In for a Penny...Part XVII

Suggested theme...Scooby March (The Great Escape)

Dr. Walthrop was pretty battered by the chip's assault as a result of his biting of Wolfram and
Hart's brightest star...But after some rest he joined the group...and his new recruit to the team...

Lilah was naturally pleased to be in the boss' presence...And did her best to make a strong,
potentially successful proposal...Which placed her in the principal role...

Anything for the cause of right and good...

***
Willow winced at Lilah's enthusiasm...Spike had been all too successful and in spite of her
anger, she was feeling guilty...

But from the basement she could hear Buffy's screams and pleadings...
She decided to leave the planning to Spike, Xander, Wesley, and the new teammate and to try to
restore the spell on Buffy's demon...

***
Dawn was awake...And quite happy to see anyone, even Warren, whom she barely knew as Buffy
Rebecca's "father"...

She was not aware of her own father's death...Or Buffy's...

Warren explained carefully that Buffy was busy with the others...And she would explain why her
dad had had to leave so soon when she got back...

Yes, Buffy Rebecca had come back in spirit...And Spike had been overjoyed...

Yes, he thought Spike was going to make a fine human being too...

***

Lilah was well aware of the need for caution as she left the building to head home...And followed
her instructions regarding security to the letter...

But as dedicated to the cause of right and good as she now was, she had a few ideas of her
own...Concerning a certain British "cybergenius"...

She had no intention of betraying his trust in her...In fact, she would happily risk her life for him
now that she knew him...But...

She saw no reason why she would have to protect the life of the red-haired woman he seemed
rather too fond of...

***
Buffy was calm now, thanks to Willow's efforts...

Giles was ready to collapse from the nervous strain and she got him to finally rest...

She, Cordelia, Buffy, and Buffy Rebecca talked as best they could through the box...Buffy
Rebecca was deeply concerned regarding William's attack on Lilah...Though she understood it
was absolutely necessary...She could guess the strain it had put on him...

"And here he is..." Willow tries to sound bright as Spike joins them...

Cordelia is still a bit nervous about him...Which gives the distinguished Dr. Walthrop a bit of
pleasure...

Nice to know you can still frighten the occasional human...
***
Although Warren didn't know Tara well, he needed some help and guessed that she was anxious
to join the gang now that Dawn was well on her way to recovery...

She was quite enthusiastic...And agreed with his plan to provide additional help to the gang
completely...

Besides, if Spike could learn enough cybernetics in a couple of weeks to assist in the construction
of Buffy Rebecca...
***
There was no other way now...Except to risk everything...
Suggested theme...Operation Wolfram-Hart (Mission:Impossible)


To enter Wolfram and Hart...With Lilah's assistance...And remove the items necessary to make
use of the resurrection ceremony that had briefly stored Darla to humanity...

Willow could not maintain her spell over Buffy's demon much longer...And Buffy Rebecca
could only offer limited help in strengthening her sister...

At that, it was amazing Buffy's soul had hung on for so long...Refusing to be cast aside into a
corner of limbo while her vampire demon reigned...

Willow had reviewed the information Lilah had been able to obtain so far...She had some ideas
for a modified ceremony...But she had to have the correct implements...

Lilah, new convert to the cause of good, courtesy of Dr. Walthrop, "cybergenius" and semi-
reformed vampire, was enthusiastic about the plan...She was sure she could smuggle Willow and
Walthrop into the building...And with their skills...And justice on their side...Success was
certain...

***
Willow went to tell Buffy the details of their plan...

She found Walthrop...Talking to the two sisters...

Thank God...She's still calm, Willow thinks...I couldn't bear another time like last night...

But she can't help wondering...Is Spike's heart really in this...?

If we save Buffy, Buffy Rebecca's spirit may be lost to him...for God's knows how long...

Can I count on him?...Or, will he have his own agenda?...

Still...BR would kill him if he did it any other way...

Thank goodness for true love...
***


In for a Penny...Part XVIII

Lilah...Wolfram and Hart star...Corporate double-agent in the battle against
evil...

Although Xander and Wesley and the rest all wanted to go, it was vital to keep
the group to the barest minimum...Willow and Spike...The rest would have to
wait...and hope...

In the early evening she slipped Willow and Spike in past security to her
office with ease...

But then no one expected much trouble getting into Wolfram and Hart...

***
"The little ones are here..." Drusilla tells Darla...She isn't sure which of
Buffy's "little ones" but she knows who one is...

Her silly little boy...

It was a bit of a pain to get this knowledge in their sewer crypt, far from any
phone...But at least Darla knew where the gang would eventually be
headed...Wolfram and Hart...

And Buffy?...Dru wasn't sure...The two Bad Ones were blocking their demon
sister...She couldn't be quite sure where Buffy was...

But she was in LA...Somewhere...

And Darla had a good idea of where...

***
"Hi, this is Warren..."

Wesley had no idea of who "Warren" was...But he seemed to know a good deal
about what was going on...Much more so than Wesley as a matter of fact...

He was bringing Willow's friend, Tara...and some help...And needed directions as
Tara had never been to Angel's offices...

He did provide some good news...Dawn was safe...and well...

