Buffy couldn't believe what she'd found in her old closet: her daughter and Xander's son, attached at the lips -- and lap?
"What are you doing?" Buffy grabbed Chance by the wrist and yanked her out of the closet and off of Jesse, who wisely bolted from the room. She snatched Chance's ear muffs. "Were you making out with him? He's practically your cousin!"
Chance unplugged the tissue paper from her ears and tamed her tousled hair. "Key word 'practically', meaning 'not'!"
"Even so, you are only thirteen and he's only twelve and oh my god, your jeans are unbuttoned!"
Cheeks red, she fumbled with her fly. "It's not what it looks like, we were just--"
"Kissing! And groping! God, you called for me and I thought I heard you crying in here--"
"I didn't call for you!"
"Do I look like I have a death wish?"
Buffy frowned. "That's weird. Angel said--"
The lights went off and the house powered down.
Standing in darkness, Buffy put her hands on her hips and said brightly, "This night just couldn't get more fun. What next? Earthquake? Flood? A plague of locusts?"
A scream rang out from the back yard, and they both recognized the voice.
* * *
"Peanut!" Spike tried to shout, but it was no use. He was trapped in this nightmare, zonked and mute, and he could only lie there as Faith barricaded the basement door, destroyed the circuit board and sat on his back to rifle through his pockets.
And now, Angelus had his son. His delicate, diminutive, soft-hearted son. So much like him, and he'd never even told him so...
"Where is that lighter... Here it is." He heard her flip it open and puff on the last of the joint. "Mm. You gotta admit kids, this is some real good shit. Warlock said it's all fun and games 'til someone panics. 'Course, I can panic all I want, doesn't work on vamps." She bent down to Spike's ear. "For you, though? It's only gonna get worse. And then you'll drop dead, never knowing what happened to your wife or your rotten little rugrats." She grabbed a hunk of his hair and raised his head, then said before letting go, "Spoiler alert! They die."
* * *
Chance followed her mother to the master bedroom's window.
"No." As Buffy peered down at the deck, seeing nothing but a telescope, she lost it. "Not now. Not now! Anfuckinggelus, how the hell did you...?" She opened the window. "Peanut! Ian!"
"Mom... What's going on?"
Buffy shut the window and took her by the shoulders. "Stay here and do not move. Do you hear me? Do not move a muscle and don't let anyone into this room."
Chance nodded, and Buffy locked the door before she sped off.
* * *
Spike didn't feel much pain when his chin split on the cement floor. He was too distracted by rage, helplessness, regret ...panic. He had to stop panicking somehow. Buffy's handling this. Buffy's already staked the wanker; Ian is fine, everyone's okay, god who am I kidding...
"Hey! Watcher!" Faith dismounted to kick Giles in the head. "Don't pass out yet. You got more to watch." Standing before them, she opened a small flask and spilled an arc of black powder around them. "You surprised me tonight, Mr. G. Willow too. I knew Cheech and Chong here liked the ganj, but I didn't figure you and Red for easy bait."
The flame from Spike's Zippo bringing out the yellow in her eyes, she said, "Four down, one knocked-up Buffy to go."
Spike made a desperate whimper.
"I'd stay and drain all your blood, but I like mine virgin. Keeps my skin soft. And knowin' Angel, they won't stay virgins for long -- right, Quick?"
She winked at him, tossed the Zippo, and the powder arc ignited into a wall of flame, trapping the four of them in a corner.
Yeah. Not likely to stop panicking now.
There was a rattle at the basement door; someone was trying to get in. He hoped for everyone's sake it was Buffy. She needed to stake this bitch. And he needed to tear Angelus limb from bloody limb.
It was obvious what had happened. Angel's curse must have been reinstated somehow, Faith made him a little too happy; he lost his soul, made her a vampire...
Spike stared, agog, as Faith did something Angelus could never do.
* * *
"Spike! Spike, goddammit!" Buffy sprinted across the darkened dining room and pulled at the basement door, then banged on it. "Get your pot-baked ass up here now!"
"What's happening?" Joyce asked as Buffy ran out onto the deck. "Was that Peanut I just heard?"
"Ian!" Buffy shouted into the darkness. "Angelus, you fucking coward!"
"Angelus?" Joyce repeated. "Oh my god."
"Tara!" She spun around at the people filling the kitchen, two of them holding lit candles. "Uninvite spell, do you remember it?"
