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Leading Apes in Hell (PG: Character Death: Profanity)


Nov 23, 2019
Palmerston North, New Zealand
As they watched the evening news, Buffy turned away and closed her eyes. Lindsey noticed her moment of aversion:
"I know. I don't want to face what has to be done either."
Buffy snuggled into him and looked up:
"But it has to be done. I'm surprised that Angelus isn't being as bloodthirsty either, but something must be restraining him from going on a full-fledged rampage. I'd say one prime suspect would be the new darkmage that's joined up with Drusilla and We- Price. Damn. It's still difficult to accept that a former Watcher has joined the dark side."
Lindsey sighed: "I've been dreading this, hoping that Willow or someone else would manage to turn him back into Angel. I don't relish facing him as Angelus, particularly as that sadistic bastard won't react well to the fact that we're together."
"Yes, well, Angel doesn't play well with my current boyfriends either. You should have seen him and Riley Finn together- fire, meet petrol."
"There's the other aspect too. It's only been a month since Doug got shot and now we're pitching him back into the heat of battle. I don't know if Doug or Oz are ready yet, or whether we have a right to ask either of them. The problem is, can we hold it off much longer?"
"Sorry, you two. The answer is yes. Sorry to barge in and break up the smoochies, but I got a clean bill of health from Alessandra Norton yesterday. But Danny... I don't know if I can speak for him."
"Thank you, loverman, but my answer is yes, too. I don't like having to do this to an old friend, but we know what Angelus is like, Buffy. And he could do a lot of damage in a city the size of LA. Whatever's restraining him may not last forever. My question is why it's doing that?"
Willow joined them: "Oh, you two look comfortable."
"Well, we were, but this is turning into a Scoobies debate over intervention within LA. Willow? Do you have any idea what's restraining Angelus from being Liam the Ripper?:" Buffy asked.
"I was wondering the same thing. Tara took a WatcherSat image of LA and I recognised the thaumaturgic imprint at once. It's Hekate, all right. Which means you'll need me. No prizes for guessing who's holding Angelus' leash. Which, at least, means that we won't be expecting him in Sunnydale at any point and Dawnie will be safe here. Which raises the question of motivation." Willow said, helping herself to Buffy's chocolate assortment.
"Not really. She's doing it out of ...love... for Dru. Those two have got a darkside mother-daughter thing going on and Dru's changed considerably since she's been with We-Price -and the kid. She recognises that Angelus raped her before turning her and deliberately killed her family and she wants revenge. I can't really say that I blame her. And given the kid's background, she decided to assist Dru in that objective. And possibly ...Price... as well. Wes was at death's door before Dru turned him. So they're keeping Angelus inhibited and weak." Doug replied
"Which raises the question, do we need to intervene? When they arrive, they might take care of the problem for us." Buffy interjected.
"I wish it were that simple. When WRH turned Darla, they brought in Drusilla to do it. There's a relationship there, and WRH might exploit it. Or they might want revenge for the Great Lawyer Slaughter that only Lilah Morgan and I survived. Or Price, Dru and the kid might start a turf war against them within Los Angeles and there could be thousands of fatalities." Lindsey observed.
"Oz, if it's too soon after Jordy..."
Oz shook his head: "Nope. If you think this big lug is going anywhere without me, wrong. Added to which, you'll need someone to take on Dru."
"Okay, let's talk strategy. Lindsey and I take on Angelus. What about the rest of you?"
"I think we need to think contingencies too. Tara said she'll stay here and Dawn will be with her. There's something else we need to account for. Watchersat tracked Hekate's thaumaturgic emission sequence. Dru, Price and Hekate are headed back from Canada and toward LA. Which means confrontation and complication."
"I can hold Dru, as I said. Willow, you're the logical choice for Hekate. Loverman?"
"It's okay, Danny. Wesley Wyndham-Price is dead. Price... may look like him, may have been him before he turned, but now he's an unensouled vampire and my duty is to protect baseline humans from their kind. And given his status as a former Watcher and employee of Angel Investigations, next to Drusilla he's our major threat."