Wesley knew Tara slightly and politely got confirmation from her that it was ok
to give out the requested info...
***
"All the materials on occult operations are locked up in basement storage..."
Lilah told Willow and Dr. Walthrop...

"We should wait until the building clears as much as possible before going
down..."

It was a simple plan...Lilah, shining star of W-H, checking on some items after
hours, on an important but not immediate matter...perfectly reasonable that she
should pick through storage a bit...True go-getter that she was...No details
left unattended...

And not unusual that she should bring along a little help... She wasn't the
type to crawl through a dirty basement...

***

Wesley had taken over the job of talking to Buffy...and her sister...from
Cordelia...Who was going crazy from trying to keep track of which sister was
speaking...

They were both Buffy, after all...

"Hi, Wesley..." She or they calls...

"Well...Buffy..." He calls through the box...What do you say to a poor innocent
woman who is losing her humanity, a courageous fighter of evil defeated by her
own love and compassion for her father?...Not to mention the robotic deceased
sister...

"Have you heard about Angel's trip to Tibet?..."
***
Suggested theme...Darla and Dru (Girls Just Wanta Have Fun)

Darla and Dru carefully circled around Angel's building...Dru could sense
Buffy's presence...All three sisters in fact...The two Bad Ones and their
demon...But the demon was weighted down...struggling...

Darla decided to contact her allies at Wolfram-Hart...No need to let things be
too easy for Buffy's little friends...

Lilah, fortunately, was available in her office and quite pleased to get
Darla's call...Yes, indeed...she would alert the company that Buffy Summers'
friends might even now be attempting to carry off the resurrection ceremony
material...Yes, of course, they'd certainly hold Buffy's foolish allies for
Darla...No problem at all...

Lilah was rather enjoying her double agent status...She never did like those
psycho vampiresses anyway...

With all things secured on the Wolfram-Hart front, Darla and Dru could
concentrate on freeing their new sister...

An obliging tenant let them into the building...

***
Suggested theme...Willow and Spike at Wolfham-Hart (Secret Agent Man)

"We may not have much time..." Lilah warned her new employers...She explained
the situation...

On Walthrop's instructions, she called Wesley to warn that Darla was
prowling...

As they left for the basement area, Willow couldn't help noticing Spike trying
to conceal a slight pride at his prowess in "thrall"...He hadn't tried it in
ages...Generally he left that sort of thing to the creepier sort...like that
Euro-trash, Dracula...Still, nice to know you've still got it in you and all...

Willow, a little irritated, still didn't have the heart to tell him she had
helped a bit...Just a little love spell based on the one that had worked a
little too well for Xander once upon a time...

She'd known Spike was out of practice and all...

***
Blocked...

Darla and Dru could not get into the basement area of Angel's building where
Buffy lay in her coffin box...Giles had taken no chances and provided as strong
a barrier for the offices and basement as he and Willow could...

But Darla had expected something like this...Concealed, an opportunity would
arise...Sooner or later...And she could wait...

Dru however...

***
"This is it..." Willow tells Spike, both deep in Wolfram-Hart's occult storage
area...

"Can we manage the stuff?...Is it a lot?..." He hadn't been quite sure exactly
what Willow would be taking...

"Just these two boxes...A little heavy but...not much for a vampire with such
an ability with the ladies..." Willow grinned at him...

He could handle that...
***

Suggested theme...Darla and Dru party with Buffy April (Macarena)

Dru did not like waiting...No...

And she still wasn't any closer to getting her dolly...Just that boring
Buffy...And she didn't like the feel of the two Bad Ones...

She wanted to go home...Or at least to have a little fun...

Someone was coming...Headed for the offices...Darla waved Dru back...Several
people it seemed....Dru could feel them...One she vaguely sensed was a friend
of the Slayer...female...Then a male...Didn't know him at all...And the
other...

Dru's eyes bulged and she screamed...It couldn't be...No...

Darla grabbed at her...And found herself grabbed from behind...And tossed
effortlessly against a wall...

By Buffy Summers...Who did not seem especially angry or upset...

***
In for a Penny...Part XIX

"Careful, Warren..." Tara warns him, waving him back... "Let her handle them..."

Dru shrieks and cowers...Darla was once again in space...

Striking the wall, she pulls herself up and backs off, running into an open office...Leaving the
field to Ms. Summers...

She calls out to Buffy... Perhaps not much hope, but it's worth a try... "Buffy?... Come with us..."

Dru runs for the back door and smashes through the door window...

"Darla?..." Buffy calls... "Here is the deal...You come out now and we'll talk..."

It's odd how stilted her voice sounds...Almost mechanical...

What's wrong with her?...And why isn't she attacking her two human friends?...Some spell by
that witch of hers?...The Watcher?...

Oh, God...Is she already all but cured?...After all I've been through?...

Not a good night for Darla...

***
Lilah was, of course, pleased that her plan was working out so well so far for her newly beloved
Dr. Walthrop...

And that she was proving herself a true champion of good and right...Worthy of his trust and
affection...

However...there was the little matter of the annoying red-haired woman, Walthrop's friend...

Lilah, even in thrall, hates competition...

