinks, hurt...Geesh...Some "best friend" I got...

"I'll settle her for a little while..." Praetorius glares at Buffy...

And fetches a bottle of brandy...His only weakness...and a glass...

"Drink..." he intones to her, smiling...

Good...

Buffy eyes him and the glass...Hasn't had anything all day...

Still, water would preferable...Hate to have Mom see her hitting the sauce as much as she has been
these past few days with Andrew...Though really only a couple of glass of wine...she notes...

And she is pretty thirsty...

Well...Ok...

"Drink...?" she reaches for the glass...He pulls it away and reaches for something on the bench...A
powerful narcotic...Pouring it into the glass...

Good...he leers, handing it to her...

She gulps it down...Hmmn...

Funny...I...Whoa...she stumbles...Groping a bit...

God, Mommy always told me not to take drinks from guys I barely knew...she thinks as she
collapses...On to a bench...

Andrew, sneering, throws a coat over her... "That'll keep you quiet..."

"Tara..." Willow looks at him...And the unconscious Buffy...

"She's dead..." she gasps...

"Tara is alive and she is well..."

"I don't believe you..." Willow shakes her head...

Buffy doesn't seem that good a caregiver right now...

"I have proof..." Andrew solemnly notes...

Proof...? Willow eyes him anxiously...

"In a few moments...She will speak to you via this electrical machine...A wireless telephone..."
Andrew notes...Holding up a cell phone...

(Remarkable...Angelis notes...

Indeed, Dru nods...But I saw many of them in my visions...)

The phone buzzes...

"Speak..." Andrew hands Willow the phone...

"And she will hear you and answer you..."

"Tara!..." Willow gasps...Hearing her voice...

"Are you alright?..."

In the cavern where she is being held Tara struggles to speak into the phone as a newly arrived
Warren holds the phone to her lips...Watching nervously for any signs of spell-casting...

"Oh, Willow!...Yes I'm alright!...But Willow, darling!...Come for me!...I'm..." Warren covers her
mouth and turns the phone off...

Ummn...Just for your protection, ma'am...he notes to Tara...

"Buffy'd kill us all if this project gets screwed...Or I let you go...You understand..." he nods to Tara,
reapplying the gag...

Hell...He may still want that stepfootman/lab assistant's job after this is over...Not a bad idea to
cover his ass...

Twerp...You are so fired...Tara thinks...Eyeing him...

Told Willow to can him after the way he handled Buffy's care those first few days...And I just know
he screwed up when he got her brain out for us...
***

Willow releases the phone...

"She's gone..."

"But...You heard her..." Andrew notes...

"Yes...She's alive..." Willow sighs...

"And will be returned to you...Unharmed...When this experiment is complete..."

Willow nods, turning back to monitoring poor Kat's heart...
***

Warren returns about half an hour later...

"I wouldn't sit there..." Jonathan calls...Warren looking down to see an unconscious seven-foot tall
Buffy lying spread-eagled out on the bench he's about to lie down on...

Oops...

Andrew glares at him...No time for napping anyway...And sends him and Jonathan to the top of the
tower to begin preparations to utilize the electrical storm predicted for tonight...

He and Willow are now engaged in checking the storm's likely intensity...Listening over
headphones...

"It's going to be a terrific storm..." Willow grins happily, removing her headphones...

We shall be ready...she smiles at Praetorius...

He does have something about him...she can't help noting to herself...

And he is one hell of a truly dedicated scientist...

"How is the heart?" Andrew asks anxiously, listening to the amplified beat...

"It's been beating for almost nine hours..." Willow notes eagerly...As they rush over to the tank...

"Not yet...But soon..." she beams at the tank, eyes gleaming...

And she said she was out of this line...Andrew grins happily at her...

Are those the eager eyes of someone who's "had enough of this hell-spawn"...? I think not...

"What about the brain?..." he asks...Clearly fishing for a complement...

"Perfect..." Willow eagerly notes...And already in position...

"Shall we put the heart in now?..." she beams at Praetorius...

Yes...he hisses back, equally excited...
They wheel the heart tank over to the corpse and lift the heart carefully out...

"It's beating quite regularly now..." Willow happily notes to Andrew...

God...Warren, eyeing them, sneers to Jonathan as they begin putting on their raincoats to go up top...

Why don't they just get a room?...

"You know, Sparky..." he leers at Jonathan as they climb up to the tower roof platform...

"That Andrew is preety gay himself if you ask me...Maybe two opposing gays cancel each other
out..." he smirks...

Shut up...Jonathan shoves him along...

The storm is building now...Fierce wind and rain beginning...Some early lightening flashes...
***

Part XII...Conclusion...

