“Let's go,” Buffy told Angel as she walked out of the waiting room into the chilly night air.

“So, how do you want to handle Xander?” Angel asked keeping up with the pace Buffy set.

“He's going to want to come with us. There's no way we can keep him from coming. He won't listen to reason, ‘specially when it comes to Willow,” Buffy replied.

“Okay, so what happens when we get to the warehouse? How many times have you actually been there?” he asked.

“A couple, Giles started taking me there last week... God, has it only been a week?” she said. “I think the best thing is to have you and Xander look for Willow while I take care of... whoever has her.”

“Buffy, are you sure you want to take them on alone? It isn't that I doubt your abilities...”

“No, I'd rather have you watching my back, but that's not an option.”

“We don't have much time.” Angel said, as he looked at the digital display from the bank they had just past. It was 3:20 in the morning. “The sun rises at 5:16, we have to hurry if you want me to be there.”

“Right. I think we should split up, I'll go to the ware...”

“Buffy... you don't know...”

“Angel, you can't talk me out of this... we don't have time, you said so yourself. You can get to Xander's house quicker, I'll... I'll just look around,” she explained.

“I don't like it,” he said. Angel knew Buffy was right. He could get to Xander's faster.

“I don't either, but there's nothing else we can do. Go on... I'll see you there,” Buffy hugged Angel, her head resting on his chest.

“Arghhh... fine... be careful,” he told her.

“You sound like Giles...”

“Can't have that can I?”

“Nope, one's enough,” she said backing away. “You'd better hurry.”

“You too.”

They looked at each other for a brief moment then ran in opposite directions. Angel ran as fast as he could.

When he finally reached Xander's house, it was dark except for one room. Angel looked into the window, he saw Xander pacing back and forth, a stake in one hand. Tapping on the glass he tried to get the boy's attention.

“Xander,” he said. “Xander!” he cringed, he hadn't meant to yell.

Xander heard his name; he walked cautiously towards the window, the stake poised to strike. When he saw Angel, he threw the window open. “Did you find her?” he asked, the stake still ready to strike.

“Yeah... come on, let's go, and put that down. You might hurt someone,” Angel told him as he stepped back from the window.

“Don't worry, dead boy, your too valuable to me right now,” Xander said as he went out the window, closing it behind him. “Where is she? And where's Buffy?” he asked.

Angel let the snide remark pass. “Willow's being kept in a warehouse on Delancy,” Angel told him as they started jogging down the street. “Buffy went there, while I came after you. What time is it?” he asked Xander as they turned the corner.

“It's ten ‘til four, why?”

“We don't have much time. Sun rises at 5:16, that's why.”

“Oh... How long is it going to take us to get there?” Xander asked.

Angel wasn't going to lie to him, “At this pace, forty-five minutes... an hour. I don't know. It took me twenty minutes just to get to your house, after I left Buffy,” he told him.

Xander turned to Angel. He knew he wouldn't be able to keep up for that long. “How long will it take you to get there... without me?” he asked.

Angel thought about it. If he left Xander now, it would probably take him... “Half an hour, thirty-five minutes tops. I'm not coming from the hospital. I'll be going straight to the warehouse,” he answered.

Xander knew what had to be done. “Go... go on, I'll catch up as soon as I can. Get outta here!” He shoved Angel ahead of him, “I'm slowing you down... GO!”

Angel nodded, and then took off. Xander only saw a brief blur down the street, and then it was gone. ‘Don't let me down dead boy,' he thought as he picked up his pace once again.


Buffy stopped short as the warehouse came into view. She breathed heavily, her hands resting on her knees for support.

‘Okay, a quick look around, that's all,' she said to herself as she jogged up the street.

The closer she got to her destination, the creepier it became. Someone had knocked out most of the lights, leaving the street dark and foreboding. Buffy knew that the lights had been smashed recently. Otherwise, Angel would have mentioned it. She also knew that her slayer abilities had enhanced her senses, allowing her eyes to make the most of the light that was available to her.

“It's still creepy,” she thought out-loud.