"I... Kind of," Tara said, shaken. "I uh, need herbs, and, well, Willow--"
"Find her; do whatever you can, fast. Stakes. I need stakes and a crossbow, and an axe. A huge, razor-sharp fucking axe so I can lop off his blocky, psychotic head once and for all. What are you waiting for?!"
"We... we don't keep that stuff here anymore, Buffy. If anything it would be in the boxes in the basement--"
The battery-powered smoke detector sounded.
"It's downstairs!" Tara shouted, rattling at the barricaded basement door. "There's a fire in the basement!"
"Xander?" Anya hurried forward, and stopped midway. "Perfect! My water broke!" She held on to a chair. "Buffy, hurry up and break down the damn door!"
"Everybody stand back." The children gasped as their sweet Aunt Buffy tore the granite countertop off of the kitchen island and heaved it at the door. It broke through the barricade and crumbled at the bottom of the staircase. Billows of smoke filled the kitchen, everyone began to cough and the twins, clasped to each other, began to cry. "Open the windows, stay close to the floor, but don't go outside."
"Extinguisher," Joyce said, throwing it to her, and Buffy barreled down the steps. It reeked of burning plastic and cardboard and she couldn't see anything past the flames.
"Tara! The extinguisher isn't working; the fire must be mystical! You need to--" Suddenly, foam sprayed everywhere, the flames died, and she turned to see the witch behind her, holding a black ring. "...pull out the pin."
"Willow! Oh, god--"
Having already seen Spike and Giles, soot-covered but conscious, Buffy checked her friends' pulses. "Alive. Xander too."
"Oh, thank god."
Buffy scrambled to Spike, raised him off the floor. "What did Faith do to you? What do they want with Peanut? Where'd they take him?"
He tried to speak, but could only gurgle and direct his chin at the broken window.
"She went out the window? That doesn't help me. See, this is why you shouldn't do drugs."
He shook his head. "Fl..."
That's when they heard a chillingly familiar voice beckon:
"Come outside, little one! Come play with Mummy."
* * *
Transfixed, Chance stared at the woman hovering outside her window, a kicking, thrashing Ian in her grasp.
"Your poor baby brother," the woman said, petting his face and neck. "Pretty plates of biscuits all around, but he doesn't want them. He has a special taste." She plucked an image from his head and gasped. "It's an angel he seeks."
The woman's face morphed into a monster's, and she bared Ian's neck. "And it's an angel he'll have."
Ian whimpered, "Chance!"
"Only you can save him. Tick, ticky, tock."
The monster disappeared with her brother, and Chance snapped out of her fear. She opened the window and looked down. She could jump it, easy -- she wasn't sure what she'd do once she got there, but the house was on fire, her parents were MIA... and Ian was in trouble, now.
A dirty black boot hit her in the face from up above, and she reeled.
Faith hopped into the bedroom. "Big Momma's gonna ream me for this, but I don't really give a shit." Her face changed. "I got a wicked case of the munchies."
Chance backed away from her. "I knew there was something freaky about you."
"Way I hear it?" Faith kicked her in the stomach, and Chance landed, supine, on the bed. She lunged and pinned the girl by the shoulders. "You're the freak around here."
Sharp teeth slicing her throat, Chance used her only means of defense -- she shoved her attacker with both feet, banking on the strength of her thighs.
She didn't bank on quite so much strength, though: Limp as a crash test dummy, Faith sailed through the air, crashed through the windows, and fell to the ground below with a pop.
Stunned, Chance sat up, touching her wound. Or, what was left of it: the skin felt smooth and pain-free, and she'd stopped bleeding.
Staring at her trembling, blood-stained fingers, she whispered, "Whoa."
"They say Chance is the fool's name for fate," she heard the English lady say, tittering. "Come outside, little one! Come play with Mummy."
Then she heard Ian telling himself, "This isn't real, I can't be afraid if it's not real..."
"Oh, it's real, my pet," English lady told him. "And I'm going to make you just like me."
Eyes widening, Chance knew what she had to do. And she could do it: She was strong. She could heal. She had powers.
She stood up, balled her fists.
"You'll have to go through me first."
* * *
Willow stirred in Tara's arms. "What time is it?"
"It's that time again," Buffy said, and told Tara, "Fix Spike, then de-invite."
"Faith poisoned us," Willow realized, and Giles nodded. "With the wacky tobacky."
"Okay, um..." Tara waved a hand. "Detox."
Spike, Giles, Willow and Xander instantly puked on the floor, narrowly missing Buffy and Tara.
"Gross, but hopefully effective," Buffy said, helping Spike up. "Are you with me?"
