(semi)Parallel Lives..."Passions"...Part I

It had to be done under the strictest secrecy...

Buffy though still weak, was determined to restore Buffy Rebecca as quickly as possible...And she wanted it to be a surprise for her "brother-in-law"...who was conscientiously performing Slayer patrol in her place, following her recent brush with death and vampirism...

Who had no idea that she with Willow's help had retained Buffy Rebecca's memories throughout the modified Wolfram-Hart resurrection ceremony that had restored her...Ready to go into a new neural recording and pull Buffy Rebecca's soul back into her robot body...

So it had to be done at night...

With help from Spike's partner in cybernetics, Warren the robotmaker, creator of April and the unique artificial human brain that made Buffy Rebecca a true soul...The one potential Buffy in the universe who could provide Spike with salvation...

And Tara...Who had assisted Warren in reviving Buffy Rebecca's body with the old April computer brain so that the Greatest Slayer of All Time could help in the fight against Darla and Wolfram-Hart...And be ready for BR's return...

They were sure it would work...BR's soul waited merely for the call of her memories to return...

They just needed to separate the neural patterns of the two twins...human from robot...
***
Buffy reached the lab where a deactivated Buffy-April waited with the new brain ready...

She was glad to have missed poor BA's deactivation...Not that it hurt...Or amounted to more than shutting down a computer...Still...to see an exact copy of one's own body...No, she was glad to have missed it...

Willow who had just come, was also glad...And let Warren know she preferred not to see any more robots...

He agreed...One daughter a year younger than himself would be quite enough...
***
They got Buffy prepped and ready...She wasn't worried...She'd done this twice already...Once involuntarily, once voluntarily...

Besides...she was a little anxious to distance herself from BR's own memories...Of Spike, of their brief life together, of Buffy's deep unhappiness and rage at her creation...The pain after her battle with the Goddess of Glory and Victory...And the decay of her mind as a delayed result of the electroshock that had shattered the mad goddess...

Not that there weren't some...many...beautiful memories...But they were a little confusing...And she was a little...vulnerable...right now...

Spike had been so...during those days...

And so amazingly content with the little he gotten...She could never have believed...

And they'd had so much...In so short a time...In a crypt, no less...

But of course that was Buffy Rebecca...Not her...She was waiting and hoping for Riley's return...

It would not do to fall in love with William Walthrop before her sister was restored...
***
Warren ran her through the procedure...Pretty dull actually...It was basically just a set of headphones...That scan your brain from front to back...

Fortunately she could read or watch TV during it...But as it was so important to do it properly and as she wanted so much to keep it a secret from Spike...They would do it here and not at home...

Dawn had desperately wanted to come...But she had just recovered herself from Darla's little party and Buffy had refused point blank...But Dawn would be the first to be told when BR was revived...And they would reintroduce Spike and BR at the Summers'...

Mom would have liked that...

***
She grins at Warren...He loves this, I just know it...After all the trouble I gave him over BR...And here I am moving heaven and earth to get her back...for Spike...

And for me...And Dawn...

We need her too...
***
It happened just after half an hour...Willow had gone to get something for Buffy to drink...

Tara and Warren were studying the data stream from the recorder...

They were so involved they didn't notice that a thunderstorm had begun outside...

Buffy was deep in her history book...She had a ton of work to catch up on...And a brief spell of death was not likely to work as an excuse...

***
Lightening struck the lab...And knocked out the power...And caused a slight outage in the neural recorder...Buffy passed out...
***

She woke in a field, lying on grass...She was dressed in a gown...

What happened?...Where was the lab?...

"Warren...Tara..." she calls...

Someone was lying near her...And was looking at her...Willow...But...angry at her...even viciously so...And a second person nearby...Tara...Just getting up...But looking so...different...

Yet the same...

"Buffy?!...Did I tell you to speak?..." Willow strikes her, hard...Viciously...

Tara chuckles...She likes this part...
***
Buffy looks at them...Vampires...she knows instinctively...They are vampires...

What the hell is going on?...she thinks...And says out loud...

Willow moves to strike her again...She pulls back and grabs at Willow's hand...

Nobody does this to the queen of the pride...

"Tara!..." Willow calls, angrily... "Hold her..."

Tara makes some motions...And Buffy finds herself unable to move...Held down...