***
Giles and Cordelia had heard the commotion, but made sure Wesley stayed with Buffy in her
coffin...They suspected a trap after Lilah's warning on Darla and had no intention of losing
everything over a little hastiness...

They peered from the safety of the offices entrance to see...

Warren, Tara, considerable damage in the hallway...and Buffy...grouped around the office door
where Darla was hiding...

"Giles!..." Tara calls happily... "I think we've got her!..."

"Mr. Giles..." Warren nods...

"Giles...Hello..." Buffy smiles... "Hello...Cordelia...It's very nice to see you again..."

***
The humans had moved out of Darla's earshot...

"So...I thought...we might as well make use of the tools we've got..." Warren explains...

"So this is Buffy Rebecca's body...but April's brain?..." Giles asks, regarding the smiling Buffy-
April...who maintains a careful watch on the office where Darla still cowers...

"Well, supplemented with memory engrams from Buffy's last neural recording...Of course it's
not an independent artificial human brain like Buffy Rebecca's was...She's programed..."
Warren is a little nervous...He knows both Buffies will be a little...with him...But it was all in a
good cause...

And temporary...

"We figured we should enhance her with as much Buffy info as we could...So she could deal
with Darla..." Tara adds...

Tara is rather pleased with their success...Her first time out in cybernetics...

"Also we thought it might throw a wrench into Darla's plans if she thought Buffy was more or
less back to normal..." Warren...

"Better than normal..." Tara grins... Well... "I mean...strength and all..."

***
Suggested theme...Scooby March (The Great Escape)

In an alley near the entrance of Wolfram-Hart, Xander waited with Anya who had come out just
that day...

Nothing to do but wait and try to look as inconspicuous as possible...

Up in the Wolfram-Hart building, a high-powered meeting has begun...Thirty Masters of the
Universe are in the middle of major decisions...Affecting the lives of millions...mostly,
negatively..

Willow and Dr. Walthrop, returning by elevator to her office to obtain computer records before
leaving with the resurrection ceremony materials gathered in the basement, had not been
informed by their new employee that things would be so busy tonight...

But Lilah has no doubt that she can protect...one of them...

***.
"So you see, Darla...You've failed...Buffy has recovered...You may as well come on out..." Giles
called to her...

"Yes, Darla...You've failed...Come on out and talk..." Buffy-April called...

Quite pleasantly, actually...
***
On leaving the elevator, Spike sensed something was wrong...He felt the presence of a number of
human happy meals...Quite nearby...

Meeting them at the elevator, Lilah attempted to look nervous...In fact she was concerned a
bit...for her beloved Dr. Walthrop...

"There's some kind of meeting going on...I didn't know...You've got to hide in my office until
they're through..." She waves them in...and shuts the door...

"Do you have the computer files?..." Willows asks...

Lilah nods and hands them to her... Spike is still lugging the two boxes they had picked up in the
basement...

"Can't we slip back down the elevator?..." He asks...

She shakes her head..."Security will be tight for the next hour or so until they finish...You'll be
caught on the first floor, you'd have to break out of the basement...and that's alarmed..."

"Well, we can wait a bit..." Willow says...But she can't help wondering why Lilah was unaware
of such a large meeting...

"Shouldn't you be in there?..."

"It's a secret meeting of top department heads...from around the world..." She grins, a little
sheepishly... "I don't quite rate yet..."

A glass ceiling...even for Lilah...

***
Darla was getting desperate...Buffy was sure to come in after her in another minute...And she was
so much stronger than she remembered her...A side effect of whatever spell her friends were
using on her demon?...

Her revenge had collapsed into a fleeing hope for survival...

"I'll come...but make the others go away...let me speak to you...alone..." she calls to Buffy-April..

Who is quite pleased that Darla is coming out to talk...

The others move back to the office...

Warren stays in view of his latest "daughter"...

Darla emerges slowly...She is tense but hoping...if she can reach Buffy's demon...Just long
enough to throw her off balance...

"Hello, Darla...Nice to see you again..." Buffy-April smiles at her...

I always thought that Summers was strange...thinks Darla...

***
Willow reviewed the files on the resurrection ceremony which Lilah had obtained for her...While
Dr. Walthrop stood guard, occasionally peering down the hall towards the meeting room...

Fortunately the W-H elite preferred not to have security guards within earshot...

Lilah did her best to be at Walthrop's service...and of course, his sweet young friend...

Perhaps, however...given the critical situation...and her desire to further the cause of good...They
should consider...separating... She might be able to smuggle Willow down to the first floor...as
an office intern...helping her out... And, well...they'd just completely lost track of time...never
had the chance to check in with the evening desk...

They could each take a box of the implements for the ceremony...Get the stuff out to the waiting
Xander...And Willow could begin her vital task...

Dr. Walthrop could leave after the meeting adjourned...
***

In for a Penny...Part XX

Darla could see no demon in Buffy's eyes...Buffy-April's that is...

How was it possible?...Had they gotten the Wolfram-Hart ceremony already?...

"Darla...I think you should know I can kill you very easily..." Buffy-April, still pleasantly
smiling...