Anya and Dawn help a still-slightly wobbly Xander as they conduct yet another search of the estate
grounds for Tara...

And now for Willow as well...She having disappeared with Praetorius the other day...

"It's getting dark.."Xander notes...And a storm is coming on...

"I think we'd best give it up for the evening...And hope that Willow knows what she's doing..." he
sighs...

Knows what she's doing?...The woman who stuffed my sis' brain into a body of dead rotting parts
and fried her with lightning?...Dawn thinks, glaring...

Say...? she points at the old tower, far off in the distance...Barely visible in the dark and storm but
with the Cosmic Diffuser now raised for testing, gleaming in the reflected occasional lightning bolt...

"What the hell's that?..."

The old tower Willow's dad brought over years ago from Europe...Anya notes...

"I think they use it for storage and such...It's mainly ornamental...To make the estate look more
European..."

"We oughta check it out...It's the largest other building besides the castle I've seen on the whole
place..." Dawn notes...

No real roads to it...And it's several miles from the estate road...Anya points out...

"Maybe tomorrow...?" she suggests...

The lightning flashes again...Hmmn...Xander thinks...

"Didn't Willow use lightning to get Buffy up and going again?..." he looks at Anya...

Lightning and cosmic rays...Anya corrects...

And she never did tell us where on the estate the other lab was...Where she got Buffy up and
running...he notes...

"Lets go!..." Dawn insists...

But what would that matter...? Anya points out...

Willow wouldn't be frying Buffy again...Why would she need another lightning storm?

"Unless....?"

They stare at each other...

***

Willow and Andrew stand by the new creature, wrapped in bandages, stretched out on the operating
table slab...

"Think of it, Willow..." Andrew beams...Still fishing for compliments about his wonderful cloned
brain...

"Lying within this skull..." he pats the bandages... "Is an artificially developed human brain...Cloned
from a vampire's remains no less...Each synapse, each convolution, ready...Waiting for life to
come..."

Touch of the poet in him...Willow can't help noting to herself...Will would be pleased to be know
his brain was cloned by a poetic type...

"Say...?" Willow pauses...Listen to the speakers...

What's that music?...

"The creation scene from the "Bride of Frankenstein"..." Andrew notes...

I thought it most appropriate...he smiles...

They hear a loud thunderbolt crash...

"The storm is coming up over the mountains..." Praetorius looks at Willow...

It will be here soon...

"You're on Rosenberg..." he smiles at her...

Willow flips up giant electrodes around the creature's head...Andrew helping her pull a large spark
generator over...They switch it on and a large electrical discharge begins coursing across its
surface...Lighting the room with an eerie glow...

Willow rushes over to where the implements for the soul retrieval portion of the Wolfram-Hart
ceremony lay...Next to getting the body in working order, and the brain cloned, the key part of the
whole project...

"Warren!...Jonathan!..." she cries up to them above...

"Get the kites ready...!"

"The kites!...the kites!...Get 'em ready!..." Warren hollers to Jonathan over the storm on the tower
rooftop...

"Open the roof!..." Willow calls...They work a crank to open the large tower roof to the skies...

"Lower the Cosmic Diffuser..." They work winches to send the huge assembly down...

"Wires...Send down your wires!..." she calls...They drop large cables which she and Praetorius
secure to the electrodes about the new creature...

"All right..." she cries...Grabbing the W-H implements...

"I'm coming up...!"

I could just kiss her now...Praetorius thinks...She's so beautiful when she's creating life from the
dead...

Well, perhaps later...

"Stand-by the main generators, Andrew!..." she points over...He rushes to the bank of generators...

She hurries up the stairs to the tower...

Eyeing Jonathan and Warren...Ready guys?...

So excited she didn't even put on a raincoat, Jonathan notes...

"Jonathan, you take number two!..." Warren cries over the storm...

"Have you checked your connections?!..." Willow calls to Warren...

Yes!!...

"Are you sure?!..."

Hell, lady we helped you get the first one going...We know what we're doing...Warren thinks, a bit
miffed...

Yeah, yeah...!!

"Ok...Release number one..." Willow orders...

The first of two huge metal kites soars into the rising storm...

"Number two!!..." she cries to Jonathan...

And the second...
Neat...thinks Jonathan as he eyes the huge kites...Really quite beautiful design...Willow's an artist at
heart, I'd say...

But then no reason we can't do this with a little style...

She begins the first part of the soul retrieval ceremony...Warren and Jonathan watching attentively...
***

"Look!..." Dawn points up at the huge kites soaring into the night sky...

Whoa...Xander eyes them...