He nodded quickly. "They can fly."
"They can FLY."
She stared at him unblinkingly. "Oh."
"Holy Kiefer Sutherland," Xander muttered.
"She burned all the weapons boxes," Giles said, sifting through the rubble. "It's all useless. Clever chit."
"We don't have any crossbows," Buffy worried at Spike. "How do we fight flying vampires?"
"Chance! No!" Joyce yelled. "What are you doing out there?"
"Oh my god," Buffy said, and blazed a trail up the basement steps, Spike in tow.
* * *
Two vampires took to the air, Chance wedged between them. Buffy caught one by the ankle, Spike caught the other, and they swiped the sticks out of Chance's back pocket. Everyone tumbled to the lawn.
"Mom! Dad! You don't understand, I can--" Chance lost her train of thought as her parents made the bad guys explode with a single shove of a lucky drumstick. "Okay, what?"
"Are you out of your mind?" Buffy whooshed her into the house. "I told you not to leave that room!"
"What are they? How do you know how to--?"
"Later," Buffy said over Spike's attempt at an explanation. "Just don't go out there again."
Chance heard Ian sob, and spotted him at the top of a tall palm tree. "You're gonna be okay, Ian! Be strong! Don't be a baby, okay?"
Buffy frowned at her daughter. "You can see him?"
"Yeah, he's right there in Batlady's arms!" She ventured, "Can't you guys see like me?"
Buffy gave Spike an uneasy glance. "No, we can't."
Spike wrapped an arm around both of them, and they peered in that direction. "Tell me what you see, love."
"They're everywhere," Chance said quietly. "Like crows."
"Fifteen? Maybe more--" She tensed. "She's coming."
A dark figure came swooping down from the trees.
"Hello, Spike." Ten feet off the ground, Drusilla held a sniffling Ian. "Remember Mummy?"
"Drusilla," Spike spat, nostrils flared. "You died. You died with the rest of them."
"Ian, it's okay, baby," Buffy quietly promised her son as the ex-lovers caught up, "Momma's not gonna let anyone hurt you."
"I've always had wings, my love. Didn't I tell you that?"
Spike remembered: Big black wings to fly you away... "'Where no magic sun will find us'. You were spared."
"That's right. Got a precious giftie that day. Been makin' babies ever since; just like you. A thousand thousand now, and more each day."
Several vampires flew into formation behind her.
"Turn, never kill; that's the new order." She bared her fangs. "Not even the little children."
"Dru! That's my son! My son!"
"Trade you for a daughter." Running a long, sharp fingernail over Ian's thorax, she said, "Or does Daddy love this one the least?"
"I will not play this game with you!" Dru got a sick thrill out of making parents choose... and usually ended up killing everyone anyway.
"This one's head is full of fancy. I've always wanted my very own boy genius."
Spike pleaded, "Take me, Drusilla. Take me instead. It could be like it used to... I... I could take care of you!"
"Keep your 'care'. There's only one thing Mummy wants."
"Don't you get it, Spike?" Buffy whispered through clenched teeth. "She wants her heart."
Chance gasped, hands over her chest. "My...?"
"Your heart, special one," Drusilla cocked her head, swaying in the air. "It sings to me. Tick, ticky, tock. Tick, ticky, tock. It knows all: the truest secrets of the oldest power, bequeathed to me by the Dark Mother," she narrowed her eyes at Spike, "the day the dread Three sent her away."
"Whatever you think her heart will do for you, you're wrong," Buffy said, voice wavering. "That power died with Lamashtu. Chance is just a girl."
"'Just a girl', born of demon and slayer, disguised in furs of Dark Mother's design in the year of the rabbit. Just a girl, until the flowering of her thirteenth birthday," Drusilla said, eyes flashing. "Tick, ticky, tock."
Buffy and Spike shared a frightened look.
"Time's up." Drusilla play-growled at Chance. "Run, rabbit, run."
Ian screamed as her fingernail cut into his chest.
"Get offa him!" Chance snatched a drumstick and broke free of her parents' grasp. "You want my heart, Batface? Come and get it!"
The second she passed the threshold, Drusilla tossed Ian to another vampire and seized Chance in her talons.
"Oh my ears and whiskers," Drusilla laughed before shooting up into the sky, "how late it's getting!"
Buffy and Spike ran out, but were promptly surrounded by a swarm of vampires.
"Look who's come out to play," Angelus said, stepping out of the shadows and parting the mob. "Mm! This is gonna be so much fun!"