Slipping through an opening in the chain-link fence that surrounded the warehouse, Buffy went around the building.

“No need to tell them I'm coming,” she muttered.

“I've just been informed that she's on the grounds and, she's alone.”

“Perfect... is everything in place?”

“As per your instructions,” came the reply.

“Excellent... let's make our visitor welcome, shall we?”

“What do we do about the girl?”

“Ah, yes... Miss Rosenberg... hmm,” A smile appeared on his lips. “Bring her here, I've decided.”

“Right,” the man answered as he left the room.

‘Oh... this is going to be so much fun,' he thought to himself. He switched on the additional cameras that had been installed yesterday afternoon, while Giles had been at school. “Ah... there you are Miss Summers,” he said as he watched Buffy move in the darkness. “Ian?” he said into the walkie-talkie.

“Yes sir?” Ian replied.

“She's on the south side of the building. I want you and Derrick to make her feel at home, understood?”

“Yes sir.”

“Oh... and Ian?”


“Try not to get yourself killed... good help is so hard to find these days.”

“I'll... I'll do my best. Ian out.”

“Do that Ian... do that,” he muttered. Glancing at the bank of monitors, he saw Buffy lining boxes up to look into the window. Looking at the other screen, he watched as Ian and Derrick made their way to the south side of the building as he had instructed. He turned around when he heard footsteps approaching, Willow was being brought in. “Ah... Miss Rosenberg, how are you feeling?” he asked, as he walked towards her.

Willow turned her head towards the direction of the voice she didn't recognize it. She had wondered what had happen to the man she had spoken to earlier, he never returned to see her.

“How should I feel? I've been tied-up, blindfolded... I wanna go home... I'm... I'm PISSED! off! That's how I am!” she replied, surprising herself.

He smiled at her answer. “Well... let's see what I can do to alleviate that, shall I?”

Willow felt a tug at the blindfold. She blinked for a minute or two as her eyes became adjusted to the light once more. She was able to get a better look at the man who was holding her hostage.

He had dark brown hair, which was cut short. She noticed that it had flecks of gray at the side of his temples. He was slightly taller than Giles, medium build and, he had green eyes. He also spoke with an accent she hadn't been able to place... yet.

“Is that better?” she was asked.

“A little... thank you,” she cringed, she couldn't hold back the thank you part, her mother had taught her to be polite, perhaps too well.

“It's nice to know that manners still exist. Won't you have a seat? I do apologize, but you'll have to remain tied up,” he told her as he gestured to the chair.

“Uh... sure?” Willow replied. She moved to the chair, when she caught a movement coming from one of the television monitors she had noticed. “Buffy?” she whispered, trying to get a better look.


“Yes sir?”

“Do hurry, she's coming in through the window.”

“On our way,” he replied.

“It looks as though Miss Summers is about to get the surprise of her life,” he said. He read Willow's body language, as she tensed up. “Oh... Miss Rosenberg? Don't bother wasting your breath, she won't hear you from here.”

“BUFFY!!!” Willow watched the monitor, he was right. Buffy hadn't heard her.

“Can't say I didn't warn you Willow.”

Willow quickly turned her attention from the monitors, when she heard him call her by her first name.

‘Wait... that voice? It's him! How?' her mind springing into action, trying to figure it out.

“Ohh... that had to hurt,” he said, as he watched Buffy pummel both Ian and Derrick. Willow looked back to catch Buffy using a round house kick against one of her attackers. “That kick's a bit sloppy,” he uttered.

“Maybe, but she's still standing,” Willow chirped in Buffy's defense.

“Make no mistake, Miss Rosenberg... Willow. I have not underestimated her skills, she's quite accomplished, even if she is... sloppy.” He picked up the walkie-talkie. “Gerald?”

‘He's using two different accents... I don't get it?' she thought to herself.


“Can you see them from your vantage point?”

“Yes... I have a clear shot,” Gerald replied.


“Yes sir... Gerald out.”

“What are you going to do?” Willow asked, afraid of the answer.

“You'll see, Miss Rosenberg... you'll see,” he said, staring intently at the monitor.