Don't think Willow would be playing with giant kites in this weather without a damn good reason...

"Come on!..." Dawn insists as they track their way through a road now of near impenetrable mud...
Miles yet to the tower...

God...The things I do in my dual career as part-time servant and scooby...Anya sighs...

Of course there's always my time in the Magic Box...And my Xander...To make life worth
living...she notes...

Gosh...Maybe I have been a leetle hard on Buffy this week...she thinks sadly...She has no one now...

Plus major deformities and brain-damage...

Though...She probably does appreciate the new height...
***

Willow descends the tower...Joining Andrew back in the main lab...

She continues with the next part of the ceremony as Andrew works the electrical part of the
process...

Slamming a series of circuit breakers, throwing switches...Huge bolts of current flashing around the
room as Willow chants and causes a blue glow to appear around the bandages of the creature's new
brain...

She halts and joins Andrew for more switch-throwing...

"We're sending it up..." she calls up to Warren and Jonathan...

The great machine lifts to the tower rooftop...The new completely bandage-wrapped body on its
slab...Lightening starting to strike the huge kites, and now the main diffuser itself at its tip...

Neither the preoccupied Willow or Andrew see Buffy awaken and rush up the stairs to the roof,
seeing her honey rising up on his slab...
Can't let those two bozo lab assistants screw this up now...she thinks, hurrying up...

By the way, Andrew...Me little bit pissed at the drugging...she glares down at the busy Praetorius as
she reaches the roof door...

Still...He does seem hard at it...

She emerges on the roof platform...Rain's nearly stopped but lightning and thunder and wind are
worse than ever...Staring at the slab where...William?...Now lays...Lightning smashing at the tip of
the Diffuser above...Oh...

God...How I hate lightning...she thinks...

Warren comes over...

Damn...What a time for Buffy the brain-dead Slayer to make an appearance...

"Go back!..." he cries...

She glares at her former tormentor and all-around robot-girlfriend-making jerk...

Grrr...!...She's in no mood to concentrate on speaking clearly...

"Go Back!!..." he pulls a flaming torch from its socket...Waving it at her...

Warren...Geesh...Jonathan shakes his head from the other side of the roof platform, cut off now by
the open space in the roof where the Cosmic Diffuser has emerged...

You know how she hates fire, man...God, she nearly killed you over it that last time in her dungeon
cell...

She rushes him, grabs the torch and whacks him with it...

How do you like it, schmuck!...she glares at him as he falls to the ground, howling in pain...

Hey, Jonathan...she waves a bit...

"How it going?..." she tries to call...

He guesses her question and gives a wan thumbs-up...Looking over at Warren now crawling
desperately away...

She contemptuously looks back...Ah, he ok...Just got leetle of what he been dishin' out...she thinks...

Bitch...Warren groans...Looking for his pistol...He pulls himself up for a shot...

Waving to Buffy, Jonathan points...Behind you...To Buffy who whirls back and hurls Warren
back...

He falls against the cable to kite number one...Just as a lightning bolt destroys the kite...

ARGGGGGHHH!!!...

Eehew...Buffy and Jonathan look at the burning remains...

She shrugs at him...Sorry...

"Eh...He had it coming!..." Jonathan hollers back...

They stare at the Diffuser as the second kite is destroyed and the main assembly crackles with
energy...

Beautiful, eh...?! Jonathan calls over...Pointing to the Diffuser...

Yeah...she nods...

Oh, Will...My sweet Will...Please God...she nervously prays...

I sure deserve break for this week...

Say...she calls...As the storm lulls a bit...

"What that music?..." Hearing Andrew's recording playing from below...

"Bride of Frankenstein creation, I think..." Jonathan calls back...

Nice...she beams..

"Very a...pro...pro..priate..." her Cicely side helps out...

"I think he's done...!" Jonathan calls to her...We oughta go down...

Ok...she nods...Wait a minute...she eyes him...

"Done?"...

Hey...Buffy glowers...That better be Warren's burning flesh I smell...she thinks...

***

"Lower it!..." Willow calls to Andrew in the lab below...

The great machine lowers to the lab floor...

Willow and Praetorius rush over...Hesitant...

A low moan is heard...Praetorius eyes Willow in exultation...What a fellow scientist!...What a
woman!...

Pity about the gay thing...

The left hand of the creature moves...

Andrew rips a bandage from the face...Exposing two open eyes...Blinking eyes...

"He's alive!!!...Alive!!!!..." Willow cries...

"Oh.." A gasping..."What the bloody hell!?" ...they hear from within the bandages...

And we've got our target soul, I'd say...she beams at Andrew...

They hastily crank the slab upright and begin unbinding the straps...