"What's with her now..." Tara looks at her... "Guess Summers needs more lessons in good behavior..."

"Get her up and moving...We have a long way to go yet..." Willow glares at Buffy who cannot speak....

She follows them quietly...

But at least she knows...Tara is the witch here...Willow seems dependent on her...

But what the hell is going on?...Just when I recover from death and vampirism...

Must be a problem with the neural recorder...Maybe a dream...

The awful thought occurs to her...Oh, God...No...

If they're vampires...and I'm with them?...

***.
They stopped about two miles further...

Buffy didn't recognize this part of Sunnydale...

But then she didn't recognize a lot of things...
***
"Well?.." Willow comes over to her... "What were you up to back there?...Do you think I will tolerate this kind of thing?...Now?..."

She motions to Tara who allows Buffy to speak...

Buffy tries to explain... and ask...

Willow glares at her...Neural recordings?...Not her world?...What nonsense is this?...

"Must be some trick of Harris'...He must be trying something to get her loose from us..."

Xander?...Buffy wonders...Tricks?...

Tara considers...

"I don't sense anything..."

"Make her talk..." Willow says coldly... "The truth...and quickly..."

Buffy finds herself telling them everything...Helpless to hold anything back...

Tara is amused...Willow is raging...More nonsense...

Harris' schemes are becoming tiresome...

But this is not the time to properly punish Ms. Summers...

They move on...
***
Tara stays with Buffy as they march along, Willow scanning the road ahead...

She enjoys listening to Buffy's rantings... And is curious to know what Harris...Or whoever...has been up to...

Besides...Buffy seems to believe her nonsense...and this offers Tara a chance for some amusement...

"Maybe I could help you..." she tells Buffy... "If any of this is true..."

Buffy doesn't have a lot of faith in this Tara...but she needs any help she can get...

"It's true...You have to believe me...There must be something I can do...To prove it..."

"So I was helping you?...And this Warren?...With a neural recording?..." Tara smiles at Buffy...

"Funny, see...I don't believe in science..."

***
Tara continued to play the game...As they marched along...

"So you came from another world?...Into Buffy's body...Maybe through this neural recording device?...And now...You're stuck here... Hmmn..."

She laughs...

"Pity your friends if she's in your body now...I can't imagine worse company..."

"Help me...please...Just let me go..." Buffy pleads...

"And what do I get from you in return?...Willow will not be very pleased to see you escape her...Not after your challenge..." this Tara loves cat-and-mouse...

"You're the one with the power..." Buffy guesses...

"And Willow is my sire...And yours..."

Grreat...just great...Buffy thinks...I'm a vampire again...

Just lovely...

***
(semi)Parallel Lives...Part II

Well, Buffy thinks as she, Tara, and Willow march along...

Here I am, a vampire once again...And under Tara's magic thumb no less...

With Willow as my queen...

But...I don't feel any blood lust...Even when Tara offered me that cat...Just disgust...

Maybe it's the effect of the neural recorder...

Hopefully it's all a dream...
***
They had reached their destination...Buffy vaguely recognized it...As Sunnydale Armory...Used for school shows, pageants, theatricals...

And currently occupied by a production of "My Fair Lady"...
***
Willow led them to a basement entrance out of sight...

They moved into a large lower hall...no one around but they could vaguely hear sounds of the show above...

Which was ending...
***
Buffy was more confused than ever...Are we trying to catch a show?...

Tara is bit intrigued by Buffy's lack of blood lust...

Never known Summers to pass up a meal since Willow transformed her...

Or even before...

What has Harris come up with?...
***
"We haven't much time...They'll be coming..." Willow hisses to them...

"What about our little Ms. Screwball?..." Tara asks her...

"She'll attack the Slayer...keep her occupied while I go for Harris and you take Walthrop..."

The Slayer?...Not me...I'm not the Slayer?...Buffy is a bit...

I'm a vampire and not even the Slayer?...

Oh, wait...I'm dead...They would have a new one...

Tara goes over to her...And allows her to speak...If she keeps quiet...

"How long have I been with you?...Who is the Slayer now?..." Buffy asks her...

Tara grins at her...

"Who is the Slayer...now?...The same one we've fought for the past five years...And you...You've been ours all of a week...Sorry about your drop in status...Must be crushing to know you're nobody...
And a dead nobody at that..."