Gerald placed the walkie-talkie down. Picking up his rifle, he looked thru the scope, the cross hairs following the girl's every move. He took careful aim, subconsciously licking his lips, as he slowly pulled the trigger.


Buffy reacted instantaneously, diving to her right as the bullet smashed into the wooden crate behind her.

“She's good,” the man said, nodding his head.

“HEY... THAT'S NOT FAIR!!!” Willow shouted, realizing the moment she said it, how silly it was.


“Yes,” replied the burly man who had brought Willow in.

“Escort Miss Rosenberg back to her room... and make sure Miss Summers sees you.”

“Yes sir,” Malcolm said as he walked to Willow, who had started backing away.

“Keep away from me!!”



“Very well done.”

“Thank you sir. Shall I attempt another shot?” he asked, pleased that he had done his job well.

NO. Keep her in your sights. Do NOT fire upon her unless I say so. Is that understood?”

“You wanted to miss her?” Willow said.

“Understood,” Gerald answered, having caught Willow's question over the walkie-talkie.

“For GOD'S sake... Malcolm! Just knock her out,” he said, as he watched Willow dodge Malcolm's attempt to apprehend her.

“I'm trying to sir,” he said, as he lunged for Willow.

“Must I do everything myself?” he muttered. He was able to get behind Willow and knocked her out with a well place hit to the back of her head. He caught her as she slumped to the ground.

“I'm sorry sir,” Malcolm said as he gathered Willow in his arms.

“Don't be sorry... just improve,” he replied. He had always wanted to use that line, having heard it on some television program he had caught, while going over his plans. 'What show was it? Hmmm... doesn't matter,' he thought.

Buffy waited until it was safe to come out from her hiding place, there hadn't been any other shots fired at her.

'So much for surprises,' she mused. Looking around, the warehouse seemed deserted. The men she had fought were unconscious, and would stay that way if she had anything to do with it. Taking them on had taken her longer than she anticipated.

They were good...

“But I'm better,” she said to herself. “Okay... where would I hide Willow?”

Almost as if on cue, she saw a hulk of a man carrying an unconscious Willow over his shoulders. Buffy started to run towards him, when she felt a hand on her shoulder.

Snapping her hand down, a stake slid into her grasp. She whirled around quickly, determined to drive the stake home...



“ANGEL!!! Are you insane?!”

“Hey... relax. I'm on your side... remember?” he told her, as he had stopped her downward thrust inches from his chest.

DON'T do that!!!” she told him. Jerking the stake away from his body.

'Hmm... that's interesting,' the man thought. He had seen Buffy whip around and prepare to strike. Only... he couldn't see anyone. Looking closely at the screen, it appeared as if she were carrying on a conversation with someone.

“Where's Xander?” Buffy asked, looking behind her at the window.

“He's on his way,“ Angel answered, glancing at the interior of the warehouse.

“Wadda ya mean, he's on his way?”

“Xander told me to leave him, we weren't going to make it on time.”


“I see they know you're here,” Angel said, gesturing to the men lying on the ground.

“Hey, it's not my fault. They were waiting for me,” she told him.

“You want me to go after Mr. Universe over there?” He asked, keeping his eyes glued on the man he had seen carrying Willow.


“Yes sir?”

“Whom is Miss Summers speaking with?”

“A young man sir,” Gerald replied.

“Ah... I see.” Although he didn't. There was no one else on the television monitor except the slayer. He switched two other cameras to that location, they confirmed what he saw... nothing. “Are you sure Gerald?”

“Oh, yes sir. I can see him plain as day.”

“This is interesting,” he muttered to himself, tapping his lips with the walkie-talkie. His eyes widen as the impact of what he wasn't seeing hit him. “ATTENTION... execute plan 'B'... I repeat, execute plan 'B'. This is not a drill,” he said. “Gerald... take a shot. DON'T kill him, I want you to report your findings to me at once... do it... NOW!

“Right away sir!” Gerald quickly slid the bolt back and inserted a new bullet into the rifle's chamber. Sliding the bolt into place, he screwed the silencer on to the barrel of the gun. He took aim, and fired.