The bandaged creature raises its arms...And staggers, collapsing...

Willow and Praetorius stare at each other in gleeful triumph...And begin unpinning and unraveling
the bandages...

***

"Umbre...lla..." Buffy happily nods at Jonathan...As they walk down the stairs to the main lab
together...

Now I remember...Jon..a than give me nice umbrella...Class Protector...she thinks...

"You nice...Jona..than..." she notes...

You no hurt...I no hurt...she pats him...

Like others...she grumbles...

"Anyway...Will and I go now..." she nods...

No one more hurt...

"Well...Buffy..." Jonathan sighs, eyeing her...All seven feet of her...

"I hope it works out for you...But you can't get your hopes up too high...This kinda thing is preety
experimental..."

She eyes him...
Well...he looks away...Just don't want you to be hurt...That's all...

"You nice...Jonathan...Kinda responsible too..." Hmmn...

You date any?...Me sis need nice guy...she notes...

Better off with nice slight older guy...

Really?...Jonathan thinks...

Dawn is kinda...

"After she seventeen, course..." Buffy glares...

Course...Jonathan nods...

***
Play Groom's Theme
William stands almost unwrapped in hospital gown...Somewhat taller than before but otherwise
pretty much the same but for a few scars, thanks to Willow's net search of William Walthrop's 1880
class picture at Cambridge and Andrew's skillful surgical technique...Perhaps a bit perturbed by his
experience and by finding himself naked but for a hospital johnny, he is silent now...

"The Groom of Rosenberg!..." Praetorius beams...As he and Willow stand observing him...

See what a difference a good surgeon's experience can make?...Andrew notes to a sheepish
Willow...Who has to admit...

But a great job with the soul restoration and the revivifying...Andrew hastily adds, gallantly...

Gotta admit...Willow thinks, beaming back at the exultant Praetorius...

Earth did move for me, Andrew...

William blinks at them...Twisting around like a chicken with its head cut off or a nervous
cat...Rather clueless as yet except for that brief episode at his birth...

Hope that brain of yours is all it's cracked up to be...Willow hisses to Andrew...Eyeing the now-
rushing descending Buffy...

Or we are in deep do-do...

Buffy hastens over...And stops as William stares at her...Clearly rather...Startled...

"Friend...William...Husband...?" she pleads...Waving her hands gently...

Shock...It could just be shock...I needed some time after my rebirth, she thinks...Hopefully...

Gack...!...William lets out a cry at her...And backs away...Toward...Willow...

Hmmn...Buffy glowers at her "best friend"...I always thought she had a thing for him...she thinks...

Ever since that night at her dorm... "Oh, I don't think we should destroy Spike...He seemed so
human that time he came to me after being chipped..." Yeah...
Willow leads the frightened William to a bench and sits him down...

"Back..." Andrew waves an arm at Buffy...

Grrr...I'm not too pleased with you right now, friend...she glares at him...After that little drugging
episode...

She pushes him back...And rushes over to the bench where William is sitting...Taking a seat beside
him...

She takes his arm...He stares at her without recognition...She pats his hand...

Willow and Praetorius look at each other...

Cross your fingers...Willow thinks...

"Ahhh!..." he gasps...

"Honey?...Lover?...Friend?...William?..." she tries again...Moving to embrace him...

He lets out a clear scream and dashes off the bench...Running to Willow...

Buffy stands in raging fury...Morons!...Screwed it again!...

"He dumping me...Like others..." she rages...Eyeing Willow narrowly...

And for my best friend...My best...Gay...friend...

Shit!...

"Back, back..." Andrew tries to wave her back...

She growls at them and shoves aside equipment Praetorius moves in her path...

She nears...The lever...

"Look...Doctor!...The lever!..." Willow cries...

"Get away from that lever, you fool!...You'll blow us all to atoms..." Praetorius cries...

Hmmn...Buffy eyes...The lever...

Well...If I've really lost my husband forever and my love-life is gonna stay firmly in the toilet...

Cries are heard at the lab ground door...Tara, Xander, Dawn, and Anya...

Tara having freed herself and joined the others on their slog to the lab tower...
"Willow!...Willow, darling...Come on..." Tara cries...

Willow rushes to the lab door...

"Go, Tara...I can't leave them now...I can't!..." she cries...

"Come on...Willow!..." Tara cries...

I really can't...she explains...Jonathan over there has the only door key...

"Buffy...!" Dawn comes over...

"Don't do it, Buffy!"

Go way, Dawn!...Buffy cries...Sadly eyeing the bewildered, blinking William...Now shaking his
head as if to clear it...

"Jonathan...!..." Buffy calls...