"You are so dead," Buffy promised him. "So very, very, completely dead."
"You know, I almost wish I was, putting up with your pathetic excuse for a son and your big wet 'take-me-away-from-here' eyes, all while you try to convince me how 'happy' you are." He shook his head. "Buffy, Buffy, Buffy. Don't you know I can smell what you really want?"
"He's trying to upset you," Buffy asided to her husband.
Spike kept his eyes on the surrounding ground forces. "It's working."
"Sorry to disappoint you, Buff, but I'm just not that into you anymore. You're a little too... what's the word?" He looked up, then snapped his fingers. "Old. Used. Expired. You know what kinda girl gets me hot! Young and fresh and blossoming... like your daughter."
Spike and Buffy spouted variations of the same threat: "If you so much as touch her--"
"Oh, I'm gonna have her all to myself for a good, substantial while." He breathed in deep. "Spike'll tell you. He knows how much I love breaking them in."
"You sick rutting BASTARD--!"
Angelus laughed at Spike as he tried to wring his neck, but failed on account of all the vampires holding him back.
"Everybody got out alive?" Faith zoomed down from above. "Why didn't I just snap your scrawny necks when I had the chance? Stupid love drug."
"Aww, she wuvs us," Xander taunted from inside, and Faith tried to attack him, but was magically clotheslined at the threshold. "Ha! And stay out!"
"It's alright, Faithy," Angelus said. "We got everyone we need out here. And everything we need," he pointed at the sky, "up there."
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" Chance screamed as she fell to earth.
"What the--!" Angelus shouted at the mob, "It's the girl, she's falling! Somebody catch her!"
Most of the surrounding vampires flew out into the center of the yard. One flunky caught her just before she hit, announcing proudly, "I got her, boss!" But his triumph was short-lived.
Chance nimbly kicked the flunky in the face, flipped backward, sprung five feet into the air and shoved her drumstick through his heart. The other vamps scattered as he burst into dust.
Her parents gaped, astonished.
"I always knew these felt right," Chance said, twirling the drumstick and then tucking it into her jeans. Ashes gently drifting down around her like black snow, she blew one out of her mouth and looked up. "Should maybe not use 'em so high up next time..."
"Dru?!" Angelus got wild-eyed. "Did that little cunt just dust Dru?"
"No fucking way," whispered Faith.
"Way," Chance said with airquotes, then narrowed her eyes at Angelus. "Did you just call me a--?" Stopping mid-sentence, she cocked her head. "Yeah, I hear you, Ian! ...Y-you want me to... what?"
Spike's pinky finger grazed Buffy's, and their hands entwined.
"I can't even hear what she can hear," muttered one of the vamps collaring Spike. "What the hell is she?"
Voice gruff with pride, Spike said, "She's ours."
"Shhh!" Chance held up a quieting hand, closed her eyes, and pinpointed her hearing... to a heartbeat in the trees. She looked up at the source, took a running start and jumped, her thigh muscles propelling her to the top of a fifty foot palm tree.
Her path illuminated by Giles' flashlight, everyone saw it happen.
"She's evil!" Anya screeched from the kitchen.
"She's not evil," Giles replied in awestruck realization. "...She's part rabbit."
"Like I said, evil!"
"Hon, breathe," Xander calmed his wife. "And try to sit down. You're in labor."
"A slayer bunny," Angelus awed. "That's ...new. But jumping isn't flying. Yeah, you're still pretty much doomed."
Noting that the goons around them had dropped their guard, Buffy squeezed Spike's hand and said, "Oh my god, she's killing everything up there!"
After a confused second, Spike got the hint and helped her stake their captors.
"Hey!" Faith said as the lone quartet snapped into battle stance.
Buffy lunged at Faith, Spike threw a very satisfying left at Angelus, and the fight was on.
"Hey, backup dancers," Faith shouted into the dark, fielding Buffy's swings. "What good are you if you don't back us up?"
"They lost their mommy," Angelus said. "They don't know we can get her back."
"We can do anything with that little rodent's heart."
"You'll never get it," Spike sneered.
"No? Unlike you two, I can hear her. Right now, she's begging our strongest buck for mercy. Gasping for breath." Dodging a blow, he yelled out, "Save some for me, Riley boy!"
"Riley?" Mouth going dry, Buffy slowed and shouted, "Chance?! Ian?!"
"He's bluffing," Spike said.
"Am I?" He elbowed Spike in the nose. "Why aren't they answering?"
"I can't see her," Giles said to Joyce. "Can you?"