"Buffy...What did they do to you?...I can help you... Listen to me..." Darla still hopes she can
find the demon sister, buried somewhere...

"I'm very well, thank you, Darla...But I want you to tell me something...I want to know how you
were revived..." Buffy-April remains calm and pleasant...As she grabs Darla swiftly by the arm...

"Please tell me, Darla...I will hurt you if I have to..."

Darla twists in pain, but can't break the robot's grip...But if she still needs the resurrection
ceremony...

Suddenly she can hear a wild screaming from the basement...Buffy's demon is breaking through
Willow's spell...

She looks at Buffy-April...

"What are you?...You're not Buffy..."

"Darla, you really should tell me what I asked for...Or I will have to hurt you..." Buffy-April
twists the vampire's arm...

"Kill me then... I won't help your friend... She's like me now...She'll stay that way..."

"Warren..." Buffy-April calls... "Darla says to kill her...She won't answer my questions... What
should I do?..."

***
Suggested theme...Operation Wolfram-Hart (Mission:Impossible)

Spike reluctantly agreed to Lilah's separation idea... Willow was anxious to get the material out
in any case... They headed for the elevator...

Suddenly Lilah shoves Willow back again the wall and drops her box... A little noise and the
redhead will no longer be in her way... She backs off from Willow as the meeting room doors
open...

If the cause of good requires that Dr. Walthrop's friend be sacrificed while she remains free to
retain the materials he needs...

***
Spike emerged from Lilah's office on hearing the crash to find Lilah and Willow facing several
annoyed members of the elite...

"I found this woman lurking here as I was carrying some things back to my office..." Lilah tells
them... "She must be a thief, a spy..." She doesn't see Spike coming up...

But the boys in gray pinstripe do...And they know a vampire when they see one...

***
Spike makes a valiant effort to attack, the chip firing on a massive scale...

You would think..he thinks as he collapses in agony...with these guys it wouldn't work...

The elite have run like rats to their meeting room to call security...

But Willow had not been totally trusting of Lilah...

She throws a blinding flash into the room...A little trick she'd been playing with...Well, a failed
test...But it was showing quite a bit of worth right now...

Lilah backs away...

"I was only trying to save the ceremony materials..."

"I understand..." Willow grins at her...She nods at Walthrop, now out... "How's our hero..."
Lilah is only to happy to check out her beloved's condition...And is ko'd for the second time by
Willow...

In the meeting room, in an instant thirty Masters of the Universe had been blinded
temporarily...turning them into frightened, whining four year olds, lost in the dark...

Actually, an insult to four year olds, Willow thought...
***
Darla saw her chance as the robot paused to request instructions...

She broke free and tore off down the hall...

Buffy-April was awaiting Warren's answer...He frantically ordered a pursuit but Darla had won
just enough time...To leap out the same way Dru had...

BA reached the door only seconds too late but Darla had vanished...She returned to Warren...

BA was apologetic but needed new instructions...How far should she pursue?...When should she
return?...

Warren asked Buffy-April to set out in search for the two vampires... Within a two mile
radius...For one hour...Which she did in her usual calm and pleasant manner...

***
Suggested Spike's Theme (Wanderer)

Willow left the unconscious, love-struck Lilah a brief letter of instructions, signed
"Affectionately, William Walthrop..."

Will thought her "Affectionately" was a nice touch...

It called on Lilah to deliver all documents dealing with criminal activities of Wolfram and Hart
to the proper authorities and to make a full and true accounting of all activities she personally
was familiar with and for which other evidence could be provided...

In return, her beloved promised to dispose of the unnecessary Willow and...to wait...However
long it might take...

It was true to some extent, Willow thought...After all, Spike had been prepared to wait all
eternity for his true love...

***
She grabbed the unconscious vampire and dragged him to the elevator...

He had recovered enough to wobble out the front door with her...A drunken Master of the
Universe with his latest party girl...

***
The next day, the LA papers began to fill with Lilah's revelations of Wolfram-Hart's nefarious
undertakings...

Naturally, some of the firm's dealings with those in the highest positions of the nation and state
were quietly forgotten...

But enough was left to flatten Wolfram and Hart...
***
BA had failed to find Darla and Dru in her sweep of the area...Warren had her keep periodically
at it...If only to guard against their return....

***
Back at her sewer lair the next day...

Darla was shaken...

The Slayer's friends had brought in a powerful ally, whatever that Buffy copy was...

She had expected the Slayer's friends to penetrate Wolfram and Hart...Her allies would alert her,
there might be a fight in the halls of corporate power...She even thought the Slayer's little friends
might escape to make their effort to restore Buffy...

But she never expected to see her allies flattened with such an A-bomb...

Dru was so terrified she had become quite reasonable and lucid...

She thought it was best to abandon their revenge...for the present...

She could accept the loss of her dolly quite calmly...
***


In for a Penny...Part XXI

But Darla was not quite that reasonable...

She still had faith in the Slayer's demon...And her plans had been fairly
independent of Wolfram and Hart...

She just had to be in the right place at the right time...And would be, if Dru
came through...
***

Willow had reviewed the ceremony and studied the use of the implements they'd
taken from Wolfram and Hart...She thought she could make an attempt at adapting
the ceremony very soon...