Go!...You nice...You live...she points to a side door...

And be nice to my sis...

"How's about me...?..." Willow calls "Your best friend...With so much to live for?..."

Witch bitch and mad doctor boyfriend stay...Buffy glares...

Boyfriend?...Tara blinks at Praetorius standing by Willow near the main door as Jonathan heads to
his side door...Why that red-headed little...

Jonathan sighs and pauses...I suppose I should try...

We four belong...Buffy reaches for the lever...

Head for the hills!...Xander cries...Grabbing Dawn and Tara with Anya and racing back from the
tower...

"Buffy?...Cicely?...Miss Addams?...!...Wait a mo!..." Will cries...

William?...You know me?...Cicely...Buffy...she eyes him...

He hesitates...

"Don't touch the lever, Buffy!..." Willow cries...

Why not?...she calls...

"Even...My own husband...Dumps me...God..."

I mean...I was afraid that electroshock might screw up his memory...But geesh...He knows
me...Look at him...And...he...

She burst into tears... "Don't...Want..." She reached for...The lever...

"Me..."

"I wasn't dumping, you sweet...For God's sake I was just resurrected in a reaminated corpse..."
Will calls...

However, if you'd allow me a decent night's sleep...Cicely...he pauses...

And finish taking off these damn bandages and get me something to wear...

"Really, Will?..." Buffy beams...Backing off from...The lever...

"Of course you blonde little sot...You know I love you..."

Phew...Willow eyes Praetorius...Who shakes his head...

This is absolutely the last time I get involved in this sort of thing...Jonathan thinks, watching...

"I do look all right, right?..." Will eyes Buffy...

Beautiful as ever...she smiles...

And...Taller than Angel...she grins...

Oh...Will...she beams, waving her arms...Striking...The lever...

Oh...Shit...she looks up at it...

Sorry...

Huge explosions rack the tower...Dawn, Xander, Tara, and Anya watch in horror as it
crumbles...The Cosmic Diffuser back at its roof falling over into the valley below...

They stagger back, rubble all around them...Covered in dust and soot...

"Oh God...Buffy!..." Dawn screams...

"Willow!..." Even if you are a cheatin' insane tramp...Tara cries...

"Jonathan!..." Anya cries...Xander eyeing her...

Sorry...Residual from that spell of his...

Besides he was a nice guy to stay with them...Somebody should feel bad, she notes...

Uhhh...A low moan is heard from the rubble...

Jonathan pulls himself out of some wreckage with Xander's help...

Hey...He feebly waves...

Whoa...I survived that?...he looks back at the tower...

Hey...Another feeble cry...

"Willow?" Tara calls...

Oh...

Willow is dug out, rather battered but nothing too serious...Tara hugs her, causing far more pain...

"Pardon me...?" a faint cry...

Dr. Praetorius emerges, stumbling a bit...Well-protected actually by some fallen beams...

As he points out, it was a well-built tower...And, he sighs sadly...Truly a charming house...

Dawn looks at Jonathan and the others...Buffy?!...Oh...

They look amongst the rubble...No trace...

"Sad...Very sad..." Andrew notes...

Especially after seeing Willow hugging Tara...

But...As Xander echoes...Perhaps for the best...

Their souls are sure to be together in Eternity...Andrew assures Dawn kindly...

Keep that creep away from me...Dawn hisses to Jonathan...

They walk off...Around some trees...Xander watching carefully beside Anya...

As a good Big Brother ought...

"Ah...Well, Willow..." Andrew eyes her...

At least we certainly did it...
And I can expect to make a fortune from my cloned organs now that they've had the...As it
were...Ultimate test...

And a new University chair is sure to be mine, now...

"Any chance you might like to continue our partnership?..." he leers at her...

Well...Willow beams...

We did do quite a job together back there...

Tara growls...A very resurrected-Buffy-ish growl...

"I'll suggest to my dad he invest in your company..." Willow backs off...

Later...she hisses when Tara turns away...

Andrew leers, and waving, heads off to his car...Four miles off through the rain-soaked mud roads...But
hell, he is a multimillionaire as of tonight...Not to mention...Still a chance with the divine Ms. R...

Jonathan pauses with Dawn on the edge of the forest...And signs for her to be quiet, pointing off in
the distance...

To where Buffy and Will can be seen staring back at them at the edge of some forest, hand-in-hand...

Buffy puts a finger to her lips...Don't tell...she smiles to Dawn...Waving gently with Will...

Dawn, nodding back to her, blows a kiss...And she and Jonathan turn back toward the others before
anyone can see...

"Darling..." Will embraces Buffy...Darling she repeats...Darling...

***
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