Not the Slayer...Never was...

And I used to wish for that...

***
The theater was emptying...

At the sound of footsteps...they retreated back into the hall's shadows...Buffy firmly in Tara's control...

She tried to fight off Tara's influence but knew she could not...She would be attacking the Slayer...Whoever that was...At Tara's bidding...Well, no...

Willow was the brains of this outfit...

***
She heard voices...And recognized Xander, Spike, and another...One she couldn't place...But knew...

Oh, no...It couldn't be...

They entered...And she attacked the Slayer...

"Buffy?!, my poor Buffy..." cried Drusilla... As she moved to block Buffy's moves and protect Xander and Spike...

***
Drusilla?...Drusilla the Vampire-Slayer?...

She was in costume... An actress-Slayer?...

Xander regards Willow coolly as she moves into the fight...At him...

"Well...Willow...How very nice to see you again..." he sees Tara... "And you, Tara..."

Tara is moving on Walthrop...who had been staring in horror at Buffy...

Dru screams to warn him...

"William!...Tara, look out!..."

He dodges Tara nimbly while Xander covers Willow with some kind of dust which causes her to howl in pain as he chants...

Dru is still fighting Buffy but clearly does not want to stake her...

"Drusilla...don't take any chances..." Xander calls to her...

Buffy can't control herself...She attacks again...Dru throws her back...

Willow in danger, helpless from Xander's spell calls to Tara...Who grabs her and makes a retreat...

Buffy suddenly finds herself free and halts, Dru looking at her, imploring her...Don't make me do this...

"Please Buffy...please go back..."

Buffy puts up her arms... "Dru...It's alright...I won't try anything more...Tara was manipulating me..."

Xander has his doubts...

"Keep well back from her, Dru...We can't trust her..."

Walthrop chimes in...

"Dru, darling...Be careful...Don't get too close..."

He turns to Buffy...

"Buffy please...Don't make Dru hurt you...Let us help you...Just sit down..."

To his great surprise, she does just that...and looks at them quietly...as astonished as they are...
***

(semi)Parallel Lives...Part III

Buffy quietly tells the gang...Drusilla the Slayer, Xander, and Dr. William Walthrop...the little she knows about what has happened to her...

Xander thinks thoughtfully...Xander?...Buffy wonders...

I love him dearly...but Xander?...The Watcher...The Master Researcher...The brains of the outfit?...

Well, if Dru can be the Slayer...

Wait...Drusilla is over a century old...

"Well..." Xander explains in answer to her questions... "Our Dru is certainly not over 100... She is simply the current Drusilla Summers, the chosen Slayer...All Slayers are Englishwomen named Drusilla...descended from the original Slayer..."

So...Dr. Walthrop?...She asks Dru...

"William...Dr Walthrop... is my boyfriend...from England..." Dru explains shyly... "He came over when I was sent...to guard the Hellmouth..."

Spike's would have been descendant...If he had not been vamped?...

Well at least the good old Hellmouth is still in its old place...

Wait...Dru Summers?...Summers?...

"We're related?..." she asks Dru...

"Cousins..." Dru smiles at her.. "Dear Buffy, I thought we'd lost you forever..."

***
She cautiously went down the list...Saving the key questions for last...

No, Willow had not always been evil...A shy recluse, an expert in computers with a bent for sorcery...in love with Xander...dying of a brain tumor...

She'd become convinced that she could perform a vampire transformation on herself...One that would leave her soul intact...Xander desparately tried to dissuade her...But to no avail...

And with the inevitable result...A half-human, half-vampire who blamed Xander, the skilled sorcerer and Watcher for her failure...For not assisting her...And... for turning to another...

Poor Anya...

"Is Anya a demon again?..." Buffy innocently inquired...

Xander's calm manner dropped away and he stood facing her...bitterly angry...

"If this is some kind of trick..." he tells her coldly... "If you are playing with us..."

Dru stops him... "Xander, Buffy doesn't know... I'm sure of that..."

She told Buffy...

"Willow had no intention of transforming Anya...She did much worse...She left her mindless, destroyed...lobotomized..." Dru looks at poor Xander...

"Xander cares for her now...And always will..."

***
Giles?...

"Rupert Giles?..." Xander looks at her... "We know him..."