"Your little mutant may have dethroned the queen, but the king... lives on." Angelus nailed Spike with a flying kick, throwing him onto his back. "Thankya very much."
"Wow. Your impressions?" Buffy said, and went for him. "Suck."
Faith intervened and punched her in the gut, making her stagger and double over. "Oh hey! Déjà vu, right?"
"Buffy!" Spike tried to get to her, but Angelus got in the way.
"Spike, catch!" Xander tossed him a newly whittled stake and turned to Willow and Tara. "He didn't catch it. Why aren't you helping them?"
"We're still fortifying the doors! We're a little rusty, okay?"
"They're losing out there. We should be fighting. Giles?"
"I think we're all a bit rusty, Xander..."
"That's it. I'm going."
"No!" Anya grabbed his arm. "If you go out there, I'm leaving you." She cramped up with a pre-contraction. "GodDAMMIT!"
"Do you want some cake, Momma? Our cake makes bad things go away."
"Mallie, your mom doesn't need any--"
Anya grabbed the plate before he gave it back, and she and Xander came to the same conclusion:
"Ah, William," Angelus said with a tinge of Irish accent, basking in victory as he stood over a prone and hurting Spike, boot on his neck. "You couldn't beat me when you were a vampire. What makes you think you could even touch me as a second-rate slayer?"
Spike glanced at Buffy. She was losing focus, worried about too many things at once. Much like him. His kids were missing, his wife and unborn child were in trouble, Angelus was crushing his windpipe... They needed a miracle.
Angelus pop-kicked Buffy's fallen drumstick into his own grasp before Spike could reach it. "Silly rabbit. Sticks are for--" Suddenly, something brown and gooey hit the back of his neck. "What the...? Ah!" He scratched at it, as if it itched, and another hit his cheek.
"Hey!" Faith, having the same problem, spun to face the kitchen door, crowded with Harrises, Rosenberg-MacClays and one large cakepan. "The hell did you just throw at me?"
"Aim be true," Tara said, and clocked her in the eye.
"Motherfucker!" Faith pawed at her eye. "Shit stings!"
A garlic clove landed on the deck beside Spike's head, and he laughed. "Bloody psychic twins! I always knew they were too weird not to be seers."
"Chance?" Buffy called again. "Ian?"
"We're okay!" Chance shouted from the trees. "Uh, for now!"
As Angelus and Faith floundered comically from the pitched lobs of vampire repellent, Buffy found both stakes, took Spike's hand, and gathered a fistful of garlic.
"Hey, Faith, you got a little something on your... No... Here, let me get it." Buffy slugged her in the nose.
"I'm gonna break your neck," Angelus snarled at Spike. "Then I'm gonna rape your wife and both your children and eat your unborn baby alive."
Buffy said, "Good to know it's still alive. Thanks for the update."
"This," Spike shut a garlic clove into Angelus' mouth, "is the last thing you'll ever taste."
Finding themselves back to back, Buffy said to her fellow slayer, "You know what I really want, baby, don't you?"
Spike inhaled. "I can almost smell it."
With a quick spin, they switched opponents.
"You'll never do it," Angelus laughed at her, "you still love--"
Angelus disintegrated into nothing.
"Holy shit, B. You grew some balls!"
And those were Faith's last words.
Spike wiped the dust from his wife's dress. "You okay?"
"Closure," Buffy said, breathless. "Kinda awesome. You?"
He kissed her, hard. Their foreheads met, he clutched her belly, and they smiled.
Together, they yelled out for their children.
"How are we gonna get them down?" Buffy wondered.
"Um, Ian seems to think I can do this!" Chance hollered. "So... hold tight. We're about to find out if he's a genius or he just wants me dead! Or, you know, both!"
After a moment of rustling, they heard, "AAAAAAAAAAAAH!"
Screaming as she bounded down diagonally from the palm tree, Chance landed on her feet, Ian safe in her arms.
Eyes luminous, reflecting Giles' flashlight, she blinked and they returned to normal. "Okay. Yeah. We're okay."
"Whoa," whispered a smitten Jesse, watching from the doorway.
"Not bad, Brainiac," Chance commended as she put Ian down.
About to run to his mother's outstretched arms, Ian paused, turned and gave his big sister a hug. "Thanks, Chancey."
"Hey, nobody messes with you but me. Right?"
He smiled. "Right."
When he left her grasp, she breathed in deep and turned her attention to her shell-shocked parents.
"Mom? Dad?" She smiled sweetly. "Is there something you want to tell me?"