But she had noticed an increasingly disturbing fact...Buffy Rebecca was now by
far the dominant sister...Speaking through Buffy almost to her sister's
exclusion...Not that she intended to dominate...

Clearly Buffy was weakening rapidly...And Willow knew she was in terrible
despair...Ready to give up and fly to her mother and hopefully, her
father...Hanging on only to keep the demon down...And prevent Darla's
triumph...

But she was more worried about Buffy Rebecca...

***
Wesley and Spike were watching Buffy's box as Willow joined them...Buffy was
conscious but it was BR who did most of the talking at their end...

Wesley was fascinated by the story of Spike and BR...Redeemed by a robot's
love?...How in...
Suggested Buffy Rebecca's Theme (Here Comes the Sun)

"Spike, I want to understand this... What is Buffy Rebecca?... A potential
soul?... A mathematical model?...I just can't get around the whole thing..."

"Wes...You'd have to ask Warren for the math...But...I've thought about it..."
Spike pauses...

"Think of Buffy...on a quiet day...after having trouble with me for a
week...But somehow she's avoided staking me...And on that day, when she has
just a few minutes...She wonders...Spike does seem to have some humanity left
in him...What if I tried to help him a little?...Would there be any chance for
him?...Maybe?..."

He smiles at Wes and Willow...

"That's Buffy Rebecca..."
***
Willow asked Spike and Wes to leave a moment...She needed go over the details
of the ceremony with both Buffies...

He was not unable to guess what she wanted to discuss...

He could understand...He couldn't blame Willow for not completely trusting
him...Wondering if he'd try to jiggle things his way...Even try to persuade
Buffy Rebecca...That if it was hopeless for Buffy...At least one of them would
survive in her body...And so defeat Darla...

But it wasn't necessary...He'd made his decision...

It was curious...How many of the handful of vampires in history who were known
to have won a kind of redemption could pinpoint the exact moment when it
happened?...

He could...

The night of the Battle of Sunnydale Mall...When he nearly saved BR from the
electrical discharge that she used to shatter Glory's mind...And her own...

When looking back at him, she put her trust in him...Was sure of him...And he'd
come through...Knowing he might lose her...

Besides, he knew now that she was there...No doubts, no uncertainty...It didn't
matter if he would have to wait longer...He was immortal...Baring accidents and
a new Slayer...

And he was now Buffy Summers' brother-in-law...With all accordant
responsibilities and duties...

He wasn't about to slip up now...BR would be disappointed...She, just like
Buffy, hated wasted efforts...

But, he understood that Willow couldn't help thinking he might not be willing
to wait...Only natural...

Humans, he thought...So concerned with time...
***

But it wasn't Spike whom Willow was worried about...

"Buffy...Can I speak to Buffy Rebecca...Well...?" She almost said...Alone...

Suggested theme...Extremis...(Adagio for Strings)

"Can't help you much privacy-wise on this one, Will...But I'll try not to
listen..."

"Will?...What do you need?"

"Buffy Rebecca?...We're almost ready to try..." Willow was nervous...She
trusted BR as much as Buffy...But...she had to know...

"Buffy Rebecca...Buffy is getting very weak...We both know how she feels...
That she has no one left, only Dawn...Who could be just as happy with you...
And you have a family... A dad, a sister, a husband of sorts...Who needs
you..."

"I know Will..."

"When we try this...You will have to let go...Before she does..." Willow had
to press...

"We love you Buffy Rebecca...but..."

"It's Buffy's body, Will...Not mine...She has a right to a life...How ever she
may feel right now...I won't deny wishing I could stay...But I won't let you
guys down... I'll go as soon as it's the right moment..." She chuckles...

"Besides...I miss my extras...That stupid supplemental memory of Warren's came
in handy..."

Never had a doubt...thinks Willow...

"Can I speak to Buffy?..."

She could almost feel the two sisters grinning right through the box...They're
enjoying this, she thought...

After all...both Buffy...

"Will?..."

"Buffy...I need to know that you'll be making an effort..."

"Will, my sister has more to live for...That's the honest truth..."

"Buffy, I put my life on the line for you tonight...and many other
times...Xander, Giles, Wesley, Cordy...especially Spike...We all did..." She
pauses...

"And I've done things I can't easily excuse..." Like put a human being in
thrall...Even if it was an evil lawyer...

"So you can't give up on us... You have no right to... However things may seem
right now...In that damn box..." Willow can't resist the tease...

"Giles might have provided some pillows and a lamp..." Buffy replies...She
resumes...
"I'll try Will...But I need you to do something for me..."


***
They were finished...And Willow was ready to go and set up for the effort...

"I'd like to speak to Spike..." Buffy asks her...

Willow sends the vampire in...

Spike and Buffy Rebecca Love Theme (Ebbtide)

"Spike...I want to thank you...For everything...Whatever happens...I know Dawn
will be safe with you..."

Dr. Walthrop is a bit nonplused...Thanks from the Slayer is still a new thing
for him...

Buffy continues...

"There's something I want you to know...You deserve to hear it..." She
chuckles a little...

"Even if it is ratting on my sis a little..."