“AHH,” Angel cried out as he was thrown back by the impact.

“What is it!?” Buffy said going after him.

“It BURNS!!” he hissed, his game face appearing. He reached into his shirt, pulling out his hand...

“ANGEL... you're bleeding! A lot!”

“What the Hell's going on here Buffy!?” he grimaced.

“Come on... we've got to get you outta here,” Buffy told him, as she pulled him behind a support post. She hoped it would provide enough cover for him. “Let me see,” she asked. She pulled his shirt away, he gasped, the pain was incredible. The wound was bleeding profusely, it had gone straight thru his shoulder. Buffy peered at the hole, wondering why it hadn't started to close.

“Angel, I can see something, just on the inside. I need to get it out. Okay?”


“Gerald? REPORT.”

“I hit him sir!”


“Just a moment sir.” Gerald looked through the riflescope. “He's bleeding sir.”

“GOOD... don't let him out of your sights. Do whatever you have to... but don't let him out of there.”

“Yes sir,” Gerald responded. Turning to his left, Gerald, placed the rifle back in it's case, snapping it shut. He slid the case out of his way and reached for the UZI with the banana clip. Snapping it in place, Gerald grabbed a pair a binoculars, and watched... and waited.


“This isn't good, whoever has Willow, knows you're a vampire,” Buffy told Angel.

“You're right, what do you want to do now?” he asked, the pain subsiding considerably since Buffy removed the fragment. He could feel the wound begin to close. “Let me think... ”

“How ya doin' Cordy?” Xander asked his girlfriend.

“How do you THINK I'm doing Xander?” she answered sarcastically.

“That's what I LOVE about you. You're always consistent,” he grabbed her hand and led her into the warehouse.

“Where do you think they're going?” Angel asked Buffy, as he watched three men run towards the back of the building.

“I don't know? It can't be Willow, she's back that way,” she gestured with head.

“Why don't we find...” Angel had started to rise from his position, when shots rang out. “Out?”

“Well... it's looks like we won't be going anywhere. This is just GREAT!” Buffy uttered.

“Buffy... Buffy?” he waited until she turned to look at him.


“Umm... look, I'll distract him, while you check out what's going on. It may be our only chance,” Angel told her. He could already feel the slight change in the air, dawn was coming. He held his hand up when he saw the concern she felt for him on her face. “Don't worry...” he caressed her face. “No... I take that back, I like it when you worry about me,” he smiled.


“I know... I love you too.”

“So, what's your plan?” Buffy asked.

“Okay... um,” he glanced around. He spotted a piece of sheet metal propped up against the wall. He reached out for it, trying to keep his body shielded by the post they were hiding behind.

“What are you doing?” Buffy whispered.

“You'll see,” he said, as his fingertips brushed against the edge of the piece.

“Xander... are you sure this is the right place?” Cordelia asked.

“Of course I'm sure... otherwise, those three men wouldn't be coming after us,” Xander said, pulling Cordelia along, as he ran in the opposite direction.

“Oh... my head,” Willow uttered, she found herself on the ground. Standing up slowly, Willow looked around the room she was placed in. It was small, no windows, with only a small rollaway bed in the corner. “Great...” she said to herself, she was back in her room. “Oh, well...let's see if this will work now.”

Walking over to the bed, Willow, sat in the far corner. This would be easier to do, now that she had the blindfold off. She felt along the frame of the bed, until her fingers found what she was looking for.

Glancing at the door, Willow moved until she was in position. She began to move her arms back and forth against the jagged piece of the bed frame she had cut herself against earlier.

Willow had managed to free herself from the bindings that had secured her hands behind her back. Her arms and shoulders screamed out in protest from being kept in one position for so long.

Once she was able to get the circulation going, she checked the damage she had inflicted on her wrists.

There were several cuts, luckily, none of them were deep, but they were bleeding. Taking the sheet from the bed, Willow tore it into strips. She wrapped her wrists with them, she knew that she'd take care of them later, when she had more time.

She walked to the door, taking a breath; she reached out for the doorknob...


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