Does not sound good...Buffy thinks...

"He's a sorcerer of sorts...Ambitious...Unscrupulous...He's worked with us when it suited him...With others when it didn't..."

And the key questions...Which Dru kindly anticipated...

"Aunt Joyce and Dawn will be so happy to see you again, Buffy..."

Mom...alive...Dawn?...the Key?...

"Was Dawn?...Artificially created?...By monks to stop Glory from getting her?..."

If they even know who Glory is...

"Artificial?..." Xander is intrigued... "And why would Glory be involved?..."

Buffy explained...

Xander tells her...

"Well...we know Glory...she's helped us on several occasions...She's been trapped here ever since she tried to prevent the fall of Rome in 410 and her altar was destroyed...Of course she's powerless, but very wise...and immortal...Her brother is likewise very helpful...A God of Mercy and Healing... But powerless in our world..."

Well...at least Ben is good old Ben...

Glory, a helpful 1600 year old friend and advisor?...

But what about...me?

"You're my dearest cousin, Buffy..." Dru tells her... "When Willow used your father to kill you...and I couldn't save either of you..."

"Dru was broken-hearted..." Walthrop tells her...

***
Xander reluctantly allowed Dru to contact "Aunt Joyce" and Dawn...

He still did not completely trust Buffy...

Which did not bother Buffy unduly...She rather preferred that he was on his toes...

But she needed information from him...Some ideas on how she might return to her own home...

He agreed to look into it with her but could hold out little hope at this time...

***
Buffy's family reunion was not exactly what she'd hoped for...

Based on Dru's kindly manner she'd expected Mom and Dawn to be almost exactly like her own...

Not quite...

Of course with Xander insisting on caution, conditions were not optimal in any case...
***
"Dawn...Dawny..." Buffy called out to her... "Mom..."

Dawn glared at her... And demanded to be allowed to go home...She didn't want to see this freak...It would probably kill them all...

Anyway, no way was she giving up her new room...Let the dead one sleep in a crypt...

And Mom...

"Well, you all better?..." she asked, in the harsh voice of an alcoholic... "We're glad to have you back, yeah..."

"Aunt Joyce has been so upset since your death, Buffy..." Dru nervously put in...

"Is she coming home now?..." Joyce asked, a little wobbily...

"No, Aunt Joyce..." Dru replied.... "Buffy is not well yet..."

"Hmphf...Well, she looks ok to me...Hey, you...Harris...I'm suing you...You and your crazy Watchers' killed my little girl..." She was quite wobbily now...

"Yes, Ms. Summers...I've passed your case on to the Council...They'll be in touch regarding compensation..."

"Yeah...Well, I gotta lawyer...And I know my rights...You know..." Still more wobbily...

"Good to see you, honey..." she called to Buffy as she left...
***

(semi)Parallel Lives PartIV...Conclusion...

Hmmn...Buffy thought...

So...that's Mom and Dawn...in this existence...

Well...at least Cousin Dru seems very happy...with her William...

And she is certainly a capable Slayer...Through Xander seems to worry about her kind heart interfering with Slayer business...

And Xander...Mr. Watcher...And seems quite a good one...

Willow evil and then some...Tara her minion...

And me, her latest victim...

She remembered to ask Xander about her lack of blood-lust...

Could she by any chance still be human?...

He gave her a test...a little holy water...

It blistered...vampire...

Rats...
***

"Your lack of blood lust may be due to whatever process carried your mind here..." Xander told her... "It may well only be a temporary state...You should be prepared for that...And give us warning if you feel it coming upon you..."

She nodded... Great...Waiting to see if I become a homicidal maniac...

The more I see of this world, the more I think I'd be better off dead...
But I would like to go home if possible...
***
"So...Dru...You're an actress?..." She had not told her...cousin?...that her counterpart in Buffy's world was a psychotic killer vampire... What she didn't know wouldn't hurt her in this case...

"Dru's a wonderful actress...She's been doing Eliza Doolittle in "My Fair Lady"..." Walthrop proudly tells Buffy...

Yeah...Willow wanted us to catch that performance...

***
What to do?...Trapped in a vampire body...Family a nightmare...Friends drastically changed or downright evil...Was she doomed to roam this existence forever?...

Buffy was really having a bad day in a very bad week in a very, very bad month...