On the boundary of the city, the aforementioned vampires and darkmage sat around a bar heater:
"It's settled, then. The problem is, Sunnydale's proximity to Los Angeles. Drusilla?"
"We know they've got the werewolf back, and Douglas Mercer and Willow Rosenberg are powerful wiccans. The slayer and McDonald may try to take out Angelus themselves, or restore his soul. Yes, darkheart?"
Hekate sipped some chartreuse: "I sensed that we were being orbitally scanned and tracked. I guess it's probably the Watchers, which means that they've probably passed the information on to the slayer. I would have tried to knock it out but it's too securely warded and up too high. They will have worked out that we're heading back to Los Angeles. Which means that it's me against Red. She'll probably accompany the slayer there and so will lawyer stud."
"Which means that they'll be in the vanguard of any attack against Angelus, given McDonald's capabilities now as an Immortal. And I suspect they'll field Doug against me, given our respective Watcher backgrounds and combat experience. Which means that Oz will be with them, so he'll be assigned against you, Dru. Hekate, can you do a locator spell?"
"I tried that earlier, Price. Blondie is too good at tracking and warding spells. But I got a telepathic surge from Red- they've worked out that I've been hemming Angelus in, that he's weakened, and that they may have a chance against him. I think they'll move soon. Perhaps even as soon as tomorrow."
"Darkheart, are you sure you wouldn't rather stay here?" Drusilla asked, taking Hekate's hands in hers:
"Dru, momma... you and Price rescued me from a very private and self-destructive corner of hell and from that point on, I swore I'd use my mojo to protect both of you. I won't let either of you go into battle without me. What would my life be like if one or both of you fell? I know you want to protect me. Yeah, well, I want to protect you too. My place is by your side."
"I love you so much, my daughter..." But Hekate didn't tell either of them that she'd been shuffling Tarot cards to foresee what might happen next and that the Day of Judgement, Death and High Priestess cards were what she had been dealt. Inwardly, she know that one or more of them would not survive the next day. She was determined that if it came to that, it would be Drusilla who would stay in existence- and Price too, if possible. She didn't love him as much as she did Drusilla, but she respected him for his knowledge and bond with his sire and she knew that the respect and solidarity was mutual.



Nov 23, 2019
Palmerston North, New Zealand

Tara kissed Willow goodbye, wondering if this would be the last time she would see her partner alive. Kitty Fantastico and her kittens crowded around her as well, nuzzling and miaouing their farewells. Oz embraced Ken and Maureen while Dawn was having a private conversation with Buffy: "I need to show you something..."
With no effort whatsoever, Dawn ripped a hefty Sunnydale Area telephone book apart. Buffy's eyes widened:
"You're a potential slayer?! Since when?"
"Since three months ago. Doug and Oz have been training me on the sly during their spare non-slayage time. In case I never see you again, I had to let you know."
"You do realise that doesn't mean you're a full slayer yet?"
"But for these abilities to awaken now may mean that if either Faith or you dies, I'm your successor."
"Look, at some point if things get too heavy in Sunnydale, I want you on the next plane to England. You'll be safer there."
"With the Watchers Council?! Have you heard how frequently you and Doug vent about them when you get the chance?"
"With the Watchers Institute. They're the only reason that the Council hasn't completely failed to fulfill its mission altogether."
"Point taken. And Tara?"
"At the appropriate point in her pregnancy, yes. No arguments, sweetheart."
"Come back safe, Willow honey. That's all I ask."

And thus it was that two disparate and contending groups of antagonists teleported into the foyer of the Hyperion hotel. As Buffy and Lindsey made for the lift, Price snarled: "You won't stop us. Don't even think about it."
"Don't make us do this, We-Price. I don't want to fight you, but I will if I have to." Doug responded.
"Why is my vengeance against Angelus more significant than the slayer's precious control and contain mission? She'll let him go, until the next time." Drusilla said as she gamefaced and stalked toward the others.
"Oh no you don't, kid!" Willow said, warding the elevator cable from the effects of Hekate's darkmagick.
"Stay out of this, Red. I don't want to get into a competition over which of us can haul magick the most."
"You're a sister witch. Believe me, I don't want to do this either."
"He tried to kill me, Doug. Doesn't that mean anything to you?" Price replied.
"Of course it does. I will always blame myself for not bein' there for you, mate. Always. Please. Leave."
"I'm sorry, Douglas. That won't happen. If you won't leave, either, then we really have no option." Price gamefaced and rushed toward him.
"Drusilla? No. I understand, believe me. A darkmage witch put a contract out on my cousin to get at me. But let Buffy and Lindsey take care of this."
"I am truly sorry to hear that, Daniel. Family means a lot to me. I wish we weren't on different sides, but we are."
"But so does the rage and revenge. I get that. We don't have to do this."
"Our lovers seem to be of a different opinion."
"Precisely, and if I let you, you'll help Price, won't you?"
"Then I'm sorry. I truly am."

In another corner of the hall, Willow and Hekate had come to exchange powerbolts. Light and darkness blossomed and subsided above them, with the energies building in their vicinity:
"You're powerful, I'll give you that much. I knew this'd be a hard ask."
"I know what being addicted to darkmagick is like."
"I have to be there. I have to protect Drusilla. She means life itself to me."
"I know that feeling. But the energies you're tapping into you will corrupt and twist you. If you don't stop, it'll kill you."
"No. I know you have your own family and I'm sorry it has to be like this. But I refuse to see Dru staked. They saved me from a living hell."
"I respect that. But is throwing away your own life any solution?"
"No, because it won't be me who dies. As I've said, Willow, I am sorry it has to be this way, but..."