"Slayer?..."

"She has considered staying...Here...Letting me go and staying herself...To be
with you again... If I couldn't make it..."

Buffy pauses...

"I was all for it...But I've made a promise to Willow and all of you...And she
would never do it if I have a chance...But you deserve to know...She definitely
thought about it..."

Oh...the joy...
***

In for a Penny...Part XXII


Willow had again restored the spell holding back Buffy's demon...But it would not hold for much
longer...And Buffy was steadily weakening...It would have to be soon if done at all...
***

Buffy Rebecca was not amused to hear that Tara and her Dad had revived her body...with that
dim-witted sexbot's brain...

Surprisingly, Buffy was...

It was rather nice to see her sister in the same situation and watch her reaction...

Spike had now fully recovered from his latest bout with his chip...

"We really should have him get a Cat-Scan..." Willow half-joked to Buffy Rebecca while on duty
tending her sister's box...

BR naturally spent the rest of that day insisting on it...At the first possible opportunity...

Just as I would...if it were Riley or Angel...Buffy thought...

She really was Buffy...No doubt about it...
***

Willow and Giles had consulted and were ready to make the effort...

Suggested theme...Scooby March (The Great Escape)

It would be the four of them...Willow, Giles, Spike, and most essential of all, Buffy...in her
coffin box...

Five if you counted Buffy Rebecca...Six if you counted the demon "sister"...

Sealed in the underground vaults area near the now "closed due to federal indictment"
Wolfram-Hart building's foundation...

Behind a maze of corridors and doors...

Near as possible to the spirit chamber used by the firm to call up souls from hell...

Or limbo...

Or even...one's own body...

The others, in particular Buffy-April would be on guard in the outer corridors, ready if Darla and
Dru learned of their effort and tried to penetrate...

With Wolfram-Hart in disarray, entering the vaults would not present that much of a problem...

But it was always relatively easy to get into Wolfram-Hart...

***
Suggested theme...Darla and Dru (Girls Just Wanta Have Fun)
Darla had attempted to reach the senior partners of Wolfram-Hart in hell...For help in stopping
Buffy's friends from reviving the Slayer...With W-H property...On their grounds...

However, shattered by the sudden collapse of their firm and therefore their latest apocalypse
plans, the senior partners were currently behaving more like the senior partners of Ally
McBeal...

This disaster was unfair...one complained...Unfair...Who was this "Willow" anyway?...He saw no
"Willow" in his Book of Prophecy...

Adolf had always known this would happen...Another apocalypse plan shot to ...here...
Idiots!...Who had hired that Lilah anyway?...

Joseph felt they might as well give it up for now...They needed a chance to rebuild...Yes, a Five
Year Plan...Rebuild, yes...Then smash their enemies...like steel...

Another Five Year Plan?...I hate Five Year Plans, Adolf groaned...They have no poetry...Joseph
just has no artistry in his soul...

"Boys, you'll just have to try again..." Satan told them...Lunatics he thought...Like any of their
apocalypse plans will ever succeed...Still, good mental and physical therapy for the criminally
deranged...

When can I take a vacation from these idiots?...

One of their minions informed the partners of Darla's efforts to reach them...

Screw her, they all suggested...

***

Giles, Spike, and Xander offered well-meant hindrance to Buffy-April as she carried in Buffy's
box...

Warren wisely suggested they let her do it alone...

Then they sealed the doors for the ceremony participants and took up guard spots with
Buffy-April...

***

But Darla and Dru were not attempting to pass the outer corridors...

They were deep in the basement of Wolfram-Hart...Via a special tunnel...built by a senior partner
in case he ever needed a quick escape from his colleagues...

Naturally, the partners did not trust each other...

A second tunnel led into the vaults...
***

Suggested theme...The Ceremony (O Fortuna)

Willow began the ceremony to kill the vampire body and release the demon...

Giles read from the Boul of Souls while she chanted...To help hold Buffy in place...For her
resurrection...

Spike waited...For a chance to say goodbye...

***
"Grandmother...I want to go..." Fear was continuing to keep Dru in relatively good mental
health...

"The Bad Ones won't go...The New One is strange...Let's go, please..."

But Darla was pressing on...Just a bit further...And Buffy's demon would help them...

***

"It's time, Spike..." Willow calls out to him...She looks at him...

He comes forward...And nods at her...It has to be...

"Goodbye...Buffy Rebecca...I love you...Forever..." he calls...

Spike and Buffy Rebecca Love Theme (Ebbtide)

And she was over him like a warm mist...hanging gently...and fading...

Willow continues...Giles calls out to Buffy from the Book...

And Darla and Dru burst in on the ceremony...
***

Spike moves to block them...

But Willow was ready for them...She cast out the restraining spell used on Buffy's demon...
Darla dodged too quickly for her and the spell lit on the nearest remaining vampire...
Suggested theme...Extremis...(Adagio for Strings)
***

Darla had never...In all her previous existence...heard a cry like the one that now came...

From poor Drusilla...
Her human soul torn from its deep corner...

"Oh God have mercy on my poor soul!..."

She looked at all of them, confused but slowly, increasingly aware...And saw Darla...