And the whole year had not been working out well...

***
Walthrop was assigned to stay with her while the others took care of various tasks...

Dru's boyfriend...A doctor from England...

Whom Xander seemed to order around with just the slightest contempt...

But so like her...Buffy Rebecca's William...

She really had to download those Buffy Rebecca memories...
***
The others had left them...

Walthrop came over to her...She was a little nervous...Xander had warned her the blood-lust might return...suddenly...

She did not want to kill her "cousin's" fiancee...

And, well, she had her robotic sister's memories...of Spike...And those were some pretty nice memories she had to admit...

Dangerous ones for someone as vulnerable as she was right now...

"Buffy, dearest Buffy..." he moves to embrace her...

My cousin's fiancee is quite affectionate I see...Buffy thinks...

But BR's memories overwhelm her and she is so lost and lonely and...

Before she can stop herself...

He pauses after a bit...

"I knew you were the same...It was all a story for them, wasn't it...Oh my darling..."

She backs off...Wait a minute...

"William...I wasn't lying...And what are you doing anyway..."

"Buffy...You know I love you...Despite what happened...And I'll find a cure for you...somehow..." he is determined...

Wow...No, wait...this has been going on for a while...

"What about Dru?..."

"One failure...we'll find a way to deal with her...After your restoration... Next time we'll succeed..."

Next time?...One failure?...Uh, oh...

Dru and Xander came in on them...
***
"Well...Dru..." Xander says to her... "Are you finally convinced?..."

"Xander...Dru..." Walthrop stammeres nervously...

Oh, God...thinks Buffy...I must be in the "Passions" alternate universe...

***

"I've been aware for some time of what's been going between you two..." Xander explains coolly... "But I needed proof to convince poor Dru here...That her very life was in danger from the two people she most trusted..."

"Now Dru...You must believe me..." Walthrop stammers...

"Yes, William...I believe you..." Dru says sadly...

"Would you please excuse cousin Buffy and me?..."
***
"Dru...Really I had no idea what was going on here..." Buffy says, embarassed...

She has walked into some deep...

"Really dear...I understand..."

"I hope so, Dru...I really do..." Buffy can't think of any way to express her apologies...Dru is her only real contact to the world here...She can't bear to lose her...

Dru smiles sadly at her...Her dearest friend, her cousin...

The cheap little...

"Buffy, dearest...I just want you to know..." Buffy looks at her, grateful...

"I'm so sorry we couldn't help you, dearest..." And stakes her...

***
Buffy was back in the lab...

Warren and Tara bending over her...Anxious, worried...

"...Are you ok?..." Tara's worried voice...

"Ms. Summers?..." Warren...

Willow patting her hand...

"You ok?...You had us worried..."
***
She's up...And much relieved...

As they all are...

"You must have taken a jolt from the discharge..." Warren notes...

"Just a little of what hit Glory..." Tara says with a hint of a smile...

"What a dream...Will, you will not believe it..." Will grins back at her...

"Quite a couple of weeks you've had..."

***
They complete the recording...Buffy is determined to finish...

Warren and Tara pronounce it perfect...They can try installation this night...
***
Willow hears the bell and goes to the front...

"Umm...Spike is here...He...well...he wants to thank you..."

Buffy looks at them, just a bit annoyed...Spike?...Wants to thank me?...

"I thought this was going to be a surprise..."

Willow looks sheepishly at Tara and Warren...

"We couldn't keep it from him any longer... He was just so..."

Tara nervously offers to get her a mirror and comb...Her hair's a mess after three hours of recordings...

Spike comes in...

Well...he's been through enough...Buffy thinks...We all have...It's time for a little happiness...

But I sure wish we had succeeded before he heard...

"Well...Will...So..."

Spike takes her hand...He can't speak...To do this for him...What can he
say?...

"Umm...I..." he chokes a little...

Tara brings her the mirror and comb...

Buffy smiles at him...For once, Dr. Walthrop is at a loss for words with her...

But he finally finds some...

"Drusilla Rebecca and I will never be able to thank you..."
"Oh, Spike..." What... "Drusilla Rebecca?!..."

Warren and Tara look at each other...Willow hurries over...

"What's wrong, Dru?..."

Spike is startled ...What he say?..

She grabs the mirror...In horror...

Dru's face stares back at her...

***

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