At that moment, another struggle reached its climax in another corner of the room, as Doug and Price smashed through a wall, deep in combat:
"Give it up, now."
"I won't let you endanger the slayer."
"And that's all it is for you, isn't it Douglas? Your bloody commitment to Buffy Summers trumps everything and everyone else."
"Listen to you, mate. We used to share the same ideals, the same goals. Only one of us is goin' to walk away from this."
"If I have to break your neck at the end of this, so be it. I am fully committed to Drusilla now."
"I will mourn you, Price. I'm sorry."
"For all your endurance and self-discipline, Doug, I'm a vampire and I'm..." And then Doug found a stake and plunged it into Price's chest, and in a matter of seconds, the former Wesley Wyndham-Price became a cloud of dust, ash, smoke, tendrils of fire and darkness. Doug got to his feet, dusted himself off and closed his eyes as a tear leaked out.
"PRICE!" Drusilla screamed. In another corner of the room, Willow finally overloaded Hekate's darkmagick abilities and there was a moment of fire and fury as the darkmage witch plummeted down to the ground, as Drusilla broke from her conflict against Oz to catch her surrogate daughter in time. Freed from the conflict, Willow summoned her energies in readiness to cast a certain spell...

On the floor above, Angelus was waiting at the lift entrance as he caught sight of Buffy and Lindsey:
"What are you doing here, weak- wait a minute. You smell like...an immortal now."
"Liam, stand down. There's a reason that you're immobilised here."
"Yeah, Dru's new little hellfire surrogate daughter. Slayer. Mmm. You have definitely improved with age."
"It isn't going to happen, Angelus."
"She's moved on, buddy."
"Who said you could talk, peasant-"
"In case you haven't noticed, I've changed too."
"I stand corrected. So here's how it is. First, I kill the slayer and then I have some fun with you, Lindsey, before you lose your head for good."
"Neither scenario is going to unfold." Buffy unsheathed her samurai sword as Lindsey did his, as they charged the elder vampire. Angelus gamefaced and snarled as he rushed toward them. And despite the fact that it was two against one, Liam Connor had been around for two centuries and his combat experience told against them. Soon, he had Lindsey struggling to rise from the floor with a broken leg, even given his regenerative power, and exhausted, he could only watch as Angelus cornered Buffy and gradually forced her samurai blade closer and closer to her throat, in satanic delight as he prepared to kill the slayer.

And at that moment, Willow enacted the Kalderash spell, with unexpected consequences.

Drusilla clutched her hands to her head and shrieked. Oz glanced over at Doug and Willow:
"She...smells like Angel now. New version, Willow?"
She nodded: "It looks like it affects Drusilla now, too."
Doug knelt alongside the stricken and now ensouled vampire as she cradled Hekate in her arms:
"Stake me. I deserve to perish for everything I've done. I deserve to burn in hell. Nothing means anything to me now that my beautiful daughter and my childer are ashes and death. I want to join them. I want to-"
Doug brought his hands to her temples: "There. Good thing you found that window in the spell about vampire telepathic receptivity, Wills. Drusilla? I am truly sorry for what you've just been through. But there's no way we'll let you do away with yourself. If it's any consolation, Price's end tore a hole in my heart too."
"I can sense it worked on Angel too. He's back. Oh no."
"What is it?" Oz asked.
Then Doug sensed what Willow was obviously worried above: "Come on. It's time we joined the others."

In the management office, Lindsey's regenerative healing ability had enabled him to stand. He hobbled over to Buffy as Angel looked away from them. As the lift shaft opened, Angel raised agonised and tormented eyes toward Willow, who was sobbing by now. Doug was ashen pale and Oz was mystified but knew that his partner needed him. Buffy could immediately tell something was wrong: "Willow, what is it?"
"It's... the Kalderash spell. It worked on Drusilla as well as Angel, but in Angel's case... the spell is fraying around the edges. It's returned Angel to us, but not for long. He'll revert to Angelus, permanently, in five minutes time and then the spell won't work on him anymore, no matter how much I tweak it. "
"There's no need to say it. It gives me enough time to say my goodbyes. Buffy? I loved you so much. Ignore what that twisted perverted parody of me said. It's great to see her with a good man, Lindsey. You're one of the best and I'm glad to see you settled down. Willow, don't grieve for me. There's only so much even the most powerful wiccan can accomplish. At least you restored me so I can do what has to be done. Oz? Good to see you back and settled down. Doug? Look after all of them, dude. "

And then Angel embraced a grieving Buffy while Doug escorted Drusilla to the comparative shade of the elevator interior. When he let her go, Buffy turned to Lindsey and he held onto her, reflecting that he had never wanted to win the woman he loved at this cost. Willow bit her lip and swallowed as Angel walked across to the window and threw open the curtains. And then a life that had encompassed two centuries ended, as Angel erupted into light, heat, smoke,fire and ash.

"Yes, I will safeguard this city. And thank you all for letting me see reason. I owe it to Angel- the real one, not the creature that raped and turned me. I will always grieve my beloved Price and Hekate. But as of now, Huntress Investigations is open for business. I need to atone for what I did during those long years of darkness."

As they left in the Ozmobile and Lindsey's red truck. no-one spoke. Looking over the battered and bruised Scoobies, Buffy wondered how many more 'victories" like this they could endure.

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