"I know you..." she shudders... "His...Mother...Its mother..."

Darla tries to lunge past her...
***

In the corridors, the others hear the disturbance...

And Buffy-April begins methodically smashing her way through doors to them...

"Hello, I'm coming..." she calls, pleasantly as ever...
***
Drusilla throws Darla back again, protecting them...She looks at the others...At Spike...

And, sadly, knows him...

"For the pity of God, forgive me sir..." she begs him...tormented...horrified...

Covering her face with her hands...In shame...

Spike bows his head...Willow cannot stop but she and Giles are shaken...The real Drusilla...

This is too cruel, he thinks...She is innocent...Too cruel, you miserable bastards...

"There is nothing to forgive, Dru...Nothing..." he says gently...

"Kill me...Now...Hurry...Oh, please..."

Dru looks pleadingly at Spike...

"If you forgive me, sir...Pity me...Send me home..."

Spike looks around desperately...Nothing wooden in sight...

He looks at Giles...Rupert you must have something...

But the spell was weak...It was too late for poor Dru...She cries out a warning to them...

And with a snarl, her demon attacks Spike...

Darla now lunges at Willow...

***
And Buffy-April smashes through the door of the chamber...

The calvary to the rescue...
Suggested theme...Buffy-April to the Rescue(Macarena)

***
She tosses both vampires back against the far wall with ease...

Dru has had enough jolly times for now...She flees back down the tunnel they came...

Darla tries to slip past Buffy-April...and is held by her...
***

Willow ordered BA to drag Darla to the outer hallway...

Where Xander, Warren, Tara, Anya, and Wesley now waited...hopeful...

She completed the ceremony to kill the vampire body...And the demon, desperate for
survival...fled...

She sent Giles and Spike out to join the others...And began the difficult part...the resurrection...

Complicated by a special request...Which Willow is honor-bound...By love and duty to fulfill...

Not to mention her own desire...

***
In for a Penny...Part XXIII

Conclusion
***

After an hour, Willow stumbled out of the room, exhausted...

"She's pooped, but wants to see you..." Grinning...

They let Giles go in first...
***
Willow looked at Spike...With all his torment...he never once blamed poor Dru...Never...

She held out her hand to him, surprising him...So formal, Red?...Well, special occasion...

"I'm very proud to know you William Walthrop..." Kissing him on the cheek...
***
Giles came out to them, rubbing his glasses...And kissed Willow very gently...

"She'd like to see all of you...But not too long..."

Willow sent Spike and the others in ahead...

She and Giles turned to Darla, still helpless in Buffy-April's polite grip...

Suggested theme...Extremis...(Adagio for Strings)
"Darla, why did you do this?"...

"I have no reason to explain myself to you...Mortal...But she destroyed my family..."

Willow looked at her...I thought so...No demon was involved here...What does a vampire demon
care about its fellows?...This was a human revenge...

"Kill me then..." Darla stopped her struggles...And smiles at them...

"Or, curse me if you prefer..." But somewhere buried in her words is the faintest, most desperate
plea...

Giles looks at her coldly...

"We have no intention of killing you...Or cursing you for that matter..."

Willow stares at Darla...

"You did this, Darla...No demon...You..."

Willow turns away from her...

Giles addresses her...

"We're letting you go...We'll leave you to Angel...He thought you might be worth
saving...Perhaps he's right...It isn't our job to judge you...But..."

Giles pauses...If he speaks to this...Creature...Another moment...

And he has no intention of giving her peace...At least for now...

Darla looks at them...Angel wouldn't help me...And they won't...

Willow speaks...

"Darla, it's not our job to save you...We can't forgive what you did...So we won't help you...Not
today...I can't speak for Giles but...I haven't got that much compassion...Wish I did, for my own
sake..."

Darla grins coldly...And continues to struggle...Maybe if I can just...Anger them...

"You are a weak fool...No strength at all..." She tells Willow...

Willow looks back calmly...

"I'm proud of being a gentle person, however weak people may find that...It's a powerful thing
when used properly..." She smiles at Giles...

"But terrible as it may be, I can't and I won't help you today..."

She looks down...away from the vampire...

"I hope, maybe...someday...I'll have that much strength...to be willing to try..."

"So you can go...But, Darla..."

Willow motions to BA to bring her closer...Giles throws a cloud of dust over her...And Willow
lets her try to bite at her arm...

A howl of pain...from Darla...

"You see that Giles and I've protected ourselves...our friends, others too...against you...You're
quite a good influence on us, Darla...We've all done some of our best work..."

She has BA hold her to face her...

"Darla, you can't hurt us...at least for now...But you may find some way to get around this in the
future...So understand this...if you ever bother my friends or me again, I will drag your miserable
soul out of whatever hole it's hidden in...And leave it trapped right up front in this body of yours,
aware and unable to hide...Worse than poor Dru was a moment ago...Worse than Angel...No
moment of happiness will get you out of the burden you'd bear...And you know I can do it..."

Darla knew...

And fled when Buffy-April released her...

Willow and Giles looking after her...Coldly...

And at each other...

“Leave her to Angel, Willow...” Giles told her...Gently...
Willow nodded...But the grim thought crossed her mind...

What are we turning into?...

Still...She was not theirs to deal with...She could have put herself in Buffy’s reach long ago...

There are limits to what compassion can do...

Besides...If Angel doesn’t give her peace...Soon...

God help her when Buffy catches up with her...
***
Buffy was exhausted...But very much alive...

They did not want to tire her...Buffy-April would carry her out...But...

She wanted to thank Spike...And Willow...Each alone...

Before things got too busy...

***

Suggested theme...Come Softly to Me

"William, I'm so grateful..." Never, never did I think I would have to say this...He must be loving
this...The little....

"Any time, Slayer...Always happy to help..." He was definitely enjoying this...But...

"Buffy Rebecca..."

"I've learned what I needed to learn...How many fellows can say they know their beloved's soul
is around after death?...With witnesses nonetheless..."

"I'm glad to have finally met her..."

"Don't be ridiculous..." he grins at ‘Sis’ ... "You've always known her..."

The thought crossed his mind...it was strange that Buffy had called him William...Will she had
tried out one or twice since his new status...Odd...

But, after all, Willow had been near...
***
BA gently carried her back to Angel's offices...She was very pleased to meet her...

Back at the offices they quickly had an ambulance for her...Not that anyone doubted Willow's
skills...
It's just when you get a dead friend back a medical examination seems like a good idea...
***
Xander appointed himself the bearer of the news of Hank and Buffy to the recovering Dawn...

And phoned her and Ben at Sunnydale Hospital...

She had already guessed about Hank...But, as she feared Ben was keeping the worst from her was
overjoyed to hear that Buffy was doing well...

Xander made it clear that Hank had tried to save them...

She had already guessed that too...

***

They made plans for a return home...

But Spike had a little announcement...

"I'm going to take a little tour of Europe...Time we promoted our bionetics there..." He grins at
Warren...

"And my real skills lie in sales I think..."

"And that's where Dru is headed..." Willow says, looking at him...

He smiles at her...

"She always preferred Europe..." he pauses..."Someone has to help her..."

So I'm in the Angel business...He thinks...Well, that twit will never survive a little real
competition...Besides I have Science on my side...providing a stable income...

***

Warren and Tara were clearly distressed...

"You have to stay, Spike...At least a month...Until Buffy's well enough..." Tara put in hastily...

"Yes, Spike...We need you..." Giles added...Never, never did I ever think I would be saying
this... "You're the only one with enough strength to handle patrolling..."

A startled but obviously pleased Spike agreed to delay his trip...

Warren suggested he head out to Sunnydale in advance...to "check on things" at the
office...Which pleased ‘Dr.’ Walthrop no end...

***
After his departure, Wesley took a call from Angel...Finally on his way home...

The Lama had provided little specifics but a general indication that things would work out...

"No major problems, boss...Oh, Buffy and some of the old gang paid us a visit..." Wesley
shouted...

"How are they doing?..."

Suggested Buffy Rebecca's Theme (Here Comes the Sun...)

"Very well, very well...Oh, boss...We've taken the liberty of clearing your weekends for the next
month...Well, Spike will be marrying Buffy's robotic sister as soon as she can be restored...Buffy
wants you there if possible..."

***

Tara explained the difficulties...

"Of course you realize it may take time...We'll have to wait until Buffy gets strong enough to do
the recordings...And isolate Buffy Rebecca's pattern...from Buffy's..."

If it's a matter of Buffy...she'll be there tonight Willow thinks...She and the sister she wouldn't
let go...Merged...until a certain "cybergenius" and his new assistant get to work...

Just as BR wouldn't let her go...

Well, BR had Buffy's memories...Now...

Poor Riley...he'll have a lot to live up to...

Measuring up to Spike...Of all people...

Warren chimed in... "But we think it should work...the new brain should match Buffy Rebecca's
perfectly...All we need is her complete memory...and..."

And that's safe with her human sister...Willow thought...

"I'm sure it will work..." Warren said...

Spike and Buffy Rebecca Love Theme (Ebbtide)

It will, thought Willow...Just as it did the first time when Buffy Rebecca came to Spike...Only
better this time...Like a beacon calling her soul home...

Spike would have some company on his hunt for Dru...The Greatest Slayer of all Time...
It'll be just like the Walthrops to spend their honeymoon trying to help an old friend find peace...

Tara thinks a minute...

"Dickens changed the ending of ‘Great Expectations’...No one liked it that Pip didn't get
Estella...I think even he didn't...though he grumbled about it...So he changed it..."

" ‘I saw no shadow of a second parting from her’ " Warren quotes...

I saw no shadow of a second parting from her...Willow thinks...Yeah, I like it...

Hmmn...she thinks looking at Warren and Tara, the "cybergeniuses"...I may have to nip my girl's
new found infatuation for cybernetics in the bud...Hope that fiancee of Warren's shows up soon...

Tara comes over and hugs her...

Nah...no problems there...

Well...I guess we'll be needed bridesmaids gowns...Hope it's green...she looks at Tara...My
honey's a knockout in green...

Of course, the Maid of Honor spot is already filled...

Lucky bastard, that Walthrop...

